Soothe anx­ious pets with drug-free pro­to­cols from chakra bal­anc­ing to mu­sic ther­apy

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Ju­lia Sz­abo

Is Your Pet Stressed Out? Nat­u­ral ways to soothe anx­ious pets, from chakra bal­anc­ing to mu­sic ther­apy.

Ascrea­tures of habit, an­i­mals be­come stressed by any dis­rup­tion, large or small, in their rou­tine. This anx­i­ety man­i­fests in be­hav­iors such as de­struc­tive­ness, ex­ces­sive lick­ing, scratch­ing or bit­ing at them­selves, fran­tic bark­ing in the wee hours, and/or in­ap­pro­pri­ate uri­na­tion.

The first step to take when cop­ing with an anx­ious pet is sched­ul­ing a visit to your ve­teri­nar­ian to make sure there isn’t an un­der­ly­ing phys­i­cal prob­lem. Af­ter that, it’s time to ex­plore nat­u­ral stress-busters. With a care­taker sen­si­tive to their needs—and armed with an ar­se­nal of nat­u­ral reme­dies—anx­ious an­i­mals can main­tain their calm and thrive, even in the most stress­ful cir­cum­stances.


Reiki, a Ja­panese en­er­gy­heal­ing tech­nique based on the con­cept of uni­ver­sal en­ergy, can help re­duce dis­com­fort by bal­anc­ing the body’s chakras (en­ergy cen­ters). It has a calm­ing e ef­fect on the re­cip­i­ent by low­er­ing stress lev­els and boost­ing the im­mune sys­tem. This time-hon­ored heal­ing modal­ity is not just for peo­ple any­more: An­i­mal Reiki prac­ti­tion­ers around the coun­try re­port suc­cess calm­ing anx­ious four-footed pa­tients—and they don’t even have to be in the same room, or even the same state! “Reiki also works re­motely,” says prac­ti­tioner In­grid King, guardian of two cats, au­thor of five books, and pub­lisher of the blog. The Con­scious Cat. “Most of my Reiki ses­sions are re­mote.”

For those who ques­tion the pos­si­bil­ity of re­mote reiki ac­tu­ally work­ing, King ex­plains, “Re­mote heal­ing is an en­er­getic process that can be best ex­plained through the prin­ci­ples of quan­tum physics. To il­lus­trate it with a tan­gi­ble ex­am­ple, I com­pare it to WiFi: Not that long ago, if some­body had told us we could con­nect re­motely to some­thing called the In­ter­net, we’d have said, ‘OK, right …’” King re­calls a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with a cat who had a se­vere up­per-res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion. “The cat was lethar­gic and hadn’t eaten in over a week. I did a re­mote treat­ment (I’m in Vir­ginia and she was in Florida), and im­me­di­ately after­ward, the cat’s owner re­ported that she went over to her food bowl dur­ing the ses­sion and started eat­ing! Mir­a­cles are not the norm,” King adds, “but they can hap­pen.” To lo­cate a prac­ti­tioner, con­sult

“For pets, the best ther­apy is in­ter­act­ing with you rather than be­ing al­lowed to roam and do use­less activities.”

the An­i­mal Reiki Source at an­i­mal­reik­


It goes with­out say­ing that spend­ing time at an an­i­mal shel­ter is stress­ful to an­i­mals. Kon­stan­tine Barsky, DVM, is re­minded of this reg­u­larly in his job as sta ve­teri­nar­ian for the Ul­ster County SPCA in up­state New York. Es­sen­tial oils can be bene cial in stress­ful sit­u­a­tions like this. “Laven­der and chamomile are both use­ful for re­duc­ing sit­u­a­tional anx­i­ety,” he says. Laven­der has tra­di­tion­ally been used to re­lieve ner­vous ten­sion in peo­ple, and pets can also reap laven­der’s aro­mather­apy bene ts.

Some warn­ings: Don’t ap­ply laven­der es­sen­tial oil di­rectly out of the bot­tle, Barsky cau­tions. “Di­lute it with a car­rier oil such as grape­seed, olive, or co­conut oil.” Add a few drops of laven­der oil to one or two ounces of your pre­ferred car­rier oil; ap­ply the mix­ture to your own hand rst, then on your pet: on top of the head, behind the ears, at the base of the tail (never on the muz­zle or be­tween the eyes). “Ob­serve how your dog or cat re­acts,” con­tin­ues Barsky. “If they turn their head away, or sneeze, then ob­vi­ously it’s not work­ing for them.” In that case, try “botan­i­cal bond­ing” by put­ting the laven­der oil on your­self. “An­i­mals tune in to our stress lev­els, so when the laven­der goes to work calm­ing you, they will pick up on that, and feel calmer too,” says Barsky.

Barsky’s other go-to botan­i­cal stress buster is chamomile. “It’s safe for dogs and cats to in­gest, and it can also be used top­i­cally, as a bath. It’s es­pe­cially sooth­ing for sea­sonal itch, so rinse pets with chamomile tea while groom­ing, and let the tea sit on their skin for a few min­utes be­fore rins­ing with clear wa­ter.” For mild anx­i­ety, make a tea out of dried chamomile ow­ers, and add the cooled tea to pets’ drink­ing wa­ter: one quar­ter chamomile to three quar­ters wa­ter for a dog, and one- eighth strength for a cat. Or, ob­tain a tinc­ture of chamomile ex­tract and give dogs ve drops 3–4 times daily, and one drop 3–4 times daily for cats.

“Some­thing I’ve found to be pretty use­ful is Res­cue Rem­edy by Bach Flower Essences,” says Barsky. “Add four or ve drops to a dog’s drink­ing wa­ter, or ad­min­is­ter the drops di­rectly by mouth.” If you ex­pect you and your pet will face high anx­i­ety lev­els, such as a planned road trip, start ad­min­is­ter­ing your herbal rem­edy of choice a cou­ple of days be­fore the an­tic­i­pated stress, rec­om­mends Barsky.

For ex­treme anx­i­ety, va­le­rian root works e ec­tively as a stress-bust­ing seda­tive. My 60-pound Chow Chow mix, Aldo, re­fuses to tol­er­ate con ne­ment, some­thing I dis­cov­ered to my dis­may when I was obliged to board him dur­ing a stress­ful time of tran­si­tion for me and my dogs; Aldo lit­er­ally shred­ded his ken­nel overnight. Hap­pily, af­ter gladly down­ing a spoon­ful of wet dog food cloak­ing two 450-mg cap­sules of va­le­rian— the same herbal sup­ple­ment I take my­self to pro­mote rest­ful sleep dur­ing anx­ious times—Aldo slept like a baby through the night. (Con­sult your vet for the ap­pro­pri­ate dosage by weight, and be sure to con­ceal the va­le­rian in some­thing palat­able, as this herb tastes and smells pun­gent.)

Of course, none of the above reme­dies will work well if a dog or cat isn’t get­ting su cient ex­er­cise or one-on-one at­ten­tion. “For pets, the best ther­apy is in­ter­act­ing with you rather than be­ing al­lowed to roam and do use­less activities. Dogs need lots of ex­er­cise—es­pe­cially herd­ing breeds that de­velop anx­i­ety dis­or­ders if they’re not us­ing their brains the way they’re sup­posed to—so open­ing the back door and just let­ting them out doesn’t re­ally count. As with peo­ple, the mind-body bal­ance is re­ally im­por­tant for an­i­mal com­pan­ions.”


Susan Rai­mond is a renowned harpist based in Cal­i­for­nia whose love for an­i­mals has led her to travel the world prac­tic­ing what she calls “nu­tra-acous­tics”: us­ing the beau­ti­ful sounds of her fa­vorite mu­si­cal in­stru­ment for ther­a­peu­tic pur­poses, to “soothe the sav­age beast.” Ex­pertly de­ploy­ing her harp strings, she’s suc­cess­fully calmed anx­ious crea­tures in a va­ri­ety of stress­ful cir­cum­stances, in­clud­ing zoos and med­i­cal test­ing fa­cil­i­ties. Her grate­ful au­di­ence has in­cluded go­ril­las, rhi­nos, and ele­phants as well as dogs and cats.

Rai­mond’s work in­cludes uti­liz­ing heal­ing tones in­clud­ing the G note. “is is the fre­quency at which the Earth vi­brates,” she ex­plains. “I al­ways be­gin my work start­ing on the F note to set­tle the an­i­mals, then I build to­ward the G note. is is Harp En­rich­ment er­apy (HET): us­ing har­mon­ics, and all as­so­ci­ated fre­quen­cies, for heal­ing. HET has shown proven, mea­sur­able e ects in­clud­ing low­ered blood pressure, de­creased stress/ anx­i­ety, and more com­plete re­lax­ation within min­utes.” Rai­mond has recorded nu­mer­ous al­bums in her “Noah’s Harp” se­ries, in­clud­ing my an­i­mals’ fa­vorite, “Wait For the Sun­set.”

is mu­sic is a must if your furry com­pan­ion su ers from anx­i­ety —and it’s won­der­fully calm­ing for peo­ple too. CDs and MP3s avail­able at pet­

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