Massage therapy for dogs and cats

Top Companion Anim Med. 2014 Jun;29(2):54-7. doi: 10.1053/j.tcam.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Feb 14.


Massage is gaining recognition as a beneficial modality for the treatment of many ailments due to recent scientific research in humans. We can infer that these benefits apply to dogs and cats due to their similar physiology and anatomy. Defined as the therapeutic manipulation of soft tissues, massage has many effects on muscle, the circulatory system, the autonomic nervous system, and the mind. Various techniques are employed to achieve a desired effect in the treatment of many conditions, including but not limited to, swelling and edema, critical illness and prolonged recumbency, osteoarthritis and chronic pain, and palliative and hospice care. This article reviews the above topics and encourages the practitioner to seek out expert advice on massage in the care of companion animals.

Keywords: cats; dogs; edema; hospice; intensive care unit; massage; pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Dogs / physiology*
  • Massage / veterinary*
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Pain / veterinary*