9:18 pm   
Dog Tip: Flower Essences and Essential Oils That Can Help Your Companion Animals

Part I: Flower Essences

Flower essences, just one of the many branches of holistic health, have long been used to alleviate stress as well as other emotional health issues and to support overall well- being. Extracts of specific flowers and other plant material are soaked in water, drawing out the plant's "life force" of healing energy, and then the essence is preserved in alcohol. Diluted essences, in fact, are more potent than if used full strength or in its original form.

Flower essences were developed in the 1930s by Edward Bach, an English homeopath and physician who believed that diseases resulted from negativity and fragmentation at the level of the soul - imbalances between the mind and body. So healing requires achieving balance between mind and body.

Specific flower remedies are used to treat specific emotional issues such as anxiety, while various combination products, like the popular Rescue Remedy, offer greater versatility.

Benefits of flower essences: they're gentle, safe and can be used along with conventional medicine. Essences can be given by mouth, added to food or water, applied topically, or used in a spray bottle. They are used until balance is restored, not like pills for which you are given a prescribed period of time for healing. Please remember that the results can be subtle and take awhile to become evident. And of course, the use of flower essences is not a substitute for medical care and attention; it is only one part of an overall program for optimal health.

The following overview of flower essences has been adapted from various sources. While the following remedies are primarily Bach essences useful for emotional issues, various companies provide combination products. Essences can be sorted by the emotions they're designed to balance. For example, there are various types of fear, and within that category there are different types of fear, such as fear of the known and fear of the unknown.

Rescue Remedy: One of the most versatile of holistic treatments, it is available at most health food stores, some pet supply stores and other places. This gentle, natural stress reducing liquid can often help both people and animals recover from injury, fright, illness, travel fatigue, irritation and even grief. Typically applied with a dropper, Rescue Remedy is now also available in an atomizer.

To help prevent travel sickness, a common dosage is four drops in the mouth about ten hours before the trip, repeating every four hours as needed. For stressed or injured animals, rub a drop on their ear or put a drop on the towel in their crate or carrier.

It helps to carry Rescue Remedy with you, since you never know what emergencies might arise.

Add Rescue Remedy to the dog's water on days when thunderstorms are predicted, and use Rock Rose (specifically for terror) during storms. Place the drops on the tongue, or mix with purified water and mist in the dog's face.

One foster caregiver used Chicory along with Rescue Remedy to help a dog affected by separation anxiety.

Aspen: useful for any condition arising from fear of the unknown. Aspen can help when an animal is nervous, apprehensive, cowering, panting, shaking or otherwise showing anxiety. It would be good for a cat or dog who is usually calm in your car, but who freaks out in another vehicle. Aspen can even help counter carsickness (nausea, salivating, vomiting, diarrhea).

Chestnut Bud: useful for those animals who are having trouble behaving in a hotel, friend's house or other new place. It can address problems such as barking, not using the litter box, and not responding to commands.

Chicory: good for animals who are super-clingy and protective, particularly while traveling and/or when left alone.

Crab Apple: good for any distress from food or water change, for skin or hair coat problems like matting, or getting dirty or exposed to toxins such as pesticide on grass. If you think that diarrhea or vomiting or change in eating could be resulting from one of the above causes, try Crab Apple.

Holly: good for angry animals, and animals irritated about the idea of traveling.

Honeysuckle: helps animals adjust to new situations or circumstances, both at home and when traveling. Honeysuckle can be used with Crab Apple and Rescue Remedy for animals that are losing their hair or having skin problems.

Mimulus: for fear of known things. "I am afraid to get into that car!" Animals needing Mimulus are usually hyperactive and nervous, rather than merely timid or fearful, which can be helped by Aspen. Some folks find a combination of Mimulus and Aspen effective.

Vervain: great for those over-enthusiastic animals who love to travel so much that no one else can enjoy the trip. The types who run all over the car, barking, licking, chewing and playing roughly. Vervain can help a cat who constantly paces back and forth, or jumps from seat to seat.

Vine: used along with Crab Apple if the animal is being territorial and protective, or even angry. Vine and Crab Apple together often help the constipation that can occur when litter box or walk patterns are changed.

Walnut: Walnut and Rescue Remedy should be given for a week before, during and a week after any change in location or family is made. It protects against many of the outside influences that happen on trips away from home.

Part II:
Using essential oils to repel bugs

Essential oils form yet another branch of holistic health care. Essential oils offer many uses, gently lifting mood and increasing energy levels in people and animals alike. Lavender, for example, is well-recognized for its natural soothing effects.

Essential oils also have practical health applications. For instance, lippia sidoides essential oil can be used as an oral rinse to reduce plaque bacteria, tartar and gingivitis.

Essential oils have also been successfully used to repel insects. The following chart appeared in the Raindrop Messenger, edited by Dr. David Stewart of the Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education.

Ants: Peppermint, Spearmint.
Aphids: Cedarwood, Hyssop, Peppermint, Spearmint
Beetles: Peppermint, Thyme
Caterpillars: Spearmint, Peppermint
Chiggers: Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme
Cutworm: Thyme, Sage
Fleas: Peppermint, Lemongrass, Spearmint, Lavender
Flies: Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage
Gnats: Patchouli , Spearmint
Lice: Cedarwood Peppermint Spearmint
Mosquitos: Lavender, Lemongrass (others use Eucalyptus oil and Lemon oil too)
Moths: Cedarwood, Hyssop, Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint
Plant lice: Peppermint, Spearmint
Slugs: Cedarwood , Hyssop, Pine
Snails: Cedarwood, Pine, Patchouli
Spiders: Peppermint, Spearmint
Ticks: Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme, Geranium
Weevils: Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood

Related Resources:

Holistic Health Tips and Insights


Some Good Holistic Health Publications



See the Pet Health and Medicine section of the Recommended Booklist at

Some Related Organizations (see the Holistic Health Dog Tip for a broader list):

American Botanical Council
Independent nonprofit organization advocating responsible use of herbal medicines; publishes HerbalGram quarterly.

Veterinary Botanical Medical Association

Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education

Health Supplements, Vitamins, Flower Essences and other Natural Products Sources


Notes: The information in this tipsheet is not intended to be a substitute for veterinary care. Listings of .com sources do not constitute endorsement of companies or products. The webpages contain information that may be useful in addition to other information from association and nonprofit sources.


For more of Robin's Dog Tips, see the index at  www.paw-rescue.org

Partnership for Animal Welfare
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768

FOR NONPROFIT USE ONLY. These articles may NOT be reproduced or circulated without author permission.

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 (LET) PawSupport