Photo: Anna Shvets | Pexels

While canine massages only began appearing on salon menus in recent years, it seems that this therapeutic practice has roots that date way back.

Rumour has it that the infamous Julius Caesar of Rome always had a masseuse by his side, not just to work on his body, but his dogs’ too. That’s not all.

Evidence of canine massages also showed up in Egyptian hieroglyphs and the early writings of Greek, Persian, and Japanese civilisations, showing that people have been using it to “heal” their furkids for a long time.

In a nutshell, doggy massage is a practice where our furkids’ soft tissues are skillfully manipulated (with strokes, kneads, and more) to promote general wellness.

Although not scientifically proven to treat or cure any diseases or conditions, studies have shown that massages do deliver a myriad of physical and emotional benefits to our furkids.

For dogs that are generally healthy, it’s safe to test the water at home. By setting aside just 10 minutes every evening before bedtime, you’ll be the first to know if your dog is ever feeling unwell (unusual lumps, muscle tension and/or swelling), and skin problems are likely to be detected much earlier.

If you’re already itching to kick-start Fido’s massage regime, here is a simple yet beneficial exercise for you to try on your pooch.

(10 minutes daily; good for bonding and general well-being) Refine your “sayang” technique in a way that’s relaxing and beneficial for Fido.

► Use flat, relaxed palms to “explore” your dog’s body. From your dog’s head (or neck), apply a long, slow stroke down his body to his legs, ending at his paws.

► Repeat for five minutes, rotating between all four legs.

► Next, lay your pet down on its side, and hold one leg up.

► Then, move each joint forwards and backwards three times.

► Repeat on all four legs.

If your furkid is new to massage, start with just a few minutes at a time. When his body relaxes and “melts”, increase intensity.

 *This article was updated on 12 Jan 2021. It first appeared in on 12 May 2016.