Can your furry friend experience soreness after a massage?

When your pet experiences their first massage, soreness can occur. So how will you know if your pet is sore? (Image: Sandi Martinez)
When your pet experiences their first massage, soreness can occur. So how will you know if your pet is sore? (Image: Sandi Martinez)

 

by Sandi Martinez

[Contributors: Lisa Speaker and Jenny Rukavina-Marchese]

For humans, the benefits of massage outweigh the inevitable soreness that can sometimes occur post-massage. The advantage the massage therapist has over helping us humans to minimize the impact of soreness, is that they can recommend that we drink plenty of water, and do some gentle stretches. Hydration is key in order to assist our bodies to rid ourselves of the toxins that are naturally released during massage.

All Animal Massage practitioners provide a form in which the owner specifies all pertinent details about your furry friend. Questions about your dog’s health and wellness are included. If your dog falls within the eligibility parameters of massage, the practitioner then has the honor of building a relationship with your dog on a therapist/client basis.

When your pet experiences their first massage, soreness can occur. So how will you know if your pet is sore? You know your furry friend’s (this includes your horses!) habits well by now – the first thing you will notice is that your pet is less active, or when in a lying position, will rise more gingerly or slowly than usual. If you have stairs, your pet may climb them more slowly.  The therapist’s goal is to minimize this possibility of soreness; it is not unusual if your furry friend does experience this, due to the unaccustomed feeling of knotted muscles being relieved and newly positioned.

Asking in advance of the first massage what to expect post-massage is highly recommended, as all animals experience the benefits of massage differently. Sometimes the changes in movement are more subtle. In cases like these, touching base with the practitioner post-massage might be a good idea. After the initial massage, if soreness continues, the practitioner can ascertain with as much detail provided by the owner, how best to adjust and customize the massage to fit your animal companion’s special needs during future sessions.

Here are a few ways to help your dog with the soreness they may be feeling:

  • Take your dog for a slow, short walk, post-massage
  • Make another appointment within the same week for another session; this will maintain, and prep your dog’s muscles for continued muscle relaxation and dexterity
  • Make water easily and readily available for them to drink after their session
  • Cold laser therapy will help in the more tense and reactive areas, in which soreness can occur

The ultimate goal for the animal practitioner when massaging your pet for the first time is to use less pressure in combination with intuition, to guide their best and positive intentions that lead to an awesome experience – for their first time on the table!

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