Flower Essence Therapy for Dogs
When your dog has a physical illness you can easily treat him. So while there is traditional medicine to help with a physical condition, what are the options for emotional health? Some believe that dogs that have been mistreated often hold onto the emotional pain. Even with medical care and a healthy diet, they will “remain unhealthy until their fears, stress, and past traumas are helped,” write authors Gael Mariani and Martin Scott, Bach Flower Remedies for Dogs.
If you’ve tried other methods and all else has failed you might want to consider flower therapy, also referred to as Bach flower therapy. Some studies show that it works as a placebo. Many say that flower therapy is harmless and is unlikely to cause an adverse interactions. However, there are some people who believe in the power of the flowers and feel this treatment is much more than a placebo.
WHAT IS BACH FLOWER THERAPY?
You might be wondering how flowers could have such an effect on your dog’s emotional health, because it is believed that they do not contain pharmacologically significant amount of any flower-derived chemicals. It has been used on humans since it was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Edward Bach. Flower therapy uses the energy within the flower. When the flowers are exposed to the sun (or boiled) in water, Dr. Bach said their healing energy is transferred to the water. He developed 38 different flower essences- each has a specific effect on mental, emotional, or behavioral problems.
WHY FLOWER THERAPY FOR DOGS
One specific effect of flower therapy is helping with past trauma. This includes:
- Experienced acute moments of fear, terror, pain, beatings, attacks from people or other animals.
- Chronic situations the dog has had to endure, such as periods of ongoing cruelty from previous owners, daily extreme stress from being ill-treated, starved or confined, living with very neurotic owners or in dysfunctional, unhappy or violent homes.
- Any kind of accident, shock, period of stress or other unpleasant incident
It’s important to focus on a dog’s emotional health, just as much as the physical because dogs can fall physically ill if their emotional health isn’t addressed.
HOW ADMINISTER FLOWER REMEDIES TO YOUR DOG
The water that the flowers were boiled in is collected and added to a dropper (usually about $10 or more for a 1 fl oz bottle) to administer, usually added to the dog’s water or food. You should never directly give the drops into the dog’s mouth, because the dropper may be glass and could be harmful if your dog bites it.
Treatment is long-term. Dosage for 4-8 weeks is necessary in most cases to obtain the full effect.
“The therapy is restricted to problems associated with behavior or the emotions, and that it is vitally important to understand a dog’s state of mind in order to be able to use Bach flowers effectively,” writes author Richard Allport, Heal Your Dog the Natural Way.
If your dog is having unusual behavioral changes or has become more aggressive, it might be more than an emotional problem. Before trying the flower therapy on your dog, talk to your vet to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with your dog that could be causing pain.
It’s unknown how a placebo effect works on a dog. “…maybe your own anxiety about your pet’s condition could be alleviated in a sort of indirect placebo effect,” reported SoSoScience.com.
It is up to each owner to decide if they feel this course of action is appropriate for their dog. As with any new diet change, talk to your veterinarian to see if flower therapy is right for your dog.