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Sporting & Working Dogs

Whether you and your dog take part in any sporting or working activities such has canicross, agility, flyball, showing, obedience, working trials - your dog, and you, are consistently using repetitive movements which will ultimately put stresses and strains on the joints, muscular and supporting systems.  These stresses and strains will lead to muscular tension throughout the body but primarily over the neck and shoulder region which can result in pain and restrictive movement.  This will be shown by the dog in a reluctance to take part in activities that he once loved and enjoyed.  

Canine massage therapy can help in a few ways.  Firstly, treatments can be tailored with sporting and working dogs in mind concentrating on areas that may be suffering thus promoting better flexibility and quicker recovery time.  As well as therapy being performed after an event therapy can be used as part of a pre-warm up and post-event cool down.  I can teach you how to do these techniques or better still invite me to an event and as long as I have vet consent from other interested parties I will be able to warm up and cool down your dogs.

Pre-event massage (warm up):

As with adults warming up before participating in a sporting event or even working out in the gym the body must be warmed up.  Massage therapy is best performed 20 minutes before working and is designed to:

  • increases heart and breathing rates which increases circulation and the oxygen availability

  • warms up the superficial and deeper tissues preparing them for activity by increasing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and increasing circulation

  • prepares the dog mentally and physically for the event whilst stimulates your dog’s nervous system which increases their focus and leads to faster responses and improved vision

  • connects the dog to the handler

Post-event massage (cool down):

Whilst you dog has been working metabolic waste has been created which needs to be eliminated by the lymphatic system and fresh blood needs to be brought into the tissues and muscles to keep them healthy and this is done by massage.  Massage encourages the lymphatic system to move fluid around the body to allow for toxins to be eliminated and at the same time bringing fresh nutrient filled blood to those worked muscles.  Also by having hands on and cooling down your dog it also provides you an opportunity to check for any injuries that may have been sustained.   Another reason for having hands on cooling your dog down is to reinforce the connection between the dog and the handler.  This can have a massive psychological benefit to the dog and its outlook of the event and the memories made.  

Further aims of post-event massage are:

  • hands on awareness by the handler of possible injury

  • cleanse and re-oxygenate the muscle fibres

  • influence the flow of arterial blood which assists with repairing micro-traumas

  • help with muscle function by realignment of the muscle fibres

For those of you that have working dogs you know that these can potentially suffer the same as sporting dogs with the added factor that they hanging around waiting to work in cold and wet weather conditions.  Simply by the nature of their activity they will need to expend large amounts of energy in specific ways whilst being asked to work in a quick manner.  Not only will pre and post event massage help myotherapy pre-season, post season and during the working season will help keep you dog in optimal condition.