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SENIOR DOGS AND MASSAGE

Most animal owners do not realise how senior dogs are subject to chronic pain. Even more, most pet owners do not see “chronic pain” as pain. Chronic pain causes the dog to slow down. So when you notice your animal is “slowing down” in his regular activities, it may mean that he is in pain. Like humans, dogs are very good at hiding their pain. Their very survival skills make them very tough so you need to watch for early signs of pain. Some ‘give away’ signs may include the following:

  • Not as active as they use to be.
  • Less interactive with other dogs or humans in the home.
  • Eat less and start to lose weight.
  • Less apt to go up and down stairs as well as in and out of vehicles

A daily light massage will assist the blood and lymph circulation to bring more oxygen and nutrients to the various body parts. Regular massage will loosen the skin and prevent calluses or pressure sores to develop as your dog lays in the same position or on hard surface. Also, your daily palpation of all the muscle groups will allow you to pick up on lumps and bumps formation much earlier than by sight and allowing you to take action much faster.

Also, some gentle stretching exercises will help your dog’s joints stay flexible. Regular application of light stretching exercises will help you with early detection of stiffness in your dog, or when your dog is losing flexibility.

With regular massage you will maintain good blood and lymph circulation. This in turn will help maintain a good coat, avoiding the development of dry and flaky skin and the occasional dander on the surface of the coat.

Keep in mind that arthritis is the number one ailment in older dogs. In some breeds, it is genetically inherited. For others, it is simply a matter of wear and tear. Also, obesity will increase the risk of arthritis in most dogs. Arthritis often creates a vicious circle of pain that triggers muscle tension which in turn creates more tension in joint resulting in more pain, and here goes the vicious circle. You can ask your vet to prescribe some natural supplements such as glucosamine-chondroitin. This supplement is found in many products, the most popular being Cosequin.

Your daily home health care will play a crucial role in making your aging dog life much more enjoyable with less pain and more ease of movements. Take the time to see how easy it is to learn some basic massage moves and some simple massage routines as well as some easily performed stretching exercises. This basic home health care will prolong your dog’s quality of life, making his last few years a more enjoyable experience.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful.  My goal is help you provide quality home care for the benefit of your animal. 

Please visit our FREE library. Our many articles address important aspects of animal wellness and fitness. Take the time to scroll through our free library to find out how you can actively contribute to your dog’s wellness.

Animal Awareness also offers a large video library with over a 100 mini-videos that will show you how to easily perform the various massage and stretching techniques talked about in this article. These videos offer you the correct start and visual guidance. With this knowledge, you will be able to develop a good home care program for the benefit of your animal friend.  He will love you for it.

Enjoy your new Awareness!

Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, LMT

The “Relaxation Massage Routine” (CV004), the “Full Body Massage Routine” (CV006), the “Stretching Exercises” (CV007), the “Recuperation Massage Routine (CV017) and / or the “Trouble Spot Massage Routine (CV018) are strongly recommended to assist the aging animal in his daily routine. The use of various “Hydrotherapy Modalities” (CV008) will also maximize the benefit of your home care program.

If you are just starting with your home care program, consider our “Introduction to Animal Massage” package,a 20% discount value on the first 7 DVDs, to secure a sound foundation in your animal massage skills. Then take advantage of our other packages to increase your knowledge of home-care protocols for the benefit of your dog(s).