Canine Massage

Dog Soft Tissue Massage Techniques 

Massage is a therapy that reaches back across time and cultures. It has also been the focus of much contemporary research and discovery.

Dog owners who have had a positive experience with massage may also be keen to seek this treatment for their dogs.

Primary aims of canine soft tissue massage and techniques include relaxing muscles, reducing muscle pain & improving muscle function.



Some of the therapeutic aims of soft tissue massage include:

  • Reduction of musculoskeletal pain
  • Myofascial trigger point pain reduction
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Improved muscle function
  • Improved joint motion & flexibility
  • Sports injury minimization/ prevention 
  • Athletic performance enhancement 
  • Enhanced sense of wellbeing



Many dog owners who have had musculoskeletal care from chiropractors, osteopaths and manual physiotherapists for spinal or extremity issues will also be familiar with the therapeutic styles of massage & soft tissue techniques they use.

Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Myoptherapists & Physiotherapists treating humans will often utilize very targeted and deeper forms of soft tissue massage, such as:

  • Myofascial trigger point therapy
  • Circular & longitudinal effleurage massage
  • Cross-friction massage
  • Acupressure
  • Muscle Positional Release


At Aligning Canine Chiropractic, we use these styles of targeted soft tissue massage / techniques.

Like many human musculoskeletal therapists, at Aligning Canine Chiropractic we will also often integrate joint mobilization and manipulation with the soft tissue massage techniques for enhanced effectiveness.

Similar to massage, one of the key objectives of joint mobilization & manipulation is to help relax & improve muscle function. Less joint irritation means less need for reactive or ‘protective’ muscle guarding / splinting. So canine joint manipulation & mobilization itself may also play an important role in relaxing muscles and improving their function.

Massage can also be used to assist in relaxing muscles prior to joint mobilization & manipulation. It may also be used after these joint movement techniques with the aim of assisting further with healing & improved musculoskeletal function.

In other words, the tactile massage and manual joint therapies can complement each other.


Conditions treated

  •  Back (lumbopelvic) problems  
  •  Mid-back (thoracic) problems
  • Neck (cervical) problems
  • Osteoarthritis-joint degeneration
  • Myofascial trigger point syndromes
  • Muscle tightness & strain
  • Lameness / limping
  • Hip & gluteal problems
  • Shoulder & lateral scapula problems
  • Sciatica & brachial neuralgia



Aligning Canine Chiropractic


The principal canine musculoskeletal therapist at Aligning Canine Chiropractic is Dr. Shane Watterson (Animal Chiropractor).


Shane has 10 years of experience providing tactile soft tissue massage / techniques, and joint biomechanical care to dogs. He also has 28 years of experience in human musculoskeletal care.

Extra Masters degrees in Animal Chiropractic

Dr. Watterson is the only human chiropractor in the world with a Masters Degree specifically in Animal Chiropractic.

He is also one of the few animal chiropractors in Australia who focuses exclusively on dogs.

8-year university program

The university ‘Animal Chiropractic Degree’ is a significantly more advanced qualification than that required for a human only practitioner.

All up, the Masters of Animal Chiropractic is in effect an 8-year university program, first is the 5-year full time university human qualification, then an additional 3 years for the post-graduate Animal Chiropractic Masters Degree.