Pet Dogs

Pet dogs accrue muscle injury too. Repetitive micro trauma to the muscle is commonly caused by seemingly harmless Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) like:

– Jumping on/off sofa
– Ball chasing
– Pulling on a lead
– Slipping on laminate/wooden/tiled floor
– Body slamming/checking with other dogs
– Jumping in/out car
– Not warming up before a walk
– Sleeping in a curved plastic bed
– Incorrect feeding height
– Persistent standing on back legs

How many of those did you tick off in your head that your dog does?

Any activity that is performed repetitively will cause, as its name suggests, Repetitive Strain Injury. When RSI is involved microtrauma to the muscle is accrued on a subtle consistent level over time. This causes the formation of fibrous, rung like scar tissue most commonly to be found around the lumbar muscles of the dog. When these muscles become traumatised they will mechanically pull corresponding bone out of place as the lines of tension on the tendon become extreme. Secondary muscle tension then surrounds the area until a habitual cycle forms as adjacent fibres work overtime to make up for the dysfunction.

Now, muscular pain can be subtle and often creeps up our dogs so you should look for signs of muscular pain in your dog such as:

– Struggling or slowing down on walks
– Seeming old before their time
– Not wanting to play with other dogs
– Twitches in skin
– Nibbling or biting an area e.g. flank
– Grumpy with other dogs
– Finding it difficult to go up and down stairs
– Difficulty getting on sofa
– Change in posture or gait
– Incidences of lameness or limping
– Spending more time sleeping
– Not wanting to petted/groomed/examined in an area

They are all common signs of muscular pain or discomfort which, when addressed with canine massage therapy, can be resolved, improved or managed. Massage therapy does this by addressing issues such as strains, trigger points and myofascial pain held in specific areas of the dog’s body often as patterns of habitual muscular tension resulting from previously undetected injury or due to protective muscular splinting as a result of an orthopaedic condition.

Of course any dog can also have an acute injury; that is one where a sudden trauma is involved such as a slip, fall or accident. In these incidences the dog will often, but not always, exhibit clinical lameness commonly categorised into:

– Regional
– Complementary
– Swinging leg
– Weight bearing
– Three legged

Canine massage with a Canine Massage Guild Member is the perfect therapy for dogs who:

– Exhibit any of the aforementioned signs of muscular pain
– Have ‘inconclusive’ X Rays or MRI Scans
– Don’t respond to anti inflammatory medication
– Have periods of intermittent or episodic lameness which don’t seem to be resolved
– Don’t seem to be getting anywhere with other modalities
– Are non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) intolerant

It is also a results driven therapy so for owners who are looking to treat their dog as naturally as possible then canine massage therapy should be the primary port of call for dealing with aches, pains, injury and signs of ageing.

After massage therapy owners often report:

– A happier, more comfortable dog
– Resolved or reduced lameness
– Significantly improved mobility
– Reduced or resolved pain
– Improved behaviour and mood
– Better range of movement
– Reduced irritability
– A ‘younger’ dog
– Enjoying walks again/going on longer walks
– Able to do things they once did e.g. get on sofa or in car
– Asking for fuss/petting
– Improved gait, posture and flexibility
– Willing to be groomed/examined

Find your dog’s registered, fully trained therapist here