Therapeutic massage helps animals in many of the same ways it does humans: decreasing muscle tension, increasing range of motion, stimulating circulation, boosting the immune system and promoting healing all while reducing stress. Animal massage therapists often establish their own practices and also can be found working in animal hospitals and clinics, grooming salons, pet day cares and equestrian centers.
Salary and Training
According to Forbes, animal massage therapist salaries are on par with human massage therapists, who had an average income of $40,400 per year in May of 2013. The median annual income of massage therapists in 2013 was $35,920, with the lowest paid 10 percent earning $18,280 and the highest paid 10 percent earning $71,020. An entry level massage therapist can expect to make $17,270 in her first year. It is important to note, however, that many massage therapists work by appointment and often work only part time, with only one-third working full time in 2012.
Training is required, and typically involves 50 to 200 hours of study at a cost of $1,000 to $2,000 or more. The regulations for animal massage therapists vary by state, however. Some require animal massage certification, some require massage therapists to practice under veterinary supervision and others require you to be a licensed veterinarian to practice massage therapy. It is important to check your state’s specific regulations before beginning a training program. You can expect your income to increase with your education and experience level.