Did you know that your dog can get a little bodywork done through massage? I won a dog massage in a raffle and this last weekend, Gatsby had a massage.
The woman who owns the company also works in a veterinary office helping rehab animals that have had serious injuries or surgery. The massage therapist took a 10 month course in canine massage which included learning all of the dog’s anatomy and is a certified canine massage therapist. For Gatsby’s massage she came to our home where he is most comfortable.
We are fortunate that at 8 years old, that other than some skin allergies, Gatsby does not have any health issues. However, because he is a golden retriever and therefore a large breed dog, we are watching him for signs of hip issues and arthritis as he ages. Massage has a lot of health benefits for people and for dogs. It can help with anxiety, aid with digestion, move toxins through the lymphatic system, decreases blood pressure and reduces pain and swelling.
Gatsby loves to be touched so I thought he would settle right into a massage, but as soon as she started he could tell it was different, got up and left. It was explained to me that the touch has a different energy compared to petting, and the dogs notice the difference right away.
After a bit, and with a stuffed toy in his mouth, Gatsby came back for more massage. He would settle in for a bit and then have to get up and walk around to walk it off. One thing that fascinated me was he would offer body parts that he wanted massaged. For example, Gatsby laid on his right side so the therapist could massage his left side and left legs. He then got up walked around a bit and then came back and laid on the opposite side so that other side would be massaged and he would be balanced.
Just like people, dogs can get muscle knots and tension especially in their shoulder areas. I know when I have a massage, there is that mix of pain and pleasure as the massage therapist works out those particularly stubborn knots. By looking at Gatsby’s eyes, I could tell when she hit one of those on him.
Obviously, Gatsby could not vocalize if he liked his massage but he was very chill and relaxed the rest of the day and into the next. He is generally a pretty relaxed dog but this took him to another relaxed state. And he seemed to be smiling all day.
While this will not be a regular part of Gatsby’s routine, I did feel like we did something good for him and for his health. Definitely, if he starts to show signs of arthritis or other discomfort as he ages we will think about scheduling this a little more frequently. It may seem indulgent but as part of our family, we want to make sure he stays healthy and happy. -June
Be the energy you want others to absorb. -A.D. Posey