Many dogs and cats enjoy a gentle massage, and giving your pet a massage can strengthen the pet-owner bond. Most pet parents find that giving their pet a massage is as relaxing for themselves as it is for their pet. Additionally, by giving your pet a regular hands-on massage, you are more likely to notice any lumps, bumps or changes in your pet early on.
While there are trained pet massage therapists, a massage given at home by the pet owner should be light and gentle, not a professional deep massage. Start by placing your pet in a comfortable, quiet place where your pet will feel safe and able to relax. Gently and slowly stroke in the directly of your pet’s hair growth from head to tail, lightly working the muscles on either side of the spine. Lightly massage your pet’s head and face, then move to the neck, shoulders and chest. Next, work up and down each of your pet’s legs. Some pets enjoy a gentle paw massage, so you can gently squeeze and massage the paws and toes if your pet enjoys this. Try gently massaging and rubbing the inside and outside of your pet’s ears.
Your pet should feel relaxed and calm during and after the massage. If your pet seems uncomfortable or does not enjoy the massage, don’t force your pet to continue. Avoid areas your pet does not like to be touched, such as the stomach, and do not massage your pet right after they have eaten or exercised.
Aim for two or three massage sessions with your pet every week. Your pet will soon look forward to the relaxing time spent with you.