Supporting your animal’s wellbeing naturally
An educational consultancy service based on natural animal behaviour
NEWENT | FOREST OF DEAN | WYE VALLEY | GLOUCESTER
Applied Herbal Choices for Animals (zoopharmacognosy)
Applied Herbal Choices is a behaviour led method that focuses on supporting animal health & wellbeing.
What is zoopharmacognosy?
Self-selection of plants, algae & clays for the purpose of self-medication is an evolutionary behaviour practiced by wild & domestic animals alike that was originally termed ‘zoopharmacognosy’ in the 90s. The study of self-selection for self-medication is fast becoming an area of scientific interest as we attempt to learn more about the plants & animals we share the planet with. Perhaps the most common example of self-selection is your dog or cat eating grass, often resulting in them purging shortly after.
What is a Herbal Choices consultancy session?
Unfortunately our domestic animals may not have the same freedom to practice self-selection as their wild counterparts, limiting their opportunities to make natural choices when needed to resolve minor issues & maintain healthy balance.
The Applied Herbal Choices method enables owners to facilitate foraging opportunities at home or on their yard for the purpose of self-selection & sensory enrichment. During a consultancy session you will be taught how to safely offer a combination of herbs, nutritive powders, aromatic waters & essential oils. Animals may choose to inhale, lick, chew, ingest or roll in the offerings & they may even request a topical application of an extract over a specific part of their body. They will often select a variety of herbs & aromatics to support several body systems, including emotional health, within the same session. By learning how to recognise & interpret the more subtle responses & body language owners can gain the confidence to safely offer the extracts on an ongoing basis for regular support & maintenance.
Who is the Applied Herbal Choices Method for?
Your animal doesn’t need to have specific medical issues in order for you to learn how to use the self-selection process with them. Below are examples of reasons owners may wish to try this approach ;
- General support & maintenance for continued wellbeing in healthy animals
- Support for animals with chronic issues
- Behavioural or emotional issues
- Hidden problems masked by behavioural issues
- Rescue animals/time spent in shelter
- Animals who have suffered abuse or trauma
- Recurring/unresolved issues with no clear diagnosis
- Animals recovering from illness, surgery or injury
- As an enrichment exercise for animals on box/crate rest
- As part of a maintenance programme for animals at competition level
How can herbs & essential oils help my animal?
Sessions are always animal lead with offerings providing support for a combination of body systems, organs & functions such as;
- gut flora balance
- liver support
- urinary system
- kidney support
- hormonal balance
- blood sugar balance
- heart health
- respiratory system
- musculoskeletal system
- cognitive function
- nerve support
- mental health
I offer 1 to 1 consultancy sessions for dog, horse & cat owners at the animals home.
Does Applied Herbal Choices replace my vet appointments?
Does Applied Herbal Choices replace my vet appointments?
No – Herbal Choices is a complementary method & not a replacement for firstline veterinary care. If you have any concerns over your animal’s health you must always consult your vet first. When you book a Herbal Choices consultancy with me you will be required to inform your vet beforehand.
Can I stop giving my animal their medication if they choose herbs that will help them?
No – you must never alter the dosage or stop giving any medication unless told to do so by your vet. Any medication your animal is on must be given at least 2 hrs before & at least 4hrs after a consultancy session with me & any subsequent sessions you do afterwards.
Can you diagnose my animal’s problem judging by what they choose?
No – only your vet can diagnose health problems. Herbal Choices is a way of supporting your animal’s health & is not intended to cure specific issues.
Do I add the herbs they choose to their food?
No- the self-selection process allows animals to choose if, when & how they need to use a specific plant extract & in the correct dose required. When added to food extracts may be masked by other flavours & it can be hard for an animal to avoid eating them if they are not needed or they may not have enough of an extract if added to food & will not be able to satisfy their therapeutic need if the dose is too small.
Is it safe for my animal?
Yes- self-selection is an innate behaviour that your animal will already be practicing when they have the opportunity. During your consultancy session you will be given a set of simple rules/guidelines to follow & shown how to safely offer the plants or aromatic herbs & oils.
Are there any contraindications of using herbs with my animal?
As a consultant I do not prescribe any of the herbs used in a session. The animal is in charge of selecting what they need & the amount they need to support their health . A full case history will be taken prior to your appointment & occasionally I may choose to postpone the session if I feel it would be contraindicated – for example if there was a significant health concern that had not yet been checked by your vet or if between the time of booking & the day of your appointment there was a change in the animal’s health not yet reported to the vet.
Do I need to keep coming back for regular sessions?
No – as a consultancy service my aim is to instruct you on how to safely & confidently offer according to your animal’s needs. Most owners find 2 sessions a good starting point, others may opt for more than 2 sessions if their animal has complex needs & if they feel they need a little more guidance & confidence, & others may find that 1 session provides them all the guidance they need to continue the process in their own time.