Flower remedies for animals
Gael Mariani and Martin J Scott
From the early days of flower remedies, Dr Edward Bach made it clear that he saw this therapy would benefit all living creatures, and so animals have always been a part of flower remedy development. Domestic and wild animals are highly sentient, often highly intelligent, beings with well-developed emotional capacities, and they can benefit greatly from flower remedies to help them through all the many upsets that may befall them in their lives. In fact, because they are free of all the emotional garbage, false beliefs, greed and envy that humans suffer from, they often respond faster and better to flower remedies than many people do. Dogs, horses, cats and birds respond marvellously to them, and even the ‘lower’ animals that we keep as pets, such as rodents, reptiles and fish, can be helped with emotional problems and traumas even though we do not generally credit them with much in the way of ‘emotional’ faculties.
Flower remedies serve several key areas of animal therapy and care, including:
• Aiding in learning and cognitive skills
• Fears, phobias and anxieties
• Loss of the vital spark, confidence and enjoyment of life
• Obsessive compulsive disorders
• Recuperation from surgery and illness
• Rescue and rehabilitation of traumatised or maltreated animals
It is important to realise that many behavioural problems in domestic animals are attributable to other factors and may be issues not within the proper jurisdiction of flower remedies. If, for instance, a dog has become aggressive, it may be a mistake to judge this purely as an emotional problem. It could be a medical problem, and hence flower remedies would be the wrong way to go about treating it. Make absolutely sure, by consulting the vet, that there is nothing physically wrong that could be causing pain and / or distress.
Second, behaviours can be at least partly a training issue. Flower remedies can help with re-training a poorly trained animal, but will not in every case bring about a satisfactory cure all on their own. This is because if you have given your dog the impression that it is OK to growl at visitors or bite the cat, he is not suffering an emotional imbalance by doing so, but merely behaving like a dog! When it comes to treating more purely emotional issues such as the negative effects of maltreatment or severe fright, flower remedies can be used more on their own and achieve often spectacular results.
Assuming that the problem is a case for flower remedies in the first place, and that the right remedies have been selected and properly administered, positive results are usually seen within two to three weeks, and sometimes much sooner than that. Naturally, results depend on the individual animal and the nature and severity of the problem for which it is being helped
Administering flower remedies to animals
Flower remedies are easy to administer to animals. They can be added to food or drinking water, without compromising their efficacy. Up to six or eight remedies may be given together at a time. The usual dosage is four drops of each remedy, four times a day, or eight drops twice a day if that fits more conveniently with mealtimes. Other ways of administering remedies include putting the drops on your hand and letting the animal lick them off. Remedies added to little pieces of bread or absorbent biscuit make excellent snacks or training rewards.
The only safety caution in using flower remedies with animals is: under no circumstances administer drops direct from the dropper into an animal’s mouth. This is not due to anything in the remedies, but to the fact that the dropper tube is made of thin glass and could be extremely harmful if bitten off and swallowed. The authors have never heard of a case of an animal being harmed in this way, but it is essential to follow this safety rule.
Acute and emergency situations
When treating animals for acute shock, trauma, terror, etc., flower remedies can be given more frequently than the above dosage. Drops or sprays may be given as necessary, perhaps every few minutes until the animal starts to calm down.
If in doubt, or if you think the animal is injured or in pain, call the vet immediately. Animals that have become suddenly uncontrollable or aggressive for no apparent reason may have something wrong with them that requires urgent veterinary attention, and in these cases flower remedies should not be regarded as a replacement for medical care.
Key flower remedies in animal care
Extremes of stress that create erratic thought processes, hysterical or aggressive behaviour; loss of control, panic e.g. injured wild animals brought in for veterinary treatment, or any extreme fearful emotional / psychological imbalance.
Failure to learn from, or difficulty absorbing, lessons; tendency to make the same mistakes over and over. Lack of rational thought, tending to be easily distracted, scatty, unfocused. Immature and exuberant lack of concentration, often the case with young animals.
Neediness, attention-seeking (when these are not learned behaviours); displays of displeasure when attention is perceived to be withdrawn or turned elsewhere. Eating disorder ‘protests’ and other manipulative behaviour, also some separation problems.
Deep gloom, depression and despair, resignation, apathy and a pervading sense of hopelessness; shut off from the light, loss of the will to survive and go on. Very effective alongside Star of Bethlehem / Wild rose in helping animals for severe post-traumatic ‘shutdown’.
Tendency to suspicion, hate, anger, aggression, eg in animals that have been mistreated (in such cases works well in combination with Star of Bethlehem).
Loss of joy after a losing a friend, companion, owner etc. Pining, saddened, may suffer loss of appetite.
States of poor or reduced self-confidence; insecurity, uncertainty. Has been found beneficial in helping show animals that suffer from nerves in the ring.
General fears; nervous and hypersensitive; nervous anticipation of situations, people; shyness and lack of security.
Great fear, terror; also chronic state of fearful anxiety, cringing, lacking courage, never tranquil.
Star of Bethlehem
After-effects of shock or trauma, any kinds of cruelty or periods of intense suffering, difficulty, neglect, etc. Inability to release impact of negative experiences, even after years. Extremely important and frequently-used remedy, able to heal very deep emotional scars.
Emotional upset / stress associated with change. Tendency to absorb and suffer stresses of others, eg a stressed or unhappy owner (the ‘sponge effect’).
Loss of hope and faith, giving way to apathy and resignation; depleted vitality and cessation of will to struggle; suppression of interest in, and joy of, life. Regaining will to live and ability to find happiness; reawakening of interest in surroundings and activities. Animals that go into decline or seem to be depressed after an illness, or in old age.
Tip of the Day: Don't Run With Scissors!