About Dog Health

How to Massage a Dog to Sleep

August 11, 2022

Younger dogs may be restless after long, active days spent running, playing, or working outside, while older dogs may be tired and sore. In both instances, your dog may have trouble falling asleep. The right massage technique can relax and comfort your dog's sore muscles, sending him off to sleep. Here are some tried-and-tested techniques on how to rub your dog to sleep.

Ears to Tail Method

STEP 1: Prepare your dog for sleep by laying him down on his bed. Put on soft music and dim the lights for him to create an ambiance.

STEP 2: Work your way toward the tips of his ears by massaging small circles behind them. Take your time with these motions.

STEP 3: Work your hands down the pup's neck after you've finished the ears. Knead his back and chest with long strokes near the base of his head.

STEP 4: Massage the back slowly and methodically. Start with long strokes along the dog's neck and move to slow circles along its spine.

STEP 5: At the end of the day, your dog's legs can be tired from being used a lot. Once you have worked the muscles on his back, sides, and arms, ease the tension in his legs. Making small circles with your thumbs, use long strokes to work from the top of each leg down to the paw.

One Side to Sleep Method

STEP 1: Prepare his bed for sleep. Avoid too much light and noise.

STEP 2: When your dog lies on his side, rub his tummy slowly in one direction to help him relax. His mind and body will be calmed and ready for sleep.

STEP 3: Massage the exposed side of his head after he has settled with a tummy rub. Massage his jowls and ears with small circular motions. 

STEP 4: Massage your pup’s neck gently in small circles. It may only be possible to massage one side, but as long as he's getting a soothing massage, he'll go to sleep. 

STEP 5: Your dog should feel quite relaxed now. Gently flex the muscles and skin on his legs toward his paws to ease any tension. Massaging his paw pads and between his toes will help relieve pain. 

STEP 6: Rub your dog's belly softly and slowly if he needs more attention. Talk to him quietly, or try starting over from the top, if he is still restless.


Falling asleep is a lot easier with a massage. Your dog can benefit from a soothing massage to cope with sore muscles after a long day. It will set him up for a good night's sleep.

Aside from sleep issues, older dogs are also more prone to diseases and poor health conditions. Dog owners need to learn more about different health problems in older dogs to better care for them.


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