Giving Goldens A Grin with Canine Massage 

by Maria K. Duthie animal massage practitioner

Dogs of all ages and breeds can benefit from massage.  The canine body is made up of nearly six hundred muscles.  These muscles are working all the time even when our friends are curled up on the couch.  Dogs can be very hard on their bodies therefore it is no surprise that they, like us, become stiff and soar.  Massage is an excellent way to release the tension.

Our dogs learn to adapt and use their bodies even though they have soft tissue aches and pains.  Functional disabilities can occur in a number of ways and often they can happen without us knowing when or how.  The initial pain can be caused in several ways, either physical trauma, emotional trauma, or trauma caused by repetitive motion. Repeating an activity several times such as jumping or holding the head in one direction causes the body to be stressed in those areas.  This in turn forces other muscles to work harder to compensate.  This creates a cycle of soft tissue stress.  The tightness will cause the body to retain metabolic wastes that normal circulation removes.  As the problem progresses range of motion can become limited. Bodywork can help relieve this stress and strain and in general it promotes health and wellness. 

Some of the benefits of massage are:

  • relieves muscle pain and stiffness

  • increase circulation

  • aid in chiropractic adjustments

  • increase range of motion

  • reduce mental and physical fatigue

  • provide relief for hip displacia and arthritis

  • aid in post-op recovery

  • warm muscles prior to use

  • provide positive touch for rescue dogs

 It is also an excellent bonding tool for the young or rescue dog .It is an excellent early detection method.  Massage allows you to feel new bumps and lumps that can be overlooked.

Throughout the years I have worked on several Golden Retrievers.  Each one has come to me with a different goal.  The best part about my job is getting the opportunity to know these dogs.  They allow me into their body to help them and I feel honored to have that chance.  I would like to tell you about a few of the special dogs I have been able to meet.

Syd Is a five year old Golden with severe hip displacia.  He was having trouble on the stairs and on his walks.  When he stated coming to me he was very tender to the touch as well as being very stiff.  After his massage he was able to move more freely and became less tender.  With regular massage the muscles around his hips will strengthen. 

Taya is an eight-year-old who has not been able to bend her knees sense an attack several years ago.  She was very tender in her back and the muscles controlling her knees were very tight.  Her neck and shoulders were tight as a result of the extra stress placed on them.  In general her appearance was one of pain and stiffness.  The first visit lasted an hour in which she had several releases.  That week she began bending her knees and even jumped on the bed.  When I saw her the next time she was a much more relaxed and freely moving dog. 

Hooter came to me days before his owner had planned to put him down.  She did not want to see him living in pain.  He was having trouble getting up and did not feel like doing much of anything.  His first session went well.  His back was rigid and raised.  The muscle tone in his hind end was greatly decreased.  He also had spasms in his shoulders.  The next time I saw him he was much happier.  His owner is now looking forward to many more happy walks. 

The changes I see in the dogs are always exciting.  I really enjoy being able to give back to an animal that gives us so much.  Each improvement comes from a joint effort between the dog, the owner, their vet, and myself.  Animal massage has given several dogs a new leash on life.  For more information please call 1- 330-721-4640 or visit     

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