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What to expect

First, I will require a signed Veterinary consent form, I can organise this for you.

First appointment – this is approximately 1.5 hours long and includes an in-depth history of activities of daily living along with gait and postural analysis. A full body palpation nose to tail is applied with a bespoke treatment to follow.

Session 2 and 3: Sometimes an improvement can be achieved following one or two treatments. However, it is my experience that optimal results occur following a course of three. Ideally each session is 7-10 days apart and your dog should not be receiving any other physical therapies during this time. This allows for accurate evaluation of success and desired outcome for each patient. These sessions are typically one hour long. At the end of each session an assessment can be made to determine the best way to proceed for your dog’s health and wellbeing. It is possible that I may not be the best person for your dog’s needs and referral back to your vet for further treatment must be considered. Indeed, referral for other physical therapies such as hydrotherapy or acupuncture may be indicated.

Following the final session, I will write a report of my assessment to your referring vet and give you a written letter of recommendations for the future. Follow up treatments can be booked but may not be necessary for 3-6 months. Maintenance treatments can be as frequent as weekly or monthly if you feel that it is beneficial to your dog.

It is important to note that following a treatment there are some guidelines that must be followed for your dog’s wellbeing. It is possible that your dog may experience a healing crisis. This is perfectly normal but it does means that they may feel worse before they feel better. Typically, symptoms last approximately 24-48 hours’ post treatment and the symptoms experienced are a sign that the body is busy rebalancing and cleansing itself. The massage treatment has worked to increase blood circulation and lymphatic drainage thus releasing stored tension and toxins in the body which must be removed. Symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Increased sleep
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst and possibly increased joint or muscular pain.
  • Unusual changes in behaviour, possibly less tolerant with other animals in the home.

I therefore request a light evening meal and strict rest post treatment. Depending on the symptoms experienced it may be necessary to following a lighter exercise routine for the next 48 hours.

Special care for our ‘Golden Oldies’

When working on older patients I will be working on repetitive and chronic changes to the body that have occurred over several years. This has proven to cause some of the above symptoms of a healing crisis with the added component that by day 3 they are feeling much better and tend to ‘overdo it’. This has involved chasing a cat at the allotment, running upstairs instead of the usual slow ascension or simply walking for longer or with more energy. Care must be taken to avoid any scenarios where they can injure themselves and cause a flare up of any chronic and ongoing conditions that cause them pain or discomfort.


Emma has used my 4 year old boxer, Lenny, for one of her case studies. He had a double cruciate operation 2 years ago which has resulted in the onset of osteoarthritis so Emma came around and massaged him - despite his exuberance and fidgeting and sheer delight at her being there managed to calm him down so she could work on his knees. She handled him brilliantly.

10 weeks ago Lenny had more surgery to repair the meniscus in both stifles but mainly the right leg. Emma has followed Lenny’s progress and recently came to the house again in her own time to show me how to do a vascular flush which I am now doing daily. She is a star!

Sandra Hanrahan with Lenny the Boxer

As a trainer and competitor in multi dog sports for the past 10 years I have learnt the true value of canine massage, over the years I have seen many therapists but none quite as good as Emma Young at On Point.

The last 2 sessions Cody our whippet mix has had with Emma we have gone on to hit personal bests in Flyball and we are now 3rd in the UK. Emma’s medical background and her thorough treatment with the dogs indicates to me she is worth her weight in gold. The dog’s quite like it too!

Joe Lamont from Tails we win flyball team

I have referred several patients to Emma for clinical massage, mainly for arthritis. The clients have reported that the dogs have increased mobility after the massage and enjoy the process. The treatment is safe and effective and Emma provides a report after each case allowing for good ongoing clinical management of each individual case.

George Lightfoot MA VetMB GP Cert (SAM) MRCVS

Frequently Asked Questions

My dog doesn't go to the vet – do I need a form signed?

YES! It is illegal for any person to carry out a manipulative therapy without the consent of the Veterinary Surgeon who is overseeing the care and treatment for that individual. I will only work under the Veterinary Surgery Order 1962 and Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, failure to do so may result in me being struck off the registration for qualified Veterinary nurses. I will always work best practice, which means I will only do what is best for your dog.

How many sessions will my dog need?

Initially I recommend a course of three sessions 7-10 days apart. Upon the completion of the third session I will write a report of my assessment and recommendations to your vet. We will then discuss how frequently you would like me to treat your dog. As an owner, you will see a visible improvement in your dog if massage is the appropriate course of action. Follow up sessions can be as frequently as weekly, or 3-6 months. Sometimes referral back to your vet for follow up investigations or referral for other therapies is indicated.

My dog has just had his vaccinations – can he still have his massage?

The immune system is busy responding to the vaccine and sometimes dogs can experience a reaction to the vaccine either locally (a lump on the back of their neck) or systematically (fever, malaise) so I would recommend that a dog is massaged at least a week following their vaccinations.

My dog goes to hydrotherapy – can he have both treatments in the week?

Ideally it would be best not to have any other therapies booked in concurrently with my sessions. That way we can properly assess improvements and progress.

My dog competes at fly ball – can he continue training or compete during the sessions?

It is my experience that typically dogs feel well at about day 3 post treatment. This means that they are at risk of 'over doing it' and indeed injuring themselves. I would recommend a break from training, again for detailed assessment and evaluation of improvements. However, if you would like to continue with competitions I would advise that your dog is treated a minimum of 4 days prior to competition.

Is there an Association for Massage Therapists?

YES! The Canine Massage Guild accepts members on the basis they have successfully completed the 2-year training course. Members MUST complete 25 hours of continual professional development each year to maintain skills and knowledge. I am proud to say that I am a member of the Canine Massage Guild.