How to Massage Your Dog’s Shoulders

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 46,070
    Canine Massage Therapist Patty Bianca demonstrates how to massage your dog’s shoulder area.

    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 and I am here with Whisky, showing you how to massage your dog. In this segment were going to work on the shoulder area. First were going to start of by going in the groove right in front of the shoulder. Were simply going to palpate that groove, and you will feel right in front of that shoulder bend, and you can see with Whiskys marking, its marked very clearly. Youre going to palpate up using either your fingers or your thumb, whichever is easy. Once light, down light, up moderate, down light, and up heavy, and when the heavy press, youre going to treat with the direct pressure, light for ten, moderate for 15 and heavy for 20. This time you wont be using the cross fiber friction. When you get to the top just gently brush your hand down. You want to try to keep your hands on your dog at all time to reassure her during the massage. Then were going to move up to the top of the shoulder area or the withers, and youre going to locate the spine area. Now, this is a slightly different move. Youre going to take your fingers like so, and put them on the opposite side of the spine where youre working, and just gently rock them back and forth. So, down light, up light, down moderate, up moderate, and down heavy and up heavy. This area were going to warm up good, because its a point of a great deal of tension, along with the neck. We will then take our hands and do percussion, but because this is a thin area that were working in, were going to make it almost like a chopping motion by holding our hand like this. So, youre going to percuss light, moderate, and heavy. This treats the trapezius muscle, which is located all up in here. Youre then going to go in, again, in the area between the spine and the shoulder blade or scapula, and give it some compressions; light and back, moderate and back, and heavy and back. Now that youve got it nice and warmed up youre going to take and use these zigzagging motion to locate any spasms, but were going to go in at a heavy pressure, and just little tiny zigzags, looking for not so reactive areas, and doing the direct pressure. Here we will use the cross fiber friction too. So, we finish that of with cross fiber friction. When were done locating all the spasms in that area, and typically theyre one or two, then we will go and give it some heavy compressions, up and down, and that treats that area. Now we can move down to the shoulder area, right in here, which will treat the deltoids and the triceps. We will start off with some -- Im going to, for purposes of this video, you can either use an open hand or you can use a back hand, because Im standing behind her, for demonstration purposes, Im going to use a back hand. Were going to give her some light back hand compressions; light down, and moderate down and up, and heavy down and up. Now, we will go down the triceps; light, moderate, heavy. Lets go down both of them to balance the area, heavy. Now, there is a groove in between these two muscle groups, and youre going to give that -- open that up; light, moderate, heavy. Now that its opened up, we can work on it and locate those spasms by palpating up light and down light, up moderate, down light, and up heavy. Then we can find those spasms on the heavy pass, treat it with direct pressure, each spasm gets treated. When we reach the top of that groove, we will close it off with heavy compressions, and then we will go back and close each side for balance with heavy compressions. This has been how to massage your dogs shoulder area. In our next segment were going to work on the dogs front of the chest.