Why massage a dog?
Massaging a family pet may seem frivolous initially, but think about why anyone gets massage and apply it to your dog. We are all made up of a musculoskeletal system, bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles, as well as the fascia that holds everything together. Everyday stresses and strains accumulate in areas of our body and can become uncomfortable and sometimes cause pain. This can become a cycle of pain creating stress, pain that can become chronic.
What stresses do our animal companions have? Actually, there are many situations that create stress in our modern day dogs and other family pets. Physically speaking, they may be couch potatoes that don’t get much more exercise that hopping up and down from the bed or sofa. Then one day they land wrong or decide to chase a squirrel in the backyard and tweak a joint or muscle. It happens all the time. We might see them stumble. We might even see them limp a bit, but they didn’t necessarily fall down and squeal in pain, so we assume they must be fine.
We also have athletic or working dogs that may be in great shape but perform repetitive tasks or strain in a particular way regularly. Most all of us humans know what that can do to a body over time.
Recovering from surgery is a common physical (and emotional) stressor. If a knee has been repaired and the normal recovery time is 6-8 weeks ideally, think of the strain on the opposite knee, hip and low back, as well as the shoulders that are all carrying the extra weight in a compromised position. Often Veterinarians will recommend massage as part of post surgery rehabilitation to help prevent the breakdown of the opposite joints.
Young dogs can benefit from massage to help calm them when they are in the puppy learning stage, going through training and having to break instinctive behaviors to fit into our human society properly.
And of course, old dogs have the stresses of arthritis, hip displaysia, and other medical conditions that compromise their overall physical wellbeing.
Emotional stressors happen throughout all stages of a dog’s life. Anxiety is a big issue in this modern world, not only for us, but for our dogs as well. Dogs are animals that originally were wild. They roamed, dug, hunted, chewed, lived in groups with clear communication and hierarchy. What a difference we have made. Humans have selectively bred dogs into the breeds and mixes that we see today, but that doesn’t mean all of their instincts have been bred out.
Dogs can also be affected by depression, they can be obsessive, they can have abandonment issues. These all can cause stress that can create unhealthy physical conditions.
What training does J Linn have:
To become a SAMP, small animal massage practitioner in Washington state, I had to have a LMP, licensed massage practitioner license, before I could be certified as an animal massage therapist. I went through the human massage process first, got my education, license and began practicing on humans while volunteering with dogs on the side. I then got my small animal massage education at Northwest School of Animal Massage, one of the few professional, accredited animal massage schools in the country. Soon after completing my classes there and being certified, I began training at SplashDog and at Heavenly Spa in Fall City, WA to do canine water therapy. I’ve been a licensed, practicing canine massage therapist since 2004.
How does it work?
My office in Edmonds is a quiet, calm space. The atmosphere is relaxing to help promote healing and stress relief. If your dog is unable to travel due to immobility or the stress of travel is too much for them, I am available to come to your home.
You or another guardian is required to be present during the massage. There are a few instances when I may be able to have a more effective session without you in the same room, but someone needs to be within earshot at all times.
Sessions range from one half hour to one hour. The first session is a one hour session to accommodate the additional time needed for the initial meeting and evaluation. Hour sessions may sometimes be required depending on the ability of the dog to relax, unexpected interruptions or distractions and there are times when a dog may benefit from a full hour of hands-on therapy.
I have found that the best results are achieved with consistent therapy. Weekly sessions are good for most situations. If weekly sessions are too frequent for your convenience or finances, bi-monthly, monthly or every three weeks all can help. The most effective way to heal from an injury/surgery, relieve pain from disability or geriatric issues or even help to relieve emotional trauma and stresses is to be consistent.
What is the result?
Most of my canine clients have more energy, a better attitude and are able to get around better after a massage. Often the initial result may be a nice nap but usually once they have had a chance to rest they feel better than they did before their massage.
If their injury was extreme, they are on medications or the issue has been chronic they may not show as much improvement after the first session. That is why I always ask guardians to be aware of any changes after the massage session. That information helps me know how to proceed to help them feel better and increase the quality of life.
What does a massage session cost?
1 hour massage $60
½ hour massage $40
A travel fee may be added for locations farther than 12 miles or 20 minutes
Feel free to contact J Linn with questions.