Reiki for dogs

Reiki is a simple but powerful form of energy healing brings calm and well-being to your canine companion.

Valerie took a course in Reiki and decided to try it on her recently-adopted dog, Kylie, a skittish collie mix who seemed restless and anxious most of the time. Once Kylie got used to the sensation of Valerie’s hands resting on her side, she drew a deep sigh and began to relax. Within minutes, she was peacefully dozing. “I now do Reiki on Kylie regularly and she’s definitely calmer and more laid back than she used to be,” says Valerie.

For generations, people around the world have benefited from the peace, relaxation and healing shifts that come with a Reiki session. Reiki is a non-invasive, respect-based and meditative energy healing practice that originated in Japan. It has been taught around the world since 1922, and personalized teaching methods have created different lineages. But this form of energy healing is not just for people. Over the past 25 years, Animal Reiki has developed, allowing us to share the modality’s healing benefits with our four-footed friends, and create a closer bond with them.

Originally designed for use in shelters and sanctuaries to calm stressed residents, Animal Reiki has evolved into a useful tool you can use to calm an upset dog as well as assist an ill or injured one. Regular sessions of Animal Reiki may keep long-term diseases or disorders in check and even lessen their symptoms.

Hands on or off?

The “ideal” way to work with Reiki energy and intent is by using the “hands on” or “direct contact” method. This is the fastest way to “kick start” the process so the Reiki energy can do what it needs to. Not all dogs appreciate being touched, however, while other can’t be touched for reasons ranging from medical to psychological. In these cases, “distance” or “hands off” Reiki can be employed.

I use the “distance” method with my own dogs for general wellbeing. My “rescue” dog (German shepherd/Labrador retriever mix) came to me three years ago. He was thin, ill and solitary, running loose on the streets of Ohio with a bout of parvo. I brought him home without any “first meeting”, and with a female pup already at home. This might have been problematic, but thanks in part to Reiki, I was fortunate to have the situation turn out well. He soon became happy and healthy, and now seeks companionship instead of solitude.

Hans and Ginger

As I became more confident in channeling Reiki energy, I started helping other people’s dogs. Hans is a great Pyrenees mix who tore his ACL, resulting in a very noticeable limp, and pain when he tried to walk on the affected leg. My first visit was 45 minutes long. Hans enjoyed the Reiki so much he wouldn’t let me take my hands off him. If he hadn’t weighed over 120 pounds, he would have been in my lap. His sister, Dania, also came and went, taking small amounts of Reiki energy during the session. Hans lay next to me the entire time. I returned for another session a couple of weeks later and spent about 50 minutes with both Hans and Dania. They enjoyed the Reiki so much that at one point they were almost fighting over who could get closest to me.

Han’s ACL healed much faster than the vet expected. He said the tear must not have been as bad as he thought, but Hans’ person and I believe it was the Reiki that helped him heal so quickly.

Ginger was attacked by another dog at a doggie daycare facility. Because of the distance involved in this particular case, I used the “hands off” method with her. Reiki has no boundaries, and as long as the intent is positive and meant for a specific recipient, it will go where it is needed. In this case, a photo of Ginger took the place of her physical body. In situations where you can’t put your hands on the animal, a picture is the next best thing.

I started by doing a 20-minute session with Ginger at around four o’clock one afternoon. Ginger’s person later reported that her dog took an hour-long nap at that time and seemed “pretty relaxed”. These results told me that Ginger was getting some much needed deep rest to help heal her physical wounds and ease the trauma she suffered during the attack.

Reiki is a form of energy healing that’s both powerful and profound. With the correct training, you too can share its benefits with your dog.