Dog Massage: 7 Tips on How to Massage a Dog

Reading Time: 3 minutes

dog massage: how to massage your dogAfter working for almost 8 hours a day, we get tired. A massage therapy session would be perfect after a long days’ hassle. Similarly, your dog can also get quite tired of playing and running around the entire day. Perhaps its time for you to give your pet a dog massage to brighten up their day!

Giving a dog massage is not difficult and does not require many preparations. It is super simple and can be performed at home by dog owners. There is no need for professional help if the dog is not suffering from any serious stress or injury.

Reading online about steps for a successful dog massage session will definitely prove helpful for the first-timers. Dog massage has numerous benefits and this article will give tips on how to massage a dog properly.

Relax My Dog: Benefits of Dog Massage

Dog massage is great for him/her. Here are the reasons why:

  1. A dog massage can be relaxing as it calms down the nerves; it also helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Dogs tense up easily and a massage will definitely relax him/her into comfort.
  2. Tissue healing is a major benefit of massage. As massage increases blood circulation in the body, the tissue healing process is sped up, thereby allowing any wounds to heal faster.
  3. A proper massage is known to benefit a dog in many ways. Massage is of utmost importance for dogs’ body functions. It has been proven that massage helps to improve the immune and digestive systems.
  4. It helps to increase blood circulation throughout the body and decrease blood pressure.
  5. It also reduces the chances of adhesions thereby reducing the risk of painful conditions like arthritis.
  6. Other than promoting an overall well-being, massage can definitely bring dog-owners closer to their pets.

How To Give A Good Massage: 7 Tips on How to Massage a Dog

Given below are some basic tips one can follow to give his/her dogs the best massage experience.

Dog Massage Tip 1: Preparations before the Massage

In order to give a dog the best experience, some steps should be taken before the session begins.

  1. Finding a comfortable place like a soft bed or sofa for the session is important. This can automatically calm the dog down.
  2. Talking calmly to the dog before the session can be done to ease the process. The soothing tone will also help to calm his/her mood.
  3. It is advised to offer the dog your hand to sniff, lick and bite. This will be the indication that they have accepted your offer. If they show signs otherwise, the massage session should be terminated.

Tensed Dog Muscles? Tip 2: General Techniques for Dog Massage

Technique 1: Light/Heavy Stroking

Stroking is probably the most common method of massage. It can either be light or heavy depending on the dog’s needs. Stroking should be performed with long and continuous movements. Small or short movements should be avoided.

How To: Stroke the selected areas gently with low pressure using the entire hand or hands. After a while of gentle stroking, increase the pressure while stroking towards their heart and release the pressure while stroking away from it.

Technique 2: Friction

How To: Select any bony spot of the dogs’ body like the shoulders, pelvic bones, or kneecaps first. With the help of one or two fingers, massage the spot gently in a circular motion. Creating circles with fingers on one spot for a while is advisable before moving on to a new spot.

Technique 3: Tapping

How To: Select a tight or muscular body area first and then tap on the selected area gently. The tapping action can be performed with the sides of hand(s), cupped hand(s) or fingertips.

Technique 4: Kneading/Twisting

Kneading helps to relieve muscle tension and reduce adhesion if performed properly. If not, it can hurt the dog and make him uninterested.

How To: Select the area first. Using the palms gently pull away from an area of dog’s muscle from his/her bones. Gently rub this area between the palms for a while and release.

Advanced Dog Massage! Tip 3: Special Techniques to Follow 

Technique 1: For Stress Relief

The right way to massage a stressed out dog is by slow and calm strokes. Starting at the neck followed by long downward strokes should be given. Finding the tensed spot and massaging that spot with soft strokes will calm his/her muscles down effectively.

Technique 2: For Injury Rehabilitation

Consulting the vet is important before starting canine massage for injury rehabilitation. Gentle and soothing strokes should be applied over limbs and other stiff areas. Massaging increases blood circulation and helps in faster healing.

Technique 3: To Relieve Arthritis Pain

To relieve any kind of pain, start massaging with soft and gentle strokes followed by compressive movements. These compressive movements should not be hard on the sore areas and the massage should be completed with gentle strokes again.

Tip 4: Grooming

Normally, dogs move a lot while grooming. So, it is advisable to sometimes introduce grooming during massage sessions since they are already relaxed. Brushing the dog’s fur, trimming nails and trimming long hair are the various ways to groom the dog.

Tip 5: Check for diseases

During a massage session, the dog is relaxed. He/she trusts you completely and this would be the perfect time to examine their bodies thoroughly for any diseases. Check for lumps or bruised areas by gently moving the hands over their body. Check for any insects or parasites.

Tip 6: When to Avoid Canine Massage

There have been some cases in which massage therapy has caused sprained or fractured limbs. Other discomforts like fever, infectious diseases, and organ dysfunctions are also known. A massage therapy may not always be beneficial to every dog. Dog-owners are advised to consult the vet before starting any rehabilitation sessions.

Tip 7: Safety Precautions

Dogs may love massages but not all the time. Dog-owners should follow some safety measures before indulging in a canine massage.

  1. Contacting the vet to get proper information about the type of massage that would be perfect if he/she is facing serious stress-related issues.
  2. While massaging, if he/she shows clear signs of dislike, then the dog-owner should stop immediately rather than trying to force any further massage.
  3. Some places are off limits. The pet’s belly is extremely sensitive and they may not prefer a massage there. Also, avoid pulling their fur, whiskers, tail or ears.
  4. Use of oils or creams should be limited or avoided. Since some are scented, they can cause skin allergies and irritation.
  5. Deep tissue massage should not be done at home. It should be done by the professionals only.

How To Give A Dog Massage—It’s the Best Way I Relax My Dog

In conclusion, canine massage can be helpful for dogs in various ways. Instead of wasting money for professional help, read this article and gather enough information about canine therapy so that it can be performed with ease. Nevertheless, reaching out to the vet is always a good option.

Canine massage should definitely be introduced as a healthy ritual by dog-owners to their pets. A massage session can last up to 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind the safety precautions to avoid any problematic situations for the dog and yourself.

Author Bio: Willie Mays is a housewife, good mother, pet lover and a blogger. Auxier is her dog and Mimo is the name of her cat. She loves them very much. She has an aim to help other pet owners by sharing her experiences with her pets and that’s why she wrote about apoquel alternatives in her blog.

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase CertaPet.com may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, CertaPet content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation. For more on our terms of use, visit this page

  • Melissa says:

    Good blog on dog massage! They can certainly benefit from it just as much ! What dog doesn’t like to be rubbed on ?! 💖

  • Dino Violante says:

    I do like it when you pointed out that giving the pets a massage is good because not only does it relax the nerves, it also helps in calming them down when they are anxious. My little Richie has been showing signs of anxiety since my brother left to study at the next town, and I want to help him calm down. Perhaps, I can take him to the spa or something similar and give him a massage to help him eliminate his anxiety.

  • >