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Massage for Dogs with Arthritis

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Massage for Dogs with Arthritis

Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation and pain of one or more joints. Although there are many different forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis or degenerative joint diseases is the form most of our older pets suffer from. Osteoarthritis is caused by daily wear and tear to joints, typically the weight-bearing joints such as the back, limbs, and pelvis. In early stages of osteoarthritis mild pain is felt during activities, but soon the pain can be continuous and even occur while in a state of rest. This pain can keep many of our pets from doing the activities they once loved, like playing ball or going on walks.

What are some signs of osteoarthritis?

  • Difficulty in getting up from a lying position
  • Difficulty in going up and down stairs
  • Unable to jump
  • Less mobile
  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fluid on the joint
  • Crepitus (creaking of the joint)
  • Loss of proprioception in limbs
  • General slowing down and stiffness

Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but we can prevent the condition from worsening and help our pets regain a more pain-free life. Canine massage and muscle therapy performed by a trained animal therapist is a great way to help ease the pain of arthritis.

Massage/muscle therapy can help dogs with osteoarthritis by:

  • Helping warm surrounding muscles making them more supple
  • Helping to relax stiff muscles/overcompensating muscle groups
  • Promoting good range of motion in joints
  • Improving mobility & flexibility
  • Reducing pain & inflammation
  • Improving circulation to affected areas
  • Relieving muscle tension
  • Breaking the cycle of tension and pain
  • Soothing the overcompensating limbs
  • Slowing the degeneration process, in some cases

PLEASE DO NOT just think your pet is just getting old and there is nothing to be done about it! I have had owners report seeing a bounce back in their dog’s step, more activity on walks, reduction in stiffness and a generally happier, more comfortable dog within just a few session of massage. The bottom line, massage and muscle therapy works for dogs with osteoarthritis!

Savannah Cheek, RVT, EM/MT, CCMT of Savi Pet Massage, LLC


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