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Massage Therapy for Pets — An Increasingly Popular Healing Alternative for Dogs, Horses and Companion Animals

Animal massage therapy has been used with horses for many years.

Equine massage therapy has been around for a while as a holistic treatment to help in healing.  However, massage therapy for pets is a newer trend. It's rapidly growing, though - many pet owners who enjoy spa treatments for themselves or who believe in holistic, alternative medicines find value in similar services for their dogs or cats.

What a Massage Therapy for Pets Business Involves:
You'll administer massages to well or ailing animals, often at a pet store or veterinary clinic but sometimes in a stand-along practice. (Mobile Canine Massage services are another option; bring the therapy right to the animal!) You can charge $50 and up for a massage and consultation, depending on the market in your area.

Knowledge or Skills Required:
A natural affinity for the animal you choose to work with, accompanied with experience and training. There are now schools that offer training in Animal Massage Therapy.

You'll also need a massage table if you work with smaller pets (not difficult to find used) and various leads or halters to help hold your patient in the proper position.

Advantages:

  • Trend is growing but odds are there isn't much local competition as yet
     

  • Very satisfying to participate in improving an animal's health
     

  • Pays well per hour

    Disadvantages:

  • Training and experience are recommended (if not actually required)
     

  • Increasingly regulated by states; licenses often required
     

  • Possibility exists to further injure an already-ailing pet

    Resources for More Information on Starting a Massage Therapy for Pets Business:

  • PetMassage.com
    An excellent resource site for people interested in this business; offers training materials as well.

  • International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork
    Includes a newsletter, research, and sources for education and training.

    Comments/Ideas:

  • If you specialize in a certain type of animals (horses, or Labrador Retrievers, for example), you'll find that it's easier to become well known.

  • Don't make promises or give guarantees.
     

  • You may be able to find work by teaming with a local pet store, veterinary clinic, or pet spa.
     

  • This is an "upscale" business geared towards pet lovers with discretionary income. Don't skimp on your marketing materials or your consulting approach. For example, imitating the look of a spa for people can pay off.