Treating our loving animals with holistic methods is becoming increasingly popular over the past several years. One reason is that the side effects of many conventional drugs and medications affect the overall health of our pets. One method of treatment that is becoming widely accepted for treating animals is Bach Flower Essences. They do wonders for calming an animal down during stressful times or if emotional imbalances appear to be too difficult to handle.
Conventional drugs may help the animal short-term by causing them to become more sedate or calm, but the underlying emotional issue still exists when the drug is discontinued (with unpleasant side effects). People are looking for permanent cures or improvements that cannot always be achieved through traditional drugs or medications.
Dr. Bach, a homeopath, bacteriologist and pathologist, developed the essences in Europe in the 1930’s, where homeopathic treatments were already being used to treat farm and domestic animals. Animals suffer from mood swings just like humans, so it makes sense that natural remedies would help them feel better naturally without side effects.
One popular essence is known as Rescue Remedy® that helps calm a nervous dog or cat when taking them to the vet or in any trauma situation. It has been shown to help animals dealing with seizures or asthma by placing a few drops on their tongue. It is not a cure; however it can help an animal calm down during stressful situations. You can also rub a few drops on your animal’s paw pads or into the ears; however the oral route is much more effective.
Bach Flower Essences® are very safe, effective and will not hurt your pet in any way. They can be used with other allopathic drugs without side effects, and if the wrong essence is used, they still should not harm your animal. Bach Flower Essences® work well for hyperactive animals that seem to have so much energy, bark incessantly or chase cars, specifically Vervain and White Chestnut. A combination of the two works well to help control obsessive activity or thinking, repetitive behavior problems like chasing a ball constantly, or dogs with too much nervous energy.
For those dogs that have gastrointestinal problems, skin problems or seem to be extremely nervous or tremble do well with Impatiens. It also works with dogs that tend to chew or bite themselves out of nervousness. If they vomit easily or shake considerably, Impatiens can work well for a long-term treatment. Birds that appear irritable, preen themselves constantly or pull out their feathers may do well with Impatiens too. It can be added to their water, or to a misting bottle you can use to spray onto the bird.
Separation anxiety is quite common in both dogs and cats. Some become depressed, stop eating, bark constantly or damage home and property. Red Chestnut essence works well for an animal that appears to be anxious or sit looking out the window waiting for their owner to come home. A very clingy animal does well with Chicory essence, especially if they need a lot of attention. Otherwise, these animals tend to destroy property both inside and outside the home.
Beech and Holly work well for those animals that find it difficult to adapt to new situations, are sensitive to noise, changes in the weather or their environment. The animal may act suspicious or angry about their new surroundings, so consider using Beech, Holly and Walnut. If the animal is grieving, appears to have given up or stopped eating, then the Honeysuckle essence is helpful along with Walnut and Gentian. Gorse essence can be added if their depression appears to be quite severe.
When it comes to training horses or dogs for show, Chestnut Bud helps break bad habits and helps instill new behavior. It works well for house-training or urinating in the wrong place. Both Walnut and Chestnut Bud work well together.
Remember, essences are natural and need to be given time to work their magic. Make every effort to determine what is really going on inside your animal’s head, so you can understand the underlying causes of your pet’s behavior. The more you know, the more successful you will be in choosing the best essence. For example, if you know a stressful situation is about to occur, like going to the vet or moving, give the appropriate dose 2-3 times every fifteen minutes at least 45 minutes to an hour beforehand. It may take more doses for chronic situations that may not be corrected overnight.
When it comes to essences, be patient. Sometimes they take time to work. Consistent doses, time and effort will all help your dear animal friend heal, achieve emotional balance and blossom. Check with your veterinarian or holistic practitioner for guidance and recommendations.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. David L. Roberts, DVM
Photo: Courtesy of Moyan_Brenn