Having more than one dog or horse is great, but can bring challenges. It’s difficult to feed them all at precisely the same time, or to give them strokes (or a cuddle!) all at once – so inevitably one of them is going to be last. If not carefully managed this can lead to one or more of them getting anxious, and at the very least you may find it a bit chaotic.
How best to manage this?
- Don’t take sides if one dog or horse seems to be getting more assertive over their canine or equine pals. If it’s a minor difference, then they can sort it out themselves – remember that horses are herd animals by nature, and used to having a hierarchy – likewise dogs do too. If you get involved it may confuse the issue – obviously if it’s a major issue, then you may have no option!
- Make sure your horses have separate feed bowls, and your dogs too – so they don’t have to compete to share the same bowl. For horses who are living together in a field or yard – give them 1 more haynet/pile of hay than there are of them (e.g. 4 lots of hay for 3 horses), this way even an animal who’s passive will get a chance to eat still. Likewise, ensure there’s enough sources of water (e.g. buckets, automatic drinkers) for them not to compete over.
- Expect them to all be polite – giving them treats or strokes when they have done something well – e.g. sat down, stood still – but not when they’ve just forced their pal out of the way to get to you.
- Equity – if you groom one, groom the other(s), etc. It can be easy to think that there’s no time, but better to do a little bit of grooming with them all, rather than a long grooming session with one and the others not getting any.
- Check health – it maybe that one of your animals has a health issue which causes them to feel the need to be dominant over their equine or canine companion(s), so check the signs of good health and get advice from your Veterinary Surgeon if needed.
- Depending on the history of your horses and dogs, they may have an anxiety from something that has happened to them – either before or since they came into your care. This article is interesting as talks about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in dogs – worth a look.
What holistic therapies can help?
Bach Flower Remedies are excellent for treating a huge range of emotional issues. A couple of examples of the 38 different remedies that can be useful are:
- Vine – if one of your horses or dogs is particularly dominant, this remedy can be useful.
- Mimulus – this is for everyday fears/anxiety caused by known things – so if one of your horses or dogs is anxious or worried by his “friend” this can be used to alleviate this.
There are trained Bach Flower Remedy practitioners who’ve specialised in helping animals, and getting the advice of one of these is advised.
There are dozens of homeopathic remedies, and getting the advice of a qualified Veterinary Surgeon trained in homeopathy is recommended before using any with your horse or dog.
As an example of a remedy that can be used, Nux Vomica is used for several reasons including where a horse or dog is sensitive or irritable and over-competitive in nature.
Is using complementary therapies safe with my dog or horse?
If your animal is on any kind of medication, or has a health issue, do get advice from a properly qualified Veterinary Surgeon.
Like to find a Veterinary Surgeon qualified in holistic therapies, or a complementary therapist for your pet?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details of Veterinary Surgeon’s/therapists near you.
Have you got any tips you can share on helping your dogs or horses to get along – holistically?
Until next time,
Director, Taranet Complementary Therapies for Animals (Business Consultancy, Social Media Training and Forever Business Owner)
Animal Health Info Online: www.taranet.co.uk
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