Pampering the Pooches and Pussies- why pet massage is awesome.
Tired and aching humans have used massage to relax and heal bodies since ancient times. Now we have evolved veterinary medicine to include massage therapy, and our four-legged friends are panting at the prospect!
Tuesday 28th November 2017
Massage feels and looks like pampering, but we humans know all too well the benefits of a good massage. So, do the same benefits apply to your pet? Why of course they do!
Pet massage as practiced by a qualified veterinary professional is grounded in real science - anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and psychology. Skilled massage and manipulation of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues of the body can have a significant positive effect on your pet.
Benefits of massage to your pets
The obvious benefits of massage are probably familiar to most of us: reliving muscle tension and increased circulation. But what other benefits are seen in dogs and cats? Massaging promotes the circulation of body fluids- not only blood but also joint fluid and lymph which provides increased oxygen and nutrients to the cells and promotes toxin removal. This results in less pain and stiffness and improved flexibility and joint range of motion in your pet. Massage enhances the function of the immune system and accelerates tissue healing. Massage therapy also stimulates release of endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killers and relaxants. They help to manage pain and discomfort.
In addition to the physical benefits, massage provides enormous benefits for a pet's psychological well-being. Many studies suggest that massage reduces the production of stress hormones. The result is decreased anxiety in the pet. In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, massage therapy also influences Chi, known as the life force. It acts upon all systems of the animal’s body to restore balance.
Unlike rubdowns for humans, cat and dog massage requires no undressing or messy oils. All that’s needed is a knowledgeable, qualified vet therapist. And a pet massage table?? Errrr, no. Just a comfortable pet bed on the floor!
Who deserves a massage?
The restoring and rehabilitating effects of massage therapy make it ideal for senior pets or those recovering injury or surgery. Pets recovering from an injury heal faster when receiving massage to increase their blood circulation. As our pets age, they can develop arthritis, stiff or overused muscles – all of which can be improved with massage therapy. Energetic pets who enjoy high intensity activity will benefit from the calming of their muscles and soft tissues into a more relaxed state, ready for the next high energy session.
Massage also has a positive influence on the social and emotional health of your pet. Dogs thrive on close contact with each other and their humans. Massage can help improve a dog’s feelings of trust and self-confidence. These benefits to the pet’s emotional well-being are important to any dogs, but of even more significance to any Hong Kong adopted pets which often have already suffered abuse, neglect or emotional trauma.
Hmmmm OK- but cats, are you sure?
Yup- cat’s also respond to touch- not in all the areas, but cats will also respond to massage to the main body muscles. See our Blog here. Used alongside veterinary care, massage provides invaluable benefits for your furry family members.
How can massage benefit my dog or cat?
Reduces pain and/or discomfort from stiffness, inflammation & muscle spasm
Improves muscle tone, joint flexibility & range of motion
Reduces anxiety and stress, boosting relaxation
Promotes blood and lymph circulation
Enhances immune system function
Accelerates healing after surgery or injury
Eases the effects of aging and slows the degenerative processes
Is your cat less active now simply because of old age, or could they be suffering from osteoarthritis? The early identification of the degenerative joint condition, osteoarthritis (OA) in cats isn’t always straight forward but it is very important that cat owners spot this disease early to minimise its debilitating effects and provide the best quality of life.