People have been using flower essences to deal with their dogs' emotional imbalances for decades. Flower essences were originally discovered by Dr. Edward Bach who has given his name to a line of flower essences. Dr. Bach identified some 38 healing plants which he believed could help heal negative states of mind. These flower essences are still available, although more healing plants and flower essences have been discovered and added since Dr. Bach's time.
Flower essences are widely used by holistic vets, by dog trainers and by owners who wish to help their dogs with stress, separation anxiety , and with other problems.
Flower essences and dogs are a natural fit. Flower essences use different parts from flowers, trees, plants and bushes to make extracts. These extracts are then diluted and charged so they can be used for healing. Unlike homeopathic remedies which may contain other ingredients, flower essences only contain these parts from the plants and the preservative. Homeopathic remedies may be used to treat physical ailments. Flower essences are only used to take care of a person or an animal's mental and emotional well-being. No toxins are used on the plants.
In preparing plants for the flower essences they may either be collected and put in a bowl of spring water and left in the sun for three hours to allow the essence of the flower to infuse the water or the flower may be boiled in spring water. Afterwards, the water is bottled and preserved with alcohol to make a mother tincture. More bottling follows as this mother tincture is diluted for individual use.
Flower essences can be used to treat a wide range of emotional and mental imbalances and dogs usually respond well to this treatment. Depression, anxiety, grief, aggression , dominance , stress and separation anxiety have all been successfully treated with different flower essences.
Bach's Rescue Remedy is probably the best-known of the flower essences. Many people have used Rescue Remedy for themselves and for their pets. Rescue Remedy is a combination of five of the original flower essences and it is known to calm down an anxious or frightened dog. It's also good to use during emergency situations. You can place just a few drops on your dog's tongue -- or on his nose, or even on his paws where he will lick it off -- and your dog should show signs of becoming calmer in just a few minutes.
You can also add about 10 drops of Rescue Remedy to your dog's water and encourage him to drink. When he drinks his water the Rescue Remedy will begin to have an effect. This is helpful whenever your dog is under stress.
Some people like to place drops of the flower essence on a dog's pulse points -- behind the ears, in the groin area. Or you may place the flower essence on the paws, inside the tips of the ears, on the belly. These are all places where the flower essence can be quickly absorbed through the skin.
It's worth noting that flower essences do not have any side effects. They do not work with all dogs but at least you know that they cannot harm your dog. You can also use flower essences in conjunction with medications your dog may be taking without any side effects.
When working with flower essences and dogs, if your dog has a specific problem, such as separation anxiety or depression, it's a good idea to talk to your holistic vet or an herbal practitioner to see which specific flower essences they recommend for your dog. Different essences have different healing properties and you want to be sure you are choosing the best one for your dog. Rescue Remedy is a good general choice for dogs who are upset or frightened but it's not the best choice for all emotional imbalances.
When talking to a holistic vet or other practitioner you should tell them about your dog's behavioral symptoms, his history, his relationship with you and other members of your household, and any recent changes that may have upset him.
- Clematis is said to be a good choice for teaching your dog. It helps to focus a dog's attention and can help your dog recover from surgery.
- Impatiens helps with pain and anxiety. It also helps the attention span and ability to focus on training.
- Rock Rose is said to help a dog that's been traumatized. It may help alleviate stress and build courage.
- Cherry Plum is said to help dogs who hate riding in cars. It may also help a dog who chews on himself and stop a dog from bothering his stitches following surgery. Cherry Plum also helps with panic and anxiety attacks and with tail-chasing.
- Agrimony is recommended if your dog has fleas and you are treating with conventional flea control. The Agrimony is said to calm the dog and stop the itching.
- Star of Bethlehem is recommended for all forms of trauma, including grief.
- Beech is recommended for picky eaters. Also helps with constant barking.
- Aspen helps with thunderstorm phobias.
- Cerato helps performance anxiety.
- Chestnut Bud helps dogs break bad habits.
- Chicory helps overly possessive dogs.
- Crab Apple can be used for de-toxification.
Flower essences can be found easily these days. You can order them online, buy them at health stores or even find them in many in some pet stores. If you think your dog may benefit from trying one of these flower essences, go ahead and give it a try. Again, they have no side effects. They are only preserved with alcohol. There are no other ingredients. Bach's also has a Rescue Remedy formula now that is alcohol-free for pets if the alcohol bothers you.
It's also perfectly fine for you to use the flower essences for yourself. In fact, though we think of flower essences and dogs together these days, the flower essences were created for people. They only began to be used for animals later. So, if you have any doubts about their safety for your dog, you should feel free to try a few drops of the flower essence on yourself first to assure yourself of their safety.