Chronic pain, i.e. pain that is ongoing, often goes unrecognised because dogs rarely cry out or moan. Instead they change the way they sit, stand or move to accommodate their discomfort and carry on. As owners we often put the changes down to old age, the heat, the cold, the long walk they’ve just done, but often these signs are related to muscular problems which can be alleviated.
Here are some things to look out for.
- A back that has begun to dip or arch in the middle
- An uneven stretch – more front than back, or more left than right and vice versa.
- A shake that doesn’t go all the way to the tail.
- Difficulty reaching an itch to scratch.
- Head nodding while walking.
- Higher hip on the left or right when viewed from behind.
- An increased swing in the hips when they walk
- Both back feet moving together in a bunny hop.
- A tail that hangs more to one side than the other or is very stiff at the top.
- A head that is held forward and/or low to the ground when walking.
- A tense face with clenched jaws.
- Feet that scuff the ground when walking.
If you spot any of these signs, even if your dog is considered elderly, then speak to your vet and call me to discuss how massage can help. Increasing the ability of the muscles to work more effectively can really increase comfort and flexibility. Massage also releases endorphins which reduce pain and raise well being.