When most people hear Bach Flower Remedies mentioned, if they are familiar with them at all, they automatically think of Rescue Remedy. Rescue Remedy, like all of the Bach Flowers, is a liquid infusion of healing flowers which acts to subtly but powerfully rebalance emotional states. Rescue Remedy is actually a special combination of 5 of the 38 flower essences discovered early in the last century by English physician and bacteriologist Dr Edward Bach. It’s a truly unsurpassed formula for alleviating severe stress and trauma. It can be used “in the heat of the moment” for stress and upset associated with accidents, fights, etc, as well as proactively for upcoming potentially stressful events – vet visits, whelping, moving, puppies or adult dogs going to new homes, and more. Unlike more conventional supplements, Rescue Remedy is also uniquely useful in its ability to help work out the fallout of past trauma and stress. Because of this, it is wonderful given long term to rescue dogs that have suffered past neglect or abuse, as well as working, competition, or pet dogs that may have previously suffered overly harsh or forceful training methods. While Rescue Remedy is well known for acting extremely quickly in those “heat of the moment” traumatic situations, it will also work more deeply and gradually with trauma and stress that has been buried by time.
One thing I love about Rescue Remedy, and the other Bach flower essences, is your dog will not act “drugged” or dopey when taking it. In general, what I see is that the dog’s typical stress reaction will be reduced, or sometimes not there at all. If it’s only reduced, I usually find that the dog is easier to calm or redirect than usual. Sometimes the stress reaction is such a habit that even though the stress itself is reduced, the dog still acts stressed because that’s what he’s used to doing in the situation! If this happens, I recommend getting your dog’s attention focused away from the source of stress: depending on the dog and situation, engaging her in some favorite activity, giving a relaxing massage, or simply asking for some obedience behaviors can help redirect your dog’s attention and calm her. You might be surprised at how well your dog is able to respond with a little extra help from Rescue Remedy!
As I mentioned, Rescue Remedy is just one combination of Bach Flower Essences – albeit a very successful one! There are 38 total English flower essences, which can be used alone, combined together, and even combined with Rescue Remedy. For instance, if your dog becomes severley stressed, fearful and anxious over certain events, Rescue Remedy can be combined with Mimulus (for specific fears) and Aspen (for general anxiety) for a even more effective formula. Depending on the dog’s temperament and early learning, some dogs can also get defensive and suspicious when stressed and afraid. These dogs can benefit from the addition of Holly (for suspicion). There are as many combinations of flower essences for dogs as there are “pictures” of canine behavior. If you like to experiment with this kind of thing, it’s easy to do. Simply combine 3 to 4 drops of each essence in a clean 1 oz dropper bottle filled with spring water. I generally add about a tablespoon of brandy so that the formula will keep for a few months. Shake the formula well, and keep tightly sealed. Three or four timesday, give your dog a few drops by mouth (taking care to not touch the dropper to any surface), or put the drops on a dry cookie and give to the dog. Just keep in mind that you should address one behavioral picture at a time (that is, don’t try to make a formula for your dog’s fear of vets, as well as the over-excitement he experiences at the do park – those would be two different formulas!), and that most experts recommend no more than 6 essences in combination per formula. A general description of what emotional state each flower essence addresses is available at feelbach.com/bachflowers.htm.
One caveat – the Bach company recently came out with Rescue Remedy lozenges for people (yes, Rescue Remedy and the other Bach flower essences work beautifully on people, too!). These might seem like a handy idea for dogs, too, but be aware that the lozenges contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Stick to the liquid form, which is completely safe and non-toxic for our four-legged companions!
I am always happy to field questions about the Bach Flowers through my website, Aldaron Animal Essences, or Aldaron’s Facebook page. Stop in and say hello!