Does your dog need a massage?
Spa treatments don't stop with people. Animals get massages, too. It's a service that many pet owners value.
"People call me because their dogs are having problems," said Shelah Barr. She is a San Francisco dog massage therapist. "The work I do is important for animals so they have a high quality of life."
Practitioners say massage can be a preventive measure for younger animals. It can help older ones by boosting flexibility, circulation and immunity.
Massage sessions can last 30-40 minutes.
Barr is guided by what the dog desires. Sometimes that means the pet chews on a bone the whole time.
Grace Granatelli is an animal masseuse in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale. She plays new-age music or "spa sounds," which help relax dogs.
Granatelli would have the dog lie on the floor or its bed. She would start by massaging its neck. She would then move to other areas, including legs and hips. But it's not crucial that the dog lie down or sit still.
Carol Forrest is a former client of Granatelli's. She said her Dachshunds, Maxie and Lucy, got regular massages for five years. The two were able to relax after a massage despite dealing with issues such as arthritis. Forrest said she believes massage benefits dogs as much as people.