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A friend of ours was telling us a story about someone she knew who hired a canine massage practitioner to work on their dog. The dog was apparently older, had severe arthritis, didn’t want to move around, and the owner felt that massage would be a good way to help provide some pain relief so the dog would want to be more mobile. What she neglected to do was to check the credentials of the massage practitioner she hired. She (and most people) don’t realize that unlike human massage therapists who must be licensed in their state, and are heavily regulated, canine body workers are not (except in Washington state, where you must be a human massage therapist before being allowed to work with animals). She found out later that the person she hired to work on her dog took a “weekend workshop” in canine massage, and deemed herself qualified to start a dog massage practice.
NO! She is NOT qualified to do anything! The practitioner ended up hurting the dog during the course of the massage, possibly by using too much pressure, or by using improper technique. We can only guess. According to the owner, the dog showed increased signs of discomfort for many days after the massage.
The moral of this story? ALWAYS check the credentials of anyone you hire to perform any type of body work on your dog, be it massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, aqua therapy and more. Always ask about the practitioner’s training, including how many hours of training was involved. And don’t forget to ask about their certifications and credentials.
Because canine body work is currently an unregulated field, it’s up to the dog owner to make sure the person working on their dog is fully qualified. Do your homework, so your dog doesn’t suffer the consequences.