How Flower Essences Can Help Your Dog & Cat

Written by: Dr. Jean Hofve, Holistic Veterinarian, DVM

Flower essences (remedies) are specially prepared extracts of the flowering parts of certain plants. They work through energy fields to heal stress and disease from the inside. Flower essences were first developed by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician who gave up his busy practice to study and prepare the 38 flower essences that now bear his name. While the original flower remedies were developed for people, we frequently use essences to help with emotional, physical, and behavioral problems in animals.

Since Dr. Bach's time, many other essences have been created around the world, not only from flowers, but also from gems, minerals, animals, butterflies, lakes, sacred earth sites, stars, celestial phenomena, and Ascended Masters. Many of them are very useful in helping our animal companions recover from trauma, injury, and stress. These non-flower essences are often referred to as "energy" or "vibrational" essences.

In humans, mental and emotional upset can have lasting physical effects. The cause, however, is internal, and we must heal from the inside. Animals too, have an active mental and emotional life. Therefore, they can also develop not only behavioral but even physical problems that have their roots in emotional stress. Stress-related conditions in pets include asthma, urinary tract problems, conjunctivitis, and gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and/or diarrhea). Of course, there may also be underlying physical causes for these diseases, but acute flare-ups are very often due to emotional stress. Essences restore the animal’s energy balance, and can often help with the physical problems as well.

Essences heal underlying negative emotional states by "flooding" the patient with the opposite, positive quality. For example, the essence of Holly is love. Use Holly in any situation where there is a lack of love, such as anger, jealousy, or rage. Similarly, the essence of Rock Rose is courage; it is helpful in cases of deep fears, panic, and terror.

Behavior problems such as chronic barking, litter box avoidance, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, separation anxiety, and inter-animal conflicts usually have an emotional component, and are very treatable with energy essences.

Many behavioral issues are easily treated with essences. Fear, for example, is very responsive to essence therapy. For example, Mandy was a little grey cat adopted from a shelter. She spent the first two weeks in her new home under the dresser, coming out only in the middle of the night to eat and use the litterbox. After just one dose of a flower essence combination, Mandy's guardian reported that within two hours the cat was out exploring the house.

In another case, JoJo was grieving the loss of his canine companion, who had died. He would sit mournfully at the top of the stairs waiting for the dog to come bounding up as she always had. Essences helped JoJo get over his sorrow and interact with the family again.

Sissy had licked her tummy bare as a stress response to her guardian working extra-long hours. She was given essences for several weeks, and soon the hair grew back normally.

Even single essences or very simple formulas can have a profound impact. Ginger, a chestnut filly, was being treated for an eye infection. She had a drain sutured across her eye that had to be flushed twice a day. Not surprisingly, Ginger came to dread these treatments and began acting up. A few drops of Rescue Remedy on a horse cookie kept her calm and allowed treatment to proceed without further objection.

When choosing essences, remember our pets often mirror us, and essences appropriate for our animal companions are often the ones we need, too.

Since all physical disease also has a deep energetic component, energy essences can be used to help resolve these imbalances and aid the animal's recovery.Essences are very easy to give! They can be administered by mouth, or in food or water. Just a few drops (3-5) at a time are sufficient. To increase the effect, give more often rather than more volume. Add a dropper-full to a spray bottle filled with spring water, and use it to spray a room, carrier, car, or around litter boxes. Or put a few drops in your hand and massage around the head and ears, or dab on the paw pads.

Since essences act energetically, not physically, they are completely safe and non-toxic. They cannot be overused or misused, and they are compatible with all other treatments, including drugs, surgery, and holistic treatments like herbs and homeopathy. Even if you give the wrong remedy, it will not have any negative effects, but simply no effect. This allows you to put the essences in food and water bowls, even when several animals share them.

Only Natural features many essence remedies, including items by Bach’s Rescue Remedy, SpiritEssence, and Pet Essences. SpiritEssence was founded in 1995, and remains the only line of essences created for animals by a veterinarian.