What is stress?
Stress, as we generally know it, is a state in which an organism reacts to an internal threat and focuses its energies on coping with a dangerous situation. There's two kinds of stress: Eustress (good) and Distress (bad). Where there's distress, the result is there's no longer balance in the body.
What are some causes stress and fear?
- Influential periods as a puppy
- Fear - response to a specific trigger
- Separation anxiety
- Strenuous exercise/work
- Fight, flight or freeze response
- Increase in heart rate, blood pressure, release of cortisol
- Environmental factors - temperature extremes/humidity/surfaces
- Life stages - growing pains/ geriatric conditions
What are signs of physiological stress?
- Tense muscles
- Teeth chattering
- Penis crowning
- Appetite loss
- Cheek puffing
- Bad breath/body odor
- Whining/howling/dry panting
- Compulsive behavior/circling/leash biting/pacing
- Destructive behavior
- Pain and disease
- Poor concentration
- Poor coat
- Staring/glazing/dilated pupils
- Displacement behavior
- Excessive salivation
- Tucked tail/low posture
- Panting/fast shallow breathing
- Sweaty paw
What are some signs of physical stress?
- Refusing to go upstairs
- Saliva stains on body
- Refusing to sit or lay
- Target touch sensitive
- Refusing to pick up a toy
- Inability to sleep
- Stops/sits during walks
- Hair loss
- Incorrect posture
- Braced legs
- Shifting weight when sitting
- Coprophagy (eating feces)
- Shallow breathing
- Crabbing to one side
- Reaching or hunching
- Tail down/stiff
- Head bob caused by pain, illness, or imbalance
What massage techniques are used?
- Passive Touch
Are There Contraindications of Massage?
There are contraindications and special considerations of massage. A Contraindication is a symptom or condition for which a certain remedy or treatment is not advised. Some contraindications include:
DISCLAIMER: Canine Massage is NOT a replacement for veterinary care! Any illness or injury your pet may have must be assessed by a veterinarian before receiving any form of massage therapy.
- When dog is in shock - Get to vet immediately!
- Open lesions or sores - Disease can spread to any open wounds.
- Infectious Disease
- Skin Conditions -Some dermatological conditions can be aggravated by massage.
- Broken bones that aren't fully healed
- Circulation Problems
- Pregnancy - Massage should not be applied directly over the abdomen or lower back where the puppies could be disturbed and labor triggered prematurely.
- Acute inflammation - heat, redness, swelling
- Neuropathy - Nerve pain
- Pain medications - Reduces sensations where a dog cannot give feedback if a therapist inadvertently presses hard enough to cause bruising or nerve damage.
- Heart Condition - The increased circulation from massage will cause the heart work harder.
- Cancer - Massage will increase the flow of lymph fluid, possibly increasing the rate cancer cells spread.
- Diabetes - Deep massage will increase circulation which will increase the rate that insulin and glucagon are exchanged, resulting in major blood sugar level fluctuations.
- Epilepsy - Deep massage will impact the circulation and nervous system to the extent that an epileptic seizure may be triggered.
- Fever - Massage will increase an already accelerated blood circulation. The immune system may not be able to regulate body temperature, and the infection could spread deeper in the body.
I am not a veterinarian. I do not diagnose, treat or prescribe.
Massage is not a replacement for proper veterinary care, nor will it cure diseases.
Massage will help to provide overall wellness and balance for your pet.