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Answering the FAQs about Animal Reiki

by Felicia McMillan, shamanic Reiki practitioner and owner of Mended Joy

Noticing that your pet is anxious, depressed, or stressed can often be a sign that life energy is low.

Physical illness and maladies are a tangible manifestation that life energy is low. In collaboration with modern medicine, reiki may increase the rate of healing with a few sessions. Health issues are always circumstantial and sessions should be tailored to your pet’s specific needs. Reiki is a safe way to get your pet back to a healthy and balanced energy that complements any other form of healing, medical treatments, or homeopathy.

As guardians to our furry and feathered friends, we are often in tune when something is off balance. The other side of that is that our pets also know when something is off balance within us. Our pets choose us, not the other way around. Life energy flows between all living things, which is why the word reiki is often translated as “universal life energy”.

At times, pets will take on the negative and heavy energies of their guardians; the deepest display of love and gratitude to us humans. This is not the guardian’s fault and should not create added guilt, shame, or stress. Often practitioners will not share with guardians when this happens. The ideal way to assist is for the guardian to play the role of a surrogate for the animal in a session. If a practitioner recommends this type of session, it does not imply that this is the situation. There are many circumstances where remote healing is ideal.

The first thing to note about reiki, for the 2 and 4 legged, is that it is not massage.

Although it is traditionally hands-on with people, it is not necessary for the flow of energy to be just as powerful. With animals, hands off and remote are more ideal situations to give the animal control of the session. Animals, particularly cats and horses, are not only receptive, but seek out reiki energy. Dogs, birds, fish, and even wild animals will seek out the healing that they know they need. Even with pets we know, keeping a slight distance from the practitioner is extremely common and it does not lessen the effects of the reiki.

What to expect
At home sessions

Practitioners often make home and farm visits for treatments. Generally, before arrival, permission has been given by the guardian for the practitioner to communicate on an energetic level to the animal. Animals cannot be forced or coerced to receive energy so often there has been an energetic ice breaker before the appointment. Upon arrival, the practitioner will find a space comfortable to them since their energy can be felt by the animal and any discomfort may cause undue anxiety. The animals will also be comfortable, whether in a stable, on a pillow, or a separate room entirely. Reiki transcends space and time; it is equally effective without being hands on. From the outside, it may seem as though the practitioner is just sitting and meditating and nothing is “happening”. Animals know what they need so they may approach on their own time and move their body to the practitioner hands where they need the energy focused. The animal controls the session, not the practitioner. Animals may sometimes go to sleep and this is not necessarily a sign that they have ended the session; the practitioner will know when the energetic connection is coming to an end. It has also occurred that the animal energetically closes because they are not ready to receive at this time or wish to continue at another time. All of these scenarios are perfectly normal; there is no wrong way to receive reiki.

Remote and surrogate sessions

For people and animals, reiki can be given from a distance. Just like home sessions, the guardian and animal will give permission to connect on an energetic level. From the onlookers point of view, it is the same meditative behavior from the practitioner. All beings operate on a frequency that can be tapped into and allow for energetic communication. If the guardian is able or would prefer, they can physically represent their pet and receive the reiki treatment. This will not lessen the effects, universal energy is infinite, it is not the practitioner’s personal energy so they will not exhaust themselves in this situation. It can be extremely beneficial for the guardian as they draw this life force and allow it to move through to their pets and animals. Remote and surrogate are ideal for animals that may be weary of strangers, in cases of emergency, or if the guardians schedule is restricted.

After sessions

All animals need to be allowed rest, relaxation, and plenty of water after a session. Particularly animals like horses, should not have any training or workouts planned for many hours after. Let your pet behave however it needs to but be mindful of their needs. Likely before a session, an intake form has requested information about food, water, and other behaviors. This form is not used to judge guardians, it is about our animal loved ones, so it is very important to be honest. Generally, this causes people to consider more deeply their animal’s needs and may notice a change in routine later. Practitioners may download after a session about slow chakras or anything else that may be needing communication. Reiki is not therapy or medical advice; no one should be given a health diagnosis or telling you that your animal hates you.

What you may be asking
Can my animals receive reiki as a group?

Absolutely. Only the furred and feathered that seek reiki will make themselves energetically available. For example, if you have 2 cats, both may open up to have treatment at the same time. Or they may go one at a time. Or 1 may not be open to it at all. Usually guardians have one pet in mind when making appointments, in this case, we will make an attempt to comfortably separate them from other animals. If a nearby animal seeks reiki, they will instinctively approach and it can cause a bit of confusion or anxiety for the original animal. With herds of animals, such as cows, the practitioner can absolutely work. The animals that want it, will make themselves available energetically; it cannot be forced or coerced even for a group. Shelters and sanctuaries are group situations that make can be difficult to separate an animal. Practitioners do not intend to give these facilities more work and often, reiki on a few animals can cause a positive ripple effect on others.

Why would an animal need treatment if it’s healthy and seems fine?

That’s just not up to us humans and we may sometimes never know. Particularly with rescue animals, past traumas can never be told to us. In some cases, we know when our pets have a history of abuse or neglect. Animals have memories and instincts, just like people; they can have fears, anxieties, depression. More often than not however, like in the case of street dogs, guardians will never know what horrific things were seen and experienced. Humans can never truly know what past traumas or haunts an animal may have. Purposefully bred animals do not get a free pass; particularly as more puppy mills and the like are exposed. Animals in pet shops and other similar situations, have a different slew of pains in their animal history that may cause unexplainable behaviors in the future. Reiki isn’t about knowing the past history, so practitioners may not ask, the only intention is to draw energy and allow the animal to be more at peace, happier, and on a higher vibration. If an animal is in pretty great energetic shape already, reiki can enhance that overall well being.

Can reiki cure my pet’s cancer?

Short answer- No. In respect to cancer or any health concerns, reiki isn’t medical treatment and should not be in lieu of receiving professional help. Most practitioners will want approval from veterinarians that the animal is clear to receive reiki. This may require a phone call to explain what that means. However, more and more physicians and veterinarians are welcoming reiki to supplement modern medicine. Sometimes, our sick or even chronic pets, seek reiki to relieve symptoms such as pain, anxiety, inflammation, etc. If they are receiving treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, reiki may strengthen the immune system or alleviate other side effects. Many case studies have shown how effective reiki can be in treatments, but it should not be a replacement or considered a sole cure.

What are some of the overall benefits of reiki?

The benefits are just as good for the guardian as the animal. Bonds that have been formed will strengthen and trust will grow. The relationship between that pet and other animals may also improve as energetic connections become more balanced. Changes in behavior may also occur with a more calm, comfortable, gentle animal. Healing on the physical level may also accelerate after illness, surgery, or accident. Although more than one session is ideal, sometimes it can be a one-time treatment. There is no way to know what the animal will need or be ready for. The guardian and practitioner will have both communicated to the animal energetically and will know when to have an appointment.

What is the drawback to pet reiki?

There isn’t one. Sometimes people are reluctant to tell other people about it. Any fellow pet and animal lover will likely want to know more. Just like with other humans in our lives, we would do anything, and consider everything to give them a full, balanced, rich, joy filled life experience. Reiki is traditional, ancient medicine and any skeptics can make an appointment of their own and see first-hand. Reiki exists only in positive energy and the highest good.


About the Author

Over 15 years ago Felicia began her healing training to become a practitioner of Reiki and the Shamanic arts. Mended Joy was created to share her experience and to help others mend the old stories that have kept them from living in joy. She uses techniques from ancient traditions across the globe with a focus on the Peruvian ways.

Felicia was trained and initiated in the Incan tradition by Chris Krohn, founder of Create Your Dreams. She has been initiated by Q’ero shamans and introduced to many other traditions. Over the last few years, she has expanded her learning and introduced animal care into her evolving practice.