What is Reiki?

Reiki originated in Japan during the 1920’s and was pioneered by Mikao Usui, a man of the Buddhist faith. Although Reiki derives from Buddhist roots, it is not a religious practice, but a spiritual one that anyone of any faith or background can practice with their pet. Reiki works under the belief that we’re all made up of a moving life force or energy. This energy can be reawakened or moved by tapping into a spiritual side of ourselves and pinpointing chakras. 

The main chakra systems of human and animal bodies are as follows:

  • Crown (the head)
  • Third-Eye
  • Heart
  • Throat
  • Solar
  • Sacral
  • Root (the bottom)

The practice of Reiki could be described as a combination of massage and meditation combined. It’s a process of acknowledging the body by simple, gentle placement of hands on different chakra points and focusing the mind on positivity and peacefulness. Today, more and more veterinarians are adding Reiki to what they can offer patients. Because Reiki seeks to heal the whole animal, physically and emotionally, it’s considered a holistic practice. Reiki can be practiced at home or you can take your pet to a professional healer or holistic veterinarian. 

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Reiki Procedure in Dogs

Since Reiki is not an operation, little will be necessary before an appointment with a holistic veterinarian. The animal reiki practitioner will ask you a few questions based on the animal’s general temperament, why you think reiki may be right for them, and if they have any parts of their body they especially don’t like touched. After the short conference, the reiki practitioner will take the dog to a peaceful, quiet space.

Create a Peaceful Space

Create a comfortable spot for the dog to lie down. Comfort is very essential as Reiki is meant to be relaxing. If other animals are in the household, be sure to remove and wash the blankets or bed so that the scent of others will not distract or distress them. Holistic veterinarians and animal reiki practitioners will be sure each animal has a different set of bedding as well. A closed off, quiet room with natural light and moderate temperature is ideal.

Focus on Dog’s Emotions and Energy

During Reiki, the practitioner will begin by letting the dog sniff, lick, and get used to them. It’s essential that the dog invites this person to perform Reiki. In some cases, a dog may not want to be touched at all, in which the reiki practitioner will place their healing hands just inches away from the chakras of the body. Typically, the hands will begin at the crown chakra and work their way down, slowly, to the root chakra. However, particular attention may be given to specific chakras based on energy or request of the pet-owner. The session can last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the process, the dog’s level of comfort, and request of the owner.

Post-Reiki Evaluation

After the session, you will meet with the holistic veterinarian and your pet once more to discuss how the process went. Good questions to ask the practitioner are: How did my dog respond to the treatment? Did they fall asleep or did they remain nervous? Is there more I can be doing at home to help the emotional healing process? Depending on the session, more sessions will typically be scheduled and are usually based on your dog’s process as well as your availability. 

Efficacy of Reiki in Dogs

The effectiveness of reiki is up to its receiver. If a dog is open to the process of Reiki, their ability to find peacefulness and expel nervous or negative energy will be exceptionally higher. Many pet owners and holistic veterinarians report seeing results in their dog’s general temperament in as little as one to two weeks, with the sessions occurring at least 2-3 times a week. Often, holistic methods are more effective when combined with other methods, such as nutritional supplementation, proper diet, frequent exercise, and discussion with a trusted veterinarian. 

Reiki Recovery in Dogs

There is no recovery process involved when practicing Reiki, other than the recovery they’re already attempting to obtain as a result of emotional trauma. 

Cost of Reiki in Dogs

Reiki is priced per session and based on the length of each session. Standard, 30-minute sessions can cost anywhere between $40 and $70, whereas one-hour sessions are $65 to $100. Some pet reiki practitioners will bring their resources to the comfort of your home, to better ensure the openness of the dog to the process. In-home sessions may cost an additional $30 to $60. Talk with your holistic veterinarian about how many sessions they recommend for your pet. Often the first one to two sessions are simply for the dog to gain comfort, with little to no healing initially beginning. 

You can also learn Reiki by attending a Reiki learning “camp” which typically lasts no longer than two to three days and costs around $200 to $250. This may be more cost efficient as it would allow you to perform reiki on your pet frequently without incurring costs along the way. However, always confer with a holistic veterinarian or pet reiki practitioner to learn basics and ensure you’re properly performing Reiki on your pet. 

Dog Reiki Considerations

The ideal thing about holistic practices for many pet-owners is that little risk is involved. Unlike medications, reiki will not make your pet ill and unlike surgery, your pet will not be at risk of long-term adverse effects or dangerous infections. You can expect minor changes in your dog’s quality of life, witnessing them become more peaceful or less aggressive. 

Reiki Prevention in Dogs

Abide by non-verbal cues.

Often dogs will tell us if they feel like being touched or held with non-verbal cues. Respecting their non-verbal communication is key in relieving their emotional distress as well as preventing it. A tail between the legs, a bowed head, curled lips, constant licking of their nose, and snarls all signify that they’re on edge and need their space. Some dog breeds will express these signs more often in certain situations. Huskies, for example, are very protective of their food and although you’re the one providing it to them, their instincts may tell them you’re trying to steal it. 

Respect their space.

If your dog enjoys their solitude – respect it. There be a special place in the house or in the yard that they tend to frequent  in order to relax or sleep. Understand that they’ve marked their ownership on this place and you may not be welcome. It’s important if there are children in your household to thoroughly explain these non-verbal cues to them. For young children, always supervise their interaction with the pet(s), ensuring no one becomes too aggressive or hurt. In any case, respect your dog’s space and they’ll be generally less stressed.