An Introduction to Therapeutic Canine Massage

Penny Warren runs Bristol K9 Massage, providing Therapeutic Canine massage to dogs in the South West. She joins us here to give us an introduction to canine massage, along with the benefits it can provide for your dog. 

Did you know that there are nearly 700 muscles attached to 320 bones (depending on tail length) in the dog’s body? The combined function of these muscles, bones and joints all working together create movement, whether it’s walking, running or jumping.

Human athletes have to look after their body to maintain and improve performance, whilst increasing longevity in their field. This includes warm-ups, cool-downs, training, rest periods, good nutrition and hydration levels, sports massage for muscular health and appropriate injury management. Why should it be any different for our dogs?

Your dog is an athlete, whether training and competing in a high impact sport or just running and jumping whilst out for a walk. It is important for owners to consider all aspects of the dog’s life as they all ultimately impact their performance.

Consider your dog a finely tuned, well-balanced animal. If he injures just one muscle, it can affect his entire muscular balance. However, his natural resilience means he hides his pain, making it harder for owners to see he’s carrying an injury. Instead, he will overcompensate for the injury, placing further stress on other muscles, creating a potential ever-increasing spiral of injuries.

Therapeutic Canine massage or Dog massage therapy is a non-invasive form of therapy that manipulates the soft tissue of the body, bringing muscle fibres into alignment that have been injured, strained or that are lacking in muscular tone. The benefits of massage are to improve gait mobility and flexibilityimprove circulation, promote faster healing should your dog have an injury and it will rehabilitate soft tissue injuries and can assist with supporting orthopaedic conditions.

This is a 100% natural form of treatment remembering that the body is receptive to touch and as such it can be manipulated to ensure that affected areas get the right amount of oxygen to enhance the healing process.

What changes do people typically see with their dog after a Massage?

  • Reduced stiffness
  • Reduction in lameness
  • More enjoyment on walks
  • Improved movement
  • Significantly reduced pain levels
  • Got their ‘zest’ back for life,
  • Improved agility/performance
  • More fluid, effortless gait
  • A ‘younger’and less moody dog

Just like humans animals suffer from strains and injury and just like humans they can benefit from a hands-on approach to the condition. Dogs are especially resilient to pain and as a result, the condition can be hard to spot. However, a consultation can assist in diagnosis.

Penny trained at the Canine Massage Therapy Centre, completing the Therapeutic Canine Massage Diploma which is accredited by Ascentis. She is also a member of the Canine Massage Guild.

You can find out more about Penny and her dog massage services in the Bristol area at