Canine hip dysplasia is caused by abnormal formation of the hip joint. It results in strain and friction that causes inflammation and pain. Massaging a dog who has hip dysplasia may help with flexibility, assist in mobility, strengthen muscles, decrease pain, relieve soreness, relieve tension buildup, assist in pain relief and improve quality of life. At first, you will want to have the veterinarian or a massage therapist show you the proper massage technique.
Initiate the Massage
Begin your massage session by locating a flat surface for you dog to lie on comfortably. In a soothing voice, calmly explain that you are going to help him feel better. Gently pet your dog as normal all over his body. Next, focus on petting around and on the hip area. If your dog feels uncomfortable with light petting in the area, you should get your veterinarian or massage therapist's input before proceeding.
As you massage your dog in gentle circular movements, carefully begin to place pressure directly to the hip area while using the pads of your fingers. The amount of pressure should be gentle and your dog will let you know how much pressure he can handle by whimpering or crying if the pressure is too much. Do not use your fingertips or nails to massage your dog, use only your finger pads. Your dog should look relaxed and calm during the massage session. Be aware of your dog flinching, moaning or screeching in pain during the massage; if this behavior occurs, you must immediately stop and consult the veterinarian or the massage therapist you consulted to learn techniques before proceeding.
Gentle Massage With One Hand
Using one hand, gently massage your dog's hip area with light pressure in small circular motions, working your way on and around the area and down the leg. If your dog has hip dysplasia on both sides, dedicate about 30 minutes of a one-hour massage session per side. Always massage both sides the same amount of time to offer the benefits for each hip. Otherwise, your dog may begin to favor one side over the other.
Massaging With Two Hands
Many dogs enjoy receiving a massage and may even fall asleep during the process. If your dog loves massage time, he may enjoy the two-hand massage technique. Gently work both hands in a circular motion on the hip area and, if your dog likes it, the surrounding areas. Synchronize your circular motions on each side of the body, then reverse so the circular motions move in opposite directions.
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Baker Institute for Animal Health: Canine Hip Dysplasia
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Massage Therapist Says Rubbing Your Dog the Right Way Can Relieve Aches, Ease Stress
- Canine Massage Therapy Center: Hip Dysplasia
- Doctors Foster and Smith: Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention
- Cesar's Way: Hip and Joint Problems in Dogs
- American College of Veterinary Surgeons: Canine Hip Dysplasia
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