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Soft tissues first, then exercise

Because I’m a massage therapist, my biggest concern when working with your dog is to ensure that their muscles and soft tissues are warmed, supple and ready for exercise.  So before we begin any exercises or stretches, your dog gets a full head-to-toe massage.    There’s no rush – and clients find that when their dog is allowed to warm up and relax, we get much better results.

An initial consult takes about 90 minutes; follow-ups take about 60 minutes.

I practice on a mobile basis working with dogs in-home.  This approach has many advantages.  I get to see your dog in your home where they are most comfortable and where I can see their living situation firsthand.

Massage therapy is a hands-on discipline. I’d rather spend most of our time together working with your dog through massage to keep their soft tissues healthy, warmed and moving.  Then I will demonstrate exercises and stretches that are your homework.  This is unlike some practitioners in rehab who spend a lot of time with exercises and very little time working with your dog hands-on.

 

Dog benefits from a massage

 

 

Area of Service

I have a core service area in metropolitan Christchurch but I travel to clients where I’m needed.  This includes Rangiora, Woodend, Kaiapoi, Governor’s Bay, Lyttelton, Lincoln, Leeston and Darfield, too.

Mobile service area in Canterbury
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Your dog's first session

A first consult is our longest – 90 minutes.  Please remember that your dog should not be fed within an hour of my arrival because massage on a full tummy can be uncomfortable.   Your dog should be toileted and, ideally, have had some exercise earlier in the day.

When you book, I’ll ask you to send me your dog’s vet records in advance of the consult so I can prepare.  It’s important that you give me as much history as possible on your dog – not just the records from a recent injury or event.  If you’ve changed vet practices or moved from another part of the country – remember to get these vet records, too.

During our time together, we will complete my health history questionnaire which includes both physical and behavioural health questions, some which I will ask because of what I’ve read in your dog’s vet records.   The questions are important because there is often a connection to behaviour and physical health.

We’ll take a short walk so I can watch your dog walk and trot (this is called ‘gait analysis’).  I’m looking for areas where your dog may have restriction in movement, obvious lameness, and signs of off-loading – where weight is shifted to an area because of problem elsewhere.

Tools and techniques

I employ both acupressure and trigger point techniques during massage.  If needed, I will use low level laser therapy (sometimes called a ‘cold laser’) to further stimulate acupressure points, to increase blood flow to stagnant areas, or to release muscle tension in particularly tight muscles.  Compromised cells respond better than healthy cells to photochemical reactions and that is why laser therapy enhances wound healing and tissue regeneration while reducing acute inflammation.

Acupressure and laser work well together for endorphin release which helps with pain and discomfort.

Dogs are massaged on a full-size massage table unless they are extra-large, too sore or too anxious to be handled on the table. In these cases, I will work with your dog on a comfy blanket on the floor.  Working with a dog on the massage table enables me to maintain ‘touch gradient’ which is an important concept for Fear Free handling.

Still have questions?

Feel free to get in touch with any questions; our FAQs may also help.

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