Using Massage to Check Your Pet’s Well-Being
- by Daisy Mae Delray, columnist and registered seizure alert dog
Everybody loves a massage. We pets do too. Giving a massage is a time for both owner and pet to bond, spend some soothing time together, and at the same time do a mini-diagnostic checkup.
For your basic massage there are a number of good books and videos to follow. This example from the American Animal Hospital Association is a good start.
Puppy Dog Tales
A diagnostic massage is a simple technique every pet owner can do. It simply means feeling all over your pet’s body with a light touch, noticing any parasites, warmth, coolness, sores, swellings, tumors, discharge; anything out of the ordinary or anything your pet seems sensitive to. If done on a weekly basis, your hands and eyes will know when something has changed that you need to pay attention to or to seek veterinary help with.
This is a suggested guideline of how you can do this type of massage. You can do this in any order you and your pet prefer.
●Start by touching your pet’s head with both hands and run hands down your pet’s cheeks and mouth.
●Look into their eyes and mouth, sniff for any off odors, look for marks, discoloration, chipped or dirty teeth.
●Feel around ears for lumps, hair mats, and other abnormalities. Look and sniff in the ear.
●From ears, move hands down their necks to the throat. Check for abnormalities, tenderness.
●From the throat move your hands down their chest, shoulders and front legs. Flex the legs, check the feet.
●Move your hands from the feet and down the back, sides and stomach, feeling for warmth, coolness, or anything unusual.
●Check rear legs and feet the same way you did the front.
●Feel and look at the rear area, around and under the tail and underbelly. Look for parasites, discharges and sniff for off odors.
Keep a journal of what seems different. You can use this with the vet. Be sure to check weight periodically. Watch your pet walk, both towards you and away, looking for stiffness, pain, or abnormal gait. Don’t forget to monitor stool production and consistency, and urination habits and flow.
You are using your eyes, your hands, and your nose to imprint a baseline impression of your pet’s body. Once you have done this a number of times you will notice something that is off normal.
Keep your tail high and your feet dry!
Love, Daisy Mae