Reiki for Dogs with Anxiety

Reiki for Dogs with Anxiety and Stress

Anxious or stressed dogs can respond very well to Reiki. Whether provided in-person or distantly, this form of energy medicine is safe, science-based, and can soothe anxious or stressed dogs by bringing about a state of profound relaxation. Reiki is also helpful in dogs with chronic health conditions related to stress. 

Reiki for Dogs with Anxiety and Str...
Reiki for Dogs with Anxiety and Stress

Reiki for dogs with anxiety and stress is an effective and highly sought-after complementary therapy that is especially useful in dogs with anxiety and stress-related conditions. 

Reiki is a form of energy medicine that is used throughout the world to bring about a profound state of relaxation. A Reiki Practitioner uses hand placements near the body’s natural energy centres (chakras) to focus universal healing energy (chi/ki).  All living beings – including dogs – have chakras.   7 Tips for Choosing a Reiki Practitioner for your Dog

Research and clinical experience have shown Reiki to be effective in lowering anxiety and stress, reducing blood pressure, heart rate and microvascular damage, decreasing pain and contributing to an overall sense of joy and well-being. Reiki is used in hospitals across the world as part of holistic treatment plans for conditions such as post-surgical pain control, dental work, cancer, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress injury, high blood pressure, palliative care and during labour and delivery.

Reiki for animals is becoming a highly sought-after treatment for the very same reasons. 

Following Reiki treatments, we see positive changes in stress, pain, well-being, mood, behaviour and overall happiness. And, due to the interactive nature of Reiki, we can also elicit insights into the nature and root causes of symptoms and health conditions. 

One of the most common reasons pet parents seek Reiki is for dogs with anxiety and stress. Anxiety can show itself through many signs, symptoms and behaviours. 

How Do I Know If My Dog is Anxious?

Sign of anxiety can include:

  • fear and fear-based aggression
  • excessive panicked barking, whining or running
  • inability to bond and form trusting relationships with people or other animals
  • inability to focus
  • urinating or defecating in the home
  • destructive behaviour
  • panting
  • pacing
  • trembling
  • repetitive or compulsive behaviours like chewing or licking paws
  • depression

Reasons for Anxiety

We know that anxiety doesn’t just happen. And animals don’t just “get” anxiety. There is always a reason, situation, history or imbalance. In fact, during our Reiki sessions, animals often indicate that they “pick up” on their owners’ stress and integrate it into their own bodies and minds. Animals also experience the fight-flight-freeze response just like we do and Reiki allows us to explore this experience and understand what situations their anxiety may be linked to.

When dogs are showing signs of anxiety, our job is to figure out the reason(s) and correct them – not simply suppress the outward symptoms.

Some of the common reasons for anxiety include:

  • Fear – a chronic state of fear can flood the body with stress hormones, paving the way for chronic health conditions
  • Trauma – dogs that have experienced trauma (such as rescue dogs) can energetically hold this trauma in their bodies in the form of fear, anxiety and physical illness
  • Separation – about 14% of dogs experience separation anxiety, where they cannot find comfort by being alone. This can be linked with fear and trauma history, or even physical illness
  • Physical Health – conditions that involve thyroid, pain, or digestion can show up through anxious behaviours. A processed diet with chemicals, additives and a lack of clean meats, vegetables and minerals frequently contributes to anxiety.
  • Aging – when eyesight, cognition and hearing declines with age, older dogs can become more sensitive to vibrations like thunder or become easily startled or confused, contributing to signs of anxiety
  • Empathy – dogs often absorb the energies and emotions of those around them. If dogs are in a household with high tension, stress and anxious or angry people, our sensitive Fur Souls can take on those emotions. In this case, we offer psychotherapy for pet owners as part of a Holistic Health Care Plan for pet parents and their pets.

How Can Reiki Help My Anxious Dog?

Many pet parents want to avoid medicating their dog with anti-anxiety drugs, but don’t know what else to do.

At Healing Fur Souls, we often use Reiki as the first step to guide a Holistic Treatment Plan for anxiety that may also include targeted nutrition, herbs and other complementary therapies. Book a virtual consultation and Reiki Treatment for your dog to see how you can improve his health and happiness. 

When dogs are showing signs of anxiety, our job is to figure out the reason(s) and correct them – not simply suppress the outward symptoms.

Is Reiki Safe?

As a complementary therapy, Reiki is completely safe with no side effects. It can be used on its own or to “complement” any treatment plan that you and your dog’s health care team develop. Reiki is safely used alongside holistic and conventional veterinary treatment, chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture and other traditional medicine healing systems. It is important to work with your dog’s health care team to ensure medical conditions for anxiety like hyperthyroidism are ruled out with appropriate lab tests.

If your dog is already taking anti-anxiety drugs, Reiki can help reduce or eliminate the amount – usually in conjunction with targeted nutrition, natural supplements, some behavioural changes and other complementary therapies. 

With Reiki, we strive to get to the root of your dog’s anxiety and work with him using natural therapies that support his own healing ability.

How Do Dogs Experience Reiki?

Reiki for Dogs with Anxiety

Animals (and children) are particularly attuned to the energy of Reiki. Horses, cats, birds, fish and dogs are exquisitely sensitive to to Reiki and absolutely love this healing, loving experience.

Dogs simply relax and enjoy the experience! There is no special position or requirement. Reiki energy will reach the dog, no matter where they are or whether they are relaxed or active.

Through a virtual or in-clinic Reiki treatment, dogs open up to the energy and direct the Practitioner to exactly where they need it. Since anxiety is often “located” in chakras near the head, throat, chest or rump, we often see dogs moving about to position themselves to receive the Reiki energy exactly where they need it. Each animal experiences Reiki differently – you can read some of their stories here!

If pain or discomfort is causing their anxiety, we are typically directed to the source. Reiki Practitioners are drawn toward areas of physical or emotional issues – even if the symptoms are very subtle and purely energetic. Very often pet parents will notice that their dog is “off” but be unable to articulate this to a conventional veterinarian. Energetic imbalances precede abnormal lab tests, lumps, tumours and diagnosable illnesses.

When trauma is the source of stress and anxiety (e.g. rescue dogs), we are often guided to the lower chakras where cellular memories of trauma, safety and security are seated. Wherever the anxiety is being held in the body, Reiki will find it, relieve it and allow the body’s innate healing response to respond. This is why Reiki is helpful with many chronic illnesses, inflammation and diseases that are related to stress. In our sessions, we see our Fur Souls yawn, stretch, vocalize, sigh and fall asleep in the joyful healing energy. Sometimes dogs will become energized and “zoom” around happily. Whatever their response, they always love Reiki.

Because dogs often absorb and reflect the energies of their owners, we can also work directly with the pet parent to reduce their own anxiety through psychotherapy and holistic treatments, including Reiki.

Kora the Rescue Dog

One of our pet clients was a highly anxious rescue dog that barked excessively, growled and snapped at her pet parents and anyone who came near their house. She was highly possessive and her fear-based aggression prevented the owners from having any guests over.

At our first Reiki session, we determined that this dog had been bred under highly stressful conditions and had her puppies taken from her at a very early age. “Kora” had experienced multiple traumas of inhumane captivity, unhealthy breeding practices, poor nutrition and was deprived of the instinctual experience of mothering her litters. She held these traumas and fears in her root chakra, becoming anxious and aggressive whenever others approached her.

After one session, the owners noticed a significant reduction in overall anxiety, although she continued to bark and growl at neighbours and outside noises. Following the second session, Kora was less protective of her food and more responsive to her owners’ attempts to soothe her. In a few weeks, with nutrition changes, Reiki and the addition of gentle herbs (chamomile and lavender), Kora’s owners reported that she was calm enough to be in her crate so that guests could visit. Her pet parents also decided to buy several stuffed animals for her to satisfy her “mothering instinct”.

Interestingly, the area of Kora’s body that held her extreme trauma (her root chakra located near her rectum) responded physically within a day after her last Reiki treatment. She developed swelling and release of an infection in her anal glands that resolved very quickly and with no further issue. From an energy medicine perspective,  Kora was finally able to “expel” the toxic fear she held for years.

How Do I Find a Reiki Practitioner?

Reiki is well established in the United States and many countries in Europe, although the demand in Canada and other countries is beginning to increase as pet parents learn about this therapy.

If you are unable to find a Reiki Practitioner that specializes in animals, go virtual and book an appointment with our Reiki Therapist at Healing Fur Souls.

Practitioners that are not trained in Animal Reiki, or do not have the credentials to practice virtually can still offer some comfort and healing energy, although without the specialized expertise. 

How to Choose an Animal Reiki Practitioner:

  • Look for a Reiki Master (this is the the highest qualification and allows for distance/virtual Reiki)
  • Ask for someone with specialized training with animals
  • Ask how much experience they’ve had with animals
  • Where possible, look for a licensed health care professional that practices Reiki

For more information on choosing a Reiki Practitioner for your dog, see our top tips or book a virtual Reiki session now!

Be kind to all living beings. Respect the earth we share.

References

Baldwin, A, Wagers, C. & Schwartz, G. (2008). Reiki improves heart rate homeostasis in laboratory rats. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(4), 417-422.

Baldwin, A & G. Schwartz (2006). Personal interaction with a Reiki Practitioner decreases noise-induced microvascular damage in an animal model. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12 (1), 15-22

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