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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Is your dog always scratching or licking a specific spot on his body? Have you gotten x-rays, ruled out allergies, and even tried meds for relief with minimal results? If your dog is paying attention to a particular area of the body, i.e. licking the elbow or wrist, this could be a location of discomfort due to tight muscles. Why? Un-stretched, overused, and taut muscles put stress on the joints all over the body. When joints are stressed, they become painful and eventually damaged.

Dogs have a very unique way of trying to heal sore areas of concern on their own. They will frequently lick or even scratch their sore spots repeatedly. The idea is when they do this to an aching site, it will increase circulation allowing for freshly oxygenated blood flow to repair the area. If they have a tight upper back muscle after say, playing too hard, you may notice them rubbing their back on the floor, or they might use their rear leg to scratch at it. They instinctively know how to self treat, but human hands can do it much better!

If dogs have uncomfortable joints, gentle nibbling and licking stimulates blood flow and warmth, therefore providing temporary comfort. Having a massage therapist check for muscle tightness or imbalances can help alleviate the constant need for them to try to help themselves. Stretching can also help with tight muscles they cannot stretch on their own.

Passive range of motion occurs during massage. When your dog receives massage, the therapist will typically take your dog’s limbs through a comfortable range of motion. When this happens, synovial fluid lubricates the joints making movement there more flexible and less painful.


If you feel your dog is otherwise healthy, ruling out flea infestation and skin allergies, here are some common things to look for on your dog if you’re wondering if he might need some soft tissue work:

  • Reddish-brown stains over wrists, ankles, or other joints
  • Frequent nibbling over a specific muscle or joint
  • Scratching a difficult-to-reach area

Keep in mind, if your dog has allergies and is always scratching at an itch, this can generate muscular imbalances. Additionally, if you have a puppy, he is growing at a rapid rate. This makes him feel itchy allover his body! Massage is great for alleviating growing pains and keeps skin and fascia supple and ready for another growth spurt. Remember, massage allows us to focus on whole body health and well-being. It should be utilized as one of your tools in the toolbox to always facilitate healing.

Always be sure to look for a Nationally Certified Canine Massage Therapist to work on your dog. Check out for a list of practitioners near you or head over to to schedule an appointment with Kristina!


October 19, 2017

Hi very good article
Thanks for sharing up the good work

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