Does Massage Help Anxious Dogs? (Explained)


When a dog gets anxious, there’s a high chance that it becomes very aggressive, even to its owners.

And I bet this isn’t something you want for your dog.

Fortunately, there are reliable ways to help anxious pets, including dogs. And massage therapy has proven to be among the best effective ways.

So does massage help anxious dogs?

Yes, it does! Giving an anxious dog a nice massage will help to relax or calm it down. Just as massage helps reduce anxiety in humans, it also works wonders for pets, including dogs. For example, anxiety could make a dog’s muscles tense. But with massage therapy, such tension will be alleviated!

Also Read: Can Dogs Feel Massages? 5 Benefits Explained

How Do You Massage A Dog With Anxiety?

Giving a dog a massage is different from when you are giving a person a massage. Doing it the same way may be too rough for the animals. 

Hence, using massage technique gently will help make your pet feel comfortable. Below are 6 tips to follow when massaging an anxious dog:

  1. Ensure that the dog is in a relaxed, submissive state before starting the massage session. Do this by going for a walk with your dog. That way, it will feel more comfortable and less fearful.
  1. Begin the massage session by gently petting your dog. As you start massaging your dog, talk to him in a calm voice so he would stay relaxed.
  1. Your dog’s neck should be massaged in a circular motion. Once again, ensure the pressure is gentle so he stays comfortable.
  1. Extend your massage toward the shoulders of your dog. Its apparent dogs can’t reach this part of their body. Therefore, massage here for a longer time than usual to make it much more enjoyable for him.
  1. Massage your dog’s chest, all the way down to its front legs. If you notice that your dog feels uncomfortable with leg massage, move to another area of his body and see if he like it. Also, check out if he like his paws to be massaged too.
  1. Use a circular motion to massage your dog’s back. Ensure you go up and down on both sides of his spine. Do this gently until you reach his hind legs and tail base. Once you’re done, your dog will be stressed-free and calm.
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Where Do You Massage A Dog For Stress?

As you massage your dog, ensure to pay attention to his tension points. These points vary from dog to dog. And it’s dependent on where they hold their stress and how active the animals are.

Below are some spots to focus on when massaging a dog:

  • Head and Neck: A dog head has various pressure points. Hence it’s a good idea to massage your dog’s head and neck in a circular manner to alleviate these pressure points.
  • Back and Spine: Massage your dog’s Spine, and shoulders blades will help to ease him of digestive and stomach issues
  • Front and Back Legs: One way to improve a dog’s general well-being and alleviate stiffness or soreness is by massing his front and back legs. Ensure you massage your dog’s knees and close areas in a gentle manner. I bet this will help your dog to feel better. 
  • Paws and Toes: it’s most likely a dog is uncomfortable when he squeezes his paws and toes. Ensuring you gently and adequately massaging the points between your dog’s paws or toes will alleviate pains in those areas.

Research shows that massaging dogs suffering from anxiousness or past trauma with the various tips mentioned above can help them feel better!

Tips To Remember

Here are essential tips for sticking to when massaging your dog: 

  • Ensure you’re gentle, and also check in with your dog to see if they feel comfy
  • Ensure you are strategic when massaging your dog. Make sure you use circular motions beginning at the torso before extending to other areas of the dog’s body.
  • Never be in a hurry; instead, be patient during the massage session. Avoid scolding your dog and making sudden movements as you massage your dog.
  • If you observe your dog is enjoying the massage, be generous enough to give him a few extra minutes. Also, do well to provide them with the favorite treat after the massage session ends.
  • As you make plans for your dog massage, also ensure a comfortable and safe setting for them. A noiseless spot in your house with little or no distractions is a good option.
  • Don’t force your dog to assume a particular position during the massage session. Instead, allow your pet to choose the position which best favors him. Some dogs enjoy massage laying in the laps of their owners. Others enjoy it while sitting.
  • Brush your dog if you notice he likes being brushed. A massage session is an excellent time to do this. Besides, brushing your dog helps to promote the circulation of blood during and after a massage session.
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It’s noteworthy to mention that you should focus on the basics of massage, which are relaxation and gentle touch. Don’t get too fancy when you’re not a professional dog Massage therapist. Stick to the steps mentioned above and leave the deep tissue work and acupressure points for a massage therapist or qualified vet!

Also Read: Do Animals Like Massages? (Answered)

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Massage A Dog To Calm them?

You can massage your dog softly, preferably in a circular motion on both sides of his back. Then, continue to massage him until he reaches other areas like his back legs and tail. Do this well and see as your dog becomes much calmer and relaxed!

How Do You Calm An Anxious Dog?

Mentioned below are some ways to calm your dog when it’s anxious:

  • Massage Therapy
  • Exercises
  • Music Therapy 
  • Physical contact

What Are Signs Of Anxiety In Dogs?

Below are signs to show you a dog is stressed:

  • Whining or barking
  • Pacing or shaking
  • Yawning, drooling, and licking
  • Changes in body posture
  • Shedding and panting
  • Pacing or shaking

How Do I Tell My Dog I Love Him?

Here are ways you could show love to your dog:

  • Lean on him and rub his ears
  • Gaze gently into his eyes
  • Snuggle and have fun together

Final Words

Your main goal when giving an anxious dog a massage is to calm your dog down. Following the instructions mentioned in this article will go a long way to help with your anxious dog. 

Always remember to use slow strokes to improve your dog’s relaxation and breathing. It may seem strange, but dogs react when pet owners take a deep breath and are likely to take one soon after.

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Disclaimer:The information contained in this article is a result of in-depth research on the subject matter. This article is only for informational and educational purposes, and it’s not intended as medical or health advice. Hence, I suggest you always ensure to seek the opinion of your doctor or other qualified health personnel regarding any questions that relate to health objectives or medical conditions.

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