It’s a pre-hairwash ritual for most Indian girls. But until recently, we had no idea that canines could benefit from an oil massage. There’s not much talk about it in pet circles, and vets don’t often bring up the subject unless there is a specific need. So imagine our surprise when during a recent visit to Benzi Pet Stay, we saw canine behaviorist Prasanna Gopinath rubbing down one of their furry house guests with a concoction of neem oil and turmeric!
“I started doing this a few years ago when one of our ‘senior’ regulars, Mr Bonkers, a labrador, came to us with skin dryness issues,” recalls Prasanna. What started then as simple research and a basic mix of coconut oil and vaseline, has now evolved into a conscious search for natural oils that work well for doggie skin. “For instance, I read that a few drops of lavender oil helps in calming the nerves,” he shares. And when there are unpleasant doggie odours on your pet, Prasanna tells us that the tiniest drop of eucalyptus oil has worked wonders in the past.
All of this, of course must be run by your dog’s veterinarian first to ensure there are no adverse reactions. Although, vet Priya Govind based in Kilpauk says, “Coconut oil and olive oil are safe for most skin types.”
Also, she makes it a point to add, “Oil massages work well, only as long as the owners wash off the oil properly. Retaining excess oil on their coats would only make the coat dirty and act as a precursor to skin problems, especially in the summer.
While luxury pet stores abroad are known to sell ‘aroma paws massage’ oil and essential oils from diverse plants and bark that are safe for pets are not new on the web - you may have to do some searching in order to find what works best for your pet in Chennai. However, home recipes work just as well if you’re up to go the extra mile for the four-legged member of your family.
Here’s an idea. The next time you don’t want to sit alone with oily hair up in a bun for 20 minutes, oil down your dog — and the two of you can wait together!
Benefits of an Oil Massage for your Canine
- Provides relief from discomfort with conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia
- Clears up flea allergies and itchy skin
- Makes coats sleek and glossy, deodarises doggie odour
- Helps in healing of cuts, wounds, bites and stings