JoAnna Lou
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K9 Massage Growing in Popularity
More and more pups benefit from massage therapy
The Monrovia Public Library in California hosts a pet massage seminar.

Last year my Sheltie, Nemo, and I were running an agility course and he uncharacteristically ran around the last few jumps. He wasn't limping or showing any pain, but I knew he wasn't himself. So I brought him over to the massage therapist who had a stand set up alongside the other show vendors.

I had never gotten a massage for Nemo before, so I was skeptical if it was really going to do anything. But I quickly saw him relax and the the therapist showed me how to feel for the inflammation she found in his back thigh muscle, which is probably what was causing his reluctance to jump.

It was amazing to feel so connected to Nemo and his well being. I've been wanting to take a pet massage class every since and it seems that I'm not alone.

The New York Times writes that pet massage workshops have grown in popularity in recent years. The International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork's membership has more than doubled in the last four years. Instructors all over the country are reporting that they can barely keep up with demand for classes.

Although there are no studies that prove the benefits, it's thought that pet massage therapy can aid in increased circulation, improved digestion, strengthened immunity, stress relief, muscle relaxation, and relief from conditions such as arthritis.

The verdict varies among veterinarians. Some recommend massage to aid in recovery, while others are concerned that done incorrectly, massages could aggregate a medical condition or prevent people from bringing their pets to the veterinarian.

I know many people who have seen the benefits firsthand, but proven or not, I see nothing to loose in spending quality time with your pup.

Has your dog gotten a massage before?

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Nanci Byers | May 16 2011 |

My two dogs have received 1 massage each. I am considering a career in animal massage and think it will only become more popular as people want to discover more ways to bond with their animals.


Submitted by Kelley Denz | May 16 2011 |

I ordered a dog massage secrets online. It goes over the basic dog massage. It does not cover deep tissue massage, which is where a person could potentially harm their dog.

Both Sadie and Rusty come running when they know I am ready to do massage on them. They love it and I am able to feel if something is different with them. It's a great way to bond with both of my dogs and it lets me feel if there is something I may have to have a vet look at.

I would love to take a class on dog massage, however none of the classes have been anywhere close to where I live.

Submitted by Connie | May 18 2011 |

Our two rescue dogs had massage for over a year. It resulted in behavior changes in addition to physical work, especially for our dog with fear aggression.

Submitted by Annie Elliott | May 24 2011 |

As a Certified Canine Massage Provider I am in love with this work. The best part is teaching significant humans to massage their dogs. It becomes such a direct connection. Amazing stuff!

Submitted by Nora | May 30 2011 |

I was trained as a (human) massage therapist, although I did not pursue it as a career. I massage my dogs daily, and they love love love it! I have been intrigued by the idea of getting certified as a canine and/or equine massage therapist. I suppose if I ever need to change careers I will look into it more seriously.

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