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What is Reiki, and how can it help curb anxiety in dogs?

dog reiki

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. Practitioners believe that it can also promote physical healing. Reiki practitioners believe that the body is made up of energy and auras, which can be balanced, along with chakras.

There is limited research on the subject, but Reiki has recently been applied to the healing of animals and is used by holistic veterinarians. Pet Reiki practitioners believe that Reiki is a complementary treatment that can be helpful in:

  • Treating pain
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral problems, such as biting, chewing, anxiety, and aggressive behavior. 

How is Reiki performed on dogs?

The practitioner lays his/her hands on the area of the animal to be treated. Treatments should be performed daily for around 30 minutes. Pet parents can provide these treatments for their pets at home, although it is recommended that they receive training from another Reiki practitioner.


How-to perform Reiki on your dog?

Here's the process for performing Reiki on your dog. This is great if they suffer from anxiety due to thunderstorms or fireworks.

  1. Spend a few moments connecting to the energy of the dog through breathing or meditation
  2. Greet the dog.
  3. Set your intention by asking for the dog's permission to perform Reiki. It's important never to force him/her.
  4. Sit in the space of energy for at least a half hour, or up to an hour. Place yourself a few feet away from the dog. If the dog moves close to you or places him or herself in your hands, they are inviting you to begin. Rest your hands in your lap. Bring yourself back to focus when needed by repeating the breathing or meditation exercises. 
  5. You can begin hand placements as described below or try your own version of Reiki by placing your hands in various areas of the dog's body. 
  6. Once you are done, thank your dog and set your intentions to finish. 

Scientific Evidence

There haven't been any studies done on the effectiveness of Reiki for dogs. However, there have been some studies done that validate the effectiveness of Reiki for curbing anxiety.

In 2006, a study was conducted to determine if Reiki energy treatments could repair microvascular damage caused by excessive noise. Researches conducted the study on rats. One group received daily noise and simultaneous Reiki treatments while the other two groups received a technique described as fake Reiki or just noise. The final group received neither noise nor treatment. The researchers were able to conclude that Reiki could be useful for minimizing the effects of environmental stress on animals.

Reiki is not a replacement for regular veterinary care.

Your dog will still need to attend their annual checkups to make sure they are healthy. While Reiki may help with pain, your dog might need something a little stronger, so if your dog is experiencing pain, you should always go to your vet. For general anxiety, Reiki might be beneficial. However, if you find that the method isn't working, try more effective methods. Every dog is different. Some may take to Reiki and others won't.

It's all in the touch

While Reiki may not be a proven method of curbing anxiety in dogs, touch is. Touch can help soothe and comfort your dog in times of stress. There are a few touching techniques that you can do at home to improve your dog's overall mental health.

Hand positions: Keep your hands flat, palm down, with fingers and thumbs straight and pressed together when placing them on the dog. Hold each position for a few moments.

For general relaxation, place your hands side by side on your dog's shoulders. Hands can be on one side of your dog if he or she is lying down or above each shoulder from the back if he or she is standing or sitting upright.

Next, put your hands side by side on your pup's belly if he or she is lying down or on the middle of the back on either side of the spine if sitting or standing.

The next position is the lower back area. Place your hands side by side on your dog's bottom near the base of the tail. If your dog is lying on one side, you can hold them on one side of the spine.

Reiki practitioners believe that certain hand positions can help with emotional healing and balance. Your hand position should stay the same as before: flat with palm down and fingers and thumbs straight and pressed together.

Back and Chest: One hand on the dog's back between the shoulder and the other on the chest.

Head and Chest: Place one hand gently on the dog's head and another on the chest.


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