Dogs and their people are happier and healthier with PetMassage

When I incorporate Lymphatic Drainage in dogs PetMassage, I provide another powerful way for them to feel better, heal faster, and become more balanced.

By Anastasia Rudinger | May 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Canine Massage Lymphatic Drainage

By Jonathan Rudinger | May 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Canine Massage Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphatic drainage is a therapeutic massage treatment. The goal of lymphatic drainage in the massage is to increase the flow of lymph and reduce toxins in the body.

The lymph system is part of the dog’s body’s immune system and helps fight infection. Lymph itself is a clear, slightly yellow fluid. It transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, collecting toxins on the way and flushing them out through the lymph nodes. There are around twice as many lymph vessels as blood vessels in the dog’s body. However, unlike blood, which is pumped around by your heart, the lymph system has no pump. The pressure from their blood vessels and movement from their muscles push the lymphatic fluid around.

Lymphatic drainage massage has beneficial effects on dogs’ general health. Improving the flow and drainage of lymph around the body is good for dogs in lots of ways.


  1. Reduces the suffering from minor colds and viruses
  2. Helps the body fight off infection, and speeds up healing and recovery from illness
  3. Reduces water retention; for instance, because the lymph system has no pump. When dogs sit for a long time without moving, the lymph can’t flow easily — this is why he may experience swollen wrists and hocks
  4. Boosts weight loss. improving the lymphatic system improves metabolic rate, which helps burn calories more efficiently
  5. Manual lymphatic drainage is also used in the treatment of lymphoedema
  6. Improves skin texture by reducing swelling, puffiness and blotches
  7. Speeds up healing in scar tissue
  8. Use very light pressure
  9. Long, gentle, rhythmic strokes following the venous cardiovascular patterns
  10. Light fingertip scratching over the lymph nodes toward the heart
  11. Muscle stripping
  12. Rocking
  13. Joint mobilization
  14. Holding and breathing
    Begin by working your way up from the paws. Lymphatic drainage massage uses very light pressure, as well as long, gentle, rhythmic strokes and soft pumping movements toward, over, and away from the lymph nodes.


  1. Fatigue
  2. Thirsty
  3. Tender
  4. Unsteady/disoriented
    Lymphatic drainage can leave dogs feeling exhausted. They may want to rest for the rest of the day. They need time to ease their bodies back into activity. Lymphatic drainage massage may also leave them thirsty. It’s a process of flushing out the system; encouraging them to drink plenty of water adds to the treatment.

Post treatment plan

After the rest period, gentle activity, like a walk, will help encourage healthy lymph flow. Movement at the joints exerts pressure on the lymphatic vessels and keeps lymph flowing through them.

Anastasia’s Affirmation:
When I incorporate Lymphatic Drainage in dogs PetMassage, I provide another powerful way for them to feel better, heal faster, and become more balanced.

PetMassage and Circulation

By Jonathan Rudinger | May 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

PetMassage and Circulation

PetMassage and Circulation. When we ask people to describe the benefits of canine massage, the first thing that comes to mind is that it improves dogs circulation. It sounds good; but what does this mean? What is circulating? Is circulation all that important? Can PetMassage really have an affect in the quality and rate of circulation?

Definition of Circulation. NOUN

  1. movement to and fro or around something, especially that of fluid in a closed system
  2. The continuous motion by which the blood travels through all parts of the body induced by the pumping action of the heart.
  3. the movement of sap through a plant
  4. flow
  5. the public availability of knowledge of something
  6. The movement, exchange, or ability/availability of money or other resource in a country or system

The circulation I’d like to discuss here is the movement, flow and distribution of all the fluids in the body. Fluids make up around 80% of the dogs body. Dogs bodies have many types of fluids. There’s blood and lymph, of course. There’s also synovial fluid, urine, gastric and intestinal juices for digestion, cerebral and spinal fluid, fluid in the inner ear for balance, hydration of the membranes in the eyes and nose, saliva, sinus fluid, perspiration, hydration of skin and coat, and more.

Let’s simplify the conversation and limit the fluids to blood and lymph. They maintain the matrix of fascia through which all the nerve impulses and chi flow.

Blood and lymph maintain the muscles, the bones, the brain, the lungs, the heart and all the other organs. Any place where the movement of blood is restricted inhibits structure, inhibits function, and where there’s infection or injury, inhibits healing. So, restricted flow inhibits.

PetMassage encourages the movement -the circulation – of blood by adjusting its rate and ease of flow. The technique used, combined with controlled levels of pressure, direction, duration, and intensity modulates it. When flow is sluggish, it is increased with the elements of massage that stimulate blood flow.

The primary way that PetMassage encourages the movement – the circulation – of lymphatic fluid is by activating the limbs. Lymph flows because of changing pressures within the tissues. Facilitating joint movement alters pressures in the joints so that lymphatic fluids are indirectly pushed and pulled through the tissues.

In PetMassage every touch has a purpose. That’s one of the factors that differentiates professional canine massage from the home massage/petting pet parents do with their dogs all the time.

All of the techniques in the PetMassage skill set have specific purposes and have different effects on circulation. For example, pushing and pulling are two very different movements that have very different effects.

There are several ways massage influences the rate and quality of circulation. In addition to pushing and pulling, there’s squeezing, intentional holding, quieting, warming, cooling, vibrating, jostling, shaking, twisting, redirecting, supporting, sometimes simply observing, and sometimes giving space by backing away. Knowing which to apply when, comes with training and experience.

Massage is the controlled intentional manipulation of tissues from the surface of the body. Knowledgeable and skillful canine massage expands possibilities for dogs circulation. Massage helps all the body fluids go where they need to go and do what they need to do.

My massage encourages balance and optimal flow of blood and lymph throughout the entire dog’s body.

By Anastasia Rudinger | May 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

What do Positional Releases feel like?

By Jonathan Rudinger | May 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

What do Positional Releases feel like?

During positional release, we hold the dog’s body -in a position- and observe how in the tissues under our hands release tension. We describe these releases as shifts in the fascia. The movements can be obvious, like an inflated balloon releasing air, or very subtle, like your mood change when the sun breaks through dispersing clouds.

We can usually feel physical softening or unraveling sensations beneath the coat, within the muscles. Sometimes, the movements are so subtle we cannot feel anything. So we train ourselves to sense sensations that we can identify; one of them is the shifts in our own body awareness. When we can identify that these sensations are happening, that’s enough to signal that resolutions of restrictions are occurring in the dog’s physical body.

In canine massage, our connection, the connection between Practitioner and dog is so profound, so strong, so intimately personal, that whatever happens in either of us affects, and is experienced by, both of us.

The releases are not -cannot be- exactly the same. If the dog feels a release in her hip, or tail, or gut, or a resolution of a restrictive memory, we cannot experience the identical sensation. That’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to massage a dog with worms and on the way home, need to butt scoot boogie across the sidewalk.

The physiology of our hips are different. We don’t have tails. Our guts have uniquely different microbiomes and have developed specialized processes for digestion. And, since we see our worlds through different light spectra and perceive the world through different sets of filters, we cannot share like-minded memories.

We can sense when changes are happening in the dog. We can know something is happening by noticing shifts, like the deflating balloon and the caress of sunshine, in our own awareness.

This is certainly not scientific. It’s more of an art. For thousands of years Healthcare was as much Art as science. PetMassage often straddles the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical. We can tell that something is happening. It is like noticing that we’ve lapsed into and out of a meditative state while playing or listening to music.

We can describe and record what we feel while massaging specific sites on the dog’s body. However, everything in the body is interconnected through a complex matrix of fascia connective tissue, so we cannot know what the release is actually resolving, or what its source is. The release could be physical. It could be mental/emotional. It could be environmental. It could be a result of shared synergy. Your yin may be the exact complement to balance the dogs yang. We cannot know for sure. Yet, that something releases, is obvious and true.

How can we claim this? How can we be certain that our experiences are more than caprices of our imaginations? The dogs tell us.

Our sensations are consistently validated by the associated movements of the dogs. Here are examples of canine body talk that say “I just moved into a more comfortable place.” They turn toward us, look up at us and blink, they soften or gently close their eyes, they drool, drip from their nose, stretch, yawn, lick, sigh, quiver, shake, quietly pass a whfffffph of gas, and lean into us (join up).

I’d like you to feel what that shift feels like. Sit quietly at your table with your favorite mug of warm beverage. Have a few other objects strewn across the table. In this exercise we will see that you can identify shifts in your awareness and emotional state.

Look at your coffee mug. Notice that when the mug is in focus, everything except the mug is out of focus. Now expand your vision and look at the entire table. You can see everything clearly. Then as you scan the table, when each object moves into focus, everything else fades, softens, and blurs.

Had you noticed before that your vision was so like tapping the focus feature on your camera screen? Your eyes move. Your pupils dilate. Your focus adjusts. There are no other moving parts. Yet it’s an experiential teeter totter.

The shifts you experience may not be palpate-able yet they are palpable. As you express interest in what you see, your heart rate slightly increases. Blood flow is redirected to the part of your brain that’s processing the information. With each redirection of your attention, your body almost imperceptibly adjusts its metabolic rate. Almost. If you know what to observe, you can feel it.

Train yourself to strengthen your awareness muscles. For becoming more adept at feeling the more obvious movements. Practice by first finding your pulse on your wrist and the back of your knee. Then find your dog’s pulse in her groin, behind her stifle, and on the top of her paw. Notice their rates and patterns.

For the subtle cues, practice glancing around the room. Track what it feels like when you adjust your vision from wide angle to focused and back.

There is an eye strengthening exercise of holding your thumb out in front of you and shifting your focus back and forth from your thumbnail to the horizon or wall behind it. That’s not what we’re doing here. We are tracking how our body feels when shift happens.

The dog’s body is constantly in flux. When you cannot palpate any movement, it is still there. You are simply not observing in the right way and in the right place. Look within.

The more you notice what you are experiencing, the more you can notice in PetMassage Positional Release. When you sense the learned feeling of what you feel when your awareness shifts, you can track the imperceptible positional releases happening in the dog.

By actively witnessing PetMassage Positional Release, I support dogs as they explore and discover better ways to live in their bodies.

By Anastasia Rudinger | May 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

I choose the school that is in perfect alignment with my career goals.

By Anastasia Rudinger | April 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

The school you choose for training needs to fit your personality.

By Jonathan Rudinger | April 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

I just responded to an inquiry from a RVT about our school. You may have similar questions. If you do – even if you don’t – please read on. 

She writes:


I am an RVT from California currently working as an instructor at a college. I am interested in your program thinking of starting a pet-sitting with adaptive features. 

I have a few questions:

  1. I understand that there is some home requirement after the meeting at the facility. Is there a list of the requirements somewhere?
  2. If I attend the foundation level in June will I still be able to attend the advanced level in August?
  3. Can the video and home-work be done on feline patients or do they have to be submitted only on canine?
  4. Do you go over body-talk at all?
  5. As there are a few schools, is there anything that makes your facility different?

Thank you. 

Here’s my response. 

Hi —,

Thank you for expressing your interest in training at PetMassage. The Foundation course that we offer RVTs is approved by the RAIVE for 28 CEs. It does not include the marketing and basic canine anatomy home study modules. Marketing and creating a canine massage business is not included because most RVTs are working in veterinary clinics and Canine Anatomy, because it would be redundant. You are welcome to take the Creating and Marketing Your Canine Massage Business as an additional home study course.

All course materials, books and DVDs are included in your course fees and are mailed to you prior to your attending a workshop. Students are encouraged to study them to prepare prior to the workshop; and use them to review after their hands-on training. 

Every skill described in the books and videos is tweaked and refined in the workshop. There is no substitute for hands-on instruction for a hands-on skill set. That’s why the workshop is so important. 

The requirements to complete the certification course are 

  1. submission of 2 take home tests
  2. documentations of 10 canine massage sessions, 
  3. a research paper on a topic agreed upon during the workshop, 
  4. a short video of you demonstrating the skills you learned in the workshop
  5. a 2nd video of you critiquing your 1st video.

You are welcome to take the Advanced Level Training as long as you complete all the requirements from the Foundation Level Workshop before the Advanced class begins. Over the years several students have submitted their Foundation work on the first day of the Advanced.  

I have found that I cannot give everyone the individual attention they need when we had large classes so we limit the number of people in each workshop. We have 1 space left in the June class. 

This is a canine massage class. You are welcome to adapt the skills to work with cats – and they do translate well with cats, horses, rabbits, ferrets, reptiles, and birds – however your documentations and videos for this course must be with dogs. If you would like my feedback with your cat massage, I’d be happy to offer it. 

Body language and body mechanics are significant elements in this training. The Foundation workshop includes a half day of dog handling skills (body talk) and a half day of working on Practitioner gait and movement. We see the Practitioner as the leader. Dogs respond better when they can sense that the one responsible for their safety is stable and balanced in her/his body. 

I cannot compare our school to others that teach canine massage. I cannot speak about what or how they teach. I can tell you that we do not offer certificates from the PetMassage Institute for home study of canine massage hands-on skills. (See paragraph 2.)

The PetMassage School has been teaching workshops for 22 years. That’s over 350 workshops and over a thousand people. Several of our graduates have gone on to create their own schools in several countries.  With each class we review and refine what and how we teach. Our classes are limited to 8 students. That way we are able to tailor the training to fit the needs of each individual group. The workshops you attend will be the most current iterations of our training. 

If you would like to preview my style of teaching and the perspective from which I approach canine massage – that would be the difference your were asking about – please visit our YouTube channel:

and review some of my weekly instructional blogs:

Again, thank you for your interest. I’m confident you’ll be pleased with the training you receive at The PetMassage Training and Research Institute. 

Warmest regards, 

Jonathan Rudinger
2950 Douglas Road
Toledo OH 43606

Eye Gunk

By PetMassage | April 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Full Title: Eye Gunk

Author: Jill Valuet

Date of Publication: January 14, 2019


Research Paper Text:


Jill Valuet

January 14, 2019

If you’re looking for that perfect article about gross topics like pus-like discharge and crusty gunk, you are in luck and keep reading.

Eye gunk, eye boogers, crusties – it goes by a couple of unpleasant names. It’s that gooey, liquid discharge that can feel like slim when you pet your dog’s face and stains the skin around their eyes. Everything about a dog has a purpose, including this one. Dogs have a natural teary discharge. Under normal circumstances, purpose of these tears is to clear the eye of any debris. Normally a thin layer of fluid is produced to coat the eyes and excess fluid will drain into the tear ducts located in the corner of the eyes. Eye gunk happens when there’s an excessive amount of discharge and that’s called Epiphora. It can be anything from a thin, watery discharge to a thicker pus-like consistency. It can be a symptom of a larger problem.

There are several common causes of Epiphora:

  1. Allergies & Daily Environment Irritants

Dog’s live much closer to the ground that humans so inhale a larger amount of dust, pollen and other particles that their bodies may decide is harmful. An excess of any of these can lead to an overreaction in their tear ducts. Irritants include leaves, twigs and other debris that can get in the eye.

  1. Conjunctivitis

This is more commonly known as pink eye and it’s similar to what human’s experience. It’s an inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and inner layer of the eyelid. This results in the more pus-like discharge and is something that should be treated by a veterinarian.

  1. KCS – Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

This is more commonly known as dry eye. It results in an uncomfortable and itchy eye that the dog continually irritates. The corners of the eyes may appear brown and may result in a yellow-green discharge. This can be a result of a variety of causes such as tear duct issues, allergies or side-effects from medication. A veterinarian should treat this, as it can lead to blindness.

  1. Glaucoma

There are two kinds of glaucoma in dogs: primary and secondary. In primary, the eye is unable to drain, which means the fluid backs up. The secondary is caused by trauma like inflammation or cancer. This can show up as cloudy eyes, along with the discharge. Some breeds are more predisposed to glaucoma than others. It’s also common in senior dogs.


So how do we know if the eye gunk we’re seeing is normal or something to worry about? Knowing our dogs will help. Some breeds, like toy poodles and flat-faced dogs, are more prone to eye gunk. If the color or smell changes, or if your dog suddenly paws at their eyes, it could be an indication of a larger problem. Basically, if it’s wetter, gunkier, gloopier or stinkier than normal, then it’s time to see the vet.

There are some things you can do to help dogs with Epiphora. Keeping their face trimmed is a must. The less hair there is around the eyes, the less chance there is that a hair in the eye causes more tears than necessary. Not to mention shorter fur means less space for the gunk to get into and turn crusty.  Be careful of the shampoos and medications used around those eyes too, as some can hurt the eyes just as much as the initial irritant. There are commercial dog wipes that can be used, but a damp cloth works just as well.

I own a toy poodle, Pippin, who has constant eye gunk. I’m fortunate that he has black fur, so the stains are disguised. But I still have to frequently wash his face to clear the fur of the wet tears otherwise it turns into crusty, stinky gunk. According to my vet, there is nothing to worry about in his case. He’s just one of those breeds who is always going to have weepy eyes.

As soon as I returned from the Foundation level massage workshop, I began massaging Pippin and I paid extra attention to the areas around his eyes. My hope was that with regular massage, those sinuses, tear ducts and weepy eyes of his could get some relief. As of the writing of this paper, Pippin has had five massages. In each, I paid extra attention to his face, in particular massaging all around the ocular orbit, including under the eye and all around the muzzle. I used small circular motions beginning at the corner of the eyes and moving around the bony structure of the eye. I also placed my finger directly over the eyes (with his eye closed) and very gently pressed to help relax and rejuvenate the eyes. And it has made a difference. In the past, Pippin would have eye gunk every day that would get crusty and stinky if not washed. Since the massages have begun, the eye gunk has diminished. He currently still gets the gunk, but the amount of it has decreased.

Regular pet massage is a great way to keep eye gunk, a normal but unpleasant aspect of our dogs, under control. A gunky, crusty, gloopy-free dog makes for a happier and healthier dog.





Grounds for exercises in intuition.

By Jonathan Rudinger | April 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Grounds for exercises in intuition.

As I was taking my morning coffee I noticed a tiny chunk of grit on my tongue. I looked down at my cup; there on the bottom was a smattering of coffee grounds. I grind whole beans before brewing, and when I dump the grounds into the filter not all of them always fall in. There’s usually a few scattered on the counter. Sometimes a few mavericks drop into the carafe. I looked at the dark brown crumbles and mused, “Maybe there is some sort of spiritual message here I’m supposed to understand.”

Many years ago I had a “coffee ground reading” by an ancient Rumanian grandma. It was a ritual. I drank the espresso, flipped the cup upside down, rotated it 3 times, and waited several minutes until the grounds were dry. She tapped it, turned it over, and looked intently at the remaining pattern. I had asked Grandma if she looked for specific patterns that were symbols. You know, like hearts, daggers, ships, or animals. Her accent was thick; but what I think she told me was no. She simply opened herself to whatever thoughts expressed themselves. “Like anything,” she inferred, “you get better with practice because you develop the muscles for opening your mind to the spirit of your intuition.”

I stared at the grounds in my mug, waiting for some sort of message to come through. If I really pushed my imagination to connect the dots I could barely make out a person on the right edge of the pattern with one leg bent inward. Oh, there was a smattering of random shapes behind him. I thought of how we are constantly shedding dead skin leaving a trail of ourselves as we move about. We leave a wake of our scents, aromas, and relationships. Then I saw them as crystal orbs. Then a mist. Then memories. Then thoughts. Then spirit helpers. Then my coffee cup person turned his head around to face them and they became choices. Lots of solid opportunities.

It was an exercise in creativity, like identifying forms in clouds. A fish with a horse’s head morphs into an ice cream cone, and then when you look back, another cloud has drifted under it and it’s a chicken. This is not just fun. It’s part of a rigorous training program. I tell you this: cloud-work is an exhausting workout! I’ve been known to fall asleep while doing it.

I turned my mug to be able to see the pattern from a different angle. The tablespoon of coffee that was still in there swirled across and suddenly I had a new pattern I could attempt to understand.

Interpretations of patterns are all contextual. What we see is a reflection of what we want to see. Or, what we know to see. What we can see. The grounds did not bring up references to rain, hail, or dangerous obstacles. They could have; but these aren’t what I think about. My touchstones are life in its fullness with expansive energy and possibility. These are what I know for you.

It’s the same with PetMassage. During each session

  1. I observe.
  2. I define to myself what I think I sense.
  3. I open myself to whatever inner interpretation I can conjure.
  4. Then I move my hands to approach it from a different angle and get an entirely new set of observations.

I sense movement or texture with my hands. I interpret it from my experience. Then I look with my imagination. I then check my work by approaching from another direction. Often I see movement or shifting texture with my hands. Then I follow it just to see where it’s going. I like to make sure it gets home safe. I am the body’s guide and witness.

Each touch is an opportunity to share and influence a brief portion of the dog’s journey. The dog is there so you can facilitate a course correction.

We process our interpretations in our bodies physical. In our gut and throughout our nervous system. Dogs smell what we imagine in our breath and skin. Let’s open ourselves to the possibility of sensing our dogs perfect health and harmony. These are what we need to know for them.

We can exercise our intuitive muscles and enhance the depth of our understanding and guidance. We don’t have to flip the dog over and spin him around 3 times to exercise our psychic muscles. Sit and stay … completely present and available … body, mind, and spirit … with your dog during his massage.