This unique remedial massage treatment for dogs works on the same principle as human massage therapy. By releasing tight sore muscles and trigger points through gentle manipulation. It can assist your dog by removing any discomfort caused as a result of an old injury, scar tissue or even old age.
Canine massage is also a natural form of pain relief that can help resolve day to day issues that prevent your dog from enjoying the fullness of life.
Whilst the focus is to work with veterinary diagnosed conditions, we can also offer an 'MOT' for your dog to help identify any potential underlying problems. This is ideal if your dog participates in regular activities such as agility, scent and retrieval work and dryland (sled dog) racing.
The treatment is suitable to address and support other conditions including:
Hip or Elbow Dysplasia
Sciatica or other back and neck pain
Soft Tissue Injury (Strain and Sprain)
Stress and Anxiety
What does treatment involve?
For treatment to commence you will need to ask your vet to complete a consent form (Click Here), this is a requirement of the Veterinary Act 1966 and 1962 and something we can assist you with if need be.
Once the vet consent form is completed your dog's first appointment will last approximately 1.5 hours and subsequent appointments an hour. This allows for a full assessment of your dog including medical history, daily activities, diet, supplements, gait assessment, main areas of concern and a full massage.
The treatment consists of 3 types of deep tissue massage unique to this holistic therapy. Once the massage is completed we will give you advise on post massage after care and do's and don'ts.
The initial course is made up of 3 treatments over 30 days in which time we expect to see improvements. All dogs are reassessed on each visit and if the therapy is not viable your dog will be referred back to your vets with a written report.
Who are Paws on Therapy?
Throughout my life I have always owned dogs, my interest in canine massage developed when I started to work my Alaskan Malamute in harness. Like any athlete, dogs have to be fit for function and this provided the catalyst for undertaking the Therapeutic Canine Massage Diploma.
Previously I worked for the ambulance service which provided me with a good grounding in anatomy and physiology and how injury and illness can affect the body. I gained my diploma in 2013 when Paws On Therapy was formally established.
I have recently qualified as a Reiki 1 healer, soon to undertake Reiki 2, to enable me to offer this as a complimentary therapy alongside the massage. As well as this I have attended workshops and seminars including:
K9 First Aid
Speak Dog – language and behaviour
Victoria Stillwell Positive Dog
I am committed to continually develop my skills and continue to attend Workshops and training throughout the year.
About our qualification
The Therapeutic Canine Massage Diploma is run by the Canine Massage Therapy Centre Ltd and has been externally accredited by Ascentis, which is a national awarding body that is approved by Ofqual, the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland.
The diploma requires over 800 learner hours of a combination of theory and practical skills, alongside completion of a portfolio of the following aspects:
Anatomy and Physiology modules
8 Case studies
The final practical assessment included a full consultation which consisted of the following:
Full consultation prior to commencement of treatment, to include a thorough history and recognition of any contraindications
Gait and posture analysis
Advanced palpation skills
Full body treatment demonstrating swedish/sports/myofascial release remedial massage techniques
Feedback to client
The diploma is run by Natalie Lenton, director of the Canine Massage Therapy Centre
Information and Benefits on Therapeutic Canine Therapy ?
Therapeutic Canine Massage may help your dog if they display any of the following signs or symptoms:
Difficulty going up/down stairs
Quicker recovery from operations/injury eg: Cruciate ligament repair
What do people typically see with their dog after a Therapeutic Canine Massage?
Significantly reduced pain levels
Resolution or significant reduction of lameness
A 'younger' dog
An improved mood
Happy to go on and enjoying walks again
Able to go up/down stairs
Got their 'zest' back for life
Coping better with orthopaedic problems such as arthritis
Improved working/agility performance eg: not knocking poles, good contacts and weave entry
Better posture eg: no more swayback or roaching
More fluid, effortless gait
Results You Can See & Your Dog Can Feel !
The Healing Crisis
Massage is a powerful tool in helping your dog rebalance its body and heal itself. As this process occurs you may notice your dog displaying certain symptoms that make up what is known as the healing crisis.
The healing crisis usually is characterised by a temporary increase in symptoms as the body cleanses itself. This may mean your dog can appear worse for the first 24-48 hours post treatment; this does not mean that the treatment is not working or has made your dog worse. Instead it shows that the treatment has released toxins, impurities and muscular imbalances and the body is cleansing itself.
A healing crisis is a perfectly normal reaction and allows cellular regeneration to occur.
We Work BEST PRACTICE
Our Therapists will only see your dog a maximum of 3 times initially as we work Best Practice!
After 3 sessions we should see your dog responding to treatment. If they don't we refer you back to your Vet. Having studied Neurological and Orthopaedic Conditions our Practitioners fully understand their limitations, so if during a treatment a Practitioner suspects an issue they are concerned about your dog will be referred back to your or a specialist vet for further investigation and diagnosis.
This means you can rest assured that your dog is in safe hands; we have their welfare at heart 100% of the time. It really is that simple. Of course for many dogs the treatment is suitable to be continued should the treatment suit your dog you are free to discuss maintenance sessions with your practitioner.
We are highly committed to the improvement of your dog and work with your vet and you the owner to enable them to significantly improve your dogs movement, mobility, longevity and quality of life.
What to do for your pet during the treatment process !
Allow 1-1.5 hours before treatment for food to digest.
Don't exercise your dog for 1 hour before treatment.
What do people typically see with their dog after a Therapeutic Canine Massage?
Allow a minimum of 2 hours before feeding your dog
Allow access to fresh water
Be aware your dog may require frequent trips outside due to their body removing the waste products released by the massage thereby stimulating the digestive system
Allow your dog to sleep if he wants
Limit exercise for the next 24 hours (or as directed by your therapist) as your dog may feel lethargic or show symptoms of a healing crisis (see above) especially if your dog is new to massage
Common Issues & Injuries Explained
Strain – A damaging tear or rip to the muscle. Causing lameness, muscular instability, weakness, serious pain, patterns of over compensation. A weakened muscle is prone to re-strain which you may see as intermittent lameness, stiffness after exercise/rest, slowing down or ageing overnight, or performance problems. The body will lay down a scar tissue which can reduce a muscles flexibility by up to 50%. Massage can help to remodel scar tissue, improve the flexibility and elasticity of the muscle, improve range of motion, decrease the likelihood of a Re-Strain, and improve comfort levels and aid in a quicker return to performance.
Trigger Point – A hyper irritable taut band within the muscle. Commonly known as 'Knots' they are a little more complex than that and cause oxygen and nutrient depletion to the muscle (known as 'Ischemia') and patterns of Pain Referral (Axon Branching). Trigger Points will cause Stiffness (typically after rest) ,fatigue, tiring easily, twitching of the skin/skin crawling, tingling/numbness, reluctance to be touched, muscle weakness, reduced performance, lack of ROM. Massage can help to release these areas of focal point tension leading to improved movement, comfort and ability.
Myofascial Pain – Directly linked to Multiple Trigger Points, this is the pain caused by the connective tissue of the body or Fascia. Wide Radiating Myofascial Pain is used to describe the pain caused when a large Myofascial Sheath is affected. Will cause larger areas of pain which when left can cause postural deformities.
Hypertonicity – An abnormal increase in muscle tone that will cause extreme tightness and hardening of the muscle. The resting length of the muscle should be a partially contracted state, over contraction associated with Hypertonicity causes the muscle to shorten. This is the time when a muscle is most prone to a Strain if left unresolved. Bulging muscles, hard muscle, a decrease in flexibility, looking stiff when walking are all signs of hypertonia. Responds incredibly well to massage therapy within 1-2 sessions.
I first saw Paws on Therapy at the NWESSR fun day.
Caroline came across as a friendly but very professional, who put you at your ease and spoke expertly about the way massage therapy worked, whilst examining my dog.
Once I had vet approval and arranged for Caroline to treat my 13 1/2 year old English Springer Spaniel Cassie, who has mobility issues, who does not like to go far, trips, falls and generally is not very good on her legs.
Cassie loved the massage therapy from the first, falling asleep, snoring and was not happy when each session finishes. She has become more supple, moving more easily and seems to be happier about going for her walks.
I would certainly consider using Paws on Therapy again should one of my other spaniels have problems and would recommend them to other dog owners.
Caroline has been treating my Springer Spaniel, Holly for soft tissue injuries in her legs. Caroline is very professional and has a wonderful healing touch. Holly loves her massage sessions and I have no doubt that they have helped massively in her rehabilitation. Thank you!
Thanks for your magic hands last night…….Molly snored like a goodun last night. Need to get more of your cards as ive been telling everyone about it!
Tyg is 12 years old and has worked cattle and competed most of his life, so I suspected he would have some sore and stiff muscles.
After three sessions he definitely seems to bend better and have more of a spring in his step, which was evident in his last track and square in horrible conditions at Dog of the year.I have never known him to be more relaxed than during his massage with Caroline.
One warning, being massaged is addictive – he now demands nightly massages from me!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is therapeutic canine massage (TCM)?
This unique, strong, manipulative remedial massage for dogs works by releasing tight, sore muscles, removing debilitating 'knots' or trigger points that cause referred pain. It helps rehabilitate injuries by breaking down restrictive scar tissue caused by daily activities that may be responsible for your dogs discomfort.
It can help to resolve many day to day mobility issues whether they have suddenly come on or have been there for while, getting your dog therapeutically treated is a must for any dog owner concerned with their dogs mobility and health. It can help give you answers for what you are seeing with your dog and importantly then do something about it with an hour of hands on therapy.
We aim to give your dog results in just 1-3 sessions.
It is also a natural form of pain relief that can help to resolve soft tissue or muscular problems and helps support orthopaedic issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia with tangible results.
Why do I need written vet consent before my dog can be treated?
The Veterinary Act 1962 requires us by law to seek veterinary consent prior to any treatment taking place and your dog cannot be treated without it.
The initial consultation lasts around 1.5 hours and consists of a consultation covering a variety of topics such as daily activities, diet, exercise and main areas of concern for your dog. We will ask you to move your dog through different paces and then do a full body palpation to identify areas of tenderness, injury, muscle tone and general condition. This is followed by a 40-50 minute treatment depending on the size of your dog. Subsequent treatments last for around 1 hour.
How many treatments will my dog need?
Depending on what we discover, we will ask to see your dog for a maximum of 3 treatments initially, before providing a written report for your vet on our findings. Dogs requiring an 'MOT' or maintenance treatment may only require one treatment. Each dog is treated as an individual, and any maintenance requirements can be discussed during the initial course of treatment.
How much does treatment cost?
Each treatment costs £35.00 payable at the time of treatment. (mileage rates may apply)
Where do treatments take place?
Treatments take place at one of our clinics, home visits can be arranged mileage rate would apply.
We also have Clinic space at
Doggie Stylez in Irlam, Manchester.
Digit Dogs in Sandbach, Cheshire.
What is the difference between massage and physiotherapy?
A physiotherapist works on the specific area of injury, and aim to strengthen and develop muscles, usually through the use of exercises. A physio will help mobilise a dog immediately after surgery and stabilise a joint that has been operated on. As masseuses, we specialise in soft tissue treatment, and treat the whole dog not just the area of injury. As a masseuse we are looking to lengthen and relax the muscle fibres, remodel any scar tissue to assist in rehabilitating dogs with soft tissue injuries such as a strain.
But my dog doesn't look like he's in pain...why does he need massage?
Your dog has had an area of concern identified. This could either be a strain, trigger point or wide-ranging myofascial pain. Dogs are very good at hiding pain and discomfort. That is why it is really important to look for subtle signs such as stiffness, reluctance to jump on/off furniture or in and out the car. It is not a sign your dog is being naughty, he may be in pain. Massage can help release tight, stiff muscles, remodel scar tissue from strains and resolve painful trigger points. This reduces the risk of further injury, and also secondary injury developing from the dog overcompensating; if you twist your ankle you automatically put more weight through your other leg, which puts more pressure on your other leg, meaning you recruit different muscles to help you keep walking. This puts extra strain on them because they are not designed to help move the body in this way. So a dog that appears lame on his front leg may actually have a back or hip problem.
Hydrotherapy or Massage?
The two are different therapies with different aims, Hydrotherapy will provide strengthening and conditioning while massage will release tension in the muscles surrounding the joints and areas of over-compensation to aid flexibility and mobility whilst also proving natural pain relief. The two therapies however really complement each other.
If you have any questions about treatments, concerns to discuss, or you would just like to arrange an appointment please do not hesistate to get in touch.