I have been a believer in flower essences since 1995, when I saw the amazing effect that they had on my cat Mehitabel. Mehitabel was prescribed a mixture of several Bach Flower Remedies by a holistic vet for an inexplicable and uncharacteristic bout of compulsive overgrooming. My attempts to get her to stop this behavior had been unsuccessful for several months by the time I consulted this vet. By then, she had chewed nearly half of the fur off her body.
Within 48 hours of beginning the flower remedies, the behavior had markedly decreased. Within a couple of months it had ceased altogether and her fur had completely grown back.
I was incredibly impressed by the effect the flower essences had on cats. They are extremely effective in helping animals and people deal with stress, fear, trauma, and a variety of other emotional issues. They are gentle, non-invasive, and non-habit-forming.
This section focuses primarily on Bach Flower Remedies, because they are the ones I have used myself. There are other makers of flower essences that are worth checking out, however, and a few web sites are listed below. These sites provide information about how the flower essences were originally developed, how they are made, and how they should be used.
Bach Flower Remedies can be found in most health food stores, and there are some very good books on flower essences for animals on the Reading List. Or, scroll to the very bottom of this page for the best book available on Bach Remedies for animals. The lists below are not comprehensive lists of the Bach Flower Remedies. These are selected remedies that I feel may be of particular interest to caregivers of special-needs animals.
Bach Flower Remedies: Some Suggestions for Special Needs Pets
- Rescue Remedy: A combination of five different flower remedies, this is an excellent remedy to keep on hand for stressful situations such as vet visits and for animals that are are physically or emotionally traumatized for any reason. Good for caregivers, too.
- Crab Apple: The cleansing remedy: for illnesses such as chronic renal failure or liver disease where toxins are present in the animal’s body; lymphoma or other cancers. Can also help with compulsive over-grooming.
- Gorse: To help lift the spirits of a sick and depressed animal. Can help when you feel that the animal might be losing hope or starting to give up the fight.
- Olive: For animals who are physically exhausted as a result of illness, or are recovering from surgery or serious injuries.
- Walnut: To help animals cope with the physical and non-physical changes involved when they are sick, injured, or aging.
- Water Violet: For animals who are withdrawn and who tend to hide and/or keep to themselves during an illness.
Bach Flower Remedies – Some Suggestions for Behavioral Problems in Pets
When dealing with a pet with behavioral problems, the first step is always to have the animal thoroughly checked out by a vet to rule out any possible physical causes for the behavior.
In cases where the behavioral problem is rooted in an emotional rather than physical problem, it’s important to know exactly what is causing the problem. For example, aggressive behavior in a dog could be caused by overprotectiveness toward their human, or it could be caused by fear. The caregiver must often play detective and figure out the underlying cause for the behavior in order to select the correct flower essence(s).
- Aspen: For fears of unknown origin.
- Centaury: For animals that are overly submissive.
- Heather: For animals that need constant attention and reassurance.
- Holly: For hatred, jealousy, and ‘sibling rivalry’ among animals living in the same household.
- Larch: For lack of self-esteem.
- Mimulus: For fears of known origin such as the fear of loud noises.
- Rock Rose: For terror.
- Vine: For animals that are overly dominant or dictatorial.
- White Chestnut: For obsessive thoughts or behaviors.
- Willow: For resentment (of other animals or of people).
Bach Flower Remedies – Some Suggestions for Caregivers
I have selected these particular remedies because I feel they address the emotional challenges of many caregivers: stress, anxiety, guilt, and exhaustion.
- Agrimony: For those who hide their suffering behind a mask of cheerfulness.
- Elm: For those who feel overwhelmed with responsibility, and who begin to doubt their ability to cope.
- Hornbeam: For those who feel unaccountable mental weariness; when we feel we have no strength to face the day or task ahead, which makes us procrastinate or give up the task altogether.
- Olive: For mental or physical exhaustion.
- Pine: For guilt or self-reproach; blaming ourselves even for things that we are not responsible for or that are beyond our control.
- Red Chestnut: For over-anxiety for the well-being of others. Good for those who are communicating their anxiety to their animals.
- Scleranthus: For those who have difficulties achieving a balance in their life. For times when we feel we can’t find a balance between caring for others’ needs and caring for our own.
- Walnut: For those who find it difficult to adjust before, during, or after a period of change. Eases the transition between the past and the present.
Preparing Flower Essences for your pet
Remedies can be combined when the animal’s behavior suggests the need for more than one flower essence. To prepare your remedies:
- take a one-ounce medicine dropper (stock) bottle
- fill ¾ full with distilled water
- add a half-dozen drops of each of the remedies you wish to use
- shake well
This formula works for anywhere from one to six remedies (Rescue Remedy counts as one remedy when creating a mixture) and is equally effective for humans and animals. Dosage is 3-4 drops given directly, several times per day; or put a dropperful into your pet’s drinking water every time you change the water; or, you can add a dropperful of the formula to your pet’s food every day. The mixture will keep, refrigerated, for two to three weeks. I recommend preparing flower essences in this manner even when only using one essence, rather than giving them undiluted, because the essences are suspended in alcohol. Diluting the remedies in distilled water does not decrease their effectiveness.
Flower Essence Web Sites
I’d like to recommend this great book if you’re interested in learning more about Bach Flower Remedies for Animals:
This books offers descriptions of each of the 38 Bach Flower Remedies, and their application to the treatment of a range of domestic animals, including horses. It also describes diagnostic symptoms, animal by animal, together with appropriate treatment regimens, illustrated with case material obtained from veterinarians, animal behavior specialists and health practitioners.
Other important and helpful areas discussed are emotions in animals and their influence on behavior the emotional bond between animals and humans the pros and cons of thinking of animals in human terms the principles of flower remedies and their suitability for use in the treatment of animals. Amazon also provides reviews on the book and how it has helped them.