Everyone deserves a little scratch behind the ears

Everyone enjoys a little pet behind the shoulders, neck and back.  AND guess what! It's good for your dog too.  A gentle pet massage is a great way to connect with your pet but they will enjoy all the benefits of massage that we receive when we get them.  

According to Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals benefits of massage may:   
    * Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
    * Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow the body's natural defense system.
    * Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
    * Help prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
    * Lessen depression and anxiety.
    * Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
    * Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
    * Reduce spasms and cramping.
    * Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
    * Release endorphins amino acids that work as the bodys natural painkiller.
    * Relieve migraine pain.

To give your pet a massage, Kari Harendorf of K9 Karma, suggests starting at your pet's head and work your way gently massaging through their neck and shoulder blades.  She suggests that your breath should be calm and slow to "sync" with your pet and help lower your blood pressure too.  If your touch is too strong, your pet will let you know by moving away from you or towards you.  Start slow and gentle and make your strokes longer each time.  She also suggest that the ears are a great place to start with small gentle cirlces and move down an inch each minute and then move back towards the nape.  For more information check out http://www.eastyoga.com/harendorf.html or Animal Planet's K-9 Karma.

Andrea Metcalf is a celebrity fitness trainer working with NBC, Today Show, More magazine, Better Television and host of Living Healthy Chicago.  She is mom to three teenagers, Wrigley the bulldog and Ellie, a yellow labrador retreiver.  She is the creator of Paws-ilates, a pet integrated Pilates program.

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Tags: andrea metcalf, dogs, health

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