Holistic Veterinarian Techniques: Canine Massage vs. Human Massage

Differences between Human and Canine Massage

For those of you who have had the pleasure of a therapeutic massage administered by a professional, you know that it can be a life changing experience. Pain can vanish, the body seems realigned and your mood is definitely relaxed.

So the question is, “what are some of the differences between the human and the canine massage?”

With a canine, the professional massage practitioner must stay absolutely present, or else the dog will get up and walk away. A dog will not tolerate deep pressure that induces “exquisite pain,” as we term it in the human world.

Dogs live in the moment and do not have the capacity to project into the future that relief may come after enduring discomfort. If it hurts now, it may hurt forever unless the dog does something to make it stop. So, moving away, yipping, snapping and biting are natural responses. Many of these responses are mitigated because the dog owner is present throughout the massage session.

Dogs use a wider, and different, range of senses than the five that we do. They are hardwired to notice sounds, movement and subtle nuances of smells. They are keenly aware of everything that is going on in the room and on the other side of the walls in the next room.

Massage increases and balances the circulation of all the fluids in the body. This includes blood, lymph, cerebral spinal fluid, interstitial fluids, cellular fluid, saliva, urine, synovial fluid, the fluid in the eyeballs and even the oily wetness on your dog’s nose–that’s a lot of fluids. Why? Dogs do not perspire through their skin (largest organ of the body). They have a different system of temperature control than we humans. The closest they come to perspiration is absorbing off heat through the evaporation of their saliva and release of moisture from between the pads of their paws.

Massage may be an essential part of your dog’s health regimen. Please remember to speak with your Veterinarian about the benefits of using massage as therapy.

Dr. Sarah Kalivoda

Mountain View Animal Hospital & Holistic Pet Care

Reno, Nevada


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