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"Healthy, Active Dogs Need Massage Too"

Updated: Apr 1

Photo by brixiv.

In the late 1990s, I participated in a bike ride from Minneapolis to Chicago. On the first of the six days, I rode over 100 miles. During the last 25 miles of that day, it rained and the temperature dropped about 15 degrees. By the time I arrived at camp, I was exhausted!

After cleaning up, I decided to visit the massage tent. It wasn't until the massage therapist started working on my hamstrings and gluteal muscles that I realized how tight and sore my muscles were from riding. The kneading and compression of my tissues was a great relief! I was going to need it, too: Day Two was another 100-mile day.

Why am I sharing this story?

Photo by Dids.

Many times when I tell dog parents about canine massage I'm told they will wait until the dog is older.

But why wait?

We know dogs are amazing athletes! They will work as hard or harder than most humans especially if they are trying to please their parent. Some dogs compete in agility, obedience or rally competitions. Others spend the day in the field tracking or herding livestock. Or maybe your dog is like mine: he used to spend eight hours at doggie daycare going up on his hindlegs, jumping, twisting, pivoting.

In all of these instances, dogs will use their muscles to push themselves to complete the task as hand. And they come home tired and worn out, although some dogs many not show it. And -- like us --, they can overwork and strain muscles.

Photo by Anna Dudkova

To keep an active dog performing at their best and to prevent injury, treat them to a massage! A canine massage therapist will look at a dog's gait to watch for any movements that appear out of the ordinary. This will help the massage therapist focus her work on areas of the dog's body that need the most attention. A good 60-minute massage can soothe tight muscles, increase blood flow (which will move toxins our of the tissues), and improve the range of motion of the dog's limbs.

So if you have an active dog who loves to run, jump and play at home or in the park, consider a canine massage. A trained canine massage therapist will help relieve the tightness and soreness in the muscles so your dog can continue playing and/or competing at their best. And your dog will thank you! REMEMBER: Canine massage is NOT a replacement for veterinary care.

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