Arthritis affects millions of Americans, but this medical condition also affects pets. Dogs that suffer from arthritis experience pain and stiffness in the joints, just as humans do. You can help your pet feel better through massage therapy, which you can perform at home. However, you have to execute the massage in a certain way to determine its effectiveness and ensure it doesn’t create unnecessary injury.
1. Massage your dog in the mornings. Both humans and animals have more joint pain early in the morning and immediately after waking up, as the muscles feel stiff and the joints have not moved in hours. Making a habit of massaging your dog every morning will ensure your pet with more pleasant days.
2. Massage your dog gently. The purpose of the massage is to relieve pain and stiffness from the joints, not cause more pain or harm the dog’s tissues. You might get carried away during the massage and start pressing too hard. Always keep in mind that your dog has the same sensitivity or even more sensitivity than a human. Don’t squeeze or pinch too hard. Use delicate movements and your dog will be grateful.
3. Carefully massage your dog’s joints and muscles. Take them one at a time, starting from the neck, and softly stroke each and every part of your pet’s body: back, legs, hindquarters and so on. Control your thumbs and other fingers to make gentle yet effective movements. The massage functions as a sort of rubbing. Use circular movements from time to time, especially in the area of the joints. If performed correctly and consistently, massage stimulates circulation, reduces pain and increases flexibility.
4. Softly knead you dog’s muscles and joints. Aside from the regular massage movements, knead or roll your pet’s muscles between your fingers, an effective movement to reduce stiffness. Use your fingers to knead your dog’s tissues and also push back and forth the areas you’re massaging. The massage should last between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on how patient the dog remains.
5. If you notice any inflamed joint in your dog’s body, don’t massage it; doing so could do more harm than good. Massaging an inflamed joint could make the inflammation spread.
6. If your dog shows any sign of pain or discomfort or if you hear squeals and yelps, stop the massage. You should not force any type of therapy on your animal.
7. Consider using dog acupuncture. Some veterinarians perform acupuncture for animals because it proves very good for pain relief and stimulating circulation. If your dog does not tolerate it, stop the therapy.
8. Keep your dog moving. Take your pet out for walks and encourage your dog to play with you or other pets. A lack of movement will lead to stiff, inflexible joints, which means more pain.
Filed Under: Pets & Animals
About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.