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canine massage

Happy Hounds

The canine body is complex; it is comprised of around 319 bones, a multitude of tendons, ligaments and nerves, fascia  and over 700 muscles.  Any injury sustained through work or play may introduce a detrimental effect on the muscles (individually and globally), leading to pain and probable dysfunctional compensations in gait and posture.  It is essential that all components of the musculoskeletal system are able to work in harmony, in order to maintain optimal performance and health. 

There may be several contributing factors to the development of muscular stress. Examples include:

  • pulling on the lead

  • trauma or injury e.g. falls

  • conformation defects/faults

  • irregular exercise/training

  • repetitive strain - particularly common in agility and working dogs

  • rough play with other dogs

  • orthopaedic conditions e.g. hip/elbow dysplasia, arthritis, ligament/tendon injuries, spondylosis, amputation

  • emotional trauma e.g. neglect, abuse

As owners we know our dogs best. We are best placed to notice signs that something isn't right and seek appropriate treatment.

In some cases your dog may display certain compensatory changes in behaviour, posture and/or locomotion e.g.

  • reluctance to go for walks/play

  • difficulty changing position e.g. from lying to sitting to standing

  • tendency to lie or sit to preferred side

  • difficulty getting in or out of cars

  • difficulty going up or down stairs

  • unexplained stiffness or signs of discomfort after exercise

  • being one-sided/over-development of muscle 

  • reduction in performance, speed or agility

  • crying/yelping on movement

  • reactive to touch/grooming

  • abnormal change in behaviour or temperament

Canine Merishia Massage (Level 4 Diploma) was devised by Nikki Routledge (Animal McTimoney practitioner and Equine Body Worker) in 2002 and formed its roots on Swedish and Sports Massage techniques. In 2014 its practice was developed further by Jo Rose (animal musculoskeletal therapist) to include a number of additional techniques that focus on deep tissue mobilisation and elements of TTouch.


Some modalities include, effluerage, petrissage (compression, kneading, wringing, picking up), tapotement (percussion, clapping, cupping, hacking) and deep fibre friction. The preventative and rehabilitative application of Merishia Massage can be used to effectively prevent or release stress and tension of a  physical and/or emotional cause, with the ultimate aim of maintaining the welfare and performance of your dog.

With every session your dog will also be prescribed facilitated stretches (active and/or passive) to ensure the soft tissues are able to re-lengthen, restore function and benefit fully from the therapy given. To prevent stress from travel I can see your dog in the comfort of your own home, if preferred.

Find Out More

benefits of massage for agility dog
How can massage help my dog?
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