The Canine Directory is continually expanding and promotes thousands of dog friendly businesses to encourage greater enrichment activities and health and wellbeing for dogs.
We are developing a brand-new category for the website that you and your dogs will be able to really benefit from.
The new ‘Canine Massage Therapy’ category will raise awareness of the overwhelming impact Canine Massage Therapy can have on your dog’s health.
There is a common misconception that Canine Massage Therapy is all about getting your pooch ‘pampered’. However, this method of treatment is delivered by qualified practitioners to improve the health, mobility and quality of life for dogs. Whether it be used to aid recovery from injury, assist in rehabilitation, relieve pain, support puppy development or enhance the lives of dogs living with arthritis, Canine Massage Therapy techniques are designed to meet the individual needs of every dog.
We caught up with Helen Creasy; a qualified Chartered Physiotherapist, Canine Merishia Massage Therapist and Holistic Equine Massage Practitioner, who runs HAC Therapies. Helen has extensive experience of delivering a range of treatments for horse, human and hound.
“The canine body is complex; it is comprised of around 319 bones, a multitude of tendons, ligaments and nerves, fascia and over 700 muscles. Any injury sustained through work or play may introduce a detrimental effect on the muscles (individually and globally), leading to pain and dysfunctional compensations in gait and posture.
It is essential that all components of the musculoskeletal system are able to work in harmony, in order to maintain optimal performance and health. Massage therapy also has positive effects on the circulatory, respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphatic, digestive and immune systems.
The preventative and rehabilitative application of Merishia Massage can be used to effectively prevent or release stress and tension of a physical and/or emotional cause, with the ultimate aim of maintaining the welfare and performance of your dog.
With every session your dog will also be prescribed facilitated stretches to ensure the soft tissues are able to re-lengthen, restore function and benefit fully from the therapy given.”
What can Canine Massage Therapy be used for?
When a muscle injury occurs scar tissue is laid down, yet this is very inflexible. Range of movement becomes restricted which leads to lameness, reduced mobility and further discomfort. Common causes of injury include:
- pulling on the lead, being walked only on one side
- sustaining a slip, trip or fall
- conformation defects/faults
- irregular exercise/training/insufficient warm up or cool down
- repetitive strain – agility/working dogs, chasing a ball, jumping on/off furniture, stairs
- rough play with other dogs
- orthopaedic conditions e.g. hip/elbow dysplasia, arthritis, ligament/tendon injuries
It is important to recognise the psychological as well as the physical benefits of Canine Massage Therapy. For some dogs the concept of being handled can cause significant stress. This may be due to an association with pain or a history of neglect and abuse. The power of touch using specific massage techniques can be applied effectively to establish a therapeutic bond and build confidence in the dog.
Is this an alternative to veterinary treatment?
No, you must continue to consult your vet for any treatment, medication and check-ups that your dog needs. Canine Massage Therapy is a complementary therapy and vets will refer dogs for massage therapy to help treat and relieve symptoms and conditions, where this is not contraindicated. Professional Canine Massage Therapists will ask for evidence of veterinary consent when you book your initial assessment (under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966).
What is the process?
Once you’ve booked your Initial Assessment the therapist will review the vet referral information, observe how your dog moves, examine your dog and assess their needs, and begin the programme of therapy. A good therapist should take a holistic approach and take into account your dog’s diet, exercise routine, environment and behavioural traits.
The therapist will advise how frequently the treatment needs to take place and guide you through any additional exercises or stretches you may need to build into your dog’s routine for maximal benefits.
They will book you in for any necessary follow up appointments so that they can assess your dogs’ progress and provide further aftercare advice where necessary.
We will be adding more and more Canine Massage Therapist listings to The Canine Directory over the coming weeks.