By Patty Dobson
As pups age, many of them begin to experience its inevitable effects. Through wear and tear, overuse, disease, injury, surgery or congenital factors, they face mobility loss, limited range of motion, pain, and arthritis, to name a few. With seemingly no relief in sight, an ever increasing body of evidence points toward the benefits of non-invasive, alternative therapies, like massage and physical therapy, offering pups and hoomans hope and improving their quality of life, in the form of physical and psychological relief and benefits.
Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft and deep connective tissues, such as skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, through applied pressure, rubbing and manipulation.
If you’ve ever received a massage, you’re familiar with its many benefits, from reducing pain and discomfort to feeling calmer, more relaxed and rejuvenated. With our CEO, senior pup Pork Chop, we get to witness firsthand the effects of weekly massage therapy on an aging pup with limited mobility and spinal issues, and they’re incredible. A calmer, happier, more relaxed pup with greater mobility, less aches and pains, and continued sensation in the legs he can no longer use. But, the benefits of massage go beyond easing aches and pains. And the very same benefits can be enjoyed by your pup.
So what are the benefits of doggie massage for senior pups? There are a myriad of benefits, but ultimately, massage can improve and increase your pup’s overall well-being. Curious about specific benefits? Let’s get to some of them!
- Increases blood flow and circulation.
- Exercises, stretches and bring circulation to weak, tight, under or overused, and/or atrophied muscles.
- Reduces pain, stiffness, and discomfort in inflamed, tight, and overused muscles and joints.
- Enhances lymph circulation and drainage, removing waste and toxins, bringing oxygen and nutrients into cells.
- Boosts immune system.
- Improves muscle tone, flexibility and range of motion.
- Supports healing from injury or surgery.
- Improves spinal and bodily alignment.
- Reduces stress hormone cortisol, lowering blood pressure.
- Reduces anxiety and stress.
- Increases energy, concentration, and attention.
- Slows degeneration.
- Promotes relaxation and a sense of ease.
- Can stimulate the release of beneficial neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, naturally occurring chemicals in your brain and found throughout our bodies; dopamine, which is associated with pleasure centers in the brain, regulates and affects movement, emotional responses, and motivation, while serotonin regulates mood, memory, and emotional well-being. This results in a boost in mood and enhanced emotional well-being.
Relieving, restorative and rehabilitative, massage therapy can keep our aging best friend healthy and happy, not just physically, but emotionally and physiologically, improving their overall health, sense of well-being and quality of life. Like with any therapy, regularity is key in maintaining and optimizing its benefits. Before beginning any alternative therapy, it’s important to speak with your vet about any concerns or contraindications. Once you’ve received the green light from your vet, considering its benefits and life enhancing effects, massage therapy makes an excellent addition to a senior or recovering pup’s care.