Today we will look at the flower essences that I commonly use for my animal patients. Even though as pet caretakers, we strive to give our pets a good and stress-free life, sometimes things happen that are out of our control. A grooming appointment or a vet visit gone wrong that caused a lot of stress for our pet. Maybe we bring in a new animal into our home and the animals don’t get along. Or there is a new human in our lives that the pet isn’t happy about. You may have to move to a new place and your animal does not handle the change well. Or there is a loss of a person or animal in your lives, and your pet stops eating or playing as much after the loss.
These are all situations that pet owners have come to me for help with. Before I discovered flower essences, helping pet owners through these situations was hard. Other than working with a trainer, seeing a veterinary behaviorist, or putting the animal on Prozac, our options in conventional medicine are limited. But you can see from my examples, not every problem will respond to common behavioral therapy (such as grieving after a loss), and Prozac or other anti-depressant type medications may be overkill for normal emotional responses.
While we can’t always line up everything perfectly for our pets and we also can’t always explain to them what is happening, we can help them address distressful emotions with flower essences.
Flower essences are like talk therapy in a bottle. Only, it doesn’t require any talking. Which is great for our pets!
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some common essences I use in pets:
Mimulus addresses the most basic of emotional states: fear. It is meant for those who fear specific things or situations, as opposed to general anxiety.
I often like to use mimulus for fear of loud noises (fireworks, thunder storms, for example) as well as for animals who are afraid of certain people, other animals, new situations, vet or grooming visits.
Aspen is also for fear, however it is for fear of unknown things. It is used more for general anxiety. Animals that are skittish, high strung, or will be scared for no reason respond well to this formula.
Because in most animals there is a combination of fear of unknown and known (and we don’t always know which is affecting them more), I will often combine mimulus and aspen into any formula I am making for addressing fear and anxiety.
3. Star of Bethlehem
This flower essence is most commonly used to “remove trauma.” Some animals may have been abused in their early life before we adopted them. But in other cases, the trauma is more of a “perceived trauma,” for example after a particularly stressful grooming or veterinary visit.
I see this often in cats. A cat undergoes a trauma (a move or some other change in their environment) and stops eating. The owner takes them to a vet (which is the right thing to do in this situation), but the stress of the tests and hospital visit only makes them worse. The tests do not find anything, but the animal is still not eating, even after various treatments and even sometimes appetite stimulants.
For these cats, the combination of acupuncture with flower essences (of which Star of Bethlehem is a key ingredient), has done wonders for these animals. If your pet has recently undergone a trauma, do not hesitate to try Star of Bethlehem for helping them afterwards.
Impatiens is a flower essence whose name says it all: this flower essence treats the emotion of being impatient.
Impatience is an emotion that we all feel now and again. And yet, many of us don’t commonly associate impatience with “stress.” But stress and anxiety can take on many forms: fear, anger, irritation, worry, etc. And oddly enough, I have found that many animals with typical stress behaviors, respond beautifully when impatiens is added into their flower essence formulas. Since being impatient is also associated with feeling irritated, I will often include impatiens in any formula for aggression in animals as well.
Beech is for animals who are intolerant of others – this can mean both people or other animals. It is also for animals who will “act out” when their routine is changed, or there is something in the environment that they do not approve of.
Beech is often used in formulas for aggression. I also use it for animals that urinate inappropriately or show other destructive behaviors. This is a common problem in cats.
Willow is oddly one of the more common flower essences I use – it is for people and animals that “feel like a victim.”
When animals feel a sense of powerlessness, they either lash out or they retreat. And so I use this essence both in cases of fear/ anxiety, as well as a crucial essence for animals that are prone to aggression. When animals feel more empowered and less like “victims,” they are more confident in a healthy way and less likely to act in an inappropriate way.
Vine is for animals that are domineering and bullying.
Some refer to this behavior as “dominance aggression.” There is some discussion and disagreement among trainers and animal behaviorists about this trait. Some say that animals are never dominant, but always act out of fear. However, in my experience, I have not found this to be true. Some animals do have a true fear aggression, while some do not. I have sometimes treated animals showing aggression with “fear”-based formulas, only to find that their aggression worsens. For those animals, it is a true dominance aggression that is showing up. In my experience, these animals respond better to more dominance-flower essences such as Vine.
8. Red Clover
Red Clover treats panic. It treats a type of fear that is beyond our ability to calm with traditional methods (petting, holding, talking to the animal).
I will often use it for those animals who have severe fear and panic of loud noises such as thunder storms and fireworks. While combined with other flower essences, it can help with noise anxiety. However, treating noise sensitivity may still require a multi-modal approach.
Holly is for jealousy.
It is for the animal who feels threatened by other pets, people or the addition of a new family member or baby. It is for animals that fear being unloved or abandoned. While it is strange that animals can feel these seemingly “human” and perhaps anthropomorphized emotions, I have seen this flower essence work well in animals that are displaying signs of this emotional state.
Gorse treats depression, sadness and sorrow.
It is not uncommon for pets to show signs of grieving after the loss of a beloved friend – be it human or animal in their lives. They may seem more lethargic, play less, or lose interest in food. For most cases, I will allow a few weeks for the grieving process to pass. As long as the pet is still eating and not in any danger, I will give them space to grieve. Most pets come out of it on their own. However, if the animal is still lethargic for weeks or months after the event (or the owner says they are “not the same” since x happened), then I will try a grief formula with Gorse as a common ingredient.
11. Crab Apple
Crab Apple flower essence is for the animals that feel like something is crawling on them, when there is nothing there. It is for the animals with sensitivity to touch such as what is commonly called: “hyperesthesia” in cats.
I use it often for the animals that overgroom- the dogs that lick their paws or the kitties that pull the hair out of their back legs and belly.
It is a good flower essence for anything related to skin-associated anxiety.
Well there you have it! Those are some common flower essences I use in pets. In the next post, I will tell you how to dose and give the flower essences to pets.