Human massage and canine massage is very similar. Our muscles do pretty much the same movements and we both suffer from
a lot of the same ailments and illness. Dogs receive the same benefits from massage as humans do.
Massage benefits all types of dogs from young dogs with growing pains to old dogs with arthritis. Dogs that are pets love to "romp around" and chase squirrels to dogs that have had surgery, or are in rehab. Athletic dogs that perform Agility, Obedience, Flyball, Dock Diving, Tracking and other sports that just need regular maintenance to keep in shape in order to perform.
Massage can assist in early detection of health concerns and is valuable for dogs. The only way dogs can communicate pain is through resistance, behavioral changes and training objections. Some common muscular problems/symptoms can be:
  • Attitude changes / problems. Short attention span.
  • Refusing to eat. Problems with digestive system and relieving themselves.
  • May not perform their tasks / job consistently.
  • Uneven gait (the manner of walking or running).
  • Dragging a toe or hind legs clipping front legs.
  • Neck / hip stiffness.
  • Difficult walking straight or sitting straight.
  • Cannot stand up or lay down easily.
  • Enhances muscle tone and increases range of motion and flexibility.
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling in the joints, thereby alleviating pain. Increases synovial fluid in joints.
  • Eases pain caused by arthritis, hip dysplasia, joint aches, muscle cramps or stiffness, and skin problems.
  • Certain strokes stimulate oil glands and promote hair growth for some dogs that are having skin problems.
  • Stimulates circulation by "defrosting frozen muscles", thereby releasing endorphins, a natural pain killer.
  • Improved circulation and lymphatic system which aids in removing toxins from the body, increases oxygen and nutrients to the system and aids the digestive system which helps with lose of appetites.
  • Helps fast-growing, larger breed puppies avoid growing pains and future problems as an older dog.
  • Aids in behavior and temperament problems. Also assists in calming, especially with thunderstorms.
  • Assists in releasing physical an emotional stress that the dog might be under.
  • Increases trust and bond and reduces aggressiveness.
  • Strengthens the immune system which helps dogs with illnesses.
  • Assists in helping the body to heal quicker after surgery, injuries or diseases.
  • For the competitive/show dogs, massage is used as a PRE-EVENT and POST-EVENT warm up, an aerobic workout which increases circulation without burning oxygen.
Tracey takes all the many massage techniques for human massage that she has learned over the years (Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, Muscle Release Technique, Cranial-Sacral Massage, Myofascial Release, Acupressure, Reflexology, Sports Massage and Pregnancy, Infant and Child Massage, Compression, Cross-fiber Friction) and has applied them to dog/horse massage, along with TTouch.
Tracey has gained much experience with working closely with vets, rehabilitee personnel, chiropractors and the dogs' owner when helping to assist a dog back to a healthier state.
One of Tracey's main goals is to help educate the public about how important it is to take care of your dog, being a pet or a competitive athlete. She shows you some ways to massage, stretch and warm your dog's muscles up according to their needs.
Tracey also gives classes in basic massage and basic exercises, strength training for your dogs.
  • What can I expect from massage therapy for my dog or horse? This depends upon whether your animal has a problem, what the problem is, how frequently massage is used and some additional factors. Further information is needed that will help to answer this question.
  • How long does a massage session usually take? For dogs, normally 30 minutes. For horses, normally 45-60 minutes.
  • How often does my dog/horse need massage? This will depend upon many factors including what job the animal does, the age, whether or not you are using massage to rehab an injury or if you are using massage to manage chronic pain. Generally it takes 3-5 sessions to produce noticeable results, especially when working with specific issues such as pulled psoas muscle, arthritis and other issues.
  • Why is massage important to my dog/horse? Your animal's muscles system is just as prone to overstress/ overuse as your own. Just as massage has been proven beneficial to humans, so too it will benefit other animals. Massage is an important part of an animal's well-being, just like proper vet/farrier care.
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TNW Therapeutic Massage, 7795 Douglas AVE., Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009 contact (269) 377-5046