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Why You Should Pet Your Pet

By Stephanie Minturn

It is believed that touch is extremely important and abundantly beneficial among all living species. Our pups are definitely no exception and they often let us know when they want some affection and even where on the body they want that affection. Have you ever began patting a dog’s head and before you know it he’s on his back suggesting that his belly is a much better spot to rub? Dog’s listen to their bodies and they know what relaxes them just as we do as humans.

A good rub or massage can increase your dog’s circulation, decrease blood pressure, improve lymphatic fluid movement, strengthen his immune system, aid in digestion, reduce pain, improve mood, stimulate the kidneys and liver, and encourage deeper breathing.

So why wouldn’t you want to know more about how to “pet your pet?” After some careful research, I’ve found five fantastic tips on how to massage your pet while providing the greatest amount of relaxation and satisfaction!

  • First, remember to use gentle pressure in a slow, circular motion. You don’t need to massage deeply, just a light touch will do the trick. Keep your fingers together, forming a pad and to avoid using your fingertips. A soft touch using the palm of your hand will also pamper your pooch just right.
  • Start at their neck and work downward toward chest and front legs and paws. Then massage down the back and spine and down the back legs and tail area. This promotes a good lymphatic flow, reducing pain and swelling from arthritis or weak joints.
  • Massage your dog’s ears and face with a gentle, light touch. Don’t forget behind the ears, under the chin, and down the nose as long as he will allow this.
  • Add in some gentle stretching. Stretching out your dog’s legs is also good for muscle aches and pains. Always do it gently and do not put pressure on the joints. Your dog will pull away from you if he does not like it, giving you a que to stop.
  • Be sure to speak in a calm tone and choose a quiet environment. Praise your dog during the session. Five or ten minutes will suffice. Longer increments can actually worsen issues and create sore muscles rather than relieve them.

Remember, speak to your Vet if your dog seems to be in pain unrelieved with natural pain relief measures. Only massage gently, watching and listening to your dog’s response. Stop if he exhibits any signs of discomfort.

Stephanie, is a Registered Nurse and proud mother, of 4 whom has always loved animals and the purity and beauty they bring into the world. She enjoys researching current trends and evidence based practice in the pet industry and relating it to the healthcare industry for humans. She has passion in discovering new found knowledge with other pet owners like herself.

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