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Time just flew by as your dog-child raced through puppyhood and middle age. His gait seems a little slower. He asks for assistance jumping onto the bed. He needs a helping hand to climb into the back seat of the car. His body has changed. It is wider and more angular. His face has changed. His eyes are sunken and his jowls hang down more. Calluses show on his elbows.
All of a sudden you realize that you have a senior citizen living with you. It all happened so gradually.
“Now I realize that my older dog needs some extra TLC, tender loving care. I’ve felt the benefits of massage,” you tell yourself. “I get massage when I feel stiff, or sore, or generally stressed out.”
“Of course,” you reason. “Massage will help my dog too.”
How to Massage My Older Dog is an instruction manual for learning to use massage in the care of our aging dogs at home.
The older dog is the dog that is mature. Although he may occasionally act like a puppy, he has moved past that predominant behavior. The older dog is more pensive, more careful, and more cautious in the way he moves and acts.
The massage that you will learn in How to Massage My Older Dog fulfills the specific needs of this select group of thoughtful dogs.
As our dogs get older, both chronologically and experientially, they show signs of a lifetime of wear and tear. Years of running and slipping, sliding and turning, jumping, landing, chasing, playing and pulling have all left their marks on our dogs’ bodies, minds and spirits, not to mention their muscles, joints, skin and coat.
Over the years, our dogs may have developed diseases that have been treated by veterinarians. Fleas, tics, broken bones and surgeries, each leave a slightly weakened body in its wake. Your dog may be currently experiencing compromised joints, poor circulation, and nervousness. While the massage form that you will learn in How to Massage My Older Dog will not cure any of these conditions, it will help your dog reestablish comfort and improve his overall quality of life.
When dogs have physical limitations due to injuries, diseases, and infirmities, their exercise activity is self-limited.
Older dogs need to be roused from their tendency toward lethargy and lack of movement. The massage that older dogs receive will increase circulation, increase skin, coat, and muscle tone, gently stretch the joints, increase respiration, and increase body awareness.
PetMassageTM works on the soft tissue, the fascia of the body. During every interaction, the fascia responds, affecting digestion, cardiovascular and lymphatic circulation, stimulating skin, nerves, fluids in joints, hormones and pheromones, even the energy that flows through acupressure points and meridians.
The intention of a PetMassageTM is to create an ambient environment within the dog's body and mind, where the animals natural tendencies toward homeostasis, health, wellness and balance, are supported. Providing this in the context of the practice of veterinary medicine is a return to the familiar. It is effective and nurturing. It is understandable and relatable. It is patient-centered. It is old-fashioned. PetMassageTM is, by definition, hands-on care.
As you practice Older Dog PetMassageTM and become proficient with the form, you will notice that each massage becomes a unique experience. Each experience is an opportunity for you to help your dog make a little shift internally. As your dog continues to process each tiny course correction, the benefits of massage continues to accrue.
The feel-good experience does not stop when the PetMassageTM ends. The increased respiration, increased lymphatic drainage, and increased cardio-vascular circulation all combine to promote positive, healthy change in the body.