An Increase In Blood Flow To Metabolically Active Tissue The Benefits of Massage For Animals

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The Benefits of Massage For Animals

Animal massage can benefit all animals, from companion pets like cats and dogs to horses and livestock and zoo animals. The benefits of massage for animals mirror those for people, including reducing stress and improving circulation.

For many, pet massage seems like a luxury only for pampered pets. However, many dogs receive massage to recover from surgery or injury, and athletes such as racehorses or agility dogs receive sports massage to improve performance. Service dogs and dogs used in police or military service have high-stress jobs where a massage can mean the difference between early retirement and longer on the job.

Many studies have been conducted to verify the benefits of massage. For example, massage has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase appetite, and reduce arthritis pain and discomfort.

For those with older dogs and cats, animal massage therapy provides another tool to manage age-related conditions and help improve their pet’s quality of life. Pet health care has moved beyond the age of grocery store dog food and once-a-year vaccinations. Today, pet health supplies include vitamins, specialty foods and treats, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and chiropractic, and yes, pet massage therapy.

For many years the focus of animal massage was the horse, especially racing and show horses. The benefits of massage for horses are well known among horse owners. Massage certification has been offered in equine massage therapy for many years, but more recently the focus has shifted to pet massage certification. With literally billions of dollars flowing into the pet care industry and pets living longer and more active lives, pet massage therapy is now being offered in veterinary clinics, grooming salons and doggy daycare establishments across the country.

One of the benefits of massage for the mentioned animals is to improve blood circulation. Better circulation can contribute to improved digestion and improved metabolism, a tremendous benefit for the large number of pets suffering from obesity and gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, improved circulation can slow the degenerative process of arthritis and improve energy levels in older pets. Good circulation means better immune system function, helping reduce the risk of infection or illness, and aid in faster recovery from injury or illness. Good blood flow also contributes to recovery after surgery.

Two of the most common conditions afflicting our canine population today are hip dysplasia and soft tissue injuries to the knee such as an ACL tear (tear or strain of the anterior cruciate ligament in the stifle joint). Both are usually repaired surgically and, especially in the case of ACL tears, there is a high rate of arthritis recurrence and development after surgery. Pet massage therapy can play an important role in optimal and rapid recovery from such surgeries and can play a role in reducing the risk of re-injury. Confinement after surgery causes boredom and restlessness in many animals and impairs the health of the immune system, which depends on activity for optimal health. Animal massage can be used to reduce boredom, reduce stress, and promote relaxation for dogs and cats during confinement.

Equine massage therapy has a long history in the United States and abroad. For racehorses, massage can reduce recovery time between races and reduce the incidence of injury due to improved flexibility of soft tissues. For investors, time for recovery or lay-up due to injury is costly and can dramatically shorten a horse’s career. In this case, the benefits of massage for animals are not only physical and psychological, but also financial.

Even exotic species and wild animals have experienced the benefits of animal massage therapy under the skilled hands of a specialized animal massage therapist. The benefits of massage for zoo animals fall into three categories: training, conservation, and health. Veterinary staff can use massage to reduce the time an exotic species spends in the hospital after surgery or illness, an important factor in the success of the animal’s return to the wild or exhibit. Specific massage techniques can be used to improve the production and movement of lymphatic fluid and aid in the metabolism of anesthesia and related medications.

When food rewards are not safe or effective, animal trainers can use specific massage techniques as reinforcement for the behavior. Massage can improve nerve function and brain function, making training easier. Enrichment involves providing captive animals with activities that stimulate them physically and mentally and improve their quality of life. Studies show that zoo conservation programs can contribute to the longevity of individual animals and reduce safety concerns for animals that may become aggressive due to stress or boredom. Massage can be a valuable tool in conservation programs for many species.

After all, the benefits of massage for animals are as numerous and varied as those for people. Over the last decade more and more people have added massage to their own health care regimen and have found it to be of great benefit. Many of these people have seen the power of massage to add quality and time to the lives of their beloved pets. Considering all that animals contribute to our lives through companionship, play and service; A massage now and then serves as a powerful sign of gratitude.

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