How to Massage Behind Your Dog’s Shoulders and Forelegs

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 27,226
    Canine Massage Therapist Patty Bianca demonstrates how to massage your dog’s shoulders and forelegs.

    Patty Bianca

    Patty is an equine sports massage therapist and canine massage therapist trained and certified by Equissage,the internationally renowned leader in equine sports massage. She has also attained the level of Reiki Master in the Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho method of natural healing. After many years of perfecting her techniques on a volunteer basis, Patty opened Natural Relief for Horse & Hound, LLC, in late 2006, offering massage and energy work to animals throughout Central Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania. She is an active member of the International Association of Reiki Practitioners, the International Association of Animal Massage Therapists and the International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork, and her practice is fully insured. Growing up in a household where rescued animals were constantly present, Patty learned early how to care for and communicate effectively with animals of all kinds. She has since been involved with many rescue and animal advocacy organizations, including the Chesapeake Bulldog Club of Greater Baltimore, Justice for Dogs, New Life Equine Rescue in New Windsor, Maryland, and Tranquility Farm Equestrian Education and Renewal Center in Thurmont, Maryland. She and her husband authored a booklet on dog ownership entitled “Mom! Dad! Can We Get a Dog?” which was featured on “Live with Don Scott and Marty Bass” on ABC Television, and Patty has published many articles in local periodicals on animals and animal care.

    Hi, this is Patty Bianca of Natural Relief for Horse & Hound, and this is my assistant, Whisky. Were showing you how to massage your dog. In this segment we will focus on the area behind the shoulder, the back of the chest and the foreleg. This will treat the muscle called the Latissimus Dorsi, which is on the trunk here. The Posterior Pectoralis muscles, and the Extensor Carpi Radialis which is right here on the foreleg. Were going to start off right here, directly behind the shoulder blade. What were going to do is to start about an inch over from the spine, and give either open hand, or in this case Im going to use back hand compressions; down light, up light, down moderate, and back, and down heavy and back, and that effectively warms up that area. Now we will go and were going to probe this muscle, and how we do that is we use our fingers and we press in at a moderate pressure, and then lift it up and just gently probe down the muscle, every one or two inches, depending on the size of your dog. Now, probe back up at moderate pressure. When we get back up to this area, were going to start off with the area right behind the shoulder blade, and were going to warm it up by giving compressions for the probe. You can use your open hand or for my purposes Im going to use the back of my hand. So, were going to compress down at light pressure, up and light, down moderate, up moderate, and down heavy, and up heavy. Now, were going to further warm up the muscle and begin to look for any reactive spots by probing. In this youre just going to use your fingers, and at moderate pressure just probe the muscle down every one or two inches, depending on the size of your dog, and probe back up, moderate. When you get to the top you can begin treating. This is a very important part, and we recommend whether there is a muscle or a muscle spasm or not, that you treat this area with direct pressure each time you massage your dog. Go down, and look for additional spasms at a heavy pressure. When you finish that, you can take your hand, and give it a heavy compressions up and down to further relax or close that muscle. Now, were going to move into the area behind the elbow. I see a lot of tension here in the dogs that I treat. Were going to do some back hand compressions, pushing in, first at light, then at moderate, and then at heavy, and down. Then were going to take the tips of our fingers and palpate using them, running up light, down light, up moderate, down light, and up heavy. When that heavy pass, once again youre going to treat with direct pressure, going straight in there; light for ten, moderate for 15, heavy for 20. When you get to the top you will just compress heavy down to close off that area. Then we go down to a tickle spot located just under the elbow, right in here, just a little square of an area. Were going to open that up with compressions, just three twist, one, two, three, light, three twist at moderate, and three twist at heavy. Then were going draw series of three lines, starting from where the elbow stops over to where the ribs begin; light, light, light, moderate, moderate, moderate, and heavy, treating with direct pressure, heavy, treating with direct pressure and heavy, treating with direct pressure. When were done we do three heavy compressions right in there. Now, I move on to the Posterior Pectoralis, which is this muscle right in here. Were going start off and warm up the muscle with some open handed compressions, much like we did in the front of the chest area, or the anterior pectoralis. So, we go up light, moderate and back, and heavy and back. Then were going to use the cat paw to locate any spasms, but first were going to cat pawl up and back light, right in the middle there, moderate and heavy. When the heavy pass, you will look for and treat those spasms with direct pressure, and when you get to the top, give it some heavy compression, and that closes off that area. Now, we can move down to the foreleg. In the front here is the Extensor Carpi Radialis, which we will just compress three times, and then we will go in those little areas, in between the muscles, palpating light, moderate, and moderate. Then we will just take our hands or fingers and separate this muscle three times, and then brush down to the toes. That finishes this quarter of the dog. This has been how to massage behind the shoulder area and forearm of your dog. In our next segment we will move on to the good part, the back.