Woof! Meow! Using Bach flower remedies with your furry friends
This just in from the “never say never” files.
This week my little family adopted a dog.
For those who know me well, this is beyond shocking.
Because, although I am an animal lover, I’ve always preferred to love animals from afar, rather than as pets in my own home. I don’t have anything against owing cats, dogs, birds, fish and the like. I’ve just never been comfortable sharing space with them.
This is particularly true for dogs, because, well I’m terrified of dogs. Yes, even the little ones. Yes, even that cute little teacup Yorkie that hides in your purse.
You see, I’ve had some pretty scary experiences with dogs over the years that have left me paralyzed by a fear of being bitten or attacked, by even the smallest of dogs. Using the Bach flower remedy Mimulus (for known fears) has helped, but this is a pretty deep seated fear, so it’s not been totally eradicated.
Anyway, by what I can only call divine intervention, a little pup made his way into my home as a foster pet recently, and he never left. He stole our hearts and has actually helped to begin healing the old wounds surrounding my dog fears. Three cheers for Healing Pup!
Since the arrival of our new animal friend, I’ve been using Bach flower remedies on him quite a bit with amazing results. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about using Bach flowers with animals and have recommended quite a few flowers to friends and clients with pets. But this is the first time I’ve seen them in action with an animal and boy am I impressed.
There’s always a tendency to attribute the success of Bach flowers to the placebo effect. But with animals (as with babies and small children) there’s no possibility of that occurring. So, to watch a dog go from nervous to calm in a matter of seconds, just from having a little Rescue Remedy rubbed on its ears, is a potent reminder of how well and deeply these remedies work on the energetic and emotional bodies – be they animal, human or plant!
So, without further ado – for all you pet owners out there – here’s a quick run down of how to use Bach flower remedies with your animal companions, plus some of the most common flowers that can help bring stress relief and emotional balance to your furry friends.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FLOWERS
As with humans, Bach flower remedies work on an animal’s emotional state, not a physical one. Bach flower remedies do not effect the physical body and should not be used in place of a trip to the vet, when necessary. When choosing remedies for your pet, look to the animal’s emotional state, not their physical one, for guidance.
Obviously, our animal friends don’t have the ability to express their emotions verbally. So, in order to choose the best flower for your pet, it’s important to observe their behaviors in order to identify their emotions. Sometimes it’s obvious if an animal is jealous, frightened or intolerant. But many times, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly which emotion an animal may be experiencing. That’s why I recommend starting with Rescue Remedy before trying any other flowers.
Yes, this is the opposite advice I give for humans. Here’s why.
With humans I’ve found that Rescue Remedy only works in very specific, acute situations and most often a custom remedy is needed to be truly helpful. With animals, however, the action and effectiveness of the five flowers in Rescue Remedy seem to be further reaching. Not only is Rescue helpful for animals when they’re stressed out and need a little calming, it can assist in overcoming a variety of behavioral issues as well. Anything from difficult trips to the vet, separation anxiety, general fears and trauma can be helped with the use of Rescue Remedy.
Rescue Remedy includes the following five flowers:
ROCK ROSE: for terror, panic or intense fright
IMPATIENS: just what it sounds like – for impatience!
CLEMATIS: for lack of interest or inattentiveness
STAR OF BETHLEHEM: or trauma or shock (past or present)
CHERRY PLUM: for lack of self control
OTHER HELPFUL FLOWERS
If you’ve tried Rescue Remedy with your pet and its not having the desired effect, any one of the 38 remedies in the Bach system can be used on animals. Here are some of my favorites.
ASPEN: fear or agitation with no clear source
BEECH: intolerance towards other animals, people and situations
CHICORY: for a very territorial, needy animal
CRAB APPLE: for animals who have excessive grooming habits that might be causing them distress
HOLLY: for jealously of other animals or new baby in the home, animals that aggressively act out
OLIVE: for an exhausted animal – particularly useful when an animal is recovering from or working through an illness on the physical level
MIMULUS: for known fears (loud noises, children, the mail delivery person etc…) or a generally shy pet
VERVAIN: for very excitable, high strung animals
VINE: very strong willed and domineering animals
WALNUT: for periods of change – moving to a new house, staying in a kennel, changing owners
WILD ROSE: for an animal that seems apathetic, listless or disinterested
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTERING
For Rescue Remedy: Add 4 drops to a water bowl, food, treat or rub behind ears or on belly. It’s safe to use regular Rescue Remedy, or Rescue Pet can be used, which does not contain alcohol. Regardless of which formula you choose, do not put the drops directly in the animal’s mouth. If using Rescue Remedy that comes with a spray top, it can be sprayed on the animal’s bedding, favorite sleeping spot or in the air around the pet.
For individual flowers: Add 2 drops of each flower chosen to a water bowl, food, or rub behind ears or on belly. If choosing more than 2 or 3 flowers, make a blend as you would for yourself, and add 4 drops of that blend to water, food etc…
If you’re interested in learning more about using Bach flower remedies with your pets, I recommend the following books. They are easy to read and understand for even a beginner.
– Bach Flower Remedies for Animals by Stefan Ball and Judy Ramsell Howard
– Emotional Healing for Cats by Stefan Ball and Judy Ramsell Howard
– Emotional Healing for Horses and Ponies by Stefan Ball, Heather Simpson and Judy Ramsell Howard
If you don’t want to go it alone, and think you could benefit from some assistance choosing flowers for your pet, there are Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioners who are trained to work with animals. A list can be found here: http://www.bachcentre.com/found/an_list.php