How to Massage Your Dog’s Back and Ribs

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 36,440
    Canine Massage Therapist Patty Bianca demonstrates how to massage your dog’s back and ribs.

    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.

    Patty Bianca: Hi! This is Patty Bianca of Natural Relief for Horse & Hound and this is my dog Whisky and we are teaching you how to massage your dog. And in this segment we are focus on the back and the ribs. This will treat the Latissimus Dorsi, the Longissimus Dorsi, the Obliques and a muscle right here in front of the thigh called the Sartorius. We will start off by once again palpating that top line starting behind the shoulder this time; one pass at moderate pressure all the way down to the tail. Now, we are going to go back up to the shoulder area and we are going to apply some percussion remembering to keep our hand nice and loose and bouncy and light, fingers loose, you dont want to beat up your dog; and we are going to stop short about a hand width from the hips. Thats the kidney area; that area is delicate and should never be percussed over. So we are going to start with light percussion -- and back, moderate percussion, and back, and heavy percussion and back. And now we are going to apply a back rub. Six passes using lots of friction, so watch the fur fly; one, two, three, four, five, six. Now we can start with some lovely little light circles at light pressure, large and light to help gently warm up this area and relax the dog and go down and up at light pressure with large circles. And then we can do medium size circles at a moderate pressure - and back, and then heavy and small circles -- and you can see Whisky loves this and that she is getting very relaxed. Now that she is nice and relaxed and the muscle is too, we can begin looking for those nasty muscle spasms by using a zigzagging motion with the tips of our fingers at a heavy pressure. And when we find one -- typically you might find between two and four on the back of the dog. We are going to apply direct pressure; light for 10, moderate for 15, heavy for 20. Going on and locating and treating any additional spasms to the end, and then when we get to the kidney area, we are going to use the sweating technique since that is nice gentle motion, you simply put your hand there and hold it for 20 seconds, its that easy. And then we finish off the area, moving up away from those kidneys again with some heavy loose percussion, up and back, stopping again at those kidneys. Now we can move on to the ribs. We will start about an inch over from the spine and palpate down in between the area in between each rib done, moving over every inch or so depending on your dogs size and look for those spasms. You never percuss by the way over the ribs; you dont need to. When you find a spasm, you treat with direct pressure, and then close that area off by sliding up about an inch and then down and through. You are going to just simply continue doing this all the way to the area in front of the thigh here, which is the flank, and that treats the ribs. This has been how to massage your dogs back and ribs, and in our next segment we are going to focus on the stomach and hip area.