Frequently asked questions
Why should my dog get a massage?
Massage has a multitude of health benefits for your canine companion. In the same way that professional massage works for humans, canine massage works for dogs. The aim is to help the body to heal itself by supporting it to return to a state of homeostasis, or balance.
Massage encourages cardiovascular circulation which ensures all the tissues are well nourished. It also works the lymphatic system, removing cellular metabolic waste products and supporting proper immune functions. Muscles and joints maintain flexibility with regular therapeutic manipulation. A healthy muscular-skeletal system allows full range of motion and reduces the risk of injury. Along with this, it can relieve pain and support the body to manage some chronic conditions.
Being in a relaxed state has psychological and neurological benefits as well. Massage therapy reduces the levels of stress neurochemicals in the body. In addition to this, it promotes the release of hormones responsible for mental and emotional wellbeing. A calm pet is a happy pet. And beside every happy pet is a happy pet parent.
What can I expect at the first visit?
Before the first session we ask that you complete an intake form. This information is a starting point for developing a more specific care plan. We go through this form together at the start of the session to ensure that we deliver a program that focuses on the needs of your pet.
The initial assessment session usually takes between 60 to 90 minutes. We begin by discussing your pet's medical and behavioural history. Following this, we undertake a gait analysis where they walk and trot beside you. The information we gather provides a picture of their current health status and can help to pinpoint areas for treatment.
Most dogs require a short while to familiarise themselves with a stranger in their home. We give them the space they need and use this time to observe their natural behaviour. This helps them to feel safe and in control of the situation. We then engage in trust-building exercises, so they learn to be comfortable with touch.
Therapeutic massage is a very different kind of intentional touch. It is often an unfamiliar experience, so we use a variety of techniques to help them feel relaxed. We never force a dog into a massage, and the timing of the session is always dictated by your pet. Only when they communicate that they are ready, do we engage in the initial massage.
There are some occasions where a dog will take more time to settle. Some dogs will lay down and accept the massage immediately, others may take 1 or 2 sessions of trust-building beforehand. Don't be disheartened if your dog only tolerates short periods being touched - they are still benefiting from every session. Over time, and as they become accustomed to the experience, they will spend longer and longer enjoying their massage sessions.
What if my dog does not want a massage?
Our philosophy is always trust before touch. Force-free massage means that we are guided by your pet. We give your dog choices, and they have full control over the type and amount of interaction.
We use positive reinforcements and trust-building techniques to foster a sense of safety. Knowledge of canine communication enables us to recognise and respond to body language cues. The cornerstone of massage therapy is to develop respectful relationships. Once established, most canine companions accept and enjoy therapeutic massage.