Bach flower remedies for animals

Flower Power for Animals: Healing Your Pet with Bach Flower Essences

by Deep, Radi, and Mithu on October 15, 2009

in Holistic Pet Care and Nutrition

As a family of animal lovers, who have experienced the joy and companionship of pets and other animal friends in our lives, we could not imagine creating a website on holistic healing that does not integrally address their problems and concerns.

In the first of a series of posts on holistic pet care and nutrition, we will focus on a gentle but deep acting flower-based therapy that was discovered and developed by Dr. Edward Bach, a British physician in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Bach Flower Remedies, as this therapy has come to be known, are a natural, gentle, deep acting, and spiritual way of healing personality and emotional disorders that so often underlie physical ailments in both humans and animals. Their therapeutic properties stem from the essences of certain flowers growing wild and free from any human intervention.

Though medicinal herbs have been widely used for healing for as long as humans have been on this planet, there is no known historical precedent for Dr. Bach’s method of extracting flower essences for therapeutic purposes. But one never knows – there is nothing new under the sun!

The Bach flower tinctures are extracted in a particular way and are stored in a preserving liquid. Their properties are both subtle and profound and heal at deep levels. Dr. Bach like other famous holistic healers such as the homeopath, Dr. Hahnemann, believed in treating the patient and not the disease.

We will explore the basic principles and healing effects of Dr. Bach’s flower remedies in more depth in a further posting, but here we would like to share with you some of the ways in which they can also be used to help heal animals in your care.

Anyone who owns, works with, or cares for animals will have realized that they have a wide and complex spectrum of emotions and psychological states very akin to those of humans. These range from anger, aggression, domination, fear or terror, lack of confidence, grief, depression, jealousy, shame, and sulkiness, to joy, devotion, affection, love, compassion, and other uplifting emotional states.

Living mostly in isolation from their own kind, pets often take on their owner’s mental and emotional states. As a result, when using Bach Flower Remedies for treating animals, it is often helpful for the owners to be simultaneously treated.

These remedies can be used to alleviate a diverse range of emotional and psychological conditions and associated physical symptoms. There are close to 40 individual remedies that are therapeutically used for both humans and animals. However, we would like to focus on what we have found to be a key remedy that is an integral part of our first aid kit. We will also describe a few selected remedies for some of the common behavioral and emotional problems that pets experience.

The Bach Rescue Remedy:

This remedy is a composite of five individual flower remedies. It is quick-acting and its use, mostly in emergencies, has been known to help save lives by alleviating states of fear and shock. Some vets use it to calm animals before examinations or prior to and after surgery.

The five component Bach flower essence remedies that make up this emergency treatment for shock are:

  • Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) – used to restore calm in highly distressed and traumatized animals;
  • Rock Rose (Helianthemum nummularium) – a remedy for terror and great fear;
  • Clematis (Clematis vitalba) – for trauma-induced faintness and unconsciousness;
  • Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) – for loss of physical or mental control; and
  • Impatiens (Impatiens glandulifera) – to help alleviate stress and agitation due to pain and muscle tension.

Rescue Remedy can be used in combination with any other treatment in an emergency situation such as: an anesthetic crisis or cardiac arrest when the heart and breathing stop; for choking; fractures; poisoning; paralysis; sudden collapse; heat stroke and exhaustion; to help wounds heal faster; and to help revive weak animals after birth.

In critical situations where the animal’s life is in danger, two drops can placed directly on the tongue or rubbed on to the gums and lips of an unconscious animal. It can even be applied to bandages directly covering wounds.

We would like to emphasize, however, that Rescue Remedy is not a replacement for proper veterinary care but may help to save the animal’s life by alleviating stress and shock at a crucial stage before it can receive medical treatment.

Remedy: Cherry Plum

Used as an individual remedy, Cherry Plum is for hysterical and nervous animals that easily panic. Dogs that indulge in destructive behavior such as destroying furniture, carpets, and curtains, or panic in certain situations such as being taken to the vet or having their nails clipped can benefit from this remedy.

As with other Bach remedies, four drops of the remedy should be given to the animal in a little water four times a day for as long as necessary until there is some improvement.

Remedy: Chicory

Animals that are possessive and clinging, constantly seeking attention from their owners by not letting them out of their sight or indulging in destructive behavior when they are left on their own for a while do well with this remedy.

Remedy: Crab Apple

Crab Apple is the cleansing remedy for ridding the body of toxins and freeing the mind of feelings of disgust and repulsion that create a sense of low self esteem and shame. It is helpful in treating physical conditions such as infections; incontinence; diarrhea; constipation; infestations of fleas, ticks, parasites, and worms; and acute and chronic skin conditions, including mange, scabies, eczema, and dermatitis.

It can be used as a cleanser and detoxifier for all sick animals, for cleaning abscesses and wounds, and in conjunction with conventional treatments, particularly long-term courses of antibiotics, steroids, and other drugs, which may have side effects. Crab Apple can also help to expel obstructions in the gut such as bone splinters and fur balls.

Remedy: Gorse

Gorse is a useful remedy for treating hopelessness and despair by restoring endurance and vitality. It is helpful in easing the distress of animal mothers that lose their offspring; dogs that remain for long periods in kennels or pounds; and more generally for animals that appear to have given up hope and that display lethargy and low energy levels when ill or in confinement.

Remedy: Honeysuckle

This remedy is especially suited for home sickness and difficulty in adjusting to new circumstances. It helps to reassure puppies removed from their mothers and sent to new homes as well as lost and rescued animals that find it difficult to adapt to new places and owners. It can also help to revitalize old animals.

Remedy: Rock Rose

One of the components of Rescue Remedy, Rock Rose is a specific remedy for terror. It addresses states of extreme fear and panic where the animal’s terror can be a danger to itself and others. It is a very useful remedy for sensitive animals that panic at very loud noises such as fire crackers, thunder, and gun shots, and is often used in combination with the Mimulus flower remedy to alleviate stress under such conditions.

Remedy: Olive

Olive is the remedy for physical and mental exhaustion, restoring strength and endurance to animals whose vitality is very low. It helps with conditions such as anemia, weakness, and convalescence after long and debilitating illnesses and surgery. It also helps to revitalize geriatric animals and is generally an excellent “pick me up.”

To share some of our own experiences, the Bach remedies have been our good friends for a very long time. We regularly use them on ourselves, our pets, and resident stray dogs in need of help, besides recommending them to our friends.

Currently, Muffin, our twelve year old Himalayan Sheep Dog, is suffering from a large mammary tumor that she developed some years after undergoing a hysterectomy. Given the risks of operating on her, we have been treating her with alternative cancer therapies as well as selected Bach flower remedies. She was in great discomfort for quite a while but is now responding well to the treatment. We put Crab Apple and Olive essences into her drinking water and spray Rescue Remedy directly on the tumor. Several ulcers that had developed on the tumor have healed and she seems more comfortable and more energetic.

These are just a few selected examples of how Bach Flower Remedies can be used as part of a natural pet care regime to help heal and alleviate both the physical and emotional suffering of animals. We do hope that you will further explore the amazing effects of these gentle healers for your pet and for yourself. Certainly, Marley of “Marley and Me” fame could have benefited from some of these remedies to temper his more exuberant qualities!

Please Note: You can purchase the original Bach Flower Remedies, produced at the Bach Center in UK according to Dr. Bach’s traditional methods by clicking on Bach Flower Remedies. You can also learn more on how to use the Bach Remedies to treat humans and animals by visiting the Books section on our website.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is only intended to educate and inform our readers. It is in no way intended to provide medical advice or to diagnose or treat any disease. If you have a health problem, you should consult a healthcare practitioner before taking any substances for medicinal purposes.

Disclosure of Material Connection. Apples and Doctors is affiliated with Herbal Remedies.

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  • At 2010.06.26 08:01, medical assistant said:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

    • At 2010.09.19 14:39, Mare said:

      I am asking for someone I know…I was wondering if there is an applicable Bach remedy(s) that might help a greyhound undergoing chemotherapy for osteosarcoma…help for the dog’s emotional state that is as it appears to be depressed or down…unsure if he’s just picking up on owner’s fears and anxiety concerning their beloved dog’s illness or if the dog himself is depressed due to his condition and the likelyhood that the chemo is making him feel pretty rotten…or both?!

      Any advice is greatly appreciated!


      • At 2010.09.20 06:56, Deep, Radi, and Mithu said:

        Hi Mare, sorry to hear about the traumatic experience your friend and her dog are going through. The dog is likely to be depressed for all the reasons you mentioned. The specific flower remedies that could help would depend on the animal’s unique temperament. We would advise your friend to consult “Bach Flower Remedies for Animals” by Helen Graham and Gregory Vlamis, which is an excellent resource for selecting the right remedies.

        More generally, Rescue Remedy taken by your friend and the dog before and after chemo sessions can help deal with the shock induced by the chemo to the system. Crab Apple is good for cleansing and detoxifying the system (could help with the adverse effects of the chemo); Hornbeam restores vitality and can be used for daily treatment of an animal with cancer; Olive is great for complete mental and physical exhaustion; Mustard can help with depression; and Mimulus is a good remedy for fear, helping to restore courage. Really hope this helps!

        • At 2010.10.28 15:36, Angela Barton said:

          My dog is having her second acl repair surgery next week. She healed very well from the first surgery but cried a lot the first three days after surgery and I thought it was from pain and may have been but since she was on a pain pill I think it may have been anxiety and shock. My question is can I give her bach’s rescue remedy while she is taking pain medication and an anti inflamatory.


          • At 2010.10.29 09:58, Deep, Radi, and Mithu said:

            Hi Angela, you certainly can use Rescue Remedy both before and after the surgery since it helps with trauma, anxiety etc. Arnica, a homeopathic medicine (in 6th or 12th potency) is also useful for trauma. You may consider discussing the use of systemic enzyme therapy after the surgery with your vet since this can help with post-surgery pain and inflammation. Lastly, you could consider adding a pinch of turmeric to your dog’s food (after the surgery). Again, turmeric helps with inflammation and is also a natural antiseptic. Hope this helps. Our thoughts are with you and your dog!

            • At 2010.10.29 13:16, Angela Barton said:

              Thank you for the information. I will let you know how it goes.

            • At 2011.07.11 19:06, Angela Barton said:

              I recently euthanized my 18 year old cat for health reasons. My other cat who is 13 seems to be grieving the loss of the other cat . She is not eating and loosing weight. She has been checked out by the vet and blood work has been done and they can find no other reason for the loss of appetite. What Bach preparation would be good fog this?

              (Required, will not be published)

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