Love flower essences but have a dog that doesn't share your enthusiasm for taking them? It may surprise you to learn there are quite a few options for how to give flower remedies to your dog.
Flower essences are essentially an energy therapy, meaning they work differently from drugs, herbs, and nutritional supplements. For both emergency use and long-term behavioral therapy, the key to successful flower essence use in dogs is repeated doses. In the case of emergencies and other acute situations, doses may be a few minutes apart. With long-term use, flower essences should be given 3 or 4 times every day.
Because of the need for repeated dosing, it helps to be able to give your dog flower essences in a way she finds comfortable.
Why it’s Good to Have Options
The most frequently recommended ways to give flower essences are straight into the dog's mouth, or in food. That said, there are lots of reasons you might want an alternate way to give your dog flower essences. Here are some of the more common I’ve come across:
- Your dog fights getting her drops, runs away, or growls/snaps.
- Your new dog is not quite used to you yet. Giving drops in her mouth isn’t helping.
- When your dog is stressed and needs his drops, he won’t take a treat.
- In his problem situations, your dog is so unruly that having him sit still for drops isn’t practical.
- Your dog has a sensitive stomach. Anything new upsets her digestive balance!
- Your dog is a finicky eater, and will not eat food or treats if there is something different on it. Ever.
- Your dog is going to be boarded, and you need something the kennel staff will actually do.
- You have a pet-sitter coming in, and your dog may not take to her giving flower essences by your usual method.
Are Some Methods of Administration More Effective Than Others?
Twenty years ago I would have said yes. I learned from a flower essence practitioner who firmly believed in giving flower essences as you would homeopathic medications (which they aren’t) – straight in the mouth, and at least 30 minutes away from any food or drink other than water. You could give them with food, but the effect might be diluted.
Well, that was then! Since then, I’ve experimented, researched, listened, and learned. And my conclusion? Animals respond to flower essences when given them any number of ways.
Common Sense Caution
Before I get into the different ways to give flower essences, please use common sense when trying a way that’s unfamiliar to your dog. Does your puppy grab or snap at anything that gets near his mouth? Then using a glass dropper near his mouth probably isn’t a great idea! (At least not until that behavior is behind him.) Have a skittish dog that spooks and startles at anything sudden or unexpected? Then unexpectedly spritzing your dog’s head or gums with flower essences will likely not be a happy experience.
Know your dog. It only takes a little extra time to introduce new things (and new ways of doing old things) in a way that will help your dog accept them - and maybe even like them!
8 Ways to Give Flower Essences to Dogs (and Other Animals)
1) Directly in the mouth. Flower essences can be dripped into your dog’s mouth (I teach mine to tilt their heads back so I can easily drip their formula onto their lips or tongue), or they can be misted onto the gums. (It's not hard - just gently lift the upper lip at the side of the mouth to spray your dog’s gums.)
2) On food. Use either dropper or sprayer to add flower essences on top of your dog’s food, just before serving.
3) As part of a snack. Add flower essences to a small tasty snack, like canned food, yogurt, broth, a scrambled egg, anything your dog enjoys!
4) Added to treats. Drip a couple drops, or spray a treat with flower essences, then give to your dog. Dry biscuits work well for this, but so does a piece of bread or other absorbent treat. Do you give treats throughout the day, or keep some aside for training? Add a spray or two or several drops to a bag of treats and mix it up. Your dog will get little doses of her flower essences every time she gets a food reward!
5) Rubbed onto your dog’s gums. Put a couple drops into the palm of your hand, dip a finger into them, then rub directly onto the gums.
6) Rubbed onto ears or nose. As above, but rub the drops onto your dog’s ear flap or nose leather. You can also spray directly onto the outer ear flap if this doesn’t upset your dog. (Just be sure not to spray into the ear canal!)
7) Misted onto the dog. Spray a mist of your dog’s flower essence formula around her head, or directly onto her head and neck area. The idea is not to wet her down, but to provide a light mist in the area around her.
8) Misted around your dog’s living areas. Spray a mist of essences on and around your dog’s bed, crate, sleeping areas, and any areas of the home where problem behavior tends to occur.
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Create a Schedule that Works for You
Of course, you don’t have to pick only one way to give flower essences to your dog. Feel free to combine methods of administration to fit your life and schedule, as well as your dog’s preferences.
Here are a few examples of combining methods, to get you thinking:
- In meals morning and evening, and on treats throughout the day.
- In food twice daily, then in the mouth before outings. On outings (such as walks, park, dog shows, etc), half a dropper in the dog’s water bottle, to be given as desired.
- In the water bowl twice a day, then on a favorite treat twice a day.
- Mixed with a favorite snack and given as “dessert” after meals. Added to the water bowl once or twice a day. Misted around the dog’s area just before company comes over (or whatever your dog’s challenging situation might be).
- Half a dropper in the water bowl every morning, then on training treats for daily training session, then massaged into ears during “couch time” in the evening.
Flower essences are a wonderful tool for helping balance and improve dog behavior. And if your dog doesn’t like taking them “straight”, there are so many other options for the holistic-minded dog owner or trainer, you’re sure to find one your dog enjoys!
Julie Cantrell BSc CDBC
Owner, Aldaron Essences LLC