How Reiki Can Help Your Dog or Cat Through Stressful Transitions

Life transitions can be stressful, and our animal companions are affected as much as we are. Reiki is a non-invasive healing modality that can help.

Stress comes under many guises, both positive and negative. Moving to a new home; dealing with a separation or bereavement; seeing a child off to college for the first time; even adopting a new animal can all create stress not only in your human family members, but also in your dog or cat. Because they like routine and predictability, many dogs and cats find life transitions of any kind challenging and stressful. Reiki is a perfect modality for easing your animal’s stress and helping him through times of change and upheaval.

Reiki to the Rescue

Reiki is a non-invasive, energetic healing system that channels universal life energy through the practitioner’s hands to the subject, be it human or animal. It can be done by placing the hands directly on the subject or from a distance. While anyone can learn Reiki, it’s important to be taught by a Reiki Master who can give you the attunements necessary to practice the modality effectively.

Did you know? Reiki can be used to help everyone in the household weather a life transition, including your dog or cat. When our animals bond with us, they carry and mirror our emotional and mental states back to us, so it’s a good idea to have Reiki done on all members of the family, human and animal. Some practitioners even recommend doing Reiki on the home itself.

Hands On or Hands Off?

Several Reiki sessions that include all household members bring the greatest benefit.

Kelly McDermott-Burns, an animal Reiki practitioner, doesn’t recommend a hands-on session unless the animal approaches the Reiki practitioner and initiates it. Sitting in a meditative state in the same room as the dog or cat eases them and allows them to approach the practitioner and to be in control of where the Reiki flows.

“Whether the sessions are done in-person or from a distance can depend on the client’s needs, the level of fear or aggression in the animal, and other factors,” Kelly says. “For instance, although it might be best to start with a distance session so the animal doesn’t have to deal with the added stress of a stranger, the client may want to be with the animal to watch for any possible reactions. It may also be helpful for the practitioner to observe the household dynamics to gather information the client may not see.”

For in-person visits, a soothing environment can be created by placing rose quartz crystals in the space. For practitioners trained in sound therapy, a low “Om” tuning fork or mid-range singing bowl can be played at a distance from the animal. Low tones discharge energy from the nervous system, making it easier to channel Reiki to the animal.

However, depending on the dog or cat’s level of agitation, a remote session might be the best option until he becomes accustomed to the Reiki energy.

Did you know? While Reiki is beneficial for your dog or cat, it’s important to seek veterinary care if he’s showing signs of depression and anxiety caused by a life transition. In fact, Reiki works best when combined with medical care. Also, don’t rule out an animal behavior expert or trainer if and when required.

Two Years of Transition

Over the past two years and more, we and our animal companions have faced a lot of pandemic-related transitions, ranging from changes in our work situations to the loss of family members who were hospitalized with COVID-19 for long periods, or who died. On top of that, unprecedented wildfires and storms have resulted in extreme stress and upheaval for thousands. Our dogs and cats have been enduring waves of anxiety and fear radiating from us humans, along with lockdowns, relocations and other stressful events.  With all this chaos, both we and our animals can benefit from Reiki.

“I always include everyone in the household, people and animals alike,” says Kelly. “The whole family can benefit from feeling more peaceful around the situation. In the end, Reiki goes where it is needed.”

The next time you face a life transition, keep Reiki in mind as a way to create a peaceful environment and relieve your stress – and your dog or cat’s.


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