How to Perform Facial Massage on Your Dog

Facial Massage

Have you ever provided a facial massage to a dog?

Apart from verbal praise and petting on the head, offering a somewhat structured massage can be enjoyable for your canine companion. Your dog might even show interest in receiving additional massages.

Now, let’s explore the process of giving a soothing facial massage to dogs.

Preparing for a Dog’s Face Massage – Checking its Status

To perform a facial massage for a dog, begin by gently touching the areas around its face. If the dog shows signs of reluctance, avoid applying force and refrain from restraining it.

If the dog is calm and receptive to your touch, before initiating the facial massage, it’s important to assess the dog’s overall condition.

In addition to examining the eyes, ears, teeth, nose, and lymph nodes, carefully feel the facial area for any growths, lumps, or sensitive spots. If no issues are detected, you can proceed with the facial massage.

Evaluating the Eyes

Check the dog’s eyes for signs of injury, redness, amount of discharge, color of the sclera, and any deviations from its usual eye condition.

Monitoring Ear Health

Assess the state of the earwax within the ears and ascertain the presence of any inflammation. Additionally, observe if there are any discomfort-sensitive areas upon touch and ensure that the odor is consistent with the dog’s usual scent.

Inspecting Dental Health

For dogs that tolerate examination around their mouth, evaluate the condition of their oral health. Check for unpleasant odor, tartar buildup, gum inflammation, and the color of the gums and tongue to determine their overall dental well-being.

Observing Nasal Condition

Examine the dog’s nose to ensure its surface is smooth and glossy, with no roughness. Verify that there is no excessive nasal discharge.

Lymph Node Assessment

Similar to humans, dogs possess lymph nodes.

Gently touch the base of their ears, jaw, and neck to gauge the dog’s reaction. Any flinching or signs of discomfort might indicate issues with the lymph nodes. It’s essential to exercise caution, as swollen lymph nodes can be linked to tumors.

While the primary aim is to assess the dog’s physical condition, there’s also the secondary goal of easing any tension, which can increase the likelihood of the dog accepting the massage.

Gradually and gently releasing tension is facilitated by transitioning into the massage after the owner has ensured a relaxed state through these checks.

Practical Steps for Dog Facial Massage

Begin the dog facial massage in a calm and quiet setting.

Different techniques can be used, such as performing the massage while the dog is lying down, on its back, or sitting.

Avoid forcing the dog to lie down or restraining it, as this can create fear and counteract the purpose of the massage.

Both the dog and the person should be in a relaxed state, ensuring a serene atmosphere for the massage.

It’s important to note that dog massages differ from human acupressure, so using excessive pressure should be avoided to prevent muscle strain.

Using gentle movements with the fingers and palms of the hands, stroke the dog’s fur in the direction it naturally flows. Slow and gentle motions are key.

If the dog starts to appear sleepy, it’s a positive indicator of relaxation.

You can use both hands to create a flowing motion during the massage. Alternatively, you can draw small “の” shapes on the face or use a zigzag pattern to stimulate effectively.

Considering that the fur grows from the center outward, massaging in this direction is beneficial.

Exploring Acupuncture Points on a Dog’s Face

While there isn’t a set method for giving a dog a facial massage, the main goal is to help the dog relax. Gently stroke along the fur’s direction, avoiding excessive pressure.

In addition to this technique, targeting acupressure points on the face can enhance the massage’s effects.

Baihui Acupressure Point

The Baihui point is situated directly upward from the space between the eyes, extending beyond the bony ridge to the top of the head. This point is especially useful for dogs experiencing stress or anxiety.

Since dogs might be tense during a massage, gently stroke upwards from between the eyes using your thumb or three fingers. This approach can effectively alleviate tension.

Wind Palace Acupressure Point

From the crown point on the head, stroke gently toward the spine’s direction until you feel the end of the cranial bone with your fingertip.

Known as the “Wind Palace” or Fontanelle, this area might exhibit slight tension. However, avoid applying strong pressure or vigorous massaging.

Due to the potential sensitivity of the nerves around the neck, opt for gentle strokes instead.

Sanzhuzhu Acupressure Point

Sanzhuzhu is situated above the eyes and is characterized by slightly thicker hair, similar to human eyebrows.

This area has a calming effect that can help soothe dogs.

Be cautious not to apply pressure on the eyeballs. Instead, use your thumb to gently stroke the slightly elevated eyebrow area along the hair’s direction.

Avoid Touching the Area Around the Dog’s Mouth

If the dog is in a relaxed state and allows touch without resistance, it suggests that the dog is at ease.

However, it’s important to exercise caution when touching around the mouth area, especially if the dog is not accustomed to massages.

In some cases, if there’s an established trust between the dog and the person, gently stimulating the gums in a circular motion from above the cheek can also be beneficial.

Potential Consequences of Forceful Touch

Dogs that are accustomed to having their face touched regularly experience positive emotions when their owner strokes them. This brings them joy and relaxation.

Conversely, dogs with psychological issues or limited experience with face touching might misinterpret certain gestures, like muzzle control, as a dominance display. This could lead to reactions such as pulling away, trying to escape, or even aggressive behavior.

Massage with Caution

Regular brushing and grooming routines can reduce the likelihood of negative reactions. Building trust through physical contact helps dogs become more comfortable with touch all over their bodies.

While massaging a dog’s face, it’s important to continuously monitor facial expressions, overall body tension, and eye movement. Ensure that the dog remains relaxed and shows no signs of discomfort during the massage.

Facial Massage


When performed correctly, massaging a dog can strengthen the bond between the owner and the pet.

Incorporating facial massages into the routine of head and face petting is recommended.

No specialized tools are required; creating a calm environment is beneficial. As the dog is being massaged, it’s also important for the owner to relax.