Wednesday, July 24, 2024

How To Massage A Dog With Arthritis

What Is Dog Massage

Easy DIY Dog Arthritis Massage at Home – Marc Smith DVM

Massage, in its simplest definition, is: the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain. Massage helps to reduce stress in the body, help the joints, muscles and bones heal, provides basic pain relief, and may assist in the rehabilitation and regeneration of muscle tissue .

For dogs, canine massage has similar benefits. It can be used at home for relaxation and stress relief, to help dogs with anxiety or nervous disorders, to provide relief for arthritis, and to aid in the healing of muscles, joints and bones.

Canine massage is often prescribed by many veterinarians to assist in post-surgical recovery, and is part of canine physical therapies to help improve function, reduce pain and aid in rehabilitation .

The popularity of canine massage is growing so quickly that canine rehabilitation has become its own certification, and veterinary staff can obtain certifications in canine massage along with therapy .

Massage For Canine Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease affecting humans and dogs. It is characterised by the loss of articular cartilage in a joint. Joints typically affected are the knee , hip, and elbow joints.

Canine osteoarthritis can severely affect the dogs quality of life. Common symptoms include discomfort, which is exacerbated with activity and relieved with rest, restriction of activity, limited ability to perform, impaired proprioception, joint stiffness and enlargement, and loss of strength and limb function.

The causes of canine osteoarthritis are varied and include the dogs age, genetics and conformation. Lifestyle factors can also contribute to the development and evolution of the disease. These factors include obesity, repetitive stress and joint trauma including surgical interventions.

Ways To Help Your Dog With Arthritis At Home

1. Maintain a healthy weight.

2. Keep exercises low impact.

3. Give them a balanced diet.

4. Book a massage.

5. Avoid potential obstacles.

Take a look at our infographic on How to Help a Dog With Arthritis At Home for more information on how you can help.

For further help to pet parents, read our guide to arthritis in dogs.

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Cbd Oil To Treat Arthritis In Dogs

A treatment option that has gained popularity in recent years is using CBD oil to treat arthritis in dogs. In short, CBD is a compound found in cannabis and hemp that some dog owners, as well as humans, find effective in treating a variety of conditions. Some anecdotal reports suggest that CBD oil can help dogs with arthritis pain. However, Dr. Klein reminds us that currently there is no scientific data on the use or benefits of CBD.

Additionally, limited regulation of CBD oil makes it difficult for veterinarians to sign off on its use since there is no way of predicting purity, concentration, efficacy, potential benefits, or side effects. While the unknowns surrounding CBD will change with more research , at this time, there is no scientific evidence to support the use of CBD oil for canine arthritis or any other ailments. If youre considering CBD oil as a treatment, make sure to speak to your veterinarian first.

What Are The Benefits Of Canine Massage

Dog Massage Therapy: Why Its Important For Dog Rehabilitation

The benefits of canine therapy can have a wide range, from basic stress and pain relief, to full-blown surgical recovery. Goals of canine massage therapy include: relief of pain, reduction of tissue swelling, reduction of muscle tension, improvement of circulation and tissue healing, reduction of fibrous adhesions and improvement of range of motion .

Pain relief and reduction of muscle tension are important factors in calming down a nervous or anxious dog. Dogs that have had trauma in a previous home, are dealing with the stress of a shelter environment, have separation anxiety and more can all benefit from these effects. Massaging your dog is also a great bonding experience to help bring the two of you closer together.

Improvement of circulation, tissue healing and reduction of adhesions are all important factors in surgical recovery. Massage will help circulate blood better, bringing nutrients and tissue healing factors that speed up recovery and allow the injury to heal. Reduction of adhesions means the recovered limb will have greater range of motion with less chances for arthritis and pain.

Improving the range of motion is an important factor in any dog. It can help elderly or senior pets improve function with less pain, reduce the need for medications, can help athletic dogs recover from injury more quickly, and can help any pet stay healthy and fit.

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Medications To Treat Arthritis In Dogs

Your veterinarian may decide to perform a blood test to determine if your dog is eligible for prescription medication, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , to help manage arthritis pain. If your dog is suitable, your veterinarian will work with you on the specifics of dosage and administering the medication. Remember that human NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen, are toxic medications to dogs and should never be given to them for pain relief.

Strategies To Ease Your Dogs Arthritis Pain

When it comes to relief, reaching for a single âbig gunâ pharmaceutical is rarely the most effective approach. Rather, best results are achieved by working with your vet to develop a plan tailored to help with your dogâs specific issues.

An integrative, multimodal therapy regime can maximize your dogâs comfort and well-being and minimize the potential side effects of certain therapies. Here are a few strategies that have been found to be beneficial:

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Hydrotherapy Sessions On A Canine Underwater Treadmill

Hydrotherapy is a fantastic way to help strengthen muscles, without the jarring effects caused by gravity in normal exercise. Water provides great buoyancy, relieving the impact on joints and the musculoskeletal system.

Hydrotherapy sessions are also very time-efficient. With greater resistance from the water level, a higher level of effort is required.

With a low-impact, time-efficient way to get your best friend moving, Hydrotherapy is a win-win for everyone.

Pet Stairs For Beds Or Cars

Dog Massage for Anxiety, Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia (Instructions)

I should have prepared for this day sooner because it happened out of the blue. One day, my dog wouldnt hop into the backseat and he had to get lifted into the car.

After several weeks of research, I bought 2 styles and tested them out. One style was made of plastic with carpeted steps and the other style was folding steps that attach to the back of my SUV. I bought both styles with the full intention of returning the one my dog didnt like. Turns out, both styles are perfect for different reasons and I kept both.

You can see my full review here: Car Steps for Dogs and you can watch my dog using both styles in this video:

Why I Use the Foldable Pet Steps

When transporting my dog in the back of my jeep, I use these: fold-able stairs style and they were friendly on my budget. If youre looking for something even more substantial, check out the price and reviews on this product: High End Dog Stairs that hooks to the hatch latch.

I was very worried that my 90 pound dog wouldnt acclimate, but he did a great job after about 10 or so tries. Now he uses them without hesitation, but I still stay by his side and guide him.

I keep the foldable stairs right in my SUV and they also come in handy at the dog wash. My dog will not use the steep, skinny ramp that leads him into the high tub for his bath, but I can bring the fold-able steps inside and hell use them. Hallelujah!

When I Use the Plastic Pet Steps

Both sets of stairs have helped him tremendously.

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Does Your Canine Companion Have Osteoarthritis Massage Therapy Helps Ease The Pain And Stiffness

Audrey Rose is an 11-year-old poodle with osteoarthritis. If she moves her head around too much she will yelp, her mom says, pointing at the dogs upper back to indicate the arthritic area. Usually hesitant with strangers, Audrey Rose is a bit reluctant to sit for a massage. But once she feels a pair of warm hands on her, slowly and gently massaging her tight neck muscles, she allows herself to slip into a prone position. Her eyes begin to close, all resistance melts away, and she seems to smile.

Our Dog Arthritis Therapy Explained

At Paws4Paws we take a multimodal approach to your dogs arthritis. This means we use a variety of modalities and interventions to manage and ideally slow down the degeneration of your dogs joint, improve mobility and decrease pain. We use remedial massage techniques, myofascial pain release, trigger point therapy, rehabilitative strengthening exercises and acupressure to manage your dogs arthritis.

Muscle atrophy around the aching joint is often a byproduct of arthritis and unfortunately accelerates the degeneration of the joint. Joints rely upon strong and healthy muscles to support them and we at Paws4Paws make sure to help your dog maintain and muscle mass by using targeted low impact strengthening exercises. A strong core is particularly important for stability and balance and we can help your dog achieve better core strength also.

Further, your dogs inflamed and achy joints will lead to compensatory patterns and an altered gait which means other parts of your dogs body work much harder than they are designed to. Whilst subtle compensatory patterns are often not visible to the untrained eye , it nevertheless leads to prolonged overload and results in tight and tense muscles, including the development of spasms and painful trigger points. As tight muscles are prone to injury there is a high risk of further damage. At Paws4Paws we ensure the release of tension and tightness to decrease pain and avoid a secondary injury.

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Limit Mobility Commands To Only When Necessary

Surely your dog has earned a lifetime supply of treats simply because theyre awesome. Now that your dog has arthritis and youre trying to treat the condition at home, its a good time to stop insisting that your dog sit, lay down shake paws etc, in order to receive a treat.

If you still want your dog to perform for treats, you could ask for a kiss , hug or a bark or hide them in places that are easy to find and access.

Healthy Joints Happy Pets

Cath_canine massage

Helping older or arthritic pets keep their joints healthy and their bodies in good condition can let them enjoy walks and playtime throughout the duration of their lives. Even pets with advanced arthritis can maintain a good quality of life and stay active with the help of a veterinarian and good treatment plan.

Sadly, we lost Otis a few years ago at the age of 11. But for the three years following his surgery, we were able to manage his arthritis and maintain his comfort with a combination of weight management, exercise, NSAIDs, essential fatty acids and joint supplements. He was able to get back to the activities he loved and play with our other three dogs. It warmed our hearts to see his quality of life return to a happy, healthy one for his remaining years.

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Install Gates Lots Of Them

When it comes to keeping your arthritic dog safe from further injury the old saying prevention is the best medicine rings true.

Stair Gates: You remember early I talked about disabling my doorbell after my dog injured himself flying down the stairs, well if I had installed a gate, the injury would never have happened.

Gates will also stop your older arthritic dog from falling down the stairs at night or when youre not home. This one little preventative measure could save your arthritic dog from taking a fall that impacts mobility permanently.

I highly recommend gating off staircases on the bottom and the top if your arthritic dog is prone to running down stairs or is becoming visually impaired or suffering night vision loss.

The cheaper wood expandable gates will work, but you have to remove them every time you want to go up or down the stairs. I have this, but youll have to measure to see if theyd work for you: Stairway Gate with Access .

Room Gates: can also be used to isolate your dog to one room during the day, which is my preferred method, thus limiting your arthritic dogs exposure to accidents throughout the home.

Porch Gate:Now this only applies if your porch leads to your front door where people come a knockin.

As for a porch gate, I made my own barrier out of an old futon frame and I can personally attest that it keeps most solicitors from entering my porch and getting my arthritic dog all riled up.

Ways To Help An Arthritic Dog

It’s always tough to watch your dog age. While getting older is fact of life, seeing your arthritic dog unable to move as easily, or unable to do the things they used to do all the time can be a sad situation. Not every condition is going to have a solution, but here are some ways that you can help to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis in your elderly pup.

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Stray Away From Arthritic Joints

Yes, your dog is arthritic, and you want to help relieve the pain that theyre feeling

But, the goal is not to massage directly to their arthritic joints

In fact, you have to stray away from such areas. No matter what method you use, you must remember this part of the guide.


Those parts of their body are the points of pain.

According to vets, arthritis brings inflammation to your pups joints.

With that, you should avoid applying pressure directly to those areas. Thats because you might cause more discomfort to your dog.

If you happen to massage over an arthritic joint, your dog might whine as you touch them.

They might also get startled. The latter is dangerous, especially if your canine is already old

How so?

Thats because senior dogs have a problem with being touched in the first place

Add that shock from the sudden pain of directly pressing on their painful joint


You might risk yourself getting bitten by Fido.

Slim Down Your Elderly Dog

3 Simple Massage Techniques For Senior Dogs & Dogs With Arthritis

If your dog is overweight, commit to helping her slim down. Extra weight places extra strain on joints, worsening the pain of arthritis. Feeling guilty because your dog is looking longingly at her food bowl? Mix a little pumpkin into her dinner its healthy, low cal, and will help her feel full. We like both Fruitables’ and Merrick’s natural canned pumpkin for dogs.

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How Can Dog Massage Therapy Benefit Your Pet

Massage does wonders for dogs, says Becky Brandenburg, B.A. ED., ESMT, CMT, an Ohio-based certified animal massage therapist and owner of Brandenburg Massage Therapy. Full-body massage keeps the muscles moving and conditionedtouch can truly be healing.

In addition to the physical benefits of dog massage therapy, it can also promote bonding between you and your pet.

Not only is massaging your pet of benefit to them, but it is also of benefit to you, says Dr. Rachel Barrack, a New York City-based veterinarian and founder of Animal Acupuncture.

Studies have shown that petting a dog or cat can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Touching your pet will also cause your body to release oxytocin, a hormone that causes sensations of bonding and love, says Dr. Barrack.

How Do You Massage Your Dog With Arthritis At Home

A dog suffering from arthritis is usually in pain and discomfort. Professional veterinarians can perform specific massage therapies for your dog to help, but you can also massage your pet at home.

Heres are some of the most common techniques you can use when massaging your dog:

  • Use long, flowing strokes before you after the massage to promote better blood circulation.
  • Gently knead and twist your dogs skin and fur to reduce muscle and tissue tension.
  • Massage your dog with a pumping motion to relieve muscle spasms and encourage greater blood circulation.

Below we provide you with important steps to follow when massaging your canine:

  • Stick to your schedule: Make sure not to overdo your massage. For example, massaging your dog once in the morning and evening is enough. By giving your dog physical therapy in the morning, you can help it relieve the stiffness after sleeping and prepare its body for the day ahead. In turn, giving your dog a massage at night can help relax its muscles before bed.
  • Choose a comfortable position: Find a place and position where your dog is comfortable laying down. Make sure theres enough space for you to roll it on both sides.
  • Pay attention to body language: Dogs in pain may be reluctant to receive touches. Prepare your dog for massaging by touching its body gently. Talk to them gently and call out their name calmly to relieve their anxiety.
  • Learn

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    Turn On A Tv Or Radio When You Leave

    If your dog is arthritic and having real mobility issues it might be beneficial to leave a tv or radio on when you leave. This helps drown out incidental noise such as children playing outside or other dogs barking, or the mail being delivered all which make your dog: leap into action.

    At a certain point and as arthritis progresses, these extra precautions help keep your dog from injuring herself further while youre not home.

    Joint Supplements And Diets

    DOG Massage Therapy! Photos and Video

    Oral supplements that contain methylsulfonylmethane , glucosamine hydrochloride, long-chain omega-3 fatty acidseicosatetraenoic acid , eicosapentaenoic acid , and docosahexaenoic acid and chondroitin sulfate are known for supporting dog joint health.

    Many oral supplements can have significant side effects, wreaking havoc on the gastrointestinal tract of our canine friends, so you should consult with your veterinarian before adding them to your dogs diet.

    Dog Breeds That Can Benefit From Joint Supplements as Puppies

    In breeds that have the potential for joint disease, it is recommended to start joint supplements as early as 8 weeks of age. These breeds are most commonly at risk for joint issues:

    Hip and knee: Any toy to giant breed dog can be affected, but these are the most common:

    Elbow : English Bulldogs, Welsh Corgis, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers

    Shoulder : Labradors and Golden Retrievers

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