Benefits Of Giving Massages To Your Furry Friends

massaging benefits to dogs and cats - border collie, ragdoll cats
Dr. Abdul Basit Javed (DVM, RVMP)

Pets are known to be our best friends. They offer companionship, loyalty, and a sense of security. As pet owners, we want the best for our furry friends, and that includes ensuring their physical and mental well-being. One way to achieve this is by giving them a good massage. 

Just like humans, pets have muscles that get tired and stressed, especially after a long day of play or exercise. Massaging your dog or cat can help alleviate their muscle tension and soreness, leading to a more relaxed and happier pet.

This blog explores various benefits of massaging pets such as dogs and cats, from reducing anxiety and stress to promoting better sleep. Also with a step-by-step guide put together by a small animal veterinarian, you'll have all the information you need to give your pet a relaxing massage at home,  so read on.

Benefits Of Massage For Dogs And Other Pets At Home

Here are some of the top benefits of massaging your furry friends:

ragdoll siberian cat massaging benefit

Reduces Anxiety And Stress

Massage can be an effective way to reduce anxiety and stress in pets such as Border Collies, Ragdolls, and Siberian cats.

Similar to humans, pets can also experience anxiety and stress in response to various triggers such as changes in their environment, separation anxiety, and loud noises.

One of the ways massage therapy works is by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system of your dog or pet, which is responsible for the "rest and digest" response in the body.

When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, it slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases the production of stress hormones such as cortisol hence providing an overall sense of calmness in the body of your pet. 

Improved Circulation And Lymphatic Drainage

Massage can help to improve both circulation and lymphatic drainage in pets. Circulation refers to the movement of blood throughout the body, while lymphatic drainage refers to the movement of lymph, which is a fluid that carries waste products away from tissues and helps to fight infection.

The increase in blood flow helps to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, which can promote healing and reduce inflammation.

Massage also causes your dog's or cat's blood vessels to dilate, which can help to increase blood flow and decrease blood pressure.

Massage can also help to improve your pet’s lymphatic function by increasing the rate of lymphatic flow. This increase in flow can help to remove waste products more efficiently and reduce the risk of infections.

Promotes Bonding

massaging your border collie

Massage therapy can be an excellent way to improve bonding between pets and their owners. Through massage, owners can build trust and establish a deeper connection with their furry friends.

Regular massage sessions can also provide an opportunity for owners to spend quality time with their pets.

As owners become more attuned to their pet's needs and behaviors during massage sessions, they can learn to better understand their pet's body language and communicate more effectively with them.

Reduces Behavioral Problems

Pets with behavioral problems like anxiety, aggression, and excessive excitement can benefit greatly from massage.

By providing a safe and calming environment through massage, owners can help to reduce these negative behaviors and improve the overall relationship with their pets.

Pain Alleviation

Massage can be a useful method of reducing pain in pets. Massage can help to relieve pain through gentle touch and manipulation of soft tissues.

One way that massage reduces pain in pets is by increasing blood flow and oxygenation to the affected area.

Massage can also stimulate the release of endorphins in your pet's body, which are natural painkillers that can help to reduce pain and promote relaxation.

Endorphins are chemicals that make your dog or cat feel good and produce a sense of calm and well-being. Massage also reduces pain in dogs by improving mobility and flexibility.

Good For Arthritis In Pets

Massaging benefits for border collie

Senior cats and dogs who are suffering from arthritis can find relief through massage.

By gently massaging the affected joints and surrounding areas, you can increase circulation to sore muscles and joints, which helps to reduce pain and promote healing. 

The act of massaging causes tissues to contract and expand, which in turn increases local blood flow.

This increase in circulation helps to deliver more nutrients to the damaged area and remove waste products more efficiently. Improved circulation can help to reduce inflammation and pain, while also promoting faster healing.

It is important to use a gentle touch when massaging pets with arthritis. Applying too much pressure can cause discomfort and potentially exacerbate the problem. Veterinary advice is recommended before massaging any pet that suffers from arthritis.

Improved Sleep Quality

Massage can be useful to improve sleep quality in dogs and other pets. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress, massage can help pets to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep for longer periods of time.

Massage therapy can also stimulate the release of hormones that promote relaxation and sleep, such as serotonin and oxytocin. These hormones can help to regulate sleep cycles and improve overall sleep quality.

Step-By-Step Guide On How To Massage A Dog Or A Cat

bonding with your border collie

Following is a complete step to step guide on how to safely and properly massage a pet whether a cat or a dog:

1.   Create A Calm And Comfortable Environment

To begin, choose a spot in the house that is calm and relaxing where you and your pet may relax without being distracted.

Also, it's crucial to guarantee that your pet is relaxed and is not feeling nervous. Try massaging your pet at a place where they feel at ease most of the time, like on their bed or a favorite spot in the house.

2.   Start With Gentle Strokes

Start by giving your pet long, sweeping rubs around its back in a gentle manner with flat palms. To induce relaxation and help them become accustomed to being touched, make gentle, rhythmic movements.

3.   Massage The Neck And Shoulders

Move on to massaging your pet's neck and shoulders.  Apply light pressure with your fingers in a circular way. Be sure to use a delicate touch and refrain from using excessive pressure.

4.   Massage The Back

Afterward, proceed to your pet's back. Apply pressure to the spine in a circular motion with your fingertips.

Continue to massage their back in long, sweeping motions while increasing the pressure with your palms to target any tight spots.

5.   Massage The Hips And Legs

Next, massage your pet's legs and hips. Apply pressure to the hip joint with the palms and fingers of your hand.

Go down to their legs, massaging any painful muscles with long strokes of the palms and with mild pressure.

6.   End With Light Strokes

Complete the massage, with sweeping movements down the entire body of your pet. Your pet will feel loved and cared for as well as calmed and relaxed as a result of this.

Tips For Safely Massaging A Pet

Some tips for safely massaging your pet either a dog or a cat are listed below:

  • Throughout the massage, always be gentle and watch out for your pet's reactions. Stop right away if they appear uncomfortable or in pain.
  • To make it easier for your hands to freely move over your pet's fur and skin, try using a pet-safe massage oil.
  • Short massage sessions should be performed at first, and as your pet becomes more accustomed to them, you can progressively extend them.
  • Repeat the massage on a regular basis to assist your pet's physical and mental well-being.
  • When it comes to physical contact, it's important to respect your pet's boundaries and preferences.

For instance, it is not advised to forcefully massage your dog or any other pet if they dislike being touched because this can lead to excessive stress and anxiety and will ultimately have no beneficial effects.

Can You Massage A Border Collie?

Massaging Benefits for your pet

Yes, you can massage a Border Collie! Massage can help improve the physical and emotional well-being of any breed of dog, including Border Collies. With proper techniques and guidance, a massage can help reduce stress, relieve pain, and improve overall health.

Can You Massage Cats Like Ragdolls Or Siberian Cats?

massaging your ragdolls and siberian cat

Absolutely, you can massage Siberian or Ragdoll cats. Cats of any breed and size can benefit from massage, which can help to lower stress, increase circulation, and promote sleep.

It's important to keep in mind that cats have delicate muscles and bones, so it's crucial to massage them with care and gentleness to avoid any potential harm.

With proper techniques and pressure, massage therapy can be a safe and effective way to enhance the health and happiness of your feline friend.