We have to make sure the dog is currently not on medication or has any other contraindications.
Contra indications means: a reason to not have the treatment due to possibly doing more harm to an already existing condition or injury. For some contraindications it’s just regional, so we can avoid just that particular area. Others are general which means we won’t massage unless we have had clearance of a vet.
fractures, pregnancy, vomiting, weight bearing lameness, inflammation with heat, pain, loss of movement and redness, certain medications
We will also discuss the history of the dog. It’s important to know the type of exercise the dog does (and how often), where it sleeps, if the dog jumps in and out of bed/car a lot or if the dog runs on slippery floors a lot. These may indicate areas of tightness or possible injury in the dog without even having to touch the dog yet.
This is to have a look at their coat and confirmation. How the dog stands and puts down his weight and how long nails are. This, again, can give us a lot of information.
The Gait Analysis we do to have a look at how the dog walks (in his slowest pace as possible). This may show us stiffness in the hips or a short stride and stiff pace or even limping. This can give us an idea where on the body we might find tightness and knots and areas that may be extra sensitive and need more attention.
This may look like the beginning of the massage but it’s not. It’s a short flat hand observation where we take our hands over each muscle of the dog assessing and feeling for abnormalities. We might be able to confirm with our hands what our eyes saw earlier. We may feel tightness or knots or atrophied/hypertrophied muscles.
From there we will go into the actual massage treatment which can take 10 minutes or 45 minutes. This very much depends on the size of the dog as well as how accepting the dog is of the massage. Of course, small dogs won’t take as long as a Great Dane. A dog that’s incredibly sensitive and struggles with touch may also need a shorter time to get accustomed to being touch by a stranger first. Dogs that love being massaged may take longer as it gives us the opportunity to go over muscles really thoroughly with different techniques and stretches.
The first consult will last generally 60 minutes as it includes all above steps in detail. Follow up consults will generally be a bit shorter.
At the end of the treatment we will recommend what will follow next. We may decide to do pole exercises. It’s kind of similar to Pilates for dogs.
It may be that a few weekly massages are recommended, especially for dogs coming for a remedial massage.
For dogs that are generally fine and just come for a relaxation massage maybe every 2, 3 or 6 months to ensure their bodies stay nice and supple.
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