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Canine massage gives dogs a new 'leash' on life

Just petting your dog is not the same as therapeutic massage
dog massage
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If a professional massage reduces stress, eases sore muscles, and maintains overall health, why wouldn't you want that for man's best friend?

Jadelyn Hipwell is the owner of Greenwood Hill Wellness and Rehab in Oro-Medonte.

Operating for just over a year this canine massage venture is taking off.

Hipwell explains, "I am a registered massage therapist (Georgian College) and saw just how awesome it is for people and I thought why wouldn't it be beneficial for dogs. It's actually been around since the early 90s and there is a special course which I took through Royal Canadian College for Canine Massage."

Surprisingly the methods are pretty similar to human massage.

"The only real difference is I am usually on the ground with the dog rather than putting them up on a table. Dogs love touch because they love affection and attention. Once the animal relaxes in the surroundings (which is on Hipwell's scenic and spacious rural property just outside Orillia) and if  they've visited a couple of times, the dog will usually lay down in the same spot and just wait. They also let me know what area might be sore by turning their body for me. It's quite amazing. They let you know what they need and they'll let you know if something hurts."

Another difference is not using too much pressure on a furry client, but rather making sure to warm up the muscles and help circulation.

Hipwell says she's had good success working with dogs with injuries and hip dysplasia. She believes the therapy can really help senior dogs and also working dogs such as police dogs or guide dogs as "they get just as tired as people with jobs."

"I have been working with a four-year-old German Shepherd/Border Collie mix with no muscle tone in his backside. With weekly treatment the dog is now walking long distances with its owner and with no discomfort. The quality of life has greatly improved."

While there may be no tip offered a wagging tail may be just as rewarding.

As with any treatment consistency is the key so Hipwell suggests once a  month or every couple of weeks if the budget allows.

A half hour session is $25 and an hour massage costs $40.

The clinic is the only one of its kind in Orillia. She will also do canine massage in a client's home, if requested.

For more information go too her website.

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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