Puppy massage: 5 reasons to introduce a puppy to massage
20 Feb, 2018
Here are 5 good reasons to introduce a puppy to remedial massage.
1. Promote healthy weight gain
In pre-term human infants, massage therapy has been shown to promote healthy weight gain and alter the distribution of sleep / awake states.
It is thought that the tactile nature of massage stimulates vagal activity to release hormones (insulin-like growth factor I and oxytocin) that facilitate weight gain.
With human babies, massage therapy also has been shown to alter sleep time, so the infants were more alert and able to interact with their environment and caregivers.
Animal studies have also shown that “handling” young animals resulted in greater weight gain and that the “handled” animals demonstrated more exploratory behaviour.
2. Condition the puppy to being touched
Canine massage accustoms a puppy to being handled over their body, feet, tail and ears. For grooming and veterinary care, it is important that the dog is calm and comfortable being handled.
3. Calm the puppy
A massage treatment is a good way to relax and calm an excitable puppy. Animal studies have shown that massage can improve young animals’ cognitive performance and memory.
It can also calm an excitable puppy and help address mouthing issues. Massage has been shown to reduce stress and stimulate the release of oxytocin and endorphins both of which are associated with a positive emotional state.
4. Detect and prevent injury
Massaging a puppy is a good way to detect possible health problems. By touching the puppy’s body, heat (indicating inflammation) or sensitivity to touch (which can indicate pain) can be identified and an early veterinary diagnosis of health problems can be obtained.
Massage can also help prevent soft tissue injuries. Puppies can easily strain muscles through over exertion, rough play, and boisterous activities. Massage can detect and treat muscle strain before more serious muscle injury occurs.
Passive range of motion and exercises can also help develop puppies’ spatial awareness which helps prevent injury in later life. These techniques can develop the puppy’s core stability, balance, flexibility and co-ordination. They can also ensure symmetrical development of the puppy’s muscles.
5. Relieve growing pains
Dogs, especially large and giant breed dogs, can experience “growing pains” also known as panosteitis. While massage cannot “cure” this condition, a massage treatment can relieve compensatory muscle tension, help soothe the puppy and manage the pain.
Full Stride provides remedial canine massage treatment to treat muscle injury and mobility problems.
Until next time, enjoy your dogs.
Dieter, John N. I. Field, Tiffany, Hernandez-Reif, Maria, Emory, Eugene K. & Redzepi, Mercedes. 2003 “Stable Preterm Infants Gain More Weight and Sleep Less after Five Days of Massage Therapy”, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Volume 28, Issue 6, 1 September 2003, Pages 403–411.
Hourdebaight, Jean-Pierre 2004, Canine Massage: A complete reference manual 2nd edition, Dogwise Publishing, Wenatchee WA, USA
Marston, L 2010 “Training shelter dogs to be quiet” AIAM Annual Conference, Urban Animal Management Proceedings.
Robertson, Julia 2010, The complete dog massage manual, Veloce Publishing Limited, Dorset UK
Robinson, N.G & Sheets, S, 2015 Canine medical massage: techniques and clinical applications. American Animal Hospital Press, Colorado.