How To Help Dogs and Train In……Canine Massage

Dog on back

Do you want to work with dogs by helping their health with massage, but unsure where to start? This page has been compiled to answer some of the most common questions to help you achieve your goal of being a canine massage therapist (in the UK). If you've any further queries please email and I'll try to help, or please contact the organisations mentioned. Find out more about canine massage therapy with our Holistic Animal Care Knowledge Hub page.

Are qualifications needed?

Strictly speaking no. However, there are professional training courses in Canine Massage that can be taken which lead to recognised qualifications.

Remember - It is an offence for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the vet in charge of the case or to whom the animal would be referred is sought and obtained. A Veterinary Surgeon is extremely unlikely to refer any customers to you unless you are fully professionally qualified and insured.

What qualifications can I get & how do I get them?

There are several canine massage courses that you can choose to complete. Here's a selection of some popular courses.

1. Institute of Complementary Animal Therapies - Canine Sports Therapy

This training centre based in Devon, England offers training in animal therapy including to become a Canine Sports Therapy Practitioner. This Level 4 course is accredited through OCN London who are an approved Awarding Organization with Ofqual. It is both internally and externally verified ensuring student peace of mind. It is also endorsed by The Association of Complementary Animal Therapists (ACAT).

This course is the ONLY Level 4 Canine Sports Therapy Practitioner programme available in the UK.

The Purpose of this professional practitioner programme is to produce safe, effective and competent canine sports therapists in line with current professional standards..

Entry Requirements:

  • Be over 18 years of age.
  • Provide two references; one from a professional e.g. veterinarian or instructor, the other should be a general character reference.
  • Provide an up to date C.V.
  • Students under 21 years should have achieved 4 GCSE's at grades A - C., including English Language. (Or provide proof of an equivalent educational standard)
  • Provide proof of a minimum of 3 years' experience of owning and/or working with or competing your own dog, references will be required.
  • If you don't meet these requirements, please telephone the ICAT to discuss whether you have other skills suitable for entry onto the course.

Why choose these courses?

Those who've successfully completed the ICAT's Canine Sports Therapy Practitioner course can apply to join the Association of Complementary Animal Therapies.
Find more information at the ICAT's website

2. Galen Therapy Centre - Canine Myotherapy Diploma

The Galen Therapy Centre offer a range of courses, including for those who want to work with dogs on a professional basis. There are several variations of their flagship Canine Myotherapy Diploma course including for people with no previous knowledge of working in animal welfare, to students with a background in canine physiology and to professional Veterinary Surgeons.

Find more information on the entry requirements by visiting The Galen Therapy Centre's website at:

3. Canine Massage Therapy Centre - Clinical Canine Massage Practitioner Programme

The Clinical Canine Massage Practitioner Programme is an unique and innovative course which trains the student in Integrated Massage for dogs, and is taught by Natalie Lenton, Director of the Canine Massage Therapy Centre and Externally Accredited by LANTRA. The scientific nature of the course integrates Advanced Live Canine Anatomy, 11 Core Home Study Modules on Anatomy & Physiology, Specific Palpation Routines and over 50 Techniques.

Upon a successful pass the new therapist is eligible to join the Canine Massage Guild; a UK and European Wide Network of Professional, Insured Canine Massage Therapists who have all completed the 2 Year Practitioner Programme or Diploma Equivalent.

Get more information at the Canine Massage Therapy Centre's website at

4. Canine Massage Therapy for Health and Performance Level 5 qualification

Approved by UK Rural Skills, this course is flexible and suitable for any dog lover serious about becoming a therapist to help dogs through massage. Find out more at the Academy of Integrative Animal Therapies website

5. Merishia Massage for Dogs

Rose Applied Therapies based the UK offers training in this massage technique for dogs (and horses). Get more information at

6. Animal Courses Direct

In 2021, Animal Courses Direct became the first learning provider to launch the latest Ofqual Regulated Qualification in Canine Massage from the Awarding Organization, Open College Network. The new Level 3 Diploma in Canine Massage Ofqual regulated qualification has been designed with a route into professional canine massage working as part of a multidisciplinary team to provide therapeutic massage for a range of canine conditions.

The course includes 13 units, covering topics such as canine anatomy and behaviour, massage techniques, conditional massage, business management and customer care. Students will also be able to complete a practical placement in the UK (Midlands and South of England). The practical element will allow students to learn about patient assessments, massage treatment, canine sports massage, and handling canines in a massage setting. Once qualified, students can apply for roles within the canine therapy industry or can set up a canine massage therapy business. This course is now open for student enrolment. Visit the website at or call the direct line for more information 01202 006 040.

7. The College of Animal Physiotherapy

This education centre offers a Canine Sports Massage Therapy course, find more information at

8. Other Canine Massage Training Courses and How To Choose Which Course

There are also other professional courses available in Canine Massage therapies around the world. In selecting your course, it's important to check if it's accredited (and by whom), with there being many professionals working within the canine industry, completing a thorough course, and being able to be a member of a professional association is important to help to give your service the best chance of success! Check out the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) or Animal Health Professions' Register (AHPR) websites to see if the course you're interested in is likely to gain you successful membership of either of these.

If you'd like help locating a canine massage training course wherever you are in the world, please email me at info @ taranet

What difference do qualifications make to a customer?

Successful completion of a recognised Canine Massage Therapy course, means that you are suitably qualified to practise. In addition you are only likely to obtain insurance cover if you are a qualified therapist - which your potential customers are likely to find a very important issue when choosing between therapists.

Also, Veterinary Surgeons will only refer customers to you if you are fully qualified. Remember - It is an offence for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the vet in charge of the case or to whom the animal would be referred is sought and obtained.
A fully qualified Canine Massage Therapist will always work within the permission of and liaise with the Veterinary Surgeon of the animal.

Contact Links:

Academy of Integrative Animal Therapies
Animal Courses Direct
Animal Health Professions' Register
Association of Complementary Animal Therapies - email
Canine Massage Therapy Centre - telephone: 0844 809 4495
Canis Bodyworks
Galen Canine Myotherapy
ICAT - email
International Association of Animal Massage Therapists - email
Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners
Rose Applied Therapies
The College of Animal Physiotherapy
You can find more links to canine and equine courses on this page

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