From woofs to wellness – the magic of massage for your pooch

If self-care is your love language, it is time that it translates to your pets as well. Take your pet’s wellness to the next level with massage therapy for your furry friend. Learn how you can easily do it at home and also know more about aromatherapy for dogs.


We all have our way of unwinding after a long stressful day and massages work wonders in relaxing your nerves. The same holds true for your pet as well. Make massage therapy a part of his overall wellness routine as it has a lot of benefits.

The art of pooch pampering with massage

  • Anxiety: A gentle massage can help relieve anxiety and stress in your pets. For the upcoming festive season like Diwali when there are a lot of firecrackers, your pet can feel distressed and restless and massage therapy works wonders to calm him.
  • Arthritis: Delicate, rhythmic strokes and gentle kneading can enhance the circulation to soothe aching muscles and joints. The subtle pressure applied by your hands prompts tissue contraction, fostering localized blood flow. It’s essential to exercise care and cease if your pet reacts adversely, such as flinching, moving away, nipping, or growling.
  • Pre-Activity: Much like human athletes, dogs can derive benefits from a pre-workout warm-up. A gentle massage invigorates circulation, augments the blood supply to joints, muscles, and nerves, and may even aid in averting injuries and mitigating post-workout soreness.
  • Post-Activity: Factors such as age, excessive exertion, extended periods of inactivity, and prior injuries can culminate in post-exercise stiffness and discomfort. Massage can offer respite from some of this distress, helping to alleviate these symptoms.

Work the magic of your fingers

Massaging your dog can be a wonderful way to bond with them and promote their overall well-being. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to massage your pet –

  • Choose a Calm Environment

Find a quiet and peaceful space where you and your pet can relax without distractions.

  • Comfort is of prime importance

Ensure your pet is comfortable and in a relaxed state of mind. You may want to pet them gently for a few minutes before starting the massage.

  • Go gentle

Start with gentle, light strokes to familiarize your pet with your touch. This helps build trust and relaxation. Pay attention to your pet’s body language. If they seem uncomfortable or show signs of stress,stop and try another time.

  • The right order of things

Start at the neck and shoulders, using gentle, circular motions with your fingertips. Gradually work your way down the spine. Continue massaging down the back and sides with light pressure. Avoid pressing too hard, especially over the spine. Gently massage each leg, paying attention to the joints and muscles. Be careful around sensitive areas like the paws and toes.

  • Belly rubs need to be complimentary

If you are a pet parent then you would know the importance of belly rubs and how happy they can make your furry friend. Be careful while doing belly rubs and massage. Approach this area slowly and observe your pet’s comfort level.

  • Tale of the tail

If your pet enjoys having their tail touched, you can gently massage the base of the tail with your fingertips.

  • Focus on the face and ears

Lightly massage your pet ears and face if they are comfortable with it. This can be very soothing for some pets.

  • Watch out for feedback

Pay close attention to your pet’s reactions. If he seems to enjoy the massage he will relax, close his eyes, and may even drift off to sleep. Your pet would be restless and would like to run away if he is feeling uncomfortable.

  • KISS – Keep it short and simple

Start with short sessions, around 5-10 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as your pet becomes more accustomed to massages.

You can use pet-friendly massage oil if desired, but make sure it’s safe for dogs and avoid scented oils.

  • Happy endings!

Finish the massage with a few gentle strokes and by praising your pet. Offer him a treat or some affection to create a positive association with the experience.

ABC of aromatherapy for your pooch

That feeling when you walk into a spa and the heavenly fragrance takes away half of your stress cannot be put into words. You can create a similar experience for your pet at home with amazing aromatherapy massages.

Aromatherapy for dogs entails the therapeutic use of essential oils to address both behavioral and physical issues. This practice involves skillfully blending specific oils to target particular healing objectives, ultimately enhancing a dog’s overall health and well-being. You can get in touch with your vet or a professional groomer to know which essential oil will work best based on your pet. Aromatherapy focuses on the brain’s limbic system, the control center for emotions and mood regulation.

Aromatherapy can help your pet in many ways –

  • Relaxing and calming the nerves
  • Reduces symptoms of separation anxiety
  • Pain relieving especially in joint problems like arthritis
  • Manages nervousness
  • Soothes minor skin irritations and rashes

It is advisable to apply essential oils directly to a dog’s coat, tailoring the application based on the specific condition. For concerns related to parasites, a comprehensive application to cover the entire body evenly may be necessary. Conversely, if the issue pertains to joint discomfort, it’s recommended to gently massage the oils into the regions surrounding the affected joints. To optimize the benefits of essential oils, it is preferable to apply them to areas with sparser fur. These areas typically include the belly, inner thighs, legs, or beneath the neck.

When choosing essential oils make sure you never compromise on quality and ask your vet for advice. You also need to keep in mind that some essential oils need to be diluted and each oil has a specific dilution ratio. Read the details given on the pack or consult your vet.

Here are some of the best essential oils with benefits that you can use for your furry friend –

  • Lavender Oil: Lavender is known for its calming and soothing properties. It can help dogs with anxiety, stress, and sleep issues.
  • Chamomile Oil: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and calming effects, making it suitable for soothing skin irritations and anxiety.
  • Frankincense Oil: Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties and may aid in joint pain relief. It can also have a calming effect on dogs.
  • Peppermint Oil (Diluted): Peppermint oil can be diluted and used for digestive issues or to repel insects. Ensure proper dilution to prevent skin irritation.
  • Cedarwood Oil (Diluted): Cedarwood oil is used to repel insects like ticks and fleas. It should be diluted and used with caution.
  • Cardamom Oil (Diluted): Cardamom can assist with digestive issues in dogs when properly diluted and administered.
  • Eucalyptus Oil (Diluted): Diluted eucalyptus oil can help with respiratory issues and repel ticks and fleas. Make sure it’s well-diluted to avoid toxicity.

Whatever kind of massage therapy you opt for your pet, make sure it is like a bonding ‘me time’ for the both of you. Set the mood with some calming ambient music, cozying up the place with dim lights or non-toxic candles, and just you and your pooch!