How to massage your dog or cat

Canine/ Feline Massage – with a Medical Tui Na Massage by Pet Wellness Worx   Pet Massage therapy enhances every system of the body and today we would like to share with you how you can help your pet with a relaxing massage in the comfort of your home.

Start off with your massage session by preparing you, your environment and your pet properly prior to the massage experience.

Before you commence with any massage on any animal, make sure the animal is ready and be respectful and ask their permission for you to touch them, clear your mind and concentrate on the patient at hand.

You need to be in the right frame of mind to practice healing. You need to regulate your breathing which must be consistent. Focus the energy flow through your hands and concentrate on moving energy and stagnate blood. A positive attitude is key; you need to give your full attention so that you can properly assess their needs.

Ensure that your environment is quiet, peaceful and calm.

Try to always keep both hands on your animal throughout your treatment this maintains a consistent connection between the two of you. Listen to your animal and operate on their feedback “via calming signals” paying careful attention to their positive and negative reactions. Calming signals are very important and must be taken into account when massaging your animal.

Start with several minutes of petting strokes over your pet’s entire body. With a gentle but firm pressure rub the large muscles (neck, shoulders, buttocks, and thighs) with the heel of your hand. Gently lift and squeeze the muscles. The technique is a lot like kneading bread dough.

Be conscious of any trigger points, this is a build-up of lactic acid which will feel like a knot in the belly of the muscle. They are usually very tender, and should be treated very gently apply light pressure with your thumb to the point until you feel the muscle release and then use repeated rhythmic strokes to drain the muscle of lactic acid.

Always make sure that you massage both sides of the dog or cat so that the animal is in balance. 

For you as a pet owner, any form of touch is therapeutic for your animal and it improves your trust and bond with your pet.

Start with the ears.
This is the best place to start, especially if time is not on your side.  Massaging the ears will help your pet relax, reduce stress, help with digestive matters and fatigue.

Head Massage:
Pets love a head massage, and this is where you can focus on the section around the eyes.  These points are connected to the bladder, gallbladder and stomach.

Back Massage:
If your dog or cat is constantly nauseas or has a sensative stomach, then a gentle back rub will help them to reduce the tension in these areas.

Paw Massage:
Gently roll each toe with your fingertips, one by one, to improve your pets overall wellbeing.

Front Leg Massage:
Wrap your hand around each front leg and squeeze gently, moving up and down.  This will help with infections and allergies.

Massage is a complementary therapy which has a positive influence on both the physical and psychological well-being of dogs which include:

  • Improving connective tissue and increase joint mobility
  • Encouraging flexibility and range of movement in joints
  • Helping to reduce muscular tension and soreness
  • Helping to reduce swelling and excessive scar tissue and aid recovery
  • Easing muscle spasm and muscular pain
  • Warming up muscles pre-exercise
  • Encouraging comfort, relaxation by regulating the heart beat and respiration rate
  • Enhancing circulatory blood circulation and lymph drainage

If any of the following sound familiar and you answer yes to any of the points listed, then your dog could benefit from a treatment canine massage.

  • Is your dog hyperactive?
  • Does it have behavioural problems?
  • Is your dog nervous, anxious or suffer from stress?
  • Is your dog elderly or getting stiff?
  • Does your dog have mobility problems?
  • Is your dog recovering from illness or injury?
  • Does your dog have musculoskeletal problems?
  • Has your dog recently had surgery?
  • Is your dog a large breed?
  • Is your dog a working dog?
  • Is your dog a competitive athlete (obedience/ agility/ Fly Ball/ Field etc.)?

Important: Massage does not take the place of proper veterinary care; please consult your veterinarian for any persistent problems bothering your animal.

After the massage :
Always offer fresh water to help flush toxins and lactic acid away.

To create friction you need to use the following techniques; namely

  • rubbing,
  • pushing,
  • jiggling and
  • daubing,

...this heats the area and is relaxing. These help to dissipate muscle tension and spasms while improving circulation. Pressure must be gauged according to age, size, energy level and species.

We hope this information will help you and your pet.  Please let us know if this worked for you.  Thank you.


Pet Wellness Worx offer a professional massage, namely Tui Na Massage (pronounced Twee-nah).

Tui Na techniques are applied to the soft-tissue structures such as the connective tissues, fascia planes and muscles, as well as acupuncture points.

This therapeutic massage is the manipulation, methodical pressure, friction and kneading of the skin, muscles, facia and other soft tissue, combing various massage strokes, slides, rolling or vibrating with intent to achieve specific therapeutic results such as stimulating circulation, achieving greater flexibility, relieving pain, releasing tension and increasing lymphatic drainage.

These techniques can be used to promote the flow of energy and blood thus reducing pain, spasm and adhesions and increasing circulation. In addition Tui Na can balance organ systems, soothe joints, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue, and strengthen the immune system.

For more information contact Lorren Barham at Pet Wellness Worx.

Tel: +27 (0)21 558 5092 | Mobile : +27 83 704 6804

Hydrotherapy: exercise without weight-bearing through the resistance of the water thereby building muscle bulk to support affected areas with the comfort and stability of the water
Physiotherapy: able to assess and treat neuromuscular-skeletal disease much the same as human physios. Employ physical therapy techniques to increase function and mobility of joints and muscles. (Massage, ultrasound/ light therapy/ TENS, passive range of motion, balance and strengthening exercises)
Acupuncture and Tuina massage: pain modulation by encouraging natural healing and improve functioning, usually in conjunction with hydrotherapy. Improve posture by decreasing pain and muscle spasms
TTellington TTouch: is a system of gentle bodywork and movement exercises which positively influence behaviour and wellbeing in dogs including body wraps, groundwork and Labyrinths. TTouch is based on co-operation and understanding and will deepen the relationship between dogs and their people
Personal Training & Behaviour Modification: Solve behaviour issues, whether it's aggression, leash reactivity, lunging on walks, or over exuberance. We address your dog's state of mind, resulting in a calm, relaxed, happy dog who is a pleasure to live with
Body Stress Release (BSR): gentle and effective way to help your pet’s body to release stored tension from the muscles pain modulation by encouraging natural healing and improve functioning, usually in conjunction with hydrotherapy. Improve posture by decreasing pain and muscle spasms

Reiki: is a non-invasive, painless method to help your pet to release pain, reduce stress, to rebalance the energy, and speeding up the healing process. It increases self-healing capacity of the animal and works great in conjunction with other therapies.

Working your Way to Wellness (Pty) Ltd T/a PET WELLNESS WORX



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