Which dogs might benefit from massage?

Almost all dogs are suitable for massage

See below for specific categories of dogs and how they might benefit in particular.

  • Pet dogs
  • Agility dogs
  • Obedience dogs
  • Show dogs
  • Working dogs

Pet dogs

Dogs are just like people in that their everyday life can have an effect on their muscles and can cause stiffness and soreness if pulled or overused. This can lead to pain and discomfort which if left untreated may lead to a tightening of that muscle or other muscles which get overworked to compensate for the injury.

If you notice any of the following in your dog or know it has any of the conditions listed then it may benefit from a massage treatment.

Stiffness on rising from lying on the floor.

Slowing down when out for walks or not wanting to go for a walk.


Hopping or limping or standing with less weight on one leg.

Twitching in muscles, particularly when touched or stroked.

Wobbly back legs.

Changes in behaviour particularly if appears depressed or unwilling to play or be touched.

Difficulty with steps and stairs or getting in and out of the car.

Agility dogs

Dogs that take part in agility are the equivalent of human athletes and are particularly prone to injury. Regular massage allows for better flexibility and range of movement and means the dog is better able to focus on each element of the agility course as it is not restricted in its movement or distracted by pain or discomfort. Massage can also aid recovery after events and address any injuries sustained during events. If your agility dog is experiencing any of the following then it may benefit from massage.

Knocking down jumps.
Missing contact points.
Reluctant to weave or use specific pieces of equipment.
Lacks focus.
Is slower than usual.
Is lame after events or practice.

Show dogs

Dogs that compete in shows may benefit from massage treatments in order to ensure they are standing evenly and moving freely. Therefore if you notice any unwillingness to bear weight evenly on all four feet, any lameness or any irregularity in gait massage treatment may benefit your dog.

Obedience dogs

Dogs taking part in obedience trials need strong front ends to help with braking and strong back ends to give good drive. They need to be focussed on their handlers and be confident that they can perform the actions asked of them.

If you notice any deterioration in performance it may be due to muscle tension or discomfort and your dog may benefit from massage therapy.

Working dogs

Working dogs need high levels of stamina and fitness. The terrain they work in can sometimes be challenging and dogs will often continue working despite injury which can lead to further problems as the muscles compensate for injuries elsewhere in the body.

If your working dog starts to display any of the following signs it may benefit from massage therapy.

Lameness and limping or uneven weight bearing.
General slowing down or becoming less willing to work.
Slow to complete tasks.
Yelping from pain.
Unusual movement during walking, trotting or running.
Muscle twitching.