Dogs are beloved members of the family, and as such, we want to do everything we can to keep them happy and healthy. However, sometimes issues arise that require special care and attention. One such issue is IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease.
If your furry friend has been diagnosed with IVDD, you may be wondering how you can provide some relief through massage. While it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian first, there are definitely techniques you can learn to help your dog feel better.
In this article, we will explore some of the best practices for massaging a dog with IVDD. We’ll discuss why massage can be helpful, what kind of techniques you should use (and which ones to avoid), and when it’s time to seek professional help.
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” -Roger Caras
By learning how to properly massage your dog, not only can you provide pain relief, but you can also strengthen your bond with your furry companion. Read on to discover the best ways to help your pup feel their very best!
Understanding Ivdd In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment
What is Ivdd and How Does it Affect Dogs?
Ivdd stands for Intervertebral Disc Disease. It affects the spinal cord of dogs especially those with long backs such as Dachshunds, Beagles, and Cocker Spaniels among others. The spine has cushions called intervertebral discs between each bone to absorb shock from movement. When these discs rupture or bulge out, they press on the spinal cord leading to pain, hind limb paralysis, loss of bladder control, and even death in severe cases.
“Obviously, surgery is an option when possible. But some smaller breeds of dog just don’t need that done.” -Kerri Marshall, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion
Common Symptoms of Ivdd in Dogs
The common symptoms of IVDD include arching of the back, hunched posture, crying out in pain while being touched, difficulty walking or jumping, dragging one or both hind legs, reluctance to move around or play, standing or sitting with legs splayed apart, shaking, and lack of appetite. Urinary retention or incontinence may follow if the condition isn’t treated promptly.
“Crying out suddenly (while not moving) can be a classic sign of this kind of injury”. – Dr Peter Dobias, Veterinarian
How To Massage A Dog With Ivdd?
If your furry friend has been diagnosed with IVDD, a massage could help relieve their discomfort. But before giving them any form of therapy, speak to your veterinarian first. They might advise against massaging certain areas depending on how advanced the disease is. If you get the green light, here’s how you can massage your dog:
- Find a comfortable position for your pet. You could place them on their bed or any other cozy surface.
- Gently rub the muscles located alongside their spine using your fingertips in circular motions. Do not press down hard.
- Increase pressure gradually as they relax, while still avoiding sudden movements.
- You could use some essential oils such as rosemary and lavender for aromatherapy benefits.
Caution: Massage is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. If your furry friend isn’t getting better after 24 to 48 hours of home therapy, take them back to the vet for further guidance.
Other Treatment Options for Ivdd in Dogs
If the diagnosis was mild to moderate IVDD, your vet might recommend conservative treatment options such as pain medication, rest, weight management, physiotherapy, laser therapy, acupuncture, or chiropractic adjustments. These methods help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, strengthen muscle tone, and prevent future relapses. More severe cases may require surgery to remove the herniated discs that cause compression around the spinal cord. Considering costs, age and overall health of the pet, surgical intervention may not be possible in all cases but it remains the most effective option when necessary.
“Surgery helps removes disc material from around spinal nerves by performing one of three surgeries traditionally used (dorsal laminectomy, hemilaminectomy, partial corpectomy), depending on location and severity.” – Todd Radaszewski, DVM, Medical Director at BluePearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospitals
IVDD can be prevented by maintaining optimal body weight, regular exercise, proper nutrition with supplements like glucosamine & chondroitin, good flexibility through stretching, and avoiding repetitive jumping from high places like furniture or stairs. In conclusion, early detection and intervention can significantly improve the chances of recovery for a pet with IVDD.
Preparation: What You Need To Know Before Massaging Your Dog
If your dog has Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), it’s important to know that massage is just one part of the treatment process. It can help reduce pain and promote healing, but should always be done under the guidance of a veterinarian or a licensed canine massage therapist.
Before you start massaging your dog at home, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language
Dogs cannot speak like humans do, so they use their body language to communicate what they’re feeling. When receiving a massage, dogs might show signs of discomfort, enjoyment, or even fear.
The key is being able to interpret these body signals correctly. Some common signs of relaxation include soft eye contact, relaxed ears, and a decrease in panting. Signs of discomfort, on the other hand, may include stiff or tense muscles, avoidance behaviors, and vocalizations such as whining or growling.
It’s important to respect your dog’s boundaries during the massage session, which means stopping immediately if your dog shows any signs of distress. Additionally, be sure to give your dog plenty of praise and positive reinforcement throughout the session to build trust and make them feel comfortable.
Gathering the Right Supplies
Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary supplies within reach. This includes a nonslip mat for your dog to lie on, a towel to cover your dog’s eyes to reduce visual stimulation, and a high-quality massage oil designed specifically for dogs.
You’ll also want to make sure you have enough time set aside for the massage session. The length of each session will depend on multiple factors such as your dog’s size, age, overall health condition and the area of their body being massaged. As IVDD can be a very painful condition for your pup, start with shorter sessions to begin with (around 5-10 minutes) rather than long sessions all at once.
Also note that the massage should never cause pain or discomfort to the dog as it could further aggravate their injury. Lastly, if you are unsure about any of these steps, always consult a veterinarian or certified canine massage therapist first before performing any kind of home remedy on your furry friend.
“When done correctly, massage is safe and beneficial for most dogs. It can help relieve pain, tension, and stress and promote relaxation and well-being.” – Dr. David L. Dycus
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Massaging A Dog With Ivdd
Do: Use Gentle Pressure
If you’re planning on massaging your dog with IVDD, it’s important to remember that gentle pressure is key. This may be a new experience for your pooch and the idea of someone touching their back when they are used to avoiding any physical contact can be daunting for them.
You should begin by applying very light strokes to start with and gradually increase the pressure as your dog gets more comfortable and accustomed to the massage.
Also keep in mind that some areas such as bony prominences or sensitive nerve endings should be avoided altogether during the massage process.
Don’t: Massage the Injured Area Directly
One of the biggest mistakes pet parents make when massaging dogs with IVDD is to attempt to work directly on the injured area. If your dog has an acute disc herniation, this could further aggravate the affected region and cause more pain.
Instead, focus on supporting muscles surrounding the injured area by using sweeping motions along the spine from neck to tail.
Always follow instructions given by the vet so that you avoid engaging in activities that may harm rather than help your dog recover fast.
Do: Work on Surrounding Muscles for Support
Dogs have a lot of small muscles surrounding the main spinal cord muscles that immensely support the health of the vertebral column. When these muscles contract around the same damaged vertebra, they create the protective reflex known as guarding which can worsen the pain and restrict movement in the affected area.
Working on these muscles can aid in reducing inflammation and muscle tension while increasing circulation to promote faster healing. So, rub softly around your dog’s spine focusing on the muscles around the affected area while avoiding perilous sensations that could worsen their condition.
Using gentle, circular motions by fingertips and light pressure, massage each side of the vertebral column for 2 to 5 minutes a day. This improves flexibility in the muscle, decreases stiffness, and promotes relaxation.
- Stretches: Combine stretches with massages as they can be beneficial in improving range of motion of stiff joints or restricted limbs
- Aromatherapy oils: Use pet-friendly oils especially during the massage session to improve relaxation for your furry friend. Avoid using human-grade products such as eucalyptus, tea tree, or lavender oil that can cause toxicity.
- Rest breaks: Schedule short rest periods between therapy sessions to avoid tiring your dog out excessively.
“Massage therapy after recovery from acute episodes may help prevent repeated episodes down the road.” -Dr. Patrick Mahaney, an LA-based holistic vet.
Dogs suffering from IVDD need plenty of attention, care, and love. Massaging is just one way to relieve their pain and anxiety resulting in a happy pup and a secure bond between you both!
Massage Techniques: Step-By-Step Guide To Relieve Pain And Tension
As dogs get older, they become more susceptible to certain health problems like Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). It’s a spinal condition that can cause pain and discomfort in our furry companions. If you’re looking for ways to soothe your dog’s pain and tension at home, massage therapy is an excellent solution.
Starting with Light Strokes
When massaging a dog with IVDD, it’s essential to start with light strokes. Begin by gently rubbing the skin over the affected area of their back using your fingertips or palm. Make sure not to apply too much pressure as you don’t want to cause any additional pain or discomfort.
You should also take note of your dog’s body language during the massage. Keep an eye out for cues like whimpers, growls, or flinching movements that could indicate sensitivity or distress.
“A proper massage technique applied with minimal stress will help increase blood flow to muscles and release tension within them,” says Dr. Krista Magnifico.
Using Circular Motions on Muscles
The next step is to use circular motions on the muscles around the spine. Use your fingers or thumbs to make small circles, working from top to bottom along their back. You can also use a pet massage tool to help you reach deeper into the tissue without adding extra stress to your hands.
If your dog seems uncomfortable with these techniques or tries to move away from you, stop the massage immediately. Avoid applying direct pressure over the vertebrae as this could exacerbate their symptoms and lead to further complications.
“Massage is most effective when it’s consistent over time. Ten minutes of moderate pressure a few times a day is beneficial.” says Dr. Judy Morgan.
Slowly Increasing Pressure for Deeper Tissue Massage
If your dog responds well to the circular motions, you can slowly increase the pressure of your fingertips or massage tool to reach deeper into their muscles. The goal is not to exert too much force but rather to create a slow and steady movement that will help ease tension in their body.
Remember to avoid massaging directly over any areas where there are signs of pain or discomfort. Rather, try to work around the affected spot and focus on the surrounding muscles instead.
“A good massage increases circulation, which improves lymphatic drainage, reduces swelling and conserves muscle atrophy,” says certified animal massage therapist, Lisa Gunter.
- In summary, here are some key takeaways:
- Always start with light strokes. Use your fingers or palm to gently rub the skin over the affected area.
- Tune in to your dog’s body language. Look out for any cues such as whimpers, growls, or flinching movements that could indicate sensitivity or distress.
- Move onto circular motions using your fingers or thumbs, working from top to bottom along their back.
- Avoid putting direct pressure over vertebrae and stay away from spots where you see signs of discomfort.
- Slowly increase the pressure of your fingers or massage tools to relieve tension further in your dog’s muscles over time.
- Be consistent with massages and aim for ten minutes of moderate pressure several times a day if possible.
Giving your furry friend regular massages at home can be an easy way to relieve their pain and make them feel more comfortable. Remember, always be gentle and patient, and look out for any discomfort or signs of distress.
Maintaining Your Dog’s Health: Tips To Prevent Ivdd And Promote Recovery
If you have a furry friend, the last thing you want is for them to suffer from disc disease. Unfortunately, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is common in dogs. But don’t worry, there are steps that pet owners can take to prevent this condition and promote recovery if their pup has unfortunately been diagnosed with it. The key factors are maintaining your dog’s weight, providing appropriate exercise techniques, and ensuring supportive bedding and resting areas.
Keeping Your Dog at a Healthy Weight
The first step in preventing IVDD is keeping your dog at a healthy weight. An overweight or obese dog puts more strain on their spine, which increases the risk of disc disease. Obesity also causes inflammation throughout the body, which may lead to degeneration of the spinal discs over time.
The best way to maintain your dog’s weight is to feed them high-quality food appropriate for their breed and activity level. Make sure to measure out portions precisely, so they do not consume too much fatty or calorie-dense foods. Additionally, refrain from giving snacks high in fat and sugar as these treats contribute significantly to weight gain.
To reduce your dog’s caloric intake even further, try feeding them smaller meals throughout the day instead of one large meal. This technique helps keep blood sugar levels stable and prevents them from feeling hungry between meals, leading to unwanted snacking.
Using Appropriate Exercise Techniques
Physical activity plays an important role in preventing IVDD as well as promoting recovery after surgery or if your dog experiences mild symptoms. However, not all types of exercises are suitable for every dog, especially those who already have back problems. High-impact activities such as jumping, running up stairs, excessive ball throwing, and high intensity agility training can all be detrimental to dogs with IVDD and should be avoided.
On the other hand, you may consider swimming as water therapy is a low-impact exercise for your pup. Swimming helps strengthen their core muscles without putting any strain on the spine. If your dog has never been exposed to swimming before, make sure to introduce them gradually and supervise them at all times while they are in the water.
- Tips for introducing your dog to swimming include:
- Start by letting your pet get used to standing knee-deep or waist-deep in shallow water first
- Use toys and treats to encourage them into deeper water where they have to paddle and swim
- Avoid forcing your dog into the water or allowing it to become overwhelmed
Providing Supportive Bedding and Resting Areas
Dogs suffering from IVDD need supportive bedding that provides enough cushioning to reduce pressure on their spine but still remains firm. Investing in orthopedic dog beds or using thick blankets under traditional dog beds can also help reduce discomfort and promote recovery after surgery or during mild flare-ups.
This change might involve single-story stairs that minimize climbing height or preparing areas of your home so that everything essential (water bowl, food dish, favorite toys) gets placed within easy reach of the animal to limit its movements. Watch out for jumping down from significant heights such as a car trunk as well; carrying them off carefully or lowering them with a ramp will prevent injuries when exiting these high platforms.
“Preventing IVDD can be as simple as taking your dog outside for exercise every day until physical exhaustion,” says Sammi Setliff, owner of Elevated Canine, which provides rehabilitation, acupuncture, and training services for dogs in Austin, TX, USA.
By following these simple tips, you will be able to help prevent IVDD or provide a suitable environment for your dog’s recovery if they have unfortunately already been diagnosed with the condition. Remember that maintaining your dog’s health is an ongoing process requiring consistency and dedication. Keeping their weight under control, following safe exercise techniques, and providing comfortable resting areas can all contribute significantly to your furry friend’s happiness and well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is IVDD in dogs and how does it affect them?
IVDD stands for intervertebral disc disease, a spinal condition that affects dogs. It occurs when the soft discs between the vertebrae in the spine rupture or herniate, causing pain and nerve damage. IVDD can lead to mobility issues, paralysis, and even loss of bladder and bowel control.
What are the benefits of massaging a dog with IVDD?
Massaging a dog with IVDD can help reduce pain and inflammation, improve blood circulation, and promote relaxation. It can also help increase flexibility and range of motion, as well as stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
How can I prepare my dog for a massage session?
Before a massage session, it’s important to make sure your dog is comfortable and relaxed. Find a quiet, comfortable space and provide some treats or toys to help them feel at ease. Let your dog sniff and explore the massage area and avoid forcing them into any positions they’re not comfortable with.
What are the best massage techniques for dogs with IVDD?
The best massage techniques for dogs with IVDD depend on the severity of their condition and the specific areas affected. Gentle stroking, kneading, and circular motions can help alleviate pain and tension. Some dogs may benefit from trigger point therapy, acupressure, or stretching exercises.
Are there any precautions I should take while massaging a dog with IVDD?
Yes, it’s important to be gentle and avoid putting pressure on the affected areas of the spine. Avoid sudden movements or jerky motions that could exacerbate the condition. Check with your veterinarian before beginning any massage therapy and be sure to monitor your dog’s reactions to ensure they’re comfortable throughout the session.
How often should I massage my dog with IVDD?
The frequency of massage sessions for dogs with IVDD varies depending on their individual needs and condition. Some may benefit from daily massages, while others may only need them once or twice a week. Consult with your veterinarian or a licensed canine massage therapist to determine the best schedule for your dog.