As the owner of an anxiety ridden dog, I’ve often wondered if massage could benefit Shelby in any way. So when the opportunity to review a web-based video series called Dog Massage Secrets came along I was excited to not only watch the series but to try the techniques at home.
The Benefit and Techniques of Dog Massage
Dog Massage Secrets is a 7 part video series detailing the benefits and techniques of dog massage that you can try in the comfort of your own home.
Hosted by Zoe Gan, Certified Dog Massage Therapist through PetMassage® Training and Research Institute, the video series clocks in at under an hour. While the first two parts of the series is an overview and a brief look at the benefits of dog massage, part 3 is about setting the ambiance and the remaining 4 parts take you through basic dog physiology as it pertains to the massage, hand techniques, massage and finally when NOT to massage your pet.
- The video series starts with an overview of what you will learn in the subsequent parts of the series as well as a brief look at the benefits that massage can offer your animal. From increasing the blood circulation to increasing joint mobility, massage offers your pet the same benefits it would you. It’s been used for centuries as a natural form of pain management for all sorts of aches and pains as well as promoting the bond between pet and owner.
- Zoe then goes over the sort of ambiance that is important for dog massage. Nothing is shocking here, dim lights, no distractions – the same atmosphere you would want to receive a massage in is the same that is beneficial to your dog.
- Part 4 of the video series is where the real meat of the videos begins to unwrap. Ms. Gan gives a brief but important overview of your dog’s physiology. I must admit that when she started I thought I knew what she was about to say, but I did learn more about a dogs hips and joints than I thought I would. And this lesson is important when you begin to massage your pet. Knowing what muscles naturally flow into one another makes it easier to create a long, relaxing stroke.
- After a brief look at hand massage techniques, the heart of the series is chapter 6. Clocking in at almost 15 minutes, Ms. Gan takes her time to demonstrate on a very well behaved Golden Retriever how to properly begin and end a massage. From the long gentle strokes of effleurage to stretching, flexing and extending your animal’s limbs, Zoe shows you how important it is to properly work your animal’s muscles. Toward the end of the middle she even throws special caution when approaching the under side of your dog’s hip. There is a main artery running from the dog’s heart to the hip area and if you use too much pressure, you will cut off circulation to your dog’s lower region entirely.
- The last section is full of tips of when NOT to massage your dog. If your dog is sick, has just eaten a meal or drank a large amount of water, then massage shouldn’t be conducted. If you are trying to conduct a massage and your dog is fidgeting, has too much energy or getting up in the middle of your session, then forcing your dog to submit will only be traumatic. Finally, if your dog is growling, nipping or showing teeth, then that is a clear sign that your dog is uncomfortable with having a massage at that time.
There is also a bonus section on Hip Dysplasia. As the mom to a breed that is known for Hip Dysplasia, I was particularly interested in this section. Ms. Gan explained this common ailment in layman’s terms that even my dog’s could understand using a ball and socket terminology that made the light go on for me. She also explained two types of Dysplasia: One where the socket is too shallow and the other when the ball is too jagged. I had no idea there was more than one type. Using a beautiful German Shepherd she demonstrated how to check your dog for each type of Dysplasia.
After watching the video taking notes, I was unable to get Shelby to relax enough to give her a massage. My larger dog, Kenzie however, was more than willing and loved the one on one time. The techniques were easy to follow and perform. The instruction was thorough and clear. I personally loved spending 20 minutes rubbing Kenzie down and she absolutely loved being touched so therapeutically.
My only wish is that Ms. Gan would have had a special section on anxious dogs and how to work with them, however that is a more selfish wish than one born out of flaw in the series. The series will absolutely teach you proper massage techniques and get you rubbing away within an hour!