Massaging your pregnant dog

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I had the great pleasure of recently providing massage therapy to a beautiful pregnant Healer named Zoe. This inspired me to tell you a little more about how massage therapy can benefit your pregnant dog.

First, let me say that I am an advocate for adoption. Over the years I’ve seen plenty of dogs come into shelters pregnant, some homeless and some surrendered. Many of these “preggers” go into foster care. No matter what the situation, all pregnant dogs deserve love and care!

It’s pretty obvious … pregnant dogs are carrying extra weight. This will add extra stress on their joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Carrying pups can be highly stressful on a mother’s body and mind overall. A well-fed dog will gain about 15-20% beyond her weight at breeding. 

This is precious rescued dog Nia! She belongs to my friend Frances. She just delivered this week!
This is precious rescued dog Nia! She belongs to my friend Frances. She just delivered this week!

Our touch during a pregnancy massage must be light and gentle. No pressure should be put on the belly or spine, yet your girl will likely love a very light belly rub. “Laying of hands” which is placing your hands on your dog’s body without any pressure, will help to warm her muscles and stimulate circulation. Gentle rubs in a circular motion on her joints will benefit her along with some light squeezing and kneading.

During the whelping (birthing) process, extra stress is on her body. Massage can help to relieve the stress before birthing her pups, and also once her litter is born. Long gentle strokes will help to calm her during the whelping process.

During what phase of pregnancy can we begin massage therapy?

It is recommended to wait until the second trimester of pregnancy to begin treatments.

Does massage help to induce whelping?

Massaging a dog’s belly in order to induce whelping is not recommended. Forcing the pups into a tight area can injure the puppy. A qualified veterinarian may induce labor to reduce the risk of injury or death to both mother and puppies.

Nia where you can see her pretty face! She had 3 girls and a boy.
Nia where you can see her pretty face! She had 3 girls and a boy.

How long should a massage therapy session last on a pregnant dog?

I prefer to keep these sessions a bit shorter than others, although the dogs often disagree! A pregnancy therapy session will last 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the dog.

Nia’s baby boy!
Nia’s baby boy!

I have pictures of Zoe’s babies now! Scroll down! https://player.vimeo.com/video/531893691?badge=0&autopause=0&player_id=0&app_id=58479

In closing, note that that canine massage is similar to human massage in many ways. It is to be used in conjunction with regular medical care. Please contact Wendy Rall, CMFT to discuss the needs of your best friend and how massage therapy can help at wendy@RescuedTails.com or call 951-704-3374

Zoe had 5 puppies on Easter 2021!
Zoe had 5 puppies on Easter 2021!
Pet Companion Mag
Southern California's Local Pet Magazine

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