Posted by: christopher


You don’t have to be a trained dog massage therapist to help reduce the pain of dog arthritis. Dog massage is a great part of an arthritic dog physical therapy program, and it’s easy to do. Of course, dog massage is not a cure for dog arthritis, but it is a great way to slow down the progress of the disease and reduce both pain and swelling.

Smaller dogs will benefit from a 10 to 15 minute massage session. Bigger dogs may require 20 to 30 minutes. Some dogs won’t be comfortable with the dog massage therapy in the beginning, so time your sessions accordingly. You can always increase the time as your dog shows more acceptance of the procedure.

Of course, you don’t want to aggravate the dog arthritis by overworking body parts, so take care to work within your dog’s pain tolerance levels. Be particularly gentle around swollen and tender areas.

The best time to perform dog arthritis massage therapy is in the morning and the evening. Morning dog massage therapy helps relieve the stiffness and pain that develops overnight. The evening dog massage session will help reduce the muscle tension and soreness that develops during the day’s activities.

If you’re not sure how to perform dog arthritis massage therapy, ask your vet to show you or to introduce you to an animal massage therapist. That way you can learn how to develop a routine and how to perform the basic massage strokes.

If you want to try it yourself first, follow these steps:

  • Begin by lightly stroking the area you are going to massage. Use light pressure. The goal is to start increasing the blood circulation.
  • Switch to a light kneading motion concentrating on the areas with tight muscles. Mix in some light hand friction so you can loosen up the muscle fibers and encourage blood circulation through the muscle mass.
  • Then switch to effleurages, a light stroking technique, to help with drainage. Don’t massage the joints directly; concentrate on the muscle mass around the arthritic joints.
  • If you dog will tolerate it, finish the session with some light stretching exercises. Then stroke your dog gently to stimulate circulation
  • Encourage your dog to drink fresh water after the session to help dissolve the lactic acid released by the muscles during the dog arthritis massage session.

As you continue the dog arthritis massage therapy routine, you should see a gradual increase in your dog’s mobility.

What did you think of this post? Have your say in the comments box below or get involved in our Facebook community!

Tags: , ,

Want to keep your dog pain free?

Join up to our free members area!

The members area has a LOT of information to make sure your dog's arthritis treatment is the best it can be.

  • MP3's and videos
  • Cutting edge PDFs
  • Exclusive email bonuses
  • Our dog arthritis forum community

Comments (17)

  1. Posted by: Chelsea Sawyer July 28, 2013, 2:07 AM

    Yes! i think dogs and pets as well should really have massage therapies. They also feel stress and experience tension from time to time.
    Thanks for this one.

  2. Posted by: Cell Phones Store January 22, 2012, 3:36 AM

    It breaks my heart to see my dog (or any dog for that matter) hobbling around. I never really thought about massage, but I guess I will now! Thanks!

    1. Posted by: coparison quotes March 5, 2012, 10:12 PM

      My 12 years old German Shepard has very little time left on his clock. I love him to death. He has severe joints pain and no doctor can help him :(

      1. Posted by: christopher March 6, 2012, 5:50 AM

        sorry to hear that :( what has been tried?

  3. Posted by: Kent October 3, 2011, 12:29 AM

    First let me say thank you for the interesting article on massage therapy for dogs. I have a question though, my Chow-Lab mix loves to lay on hard floors I guessing because they are cooler than carpet. I am worried however, this could be progressing his sore muscles for he is 8 yrs going on 9 yrs now. Do you have any recommendations other than massaging? He is showing signs his rear legs are giving him trouble and he gets grouchy if you touch his rear hip area. Thanks for any light you can shed.

    1. Posted by: christopher October 6, 2011, 7:15 AM

      Hi Kent. It is hard to stop dogs laying where they want to lay :) I would be concerned that the sore muscles may well be driven by arthritis.

      So treating the arthritis can be helpful

      ► See my Modern Dog Arthritis Treatment ebook (at
      ► You are already reading my blog

      Also keep in mind that even if the arthritis is driving the muscle pain, the muscle pain may not go away even once the arthritis is controlled. There are things called trigger points which can hang around like a bad smell. Search trigger points on the blog. Search for a trigger point person in your area as well maybe.

  4. Posted by: Jason the Candy Man July 12, 2011, 4:11 PM

    Great information. I just starting massaging my dog last month, but I feel she’s healthier and more ‘in tune’ with life now. shes a 11 year old black lab, so the longer i can keep her around the better! :)

    Thank you!
    Jason O’Leary
    Webmaster: Candy Direct

  5. Posted by: stop puppy chewing March 17, 2011, 11:39 PM

    [...] Introducing Massage Therapy for Dog Arthritis – Dog Arthritis Blog – Dog Arthritis | Dog Arthritis Treatment| Dog Arthritis and Glucosamine | Dog Arthritis Supplements | Dog Arthritis Symptoms [...]

  6. Posted by: Jana Rade December 8, 2010, 4:39 AM

    I am glad you brought it up. We did some of massaging after surgeries and every now and then. I think we need to get into it more.

  7. Posted by: Kim November 22, 2010, 2:26 PM

    I have a 5-year-old lab. Do you think at his young age, he can possibly be a candidate for Dog Arthritis?

    1. Posted by: dogarthritis101 November 25, 2010, 5:54 AM

      Kim I have seen labs as young as 5 months with dog arthritis. As a breed they are highly prone to arthritis – it is a tragedy. What makes you think he has a problem?

  8. Posted by: Cy @ Senior Dogs blog November 18, 2010, 3:31 AM

    Excellent video and article, I have been massaging my dog for years now. And now that she is 15+ I have seen that she still is very active. Yes she has her off days. But don’t we all?

    As you suggested 10-15 minutes of a light massage helps her on those cold days plus she just loves the attention.

    1. Posted by: dogarthritis101 November 18, 2010, 4:24 AM

      Thanks for the comment. It can be a chore or a real bonding time…depending how you look at it :)

      1. Posted by: Cy @ Senior Dogs blog November 20, 2010, 7:29 PM

        Or it can also be a way to help save on vet calls(obviously never stop taking your dog to the vet but just helping out is all I mean). But helping your pooch through the tough times!

        It helps promote their mobility so its something I think should always be done.

        1. Posted by: dogarthritis101 November 22, 2010, 7:08 AM

          Absolutely. Massage is fantastic for sudden episodes, is great bonding and doesn't get any safer. It works for us so it works for our pups. Thanks for the comment.


Add a Comment - The Authority Site for Dog Arthritis - Veterinary Knowledge & Care

Copyright 2011 All right reserverd. Development: GraphicEdit
Compensation Disclosure: Products featured in this blog are chosen for their benefits. The site owner may receive compensation for some of the products on this site. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitue for any medical advice provided by your veterinarian. You should not use the information contained on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you suspect that your pet ha a medical problem, contact your veterinarian.