Thoughts From A Canine Massage Therapist
When I tell people what I do for a living, I am met with a variety of responses – excitement, acceptance, laughter, shock…Many people still have no experience with canine massage and have no idea that it is a “real” profession.
Animal massage has been around since very early times. I think most people are more familiar with equine massage due to horse racing. But dog massage? C’mon… The fact is, dogs are living much longer lives these days. Advances in surgeries, better medicines, advances in veterinary approaches and knowledge, and more folks trying alternative therapies have all led to our companions living longer, healthier lives. Animal massage is just one more aspect of helping our pets live longer, more comfortable, and higher quality lives.
Here are a few facts about canine massage:
To become a certified canine massage therapist takes training. I went to school and learned about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and all sorts of other body related subjects. I am always seeking to learn more about our companion animals – specific illnesses that affect them, how nutrition affects our pets, and other healing modalities that complement my work.
There is a national board exam animal massage therapists take. Although not required at this time, in my opinion it is important that canine massage therapists be held to a high standard. After all, we are dealing with a living being.
A canine massage therapist is different from a human massage therapist (LMT). While we both have similar muscles, the anatomy of a four-legged animal (quadruped) is different from a two-legged human (biped). I would never assume that because I am a small animal massage therapist I could therefore be a human massage therapist (that is, without further training in human anatomy). It goes both ways.
People often say to me, “I massage my dog/cat at home, why should I bring her to you?” Massaging your pet at home is great! There is no doubt you are not only bonding with your pet, but also helping him/her to feel better.
However, my education and experience have given me knowledge and understanding of many conditions that can affect our companion animals. I feel for tightness, sore areas, disharmonies, and other issues that the pet’s body may be indicating as problem areas.
My hope is that more and more people understand why massage can help their pet live a longer, healthier life. For those of us who understand the benefits of massage for ourselves and notice a difference in how we feel following a massage, please know – this also is true for your pet!
Thanks for taking the time to read this!