Massage Therapy for Ridgebacks: The Science Behind the Magic

Massage therapy isn't just for humans. Learn how to massage your Ridgeback to reduce their stress levels and promote emotional health.

Ridgeback Resting on Blanket

You already know that these pups are amazing companions who are always loyal and loving.

But, did you know that just like us, they could use a little bit of massage therapy to improve their health and wellbeing?

It’s true! Ridgebacks can experience stress, tension, and emotional imbalances that can affect their overall health. That’s why more and more owners are turning to massage therapy as a natural way to care for their furry friends.

While your Ridgeback may have a tough exterior and a muscular build, they can also be sensitive and prone to anxiety, especially when there are changes in their routine, environment, or social dynamics.

That’s where massage therapy comes in! It can help them relax, release tension, and improve their mood.

If you’re curious about the benefits of massage therapy for your furry friend, then let’s explore them together! I’ve got some practical tips that you can try at home to help your Ridgeback feel their best.

What exactly is massage therapy and why so fab?

Massage therapy for your Ridgeback involves the manipulation of soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, to relieve tension and promote relaxation. It is a form of holistic therapy that can provide numerous physical and psychological benefits for your Ridgeback.

Physical and Psychological benefits

  1. Reduces muscle tension and stiffness. Massage therapy can release muscle tension and stiffness in your Ridgeback.
  2. Improved flexibility and range of motion. This can be particularly beneficial for older dogs or those with arthritis or other joint conditions.
  3. Boosts circulation and immune system Massage therapy can increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage in your Ridgeback’s body. This can help to remove toxins, reduce inflammation, and boost their immune system.
  4. Eases pain and discomfort Another study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice found that massage therapy can improve mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis. If your furry friend is struggling with joint pain, consider incorporating massage therapy into their treatment plan to help ease their discomfort.

Research shows that massage therapy can have numerous benefits for our furry friends

Promotes relaxation and reduces stress

One study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that massage therapy can reduce stress levels in dogs. So, next time your pup seems a little anxious, try giving them a gentle massage to help them relax.

Emotional well-being

Massage therapy can help to enhance your dog’s emotional well-being by promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. It can also help to reduce depression and anxiety.

Increases bonding and trust

A review article published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association concluded that massage therapy can have numerous benefits for dogs, including reducing pain, improving circulation, and enhancing the human-animal bond.

So, whether your dog is recovering from an injury or simply needs some extra TLC, massage therapy can be a wonderful way to show them you care.

How to massage your Ridgeback

You’re curious about how to give your Ridgeback a massage but feeling a bit unsure about where to start? Don’t worry, massaging your dog can be a simple and enjoyable experience for both you and your pup.

Preparing for the massage

  1. Find a comfortable location Choose a quiet and comfortable location where your Ridgeback can relax and feel safe.
  2. Choose the right time. Choose a time when your Ridgeback is relaxed and not too energetic, such as after a walk or mealtime.
  3. Get the right tools. Use soft, non-slip surfaces such as a yoga mat, towel, or blanket, and have massage oil or lotion on hand.

Massage techniques

Let’s get to it. Here are a few simple and effective techniques that you can easily try at home.


Effleurage involves long, gentle strokes along your Ridgeback’s body, which can help to warm up their muscles and promote relaxation.


Petrissage involves kneading and rolling motions on your Ridgeback’s muscles, which can help to release tension and improve circulation.


Friction involves circular motions on specific areas of your Ridgeback’s body, which can help to relieve pain and discomfort.


Tapotement involves tapping or drumming motions on your Ridgeback’s muscles, which can help to stimulate circulation and increase energy levels.

Safety tips

Ensuring your Ridgeback’s safety during a massage at home is crucial to creating a positive and relaxing experience for both you and your pup.

Know your dog’s limits

Pay attention to your Ridgeback’s body language and be mindful of any signs of discomfort or pain.

Avoid sensitive areas

Avoid massaging sensitive areas such as the spine, belly, and ears.

Check for signs of discomfort

Examples are excessive panting, shaking, or resistance.

Stop if necessary

If your Ridgeback shows any signs of discomfort or pain, stop the massage and consult with your veterinarian.

Here are our top takeaways:

  1. Create a relaxing environment: Before you start the massage, set the mood by dimming the lights, playing some soothing music, and using aromatherapy. Some essential oils that are safe and beneficial for dogs include lavender, chamomile, frankincense, and ginger. You can diffuse them in a diffuser or dilute them in a carrier oil and apply them topically to your dog’s fur or collar.
  2. Use gentle and firm strokes: When massaging your Ridgeback, use a combination of gentle and firm strokes to stimulate circulation, release tension, and promote relaxation. Start with light touches on the head, neck, and shoulders, and gradually work your way down the back, legs, and paws. Avoid applying too much pressure or using abrupt movements that could startle or hurt your dog.
  3. Pay attention to your dog’s reactions: As you massage your Ridgeback, observe their body language and vocalizations to gauge their comfort level and adjust your technique accordingly. Look for signs of relaxation, such as a lowered head, closed eyes, and a relaxed tail. If your dog seems agitated or uncomfortable, take a break or switch to a different area of the body.
  4. Use treats and positive reinforcement: To make the massage experience even more enjoyable for your Ridgeback, use treats and positive reinforcement to reward them for good behavior and cooperation. You can give them a small treat after each session or use verbal praise and cuddles to show your appreciation.

Other integrative treatments for dogs to help alleviate soreness, pain, and effects of ailments like arthritis

While massage therapy can be an effective way to soothe your Ridgeback’s muscles and promote relaxation, it’s not the only integrative treatment available for dogs with soreness, pain, and arthritis. Here are some other options to consider:


This ancient practice involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the release of natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory substances. Acupuncture can help relieve pain, improve circulation, and reduce stress in dogs with arthritis. Seek a professional for this type of treatment.


Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise that can help strengthen your Ridgeback’s muscles and joints without putting stress on them. The buoyancy of the water can also help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Cold-laser therapy

Also known as low-level laser therapy, this treatment uses a special light to penetrate the skin and stimulate the healing process. Cold-laser therapy can help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and promote tissue repair in dogs with arthritis.

Weight loss

If your Ridgeback is overweight or obese, losing excess pounds can help reduce the strain on their joints and improve their overall health. Talk to your veterinarian about creating a safe and effective weight loss plan for your dog.

Gentle exercise

While high-impact activities like running and jumping can be hard on dogs with arthritis, gentle exercise such as walking, stretching, and slow jogging can help keep their muscles and joints limber and reduce stiffness and pain.

So why not give massage a try?

Start with gentle strokes and soothing touches, and watch your Ridgeback relax into a state of bliss.

Massage therapy is not just a luxury for humans but can also greatly benefit our dogs.

By incorporating regular massages into your Ridgeback’s wellness routine, you can help them feel better physically and mentally.

From easing muscle tension and promoting relaxation to increasing bonding and trust, massage therapy is a wonderful way to show your Ridgeback how much you care.

Remember, every Ridgeback deserves a rubdown, and by giving yours a massage, you’re helping them live their best life.

Disclaimer: It’s important to note that before starting any new medical treatment, including massage therapy, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog.franken


How often should I massage my ridgeback?

The frequency of massages for your Ridgeback depends on their age, activity level, and health status. Generally, a weekly massage can be beneficial, but it’s best to consult with your veterinarian or a certified canine massage therapist for specific recommendations.

Can I massage my ridgeback if they have a medical condition?

Before massaging your Ridgeback, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine if massage therapy is appropriate for your dog’s medical condition. In some cases, massage can be contraindicated or require modification to avoid exacerbating the condition.

Is there anything I should avoid when massaging my ridgeback?

Avoid applying excessive pressure, especially over bony areas, and avoid massaging areas that are bruised, inflamed, or painful. Additionally, do not massage your Ridgeback if they have a fever or infection.

Can I use essential oils during the massage?

Some essential oils can be beneficial during a massage, but it’s important to use only oils that are safe for dogs and to dilute them properly. Essential oils that are safe and beneficial for dogs include lavender, chamomile, frankincense, and ginger. It’s always best to consult with a certified aromatherapist or veterinarian before using essential oils on your Ridgeback.

What should I do if my ridgeback doesn’t like getting a massage?

If your Ridgeback doesn’t enjoy getting a massage, it’s important to respect their boundaries and not force them. You can try using treats or positive reinforcement to create a more positive association with massage or consult with a certified canine massage therapist for guidance.


  1. Study on reducing stress levels in dogs:
  2. Study on improving mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis:
  3. Review article on the benefits of massage therapy for dogs:

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Hello! I'm Hannah, a new mom to my furry baby, Toby, who I love like crazy. I write articles that share my tips and tricks for creating a cozy and safe home for our beloved pups. From finding the perfect dog bed that matches your decor to using smart technology to keep an eye on your furry friend, I've got you covered. Join me on this journey of love and care for our furry children!