Should You Massage Your Dog’s Hips? (Answered)


We all know pets, including dogs, can’t function properly without a good hip. 

Hence it’s essential to act quickly if you observe your dog has problems with its hips.

So, should you massage your dog’s hips?

Here’s Why You Should Massage Your Dog’s Hips

It’s very beneficial to massage your dog’s hips because it can help alleviate arthritic and hip pains in dogs. Furthermore, various massage techniques can be used to make pets, including dogs, feel more comfortable.

How To Massage A Dog’s Hip

Most dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia suffer from hip pains. The condition often worsens when the dog stops using its legs. 

And this can also lead to muscle wastage. 

Hence the dog has fewer muscles to support its joints. And this can result in a vicious cycle of lameness that leads to additional lameness.

The paragraphs below shows how you can massage your dog’s hip:

#1. Learn About Dog Massage. 

Massaging your dog can help relieve pain, tension and lead to better circulation. It also provides a way to connect with your pet and even help detect critical health conditions and injuries that may need medical attention. 

Massage therapy is well recognized for its beneficial effects. Veterinarians and physiotherapists are strong practitioners and advocates of this therapy.

Also Read: Does Massage Help Anxious Dogs? (Explained)

#2. Know When Massage Shouldn’t Be Administered 

You must understand that massage therapy is not always the correct treatment for a dog’s pain. Don’t be surprised that this therapy may even worsen your dog’s condition. 

So don’t massage your dog if the following are detected:

  • a broken or dislocated hip
  • cancer
  • a skin infection
  • an infection in the joint

If you notice your dog is suffering from any of these conditions, don’t hesitate to pay a visit with your dog to a qualified veterinarian right away. These are severe conditions that require urgent medical treatment administered by a professional.

#3. Get The Dog On Its Side With The Bad Hip Exposed. 

It shouldn’t be too difficult for a dog to lie on his side as he’ll likely still do it to hold the weight off the affected hip. 

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However, if you touch the affected region, you observe tension and stiffness even when not used. This sign indicates that massage therapy can be effective. 

Massage can help relieve your dog’s pain as long as the bone isn’t broken. However, if your dog is in obvious distress or detects skin problems, skip the massage therapy and visit your veterinarian.

#4. Massage The Hip Of Your Dog With The Flat Of Your Palm. 

Ensure you make use of your hand heel to exert pressure in a rocking motion. Then work your way up to the core in slow, gentle movements. 

Stimulates with hard and fast movement. Once every 5 seconds is ideal for pain relief. 

The affected limb should be massaged for 10 to about 20 minutes, two or three times each day. A dog suffering from groin pain will feel its muscles tense and rigid. 

The muscles tension puts more pressure on the joints, causing the inflamed surfaces to rub against each other. Hence, it will lead to more pain. 

Giving your dog a nice massage relaxes the muscles and stimulates endorphins as well. 

Note: Endorphins is a natural pain reliever with a chemical structure similar to morphine.

#5. Work Upwards From The Extremity.

To ensure that you massage your dog’s hip properly, imagine yourself massaging the fluids against the heart. 

Working the other way around causes blood to collect, which can lead to swelling and limited movement. It is also better for the dog to stretch up to its muscles rather than forcing them down.

How Do You Massage A Dog With Hip Dysplasia?

Studies show massage therapy is suitable for a dog with hip dysplasia. This is because massage enhances mobility, improves muscles and flexibility, reduces soreness and pain. 

Also, massaging your dog relieves tension buildup and subsequently improves your dog’s quality of life. 

Now you know massage can help with your dog’s condition. Hence it’s only natural to learn how to massage a dog with hip dysplasia so you can do it well.

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Here’s how you do it:

#1. Initiate The Massage

Start your massage session by finding a flat surface that your dog can comfortably lie on. Tell your pet with a reassuring calm voice that you will help him get better. 

As usual, gently stroke your dog’s entire body. Then focus on stroking around and on the hip area. 

Suppose you observe the dog feeling uncomfortable with light petting in the affected area. In that case, it’s best to consult your veterinarian or massage therapist’s opinion before going forward.

#2. Apply Direct Pressure

Use gentle circular motions to massage your dog. As you do this, use the pads of your fingers to apply light pressure directly to the hip area. 

The pressure should be gentle, and your dog will tell you how much pressure they can undertake by screaming or whimpering loudly if the pressure is unbearable. 

Also, avoid using your fingertips or nails to massage your dog, instead use only the pads of your finger. 

During a massage session, your dog should look relaxed and calm. However, take note that your dog will jerk, moan or scream during the session. 

If this should happen, then stop and contact your veterinarian or massage therapist immediately before proceeding.

#3. Gentle Massage With One Hand

Gently massage the dog’s hip area with one hand, applying light pressure in small circular motions, working around the area and under the leg. 

You should give up 30 minutes of a one-hour massage session for each side of a dog who experiences hip dysplasia on both sides.

Furthermore, ensure you massage both sides in equal measure to provide benefits to each hip. Failure to do this makes your dog start to prefer one side over the other.

#4. Massaging With Two Hands

Your dog may fall asleep along the way when getting a massage. However, your pet can enjoy the two-handed massage technique if it enjoys massage time. 

So use both hands to work in circular motions on the hip area gently, and if your dog likes it, do so on the areas nearby. 

READ MORE  How To Massage Your Cat To Sleep (4 Helpful Tips)

How Can I Help My Dog With A Stiff Hip?

You can help a dog with a stiff hip by first taking it to the veterinary doctor. If the veterinarian approves that massage therapy is suitable for your dog’s condition, then you can massage your dog. 

But it’s highly recommended to consult a canine massage therapist to help you choose the best massage techniques suitable for your dog’s condition. 

Also, massage therapy is an excellent treatment for your dog’s stiff hip. This is because massage can improve your dog’s flexibility and mobility.

Also Read: How To Massage Your Cat To Sleep (4 Helpful Tips)

Caution & Considerations

Here are measures to take consider when massaging your dog:

  • Consult a veterinarian regarding hip pain of unknown origin to determine if a medical condition needs treatment. 
  • Always contact a professional veterinarian when you identify your dog has hip pain of unknown origin.
  • Avoid massaging your dog when infections in tissues or joints are identified.
  • Do not massage dislocated or broken hips, limbs, and skin.
  • If your dog is injured on one side, try to work in equal measure on both sides. 
  • When your dog shows, it’s in severe pain or discomfort, avoid massaging him.


Massaging your dog’s hip is a nice thing to do. However, it should be done with utmost caution. 

This is because massage therapy may not always be a good fix for hip pain in dogs. 

Hence, we recommend you take your dog to see a professional veterinary doctor before proceeding with a massage treatment.

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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