Pelotherapy has so many benefits and I’m so happy that we have access to amazing health care for our pups! For those that have read my article “What is Canine Pelotherapy?”. I’m sure you’ve been wondering what it looks like. To answer that, I’m going to tell you a story.
As a dog spa, I pride myself on not only having the time but, actually taking the time to work with special needs dogs. And that’s anything from anxiety, very nervous/scared, elderly, young puppies, injured dogs, even dogs that have autism. I try to provide a very calm and friendly environment for them so that they feel comfortable while being groomed. People sometimes forget that grooming is about caring for your dog’s health – not just fancy hairstyles.
A very common issue at the moment is anxiety in dogs. I came across Pelotherapy whilst looking for ways to ease anxiety as many of my guests struggle with anxiety, usually Separation Anxiety, and discovered the tremendous benefit mineral mud could have and I just had to try it!
Taco’s Story 🌮
Taco is a Chihuahua x Fox Terrier who love-loves her family. So much so, that being left behind can be quite nerve-racking for her. At Tacos first visit she was clearly uncomfortable and even a little distressed. In order to begin building a foundation with any guest (dog) at Organix Dog Spa, I try taking them for a sniff and a wander around our garden. Unfortunately, Taco did not want any of that!
I tried to encourage her to sniff and relax, offered treats, offered toys – anything to break her concentration from the door which her family left her from, but all she wanted was her family to come back. I kept her groom calm and quick and gave her lots of little breaks in between for her to stretch her legs. I thought, “in time she’ll improve and start to relax.”
By her third visit, I knew more needed to be done to help her. She had definitely begun to feel more comfortable but I wanted her to have a truly happy experience.
“I can’t stand when a guest (dog) doesn’t leave feeling better than when they came in!”-Organix Dog Spa
Taco was the perfect candidate to try the Soothing Mud Pelotherapy. This particular mud contains Lavender oil for its calming scent through aromatherapy and is full of healthy skin-soothing minerals and antioxidants. Good for the mind & body. 😉
– Taco was washed in our Original Organic Mud Shampoo first, then, the Soothing Mud was applied.
– The mud is a thick, slightly grainy texture which spreads out to a nice creamy consistency.
– The mud was applied first to the top of Taco’s head and under her jawline so that the smell of Lavender could start doing its job. Then the massage began.
– I massaged from the base of her skull, down her back to her back legs, from her shoulders to her chest and down her front legs. Massaging behind the ears creates a calming effect also, releasing any tension in the mind.
The video above is just a short clip at the halfway point of her bath. Taco’s bath is commonly performed with her jumping up, crying a little and pacing in circles. Obviously, not ideal.
These behaviours were only seen in the first 5 seconds of being placed into the bath and almost immediately stopped once the mud was applied around her head. Towards the end of her bath was the only other time she returned to her usual anxious state. However, I believe that was due to habit. She is seen in the video shaking and lip licking, which is a calming signal but you can also see she has moments of sniffing the air and an attempt to close her eyes.
My interpretation of her behaviour is that her mind is fighting with the two feelings she is having and isn’t sure how to act, one feeling being anxiety and wanting to run away from the situation and the other being that the experience is calming and the massage is releasing tension.
This was the first time Taco was actually able to settle herself during a bath and I cannot believe how quickly and how effective the treatment was for her mental health and thanks to the muds other properties, lots of loose hair was removed and her skin and coat were clear, beautiful and soft!
My measures of success during her bath were her moments of calmness during the bath, the fact that she sat still whilst I dried her – seemingly sleepy and allowed me to cut all of her nails. (She is usually very fidgety).
I don’t believe there is just one way to apply Pelotherapy. Taco needed anxiety relief first and grooming second, however, we had been applying grooming without tending to her mental state. I believe I did my best physically as a person which I do believe was helping to a certain extent, but, we needed to find a way to help ease her anxiety further that would be the most effective and she would be the most reception of.
In this case, Taco was able to achieve calm in the bath through Pelotherapy & Aromatherapy for a few minutes. Those few minutes enable her to begin to learn for herself that maybe the bath is not a scary place, and then eventually with practice, the amount of time she feels calm for can increase. A few minutes become 10 minutes, 10 become 30, and so on.
If you believe your dog could benefit from Pelotherapy, contact Organix Dog Spa for more information and to make a booking.