What is Canine Sports Massage Therapy?
Massage is not just for humans - with many animals also being able to also benefit from massage therapy, including dogs. Canine Sports Massage therapy is a 'hands-on' therapy which involves the therapist gently manipulating the soft tissues of the dogs body. Often, some simple stretches are also part of the massage.
How Can My Dog Benefit From Massage?
Massage has a direct effect on the skin, muscles and joints and is helpful not only as part of a rehabilitation programme to treat injuries and relieve pain and tension, but can also be used preventatively - e.g. as part of warming up before exercise and cooling down after exercise. Canine massage therapists will also often see dogs with any of the following:
- Difficulty jumping or getting up and down
- Back problem
- Loss of performance (particularly relevant to agility or working dogs)
- Reluctance to play
All types of dogs can benefit - from working and agility dogs to the leisure dog, young to old, with many dogs finding massage relaxing as well as therapeutic.
When Might Massage Not Be Suitable?
As with all complementary therapies for animals, canine massage should only be performed with the consent of your veterinary surgeon, who will advise if it won't be suitable for your dog. Occasionally there maybe some ailments or injuries where it should only be used in certain circumstances or not at all. However, a professionally trained therapist will always work in conjunction with your vet anyway, in order to ensure that your dog achieves maximum results from the treatment.
To get the most out of massage, your dog may need regular sessions - one session may not be enough!
How Much Will A Canine Massage Therapy Treatment Cost?
Typically a massage for your dog will cost between £25-£40 - this will vary according to whether the therapist travels to you (and how far), together with how many dogs are treated and where you are located in the UK.
Many pet insurance companies will now pay for complementary therapies (including massage), where it is recommended by your veterinary surgeon. So this is an option worth checking out.
What If I Want To Massage My Dog Myself?
Yes of course you can! But help yourself and your dog(s) by taking time to understand massage properly, there is more to massage than just stroking your dog!
You can complete one of the many short courses available, which allow you as a dog owner to learn some massage techniques to help your dog. Usually these courses cover an introduction to some basic areas such as: anatomy, muscles (structure/movement), canine movement, massage theory, massage techniques - plus practical exercises.
Completing a short introductory level course will not mean though that you're suitably qualified to work with dogs not owned by yourself. To become a canine massage therapist qualified to work with other people's dogs, will require more in-depth training and obtaining a professional qualification.
The Institute of Complementary Animal Therapies (ICAT), is an example of one-such organisation offering training in canine massage techniques (from certificate to diploma level).
Would you like advice on canine massage training opportunities? Visit the advice page at the Training Knowledge Hub here
Would you like information on Canine Massage Therapists for your dog? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'll be pleased to try and assist, wherever you are in the world!