By Ari Liakeas

The wellness industry is expanding and becoming ever more popular, especially due to the recent covid pandemic. During lockdowns, people found the time to spend on themselves, to engage in the fitness and self-care routines they may have always wanted but never could because of work commitments. They revolutionised their diets and found new ways to a healthier lifestyle.

Wellness specialists, Yoga and fitness instructors, even massage therapists found innovative ways to deliver their skills and teachings via digital platforms, such as Om flow Yoga. Bringing classes and courses online for free or discounted fees allowed wider audience access. Those who may be too self-conscious to attend an in-person class or gym environment also joined in. 

You only need to visit online platforms such as Instagram to see how popular the digital wellness industry has become.

But What About Our Fur Babies?

During covid, many people’s jobs became remote, allowing people to extend their family and provide a loving home to a cat or dog they always wanted. A wonderful outcome for the animal world!

But now that we have more pets, do they need a wellness routine too? 

As a yoga instructor and massage practitioner and an honoured four-legged, furry babies mamma, I am very aware of the wellbeing of my furry crew.

Watching my dogs and cats in the morning, I noticed the first thing they do after sleeping is stretch out their bodies: Up Dog, Down Dog!

This actually inspired me to build a series of online yoga workshops called “Paws & Claws for the Soul, Animals on the Mat!”. Animal lovers could join the live zoom classes bringing their dogs or cats onto the mat to practice with them. In these weekly sessions, we had poses named after animals, such as “Sleeping Swan” or “Dragonfly”. The class fees were donated to raise money for a local dog and cat rescue centre in Chelem in Yucatan, Mexico, where I lived at the time. 

I would watch in wonder at cats sitting for hours, not sleeping, but in what seemed to be in deep meditation. They have been some of my greatest teachers in the yogic lifestyle!

Wellness And Welfare

Our pets are often more in tune with their needs than we imagine. My dog Star would ask for blueberries and apple pieces every time I was preparing them for myself. It became such a regular thing that I would buy myself a punnet of blueberries and one for Star whenever I went to the grocery store. She was telling me what nutrients she needed.

My animal friends taught me a great deal about their own health and wellness rituals. It made me wonder how I can give back to them, to provide a service for them that they don’t already have in their everyday routines.

I noticed that sometimes the pads of their paws would get dry and a little cracked from walking on the pavements of the village. So, every night before bed, I would massage coconut oil into their paws to heal the skin, keeping it supple and moisturised—much like we do every day for our own skincare routines.

After returning from long walks running around and enjoying the hills and wild Scottish countryside, I would massage my dogs’ tired legs and shoulders. This was a lovely trust-building and deeper bonding session with my furry friends. But it also helped maintain health within their joints, muscles and soft tissues while instilling relaxation into their whole system after a busy day.

It felt an absolute honour to provide a massage to my pets, and it brought us all relaxation and joy!

So What Other Wellness Services Are Available For Our Furry Friends?

Apart from an active, loving home for our pets, what other ways can we pamper our pooches and kitties? Holistic dog grooming services and doggy spas are increasingly available. Now, it’s not just us that can go on a girly day to the local spa; our dogs and cats can too

Some therapists are now certified pet spa technicians and offer luxurious five-star resort-style boarding kennels, wonderful fitness activities, grooming, facials and wellbeing treatments for your beloved fur baby.

Although these can be at the higher end of the scale for some animal care budgets, we can still provide our own at-home wellness experiences for our four-legged friends. We all know a loving touch is essential for our wellbeing, and it is the same for our pets. 

Taking care of an animal should be much more than just providing them with warm shelter, food and toys. They need love, attention and maybe the occasional massage to truly ensure their wellbeing.