Your vet may be able help you massage your dog in a firm and practiced manner, but for those that want to try it out at home here are some basic steps.
Make sure that your dog is on a firm but soft surface, like a carpeted floor. Starting at the head, gently move your hands in soft, slow strokes down to the tail.
As your dog begins to relax you can gently rub around the ears, forehead, cheeks, under the chin, over the nose and between the eyes.
Using a gentle, but firm circular motion, move slowly down over the neck, shoulders and chest.
Feel the difference between areas that have thick muscle beneath the fur, like chest, and areas that have very little, like the nose. You can use a stronger massage on areas that have muscle, but you must be gentle with areas that don’t.
Starting at the top of the foreleg, gently squeeze down the length a couple of times. If the dog is not afraid of having their feet handled you can very gently massage the paw in a similar manner to your own hand. Gently rubbing the padded areas and stroking from the wrist joint down to the toenails.
Move back up to the neck, and stroke from the head to the tail two or three times, with a firm hand. Imagine the dog were wet and you were trying to slick the water out of his coat. Slow but firm strokes.
Now placing your hands over the thicker muscles on either side of the spine, and using a strong circular motion start moving down the spine towards the base of the tail.
Going lower, start at the thicker muscles on the chest, and using the same strong circular motions, massage back towards the tail once more. This time massaging the outside of each thigh.
Gently squeeze down the hind legs as you did with the forelegs, likewise massaging the hind paws.
Finish by lightly stroking the dog’s entire body, starting at the nose, and moving back to the tail. If the dog does not mind, continue down the length of the tail and every paw.
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