Flower Remedies for Pets
By Christie Keith
If you are the kind of person who wants all the "i"s dotted and the "t"s crossed, flower remedies are probably not for you. Prepared from flower blossoms floated on water according to the 19th century instructions of English homeopathic physician Edward Bach, the remedies are not exactly herbal and not exactly homeopathic. Considering that for some not even the substantial body of well-documented scientific and clinical evidence supporting homeopathy and herbal medicine is enough to give credibility to their practice, flower remedies are an even tougher nut to crack. And yet....
They work. Without a doubt, again and again, I have seen pets and wild animals respond to the remedies. In fact, although of course people take the remedies as well, I find that they work far better on animals than on people, or at least more quickly.
I cannot tell you why or how the remedies work, but I can tell you some of my experiences with them.
The most popular of the remedies is actually a combination called the Rescue Remedy. It is also knows as Five Flowers, Calming Essence, and Nature's Rescue. Even stores that don't sell the remedies usually sell this one. The most dramatic evidence of its efficacy was when I had to take a puppy for a rabies vaccination. She had never been to a vet, and was in a state of complete panic. The vet just squirted a little Rescue Remedy in her mouth and she fell asleep in my arms. She didn't even wake up for the shot!
My mother's dog, Duffy, had to have emergency surgery to remove a foxtail from her foot. As she came out of the anesthesia, I put a few drops of rescue remedy on her tongue every few minutes. Both the vet and his assistant, who did not know what I was doing, commented that they had never seen a dog come out of anesthesia so quickly and with as little confusion or crying. A week later another dog had to have the same surgery at the same vet (a bad summer for foxtails!) and I had no remedy with me. This time the dog cried and thrashed and took over an hour to come out of her anesthesia. The technician was so impressed with what she saw that she went out and got some rescue remedy and now gives it to her dogs.
A friend of mine was at a dog show in Southern California, when her bitch escaped from her pen and ran out into traffic. My friend tore out after her, to find her dog frozen in the middle of the street, cars swerving and honking. My friend finally got her back, but both of them were shaking, and the dog was clearly in a form of shock. Her eyes were glazed and her pupils were dilated, and it was impossible to get her attention. I gave her and her owner some Rescue Remedy, and the dog simply snapped out of it, and sailed into the show ring with her owner. (The owner improved as well, although not as dramatically as the dog.)
Some people use flower remedies on deep psychological or behavior problems, such as obsessive behavior, barking, jealousy, digging, chewing, and aggression. Others use them for physical problems as well, such as allergies, infections, and injuries. I tend to use them most for "first aid," but have had good luck using them to integrate new animals into the household, as well as on dogs who won't focus in training class. Some remedies work on helping a shy dog become a bit more confident; the remedy I've had the most luck for that purpose is Larch. Many trainers routinely use the Rescue Remedy on dogs in their classes.
I always give newborn puppies a combination of the Rescue Remedy and Walnut essence. Walnut is for entering into a new stage of life, and birth seems to qualify. I also give that combination to the mother during her labor.
For anyone interested in trying Flower Remedies on their pets, here are a few formulas I have had results with.
For injury, panic, shock, or after surgery or any other traumatic event: Rescue Remedy.
For a pregnant animal and her newborn offspring: Rescue Remedy mixed with Walnut. Mix six drops of each remedy in a two-ounce dropper bottle. Shake in a vigorous, up and down fashion, twelve times. Give one dropperful twice a day to a pregnant dog, cat, or other small animal starting a few days prior to the due date; give half the bottle twice daily to a horse or other large. Administer to the newborn animals as soon as they are born, two drops to a puppy or kitten, a dropperful to a larger newborn.
For a sick or debilitated animal, who is suffering an infection or on strong medication: Crab Apple.
For jealous pets: Holly and Chicory.
For the mindless, ball crazy, hyperactive dog who has trouble concentrating: Vervain.
To increase concentration and help with learning new things: Cerato and Chestnut Bud.
For the shy or easily frightened animal: Mimulus, Aspen, and Larch.
For animals fearful of thunderstorms: Although many people try Rescue Remedy for this purpose, it's not a good choice at all. Try a mixture of Mimulus and Aspen.
For the demanding, lonely, possessive pet: Chicory, Heather.
For high-strung, nervous animals, including horses: Impatiens, Sweet Chestnut, and Vervain.
For spooky animals, especially horses, who shy at imaginary threats: Aspen and Star of Bethlehem.
For those cats who seem to want to be with you but can't quite let their independent "guard" down: Water Violet.
For wild animals who have suffered a shock, such as a mouse brought in by a cat or a deer who has been hit by a car: Rescue Remedy and Star of Bethlehem.
For animals who are sick and seem to be giving up, especially after a long illness: Gentian, Gorse.