The next time your pet gets into the poop position, look at his/her body and stance. This poop posture requires balance, strength, flexibility of the spine and the muscles surrounding it, the ability of the limbs to support the body in this position, and even tail movement. Much of the stance is related to the mid-and-lower back regions, although the front legs must bear weight and the neck must keep the head upright and stable. Don’t believe me? Try getting into that position and back up again.
A pet with a stiff and/or weak back and leg muscles will have a much harder time getting into and maintaining the poop posture. Muscle tightness, a rigid spine, arthritic joints, and muscle weakness and wasting can all add to the challenge of our pets having a bowel movement. Aging pets can have weak muscle tone and arthritis in the joints, which can affect not only their walking and standing, but also their ability to get into and maintain the poop posture.
And while we’re on the topic, Dr. Randy Kidd, DVM PhD makes another point. He states, “…it seems that dogs need to periodically refresh their memory of who they really are by turning head to tail to sniff their own butts. In the process they are able to lick themselves clean and thus keep the glandular openings unclogged.” FYi, glandular openings is referring to the anal sacs.
Massage and How It Can Help
Therapeutic massage is an excellent tool when trying to get muscles to relax, improve flexibility and range of motion, and help improve muscle tone. During a massage, gentle stretching can especially help the large muscles surrounding the entire spine. If the muscles along the spine are tense and/or rigid, your pet will have a difficult time arching his/her back, which is necessary to get into the poop position.
Having a relaxed body is also very beneficial to both the digestive and elimination processes. Massage aids in the poop process by keeping the fluids in the body moving, and since fluids aid in digestion, this all helps to keep things running smoothly. If the body is tense and tight, metabolism slows down and can cause some digestive issues.
Massage can also help with both constipation and diarrhea. When constipated, processes in the body are stuck and tight, including the muscles. The relaxation and movement massage provides allows the body to get things moving. When diarrhea occurs, the muscles of the intestines are in spasm, and massage can help relax them.
In my pet massage career, I am proud to say that I have helped dogs with poop posture difficulties, as well as helped dogs with constipation poop following a massage.
Ah the reward of a good massage!