Flower Essences for Animals



In our flower essence consultation practice we've often been asked to recommend flower essences for people's companion animals. The principles involved are similar as those involved in recommending flower essences for humans. Among other questions, we ask for the behavioral symptoms, a history, relationships between the animal and other members of the household, and any changes which have may have upset the animal.

The primary difference between animals and humans is that cats, dogs, and other creatures, because of their innate harmony with their surroundings, don't usually get as out of balance as humans. Thus, the effects of flower remedies on them are often far more immediate.

Below is a chart which describes some conditions in animals which can be treated by flower essences.

(Please note that flower essence treatment should never be considered as a substitute for veterinary care. Lethargy, hyperactivity, litter box training, and other conditions, may have a physical basis, and this should always be checked out first. Even if a physical condition, however, is established, flower essences can hasten the healing process.)


Rescue Remedy

I had the opportunity to use the Rescue Remedy on my two cats during a severe thunder storm. There was a tornado warning and we were told to stay in are basements until the danger had passed. The Rescue Remedy had almost an immediate effect on my cats. They were more calm and layed quietly until the ordeal was over. --Carolyn

This is the most fundamental flower remedy for you or your companion animal. It can be used for injuries, crisis, shock, trauma, or any emergency situation.

I used to live in a house with one wall which was completely glass. One winter day, when I was shoveling the deck I saw a nuthatch lying in bloodstained snow which had evidently flown into the glass. I got Rescue Remedy, and put a few drops on its beak. Then (after consulting an animal rescue expert, who thoroughly approved the use of Rescue Remedy) I brought the bird inside and put it in a box covered with a screen (in a room away from the cats, who were quite interested in this visitor). I continued to give the nuthatch Rescue Remedy every hour, and by the next morning it was injury-free and ready to be released. I've since given it to several other birds who had similar accidents, as well as to a frog.

I have read reports of flower essences being given to lambs, horses, wallabies, butterflies, and a host of other creatures.


Other Flower Remedies

Brendan, though an easygoing cat, at times also feels the need to assert himself as top cat, which is distressful to the other cat, Binx. I give Binx Larch, for self-esteem, and Brendan either Vine (for dictatorial natures) or Tiger Lily, for overaggressiveness.


My Cat, Myself

An important element in choosing flower essences for your companion animal is your own personality, and especially the changes you're going through. If we are tense, upset, or worried, our pets may mirror these conditions. Sometimes it seems as if they're trying to show us what we're doing to ourselves, and thus which flower essences we may need to take.

I once had a consultation with a dog which was having urinary "accidents" in the house, and had generally regressed to the habits of an untrained puppy. Questioning revealed that the dog's human companion was having major conflicts with both of her adult children. She had been unconsciously longing for the days when they'd both been agreeable infants, and the dog had, in her own way, tried to fulfill that longing.

For the dog, I recommended the FES flower essence Fairy Lantern (for inappropriately childish behavior), for the woman the Bach Flower Remedy Honeysuckle (for longing for the past), as well as some other flower essences for her relationship with her children.


Remedies for Common Conditions in Animals

(All flower essences are Bach Flower Remedies, unless otherwise indicated)

The recommendations below are general in nature. Your companion animal is individual and unique, as are the particular circumstances which are causing his/her behavior. Remember, your animals can only tell you what's wrong by their behavior. If that behavior has changed try to figure out what's changed in their environment. I've traced changed cat behavior to changes such as moving furniture so that the cat no longer had access to a favorite window, something the human involved had done without thinking. Cats are often prone to express their upset feelings by upsetting you with nonuse of the litter box. This could, for example, be caused by jealousy of another animal, in which case Holly would be the needed remedy (plus lots of TLC). Look at the overall picture.

Abuse, neglect, or abandonment: Often a combination of these conditions may be experienced by animals you get from a shelter or rescue organization; thus we recommend the following combination of remedies: Aspen (unknown fears), Larch (self-confidence, self-esteem), Pine (if an animal feels it has done something wrong), Star of Bethlehem (shock).

Aggressiveness: If this is biting behavior, Snapdragon (FES) can help; for overdominating animals we recommend Vine. Cherry Plum can help when terror leads to aggression.

Aloofness: Though this is most commonly experienced by cats, any animal who displays this behavior can be helped by Water Violet.

Apathy, Indifference: Wild Rose is a helpful remedy for this condition (but I want to emphasize that apathy can be also a sign of illness).

Breaking Bad Habits: Chestnut Bud can be helpful.

Change: Cats are especially place-conscious and extremely aware of new smells and sensations, but Beech can be helpful to any animal who is reacting negatively to a new environment or household member.

Walnut, which is for transitions, is recommended for any kind of change.

Chronic or Critical Illnesses Gorse can help if it seems that an animal has decided to die (although sometimes the animal is wiser than we are.) Olive can help in cases of physical exhaustion.

Detoxification: Crab Apple can be helpful, and can also accelerate healing.

Fear: Mimulus is helpful for all identifiable fears (of loud noises, visiting the vet, people, etc.). If the fear escalates to terror Rock Rose can be valuable.

Aspen is helpful for unknown fears. What this means in terms of animals is often fears which they are picking up from others. If you are having a fearful time your animal will pick absorb and express this. Animals in hospitals can also pick up on the fears of other animals (and may be painfully aware of animals' deaths). Grief (loss of a human or companion animal): Sweet Chestnut is helpful for despair; Honeysuckle may help heal the longing for the past or for a departed companion animal or human. Grooming, Excessive: Crab Apple (for a feeling of uncleanliness). If this is nervous behavior see the hyperactivity category above.

Housebreaking problems: A combination of Cherry Plum (for the inability to control unwanted behavior) and Chestnut Bud (for failing to learn from mistakes) has been successful for a number of our clients.

Hyperactivity: Impatiens is helpful for the animal which is clearly nervous. Vervain is for over-enthusiasm (the dog which must chase every car, or bark at every stranger).

Jealousy: Holly is the ideal remedy.

Possessiveness: Chicory is recommended. This can also help with separation anxiety.

Pre- and post-surgical treatment: Rescue Remedy is good for trauma, whether emotional or physical; Crab Apple can be helpful for preventing infection; Self-Heal (FES) encourages the will to recover.

Rigidity: Though I am referring to inflexibility in terms of habits, Rock Water has been used with good results for arthritic animals.

Submissiveness: We recommend Centaury for the animal which lets other animals push it around. Larch can also help by adding self-esteem. (Note: The pusher may need Vine. See Dominance.)

Worrying: No, I don't think that animals worry the way we do, but constant pacing or crying can indicate mental distress, which can be helped by White Chestnut. First, though, make sure that all is well in environment; this behavior can also be a warning of danger.


How to Administer Flower Essences

If you aren't generally familiar with the use of the remedies please see Flower Essence Travel Guide.

While some animals are perfectly willing to take a mixture (like the ones you would make for yourself) you must make sure that their mouths, tongues, etc, don't touch the glass pipette. Do not try this with an animal whose problem is biting, as it may bite the glass dropper, with dangerous results.

The above method has never worked for me. I prefer to put four drops of the chosen flower essence(s) into my cats' water bowl. Because flower essences are harmless it doesn't matter if they both drink from it. I put in new drops each time I change the water.

(I once conducted a test, putting out two bowls of water, one with flower essences in it, another without. My cats immediately went to the bowl with the essences and began to drink.)

Another method (one which is particularly good for an animal in shock) is to rub flower essences on pulse points, such as the throat or behind the ears. If it's an emergency you can do this as often as every twenty minutes.

For larger animals you can put up to 10 drops of a given flower essence into drinking water.


Our Consultation Service

If you're having difficulty choosing flower essences for your companion animal(s) we'll be happy to help. We've created a flower essence questionnaire which is specifically for animals.

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