This step by step process teaches you how to give your dog a lower body massage, starting from his neck, down to his toes.
1. Begin with a neck rub. This move releases a lot of tension in that area. Slide your hand down to the back of his neck. It is easier for you to find the muscles there because the skin around that area is much looser. Using your fingers, gently rub the muscles up the back and sides of his neck, and make sure that you are not putting pressure on the dog’s windpipe.
2. Move your hands to his back. With both hands, gently press down on both sides of his spine (not directly on the spine). Do this for about a minute, then rub your palms along his sides for another minute.
3. Next, walk your fingers in an up and down motion on both sides of his spine, followed by several long and gentle (yet firm) strokes.
4. Help him lie down on his side. With gentle pressure, slide your hands down the top portion of his legs about five times. Then, hold onto each of the upper legs and give them a good, gentle squeeze for 10 seconds for each leg. Next, with your fingers, rub his leg tendons.
5. Lift up his foot (one at a time) and rub on and around his nails and paw pads in a small, circular motion.
6. Carefully flex and straighten each of your dog’s leg joints several times. If he is suffering from a bone or joint problem such as hip dysplasia, steer away from those affected areas that can be very painful to the touch. If he suddenly screams, yelps, or jolts, then you know you have touched a sensitive area. You need to calm him first, maybe give him a hug and a pet, before you can continue with the massage. Remember the sensitive spot so you won’t make the same mistake in the future.
7. Now, turn your dog on his other side and repeat the same process with the other two legs.
8. The final step is to give him long, gentle strokes, from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. Do this several times.
Your dog has probably fallen asleep by now. If so, then you did a great job. If he is not sleeping, then he is probably very calm and relaxed.