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Stressed-Out Dogs Need Massages, Too, Lakeview Therapist Says

By Serena Dai | September 26, 2013 6:52am
Canine Massage Chicago
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

LAKEVIEW — Like their owners, pooches need a little pampering sometimes, too — and a massage could do just the trick, according to a local massage therapist.

Denise Theobald has been a licensed massage therapist for humans for 25 years, but when she realized her seven dogs seemed to be moving the way she does after a long run, she decided to try massaging them with sports massage techniques.

"They were able to run more," Theobald said. "They were able to recover better."

Theobald now runs Canine Massage Chicago in Lakeview at 1709 W. Belmont Ave., where she will hold a free info session on dog massage on Oct. 2 to explain the practice. She also has a location in west suburban Oak Park.

 Canine Massage Chicago in Lakeview will offer a free info session on the techniques and benefits of getting your dog massaged.
Canine Massage Chicago
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"People look at us a little cock-eyed when we say we do canine massage," she said. "The canine body is parallel to the human body, so many of the benefits are the same with the human."

A 30-minute massage session for dogs costs $40, while a 60-minute massage session costs $60.

Many of Theobald's "pet parent" clients bring a dog in because the pet is really active or old.

Dogs are natural athletes and will continue to run even when injured or sore, Theobald said Massage will help relieve stiffness, increase circulation and help the body detox, she said. 

Plus, dogs suffer from stress the same way humans do, and a massage can help curb that, she said.

"There's so much stress in the dog's world," she said. "They don't speak the same language we do. There's always a certain level of anxiety that dogs have when we domesticate them."

Theobald knows that people are dubious of the benefits of massaging their dogs — something she tells students who also want to be canine massage therapists. She hopes that soon, it will be easier to show people the physical changes in their dogs through software.

Until then, Canine Massage will hold free info sessions with demonstrations and a drawing for a free massage to tout the benefits.

"When I started doing human massage 25 years ago, people looked at me funny," she said. "I'm basically doing the same thing now."

For more information on the Oct. 2 session, email info@caninemassagechicago.com.