How to Massage Your Dog’s Head and Neck

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 80,599
    Canine Massage Therapist Patty Bianca demonstrates how to massage your dog’s neck and head.

    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, I am Petty Bianca and this is my assistant Whiskey. We are here showing you how to massage your dog, and in this segment we are going to start off with the first action of the sequence, which works on the Scutellaris muscle in the head, the Brachio-Cephalicus muscle that runs along here and the Sternum -Mastoideus that runs down here. We are going to start off very easily by applying pressure with our two fingers right behind the dogs ears and asking her to lower her head for about 8 seconds. For purposes of video I am using bribes, well let her finish that. Then youll cup your hand under the chin and give her head a nice little stretch for 8 seconds again, and then again well go back and ask her to lower her head. This helps her relax and stretches out some of those Sternum -Mastoideus and relaxes the Scutellaris.

    That being done, we are going then move to this area behind the ear and just palpate with a thumb, up at a moderate pressure looking for any muscle spasms that we come across. If we find one, which you will know by either feeling a knot or a reaction from your dog, then go in and dont treat her with direct pressure. Again, light for 10, moderate for 15 and heavy for 20 seconds, remembering the back at to zero in between levels, that being done, you move on to the top line. The top line is located about inch over, starting at the cervical spine and going all the way down and you can use your thumb or your fingers just to palpate and run along that area, one time at light pressure, one time at medium pressure and one time at heavy pressure, this stimulates the spinal column. Now we are going to move on to the neck, and as I discussed in the hand strokes, we are going to start off by jostling the neck just to warm up the Brachio-Cephalicus. You start off just by gently cupping at a light pressure and back, moderate pressure and back and heavy pressure, and on the heavy pass, you are going to be using your thumb, looking for any reactive areas or spasms and treating with direct pressure. For the purposes of this video to keep it moving along quickly, I am not going to treat every spasm, but I am going to tell you when you should be looking for them and treating them.

    So on the heavy pass, once you get up to the head, after you have located and treated all your spasms, then youll brush down to the bottom and then you will take your hand and just take your thumb and line and loop very gently up, taking with it all that tension. Once youre up here, we can start working on the line in between the Brachio-Cephalicus and the Sternum Mastoideus, but we are going to be very careful not to do anything directly over top of the cervical spine, just to prevent any possible injuries. Okay, we are going to start off. We are up here, we are going to start off going down here to the base of the neck and applying compression at a light pressure up and back, moderate up and back, and heavy up and back. Once thats done you can begin to palpate that area, light and down light, moderate and down light, up heavy, and on the heavy pass we will be looking for any spasms you come across and treating with direct pressure and cross fiber friction. Once we are done treating all the spots and we are up here, youll give a compression down, heavy, going over the areas a couple of times that you have treated, going over the areas youve treated once or twice. This has been how to massage your dogs head and neck and in our next segment we are going to move on to massaging the shoulder area.