Massage has numerous health benefits for humans: it can reduce pain, lower blood pressure, and alleviate stress. But can massage also benefit our furry friends?
The answer is not entirely clear, as there have been limited academic studies on massage for pets. However, veterinarians who are experts in the field believe that properly performed massage can be very beneficial, especially for cats and dogs.
What are the benefits of massage for cats and dogs?
Cats and dogs have similar circulatory and nervous systems as humans, which is why massage is believed to be just as beneficial for them.
Massage can improve the mobility and flexibility of cats and dogs, aid digestion, prevent skin wounds, develop muscles, and increase lymphatic circulation. Moreover, it can help reduce stress and anxiety in pets, calm their nervous system, and boost their immune system. One crucial benefit of massage is that it allows you to detect some health issues that might be concealed under your pet’s coat, which makes it possible to monitor the health status of your cat or dog more closely.
What to Consider before Massaging Your Cat or Dog
You can either hire a professional to massage your pet, or you can do it yourself. In either case, it’s essential to wait for your pet to calm down and settle. Avoid massaging them immediately after a play session.
The duration of the massage should depend on your pet’s needs, which can vary from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Your pet will communicate with you when it’s time to stop.
You should prepare the massage environment beforehand. The place of the massage should be a quiet corner in your home, which could be a yoga mat or a towel. You can help your pet relax by playing soothing music. You should let your pet decide the most comfortable position.
If you’re not an expert in massage, avoid complex techniques such as shiatsu. Instead, focus on the basics, and make sure your pet is comfortable. Assess your pet’s condition before starting the massage. Avoid massaging your pet if they have a fever, pain, or yeast infection, as this could cause further harm.
Step-by-Step Guide to Massaging Your Pet
If everything is in order, you can start massaging your pet using both hands.
Begin by massaging their ears. Ear massage can induce relaxation, reduce stress, ease digestion, and alleviate fatigue.
Next, move on to the head massage. Pets love head massage, so pay attention to the area around their eyes. Massaging around the eyes can provide relief to the bladder, gallbladder, and stomach.
Then, proceed to the back area. If your cat or dog suffers from frequent vomiting or has a sensitive stomach, a back massage can be helpful.
Next, work on the paws. Rubbing your pet’s paws in the palm of your hand can relax their whole body.
Conclude the massage by touching the front legs. Massaging your pet’s front legs with gentle movements helps your pet feel good and supports their ability to fight infection and allergies.
While you’re massaging your pet, be attentive to their signals. Massage is a holistic therapy that creates a physical and psychological bond between you and your pet. While massaging, expect that your pet’s hair and dead skin may fall out. After finishing the massage, don’t forget to sweep the area to remove dust and hair.
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