Have you ever considered giving a dog massage to your sweet fur-friend who is showing signs of being tired or in pain?  Let’s learn how to massage a dog and give them the therapy they need, including finding all of the necessary pressure points.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about dog massage therapy. You’ll learn how to give your dog a healing massage at home and how a massage will help your furry friend.

black dog getting massage

Dog Massage Guide

Have you heard about the benefits of massage for dogs? It’s more than just something that will help your dog relax, although that is one amazing benefit.

This guide will tell you all about it. I’ll share why massage is so good for your dog, how to do it, and the best products you need to help your furry friend enjoy the massage.

How To Massage A Dog

Giving a puppy a massage is a bit more involved than just petting them. When you massage them, you are helping their muscles relax.

Let’s go step by step through how to give a dog a peaceful, recovery massage. Then, in the end, I’ll share the surprising benefits of canine massage and the products you need that will help your furry friend the most.

Step 1: Make Sure They Are Relaxed

First, before you even start the massage, make sure your dog is calm. Take them for a long walk first or let them get their energy out playing. If they need exercise, they won’t be able to sit still for the massage.

Step 2: Pet Your Dog All Over

After they are relaxed, begin to pet them like you normally would. Pet them all over. Get them behind the ears, under their chin, on their back. Just give them an all-over petting. This will prepare them for the massage.

At this point, most dogs will begin to relax even more. It will help if you talk calmly to your dog while you do this.

Step 3: Start At the Neck

Now you are ready to begin the dog massage. You will start on their neck. Rub your dog’s neck in large, circular motions. Don’t press too hard, but also don’t do it too lightly. You want the massage to loosen up their tight muscles, but not hurt them.

Step 4: Move Down to the Shoulders

Don’t stop massaging. Next, you will move on down to the shoulders. This is an area that your dog can’t reach, so spend a little extra time on it. Go slow and rub it gently. Keep the motions in large circular patterns.

Step 5: Massage Chest and Front Legs

Then, massage the front of your dog, rubbing their chest and front legs. Pay close attention to your dog’s reactions. If they don’t like their legs being rubbed, move to a different part of their body.

Some dogs like having their paws massaged, and others don’t. You can attempt and see how they react. Just be very careful with the pads of their feet. Dogs have an automatic “kick” reflex to anything that goes in between their toes.

Step 6: Massage the Back

Following their chest, move your massage to their back. Rub up and down, along the length of their spine. Again, be careful that you aren’t pressing too hard.

Step 7: Finish with Back Legs and Tail Area

Finally, finish up the dog massage by rubbing your dog’s back legs and tail area. You can massage the bottom of their spine near the tail and the hind legs. This will probably be the quickest area for you to complete.

When you are done, praise your dog. Let them know how proud you are of them for sitting still for so long!

Dog Pressure Points

Have you ever gone in for acupuncture? It’s believed that humans have pressure points. Once activated, they can affect different parts of our mind and body.

The same can be said for dogs. Dogs have a huge list of pressure points. As you give them the massage, pay close attention to their pressure points, especially if you are trying to address a specific issue.

For example, if your dog has been anxious, you might want to massage the pressure point that calms their mind – right behind their ears.

Here are the most common dog issues and where the pressure points are for them.

  • Coughing – the front of the chest
  • Stomach issues – Right above the ankle
  • Back Pain – On their back next to the 5th lumbar vertebra
  • Stiff neck or arthritis – Between the dog’s wrist and elbow
  • Hip Pain – In the depression behind the hip joint

Benefits of Dog Massage

There are so many emotional and physical benefits of giving your dog a massage. Sure, you’ll enjoy this special bonding time, and so will they, but there are even more benefits than that!

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

You know how relaxed you feel after a massage? It’s the same for your dog. Receiving a massage will help your dog reduce stress and anxiety and feel more relaxed. It helps them clear their head.

If you’ve noticed your dog feeling more worried than normal, try to give them a massage and see if that helps with their cortisol levels and relaxes them.

Helps Their Body Heal

The first benefit is directly related to their body. If they are fighting sickness, massage will increase blood circulation to the area being massaged. This increased oxygenation will help your pup’s body to heal itself.

Plus, when your furry friend is relaxed, their body will be able to focus on self-healing instead of what’s going on around them.

If your dog is healing from surgery or illness, ask your vet if there are specific massage techniques that will help them heal faster.

Improves How Your Dog’s Body Functions

Massage isn’t just for the injured area of the dog. For example, if they broke their leg, they might be overcompensating with the rest of their legs. An all-over massage will help the rest of their body feel less sore and heal faster.

It also encourages an overall sense of well-being. Just like when you and I receive a massage we just feel more centered, the same is true for your dog!

Strengthens Your Bond

Finally, you just can’t replace how much closer you will feel to your dog afterward. As you spend this quality time with your dog, they will feel closer to you. It will increase how much they trust you.

getting massage

Products to Use For a Dog Massage

When you give your sweet little friend a massage, you want to use only products that are created specifically for a dog’s skin. Anything else could give them a bad reaction.

Our Paw-Zac anxiety spray is perfect to use during dog massage time. Just spritz a little bit on your dog before you start. We used 100% therapeutic grade essential oils in this spray. It naturally encourages your dog to feel less anxious and more relaxed.