Canine Massage Therapy

The Canine Fitness Centre is delighted to be able to offer our clients MASSAGE THERAPY for their dogs!  Kris Harrigan is on staff as our Canine Massage Therapist.


 What types of conditions can massage therapy help?

Most conditions can benefit from massage therapy. Senior dogs tend to love it, but it can be beneficial for sporting and show dogs, or really any dog as well! 


What are the benefits of massage?

There are many benefits of massage. Some of the most beneficial are….

  • Increased circulation throughout massaged areas
  • Builds social confidence through touch therapy
  • Aids in injury rehab
  • Aids in detection of underlying issues 
  • Aids in lymphatic drainage 


When should my dog receive massage therapy and when should it receive physio?

Massage therapy does not replace a rehabilitation program, but it can be great as an adjunct to physio or for a generalized sense of well-being in your pet.  Depending on the injury, massage can be beneficial before a physio appointment to help relax muscles, increase circulation and lymphatic drainage, and increase range of motion through stimulation of bones and joints. As well, Massage can maintain and improve muscle, bones, circulatory, and lung health/function between physio appointments. 


Do most dogs like massage therapy and do they stay still for it?

Once the animal gets comfortable in the environment, they settle into a relaxation state. Each dog takes a different length of time and energy to get to this point.  Most will get to that point; however, some never do.  You won’t know until you try.


Will massage therapy hurt my dog?

No. Through the use of proper tactics and procedures, the risk of injury is minimized. The therapist takes into account all of the information provided by the owner and modifies the massage as necessary. It is important that all of the information and history regarding your dog is provided, including medications, conditions, and any underlying issues.


Are there any times when a dog shouldn’t receive a massage?

Yes, there are……

  • After meals- minimum 90 minutes after a full meal
  • Cancer - palliative care only 
  • Circulation issues- edema, hematoma 
  • Dermatological issues- mange, hot spots, ring worm should all be treated and resolved before commencing massage
  • Bitches in season or pregnant
  • Post-surgery 


How often should my dog get a massage?

Every Day!! Honestly, it depends on the animal, and reason for treatment.  This is a question best asked after the therapist has seen your dog at least once.


What happens on the first visit?

A typical first session includes the following 

  • Gait analysis 
  • Review of dog history 
  • Greet and settle dog onto table 
  • Temperature check
  • Hands on massage head to tail 
  • Review of findings and homework 

It’s typically a 45 minute to 1 hour appointment.


Are there different kinds of massage?

Yes, there are. Our therapist performs a Swedish massage styled approach, which includes effleurage, petrissage, kneading, tapotement (vibrations), hacking, cupping, and acupressure. 


How long are follow up session?

This depends on the animal and the treatment plan. Sessions typically range in time between 20 – 30 minutes. 


Can I just massage my dog on my own?

Yes, you’ll be given homework and be shown how you how to perform each movement safely at home. 


What are your massage therapist’s qualifications?

Kris completed a 2-year Certification in Canine Massage through Treetops Canine Massage, in Alliston, Ontario.


Is the massage therapist insured?

Yes, she carries professional liability insurance. 


What about cats?

No, unfortunately that is not a service that we currently offer. 




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