Top Pibble Massage Techniques You Can Do

Dog massage therapy has been around since the beginning of time. In some countries such as India, dog massage therapy has been around for thousands of years!

Massage has its benefits in people, and the same benefits can be seen in our dogs as well. Keep reading to learn more about what dog massage is, ways to do it at home, and how it can help your dog live a longer, healthier life.


Top Pibble Massage Techniques You Can Do

Massage can be defined as: “the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain”.  Massage helps to reduce stress in the body, help the joints, muscles and bones heal, provides basic pain relief, and may assist in the rehabilitation and regeneration of muscle tissue.

For dogs, massage has similar benefits. It can be used at home for relaxation and stress relief, to help them with anxiety or nervous disorders, to provide relief for arthritis, and to aid in the healing of muscles, joints and bones.

Dog massage therapy is often prescribed by veterinarians to assist in post-surgical recovery, and is part of dog physical therapies to help improve function, reduce pain and aid in rehabilitation.


The benefits of massage therapy on our dogs are various: from basic stress and pain relief, to post-surgery rehabilitation and recovery. The goals of massage therapy for dogs include: relief of pain, reduction of muscle tension, reduction of tissue swelling, improvement of circulation, tissue healing, reduction of fibrous adhesions, and improvement of range of motion.

The reduction of muscle tension and pain are important factors in calming down a nervous or anxious dog. Dogs that have had previous trauma (of any kind), are dealing with the stress of change, have separation anxiety, and more can all benefit from these effects. Massaging your dog is also a great bonding experience to help bring the two of you closer together.

Tissue healing, improvement of circulation and reduction of adhesions are all important factors in wound or surgical recovery. Massage therapy will help circulate blood better, bringing nutrients and tissue healing factors that speed up recovery and allow the injury to heal. Reduction of adhesions means the recovered limb will have greater range of motion with less chances for arthritis and pain.

Improving the range of motion is also an important factor in any dog. It can help elderly or senior pets improve function with less pain, reduce the need for medications, can help athletic dogs recover from injury more quickly, and can help any pet stay healthy and fit.


Top Pibble Massage Techniques You Can Do

While there are hundreds of different ways to perform massage, there are three main techniques that can be used to help your dog improve his or her health. In addition to the techniques, some basic massage terminology may be helpful. (All technique definitions adapted from Pawsitively Peaceful Canine Massage.)


Effleurage is a massage therapy technique that follows the direction of venous return back to the heart and the direction of lymphatic drainage towards the nearest group of lymphatic nodes. The pressure while you're performing effleurage may be light, moderate or heavy, but always increases at the end of the stroke towards the lymphatic nodes.

Effleurage usually involves long, flowing strokes that are usually done at the start and end of a massage sessions. This helps to warm up the tissues. The Zen PEBBLE™ really helps make performing this technique super easy. You can use the Zen PEBBLE™ to make long, flowing strokes with varying amounts of pressure.


Petrissage is the kneading and rolling on the skin and tissue to help remove adhesions, and massage the underlying tissues beneath the skin. OurZen PEBBLE™ makes performing this technique super easy. It's designed specifically to help with this technique. Start off by moving the Zen PEBBLE™ in short circular motions with light pressure and add pressure gradually - your pibble will let you know when it's too much. Often times, the pibble will lean into it - letting you know that it feels great and is very soothing.


Applying compression in a “pumping” motion to help with the fibrous tissues underneath. Used to help relieve muscle spasms and increase circulation. This technique requires you to use both of your hands and can be aided by the Zen PEBBLE™. For example, you can perform this technique on your pibble's leg with the Zen PEBBLE™ by placing one hand under the leg and while rolling the Zen PEBBLE™ on the top with the other hand. During this motion, make sure that you're gently compressing. 

While there are many other techniques used during the massage, the basics are all that is needed for an at-home session. For a more detailed look at canine massage techniques, check out the sources at the bottom of this article.


Top Pibble Massage Techniques You Can Do

In some cases, massage may not be beneficial to your pibble or may even be harmful. These can include systemic problems such as fever, organ dysfunction or infectious disease, as well as problems including fractured/sprained limbs or masses of unknown type and origin. Massage of surgical sites should also be avoided unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian as part of a rehabilitation program.


Physical therapy is a growing sector of dog veterinary treatment, and certifications of both veterinary technicians, dog massage therapists and veterinary professionals has increased. In addition to massage, therapy techniques can include the use of treadmills, especially underwater treadmills that help reduce weight bearing while allowing the joints to move, and the use of shallow pools for swimming with reduced impact.

Many veterinary teaching hospitals associated with veterinary schools are now adding and increasing the size of their dog massage therapy programs. In addition to professional therapies, simple increases in exercise can help to relieve arthritis, improve health and mobility and help you bond with your dog.

Dog massage therapy is a great bonding experience that can have many wonderful health benefits for your dog (and for you!) Pain relief, arthritis relief, injury recovery and more are all just some of the benefits of this non-invasive procedure. Help your dog feel his or her best and enjoy spending some quality time together!



  • Ordered the Zen Pebble – massaging a lot with my hands makes my hands feel all rough and I feel like the roller ball would make it much easier and more effective.

  • Yes, excellent article – and for anyone who wants to really get good at massage techniques for dogs, there are tons of amazing videos on youtube.

  • Great article and thanks for including the reading list at the bottom. Every pibble owner needs to know this information.


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