self selection, animal health, herbs, dried herbs, plants, self-medication, naturally animals, be complete, pet care, horses, dogs, cats, alison canavan, holistic animal care, be complete

Herbs Rock!

Last week I introduced the concept of self-selection to you, and this week I hope you are going to have some fun with your animals trying a few simple self-selection techniques! These blogs are not intended to fully train anyone how to work with self-selection with their animal, but they will introduce you to the concept so you can start experimenting straight away and trust me your animals will love it!


self selection, animal health, herbs, dried herbs, plants, self-medication, naturally animals, be complete, pet care, horses, dogs, cats, alison canavan, holistic animal care, be complete

Dogs love to self-medicate. Their amazing sense of smell makes this easy for them, and it will give you a real insight into areas of their diet and environment that may currently be lacking! The key with dogs is to put several remedies down at once and allow them time to explore and ingest what they need! Popular remedies with dogs include:

  • Organic virgin coconut oil
  • Organic Linseed or Olive Oil
  • Organic Barley or Wheat grass
  • Bilberry Powder
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Organic Spirulina
  • Organic Chlorella

Where possible use non-metallic bowls and put a small amount of each in a bowl – initially a tea spoon will do! For powders, some animals prefer them dry, some mixed with water into a watery paste – experiment and see what your dog prefers. Avoid using metal bowls for spirulina and barley grass. Some small animals such as dogs and cats prefer a small amount offered from the tip of your finger first. Powders are very popular with dogs!

Make a list of the order your dog selects the remedies in. When they finish one, top it up and keep going until they have had enough. It should be noted though that some dogs will purge (be sick or have diarrhoea) after this first session if they select a lot, as sometimes dogs need to purge out toxins from their body. This is completely natural for them and not a cause for concern (unless you have a cream carpet!).

Why not leave some bowls down in your kitchen to allow your dog to continue to select when you are not there – this is a great way to enhance your dog’s environment. Once you have seen what your dog selects you can then offer this daily to them, allowing them to select their dose.


self selection, animal health, herbs, dried herbs, plants, self-medication, naturally animals, be complete, pet care, horses, dogs, cats, alison canavan, holistic animal care, be complete

As above for dogs but cats also love to roll in their herbs, as this releases the potent essential oils. For your cat also try the following dried herbs: put a small amount of each out in a small pile (again start with about a tea spoon) at least a foot away from each other and watch your cat enjoy!

  • Cat Nip
  • Valerian Root (a real favourite)
  • Lavender flowers
  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile flowers
  • Rose buds



self selection, animal health, herbs, dried herbs, plants, self-medication, naturally animals, be complete, pet care, horses, dogs, cats, alison canavan, holistic animal care, be completeAs herbivores horses love and need herbs to maintain health. Leaving some in their environment or taking them for a herb walk will really be appreciated.

Put as many dried herbs and powders down in bowls and allow your horse time to select. Favourites include:

  • Nettles
  • Spearmint
  • Rosehips
  • Dandelion (root & leave)
  • Cleavers
  • Calendula
  • Milk thistle
  • Plus all on the dog list!

 self selection, animal health, herbs, dried herbs, plants, self-medication, naturally animals, be complete, pet care, horses, dogs, cats, alison canavan, holistic animal care, be completeOnce you have tried this trained Zoopharmacognosy Practitioner will be able to explain the properties of what your animal has selected and how you can easily incorporate this into their daily routine. Your animal will select what their mind / body needs at that particular time, and that their needs will change over time, especially when they are undergoing a healing process from a trauma / injury / illness. The more you familiarise yourself with the properties of the remedies the more confident you will be in knowing what to offer when, but always follow your animals guidance and you will not go wrong! Relax and enjoy the process, your animal certainly will! This cannot be rushed, so if you are short of time then leave the remedies down so your animal can take their time.

Do let me know how you get on and I am always happy to answer and questions!


Catherine Edwards, naturally animal, petcare, pet health, holistic animal health, self selection, herbs for animals, alison canavan, be complete,

2016 is going to be the year when people really take back control of their physical and emotional health, and Alison’s wonderful site gives people some amazing tips on how to do this.

As animal owners, one special gift we can give to the animals is to help them help themselves take control of their health. For all of us, whatever species, being allowed free choice on certain aspects of our lives is so important for happiness. If someone were to tell, and force you, to eat certain things every day of your life, however good for you they were you are unlikely to have the same mind-set as if you had chosen yourself. The same goes for our animals.

However experienced we are as animal owners, all animals have an innate ability to self-medicate. The bodies of all animals are programmed to maintain health and homeostasis (balance) – but sometimes the choices we make or circumstances push them out of balance. This is when we start to notice problems.

Applied Zoopharmacognosy (AZ) enables self-medicative behaviour in domesticated or captive animals by offering plant extracts that would contain the same or similar constituents to those found in an animal’s natural environment i.e. if they were living wild that they would be able to forage for and select for themselves. The word Zoopharmacognosy is derived from the Greek ‘zoo’ (animal), ‘pharmaco’ (remedy) and ‘gnosy’ (knowing), and Applied Zoopharmacognosy is the application of this knowledge for animals who do not have access to an environment rich in their natural resources – so the carer brings nature to the animal!


Over the next few weeks I am going to explain this process more, using various species and common health problems as examples. I am hoping that this will encourage you to try this with your animals and ultimately yourselves! This will really deepen your relationship and understanding with your animals, save you potential vet bills and most importantly give you the best chance of maintaining a healthy and happy animal! You will be amazed at what our animals can teach us!

So how do you allow animals to self-select and what do you offer them? How do you know if they want it or not? This is done by closely observing self-medicative behaviours exhibited by the animal. The extracts offered include a variety of essential oils, absolutes, plant extracts e.g. herbs and herbal powders, macerated oils, tubers, clays, algae, seaweeds and minerals. The animal may select a remedy for inhalation, ingestion, to be rubbed on their body (and hence absorbed through the skin / hair). The animal is always allowed to select its does and method of taking the remedy. For anyone attending my workshops we experiment with this process on ourselves, it is fascinating to teach people to listen to their body in this way!

Next week’s blog will explain how to offer herbs and herbal powders to your animals, the week after that will explain how to offer essential oils to your animals. If you have any particular health issues with your animals please let me know and I can try and incorporate that into the weekly blogs!

So in preparation for next week anyone with an animal I would like you to set the following products in and I will explain how to use them! All products should be organic where possible, and if using essential oils therapeutic grade:

  • Organic virgin coconut oil
  • Organic Barley or Wheat grass
  • Bilberry Powder
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Organic Spirulina
  • Organic Chlorella
  • Organic Linseed or Olive Oil

For more suggestions of what animals commonly select please also contact me and I can advise!

Happy 2016!


Check out our website Naturally Animals

Catherine edwards, naturally animals, animal health, christmas presents for pets, keeping animals safe at christmas, cats, dogs, what is suitable for animals at christmas, holistic animal care

Christmas is nearly here and all of us sharing our lives with animals are probably looking at what we can get our special friend at this time of year! Christmas is a time for giving and sharing times with loved ones, but it is important to keep your pets safe and happy this Christmas! Here are some tips below that I hope will help:


Cats LOVE exploring, and we have all heard the saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’. A discarded box from presents makes the perfect Christmas gift for your cats, but they also love catnip, valerian root, rose petals and lavender to roll in to name but a few!

Unfortunately Christmas tree lights can be dangerous for cats – climbing the tree, or knocking it over or chewing on the lights all present risks to our feline friends, so please always ensure that you don’t leave lights plugged in when you are not there!

Many people also burn scented candles / oils at Christmas. This can be great, but cats are missing a key enzyme in their liver that metabolises certain chemicals, so whereas essential oils can be amazing when used properly by self-selection with cats, shutting a cat in a room with oils burning (even worse if there are artificial chemicals involved) can cause serious health issues with cats, so always ensure your cats can leave the room if they choose. Cooked bones (which will splinter) are also very dangerous for cats so please keep that Turkey carcass well out of reach! ;


Dogs LOVE Christmas and many people buy treats as Christmas presents for their waggy friends. However did you know that the following Christmas foods are poisonous to dogs, so please ensure that they are kept well out of reach?

  • Grapes & raisins (so this includes mince pies and Christmas cake);
  • cooked bones;
  • mushrooms & onions;
  • Peanuts & Macadamia nuts
  • Peach & Nectarine stones
  • Chocolate
  • Christmas decorations!

In addition many dog treats & hide chews contain harmful chemicals, so always choose a healthy treat – your dogs will appreciate it!

Horses, small animals, reptiles and birds all love a thoughtful present, but try and make it a healthy one – no one wants a vet’s bill over Christmas. Keeping guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens etc. safe and warm in the winter months is key, and horses and small animals alike will appreciate their share of your lovely festive organic fruit, vegetables and herbs!

But perhaps one of the most important gifts that we can give all our loved ones over Christmas is our time and love – so have an amazing and safe Christmas for all our beautiful

Naturally Animals, animal health, our pets emotions, catherine edwards, be complete, holistic animal care, animal welfare, pet health, animal experts, love your pets, treat your pets right, animal wellbeing

Life is a journey, we never stop learning. Just as we are all individual, so are our animals. However, we are also able to quite confidently understand certain species specific needs which, if not met, will cause stress to our animals. Listening is a key skill for successful relationships, most people acknowledge that if we are not truly listened to it can be hurtful at best and truly damaging at times. It can mean our physical and emotional needs are not being met and that always comes at a price.

I have been exceptionally lucky over the last few weeks to be introduced to a mentor who is truly a gifted expert in his field, and importantly an expert in human potential too. Having a mentor in your life that knows more than you do and has your best interests at heart can be life changing, they will oversee your journey to becoming the best version of you possible, and to achieving your goals. But how is this relevant to the animals in our lives?

  • Do you listen to what your animals are telling you? Do you really listen?
  • Do you take time to research your animals needs – from food, environment, companionship, exercise to name but a few;
  • Do you strive to make your animals life the best possible – keep them physically and emotionally balanced?
  • Do you have an animal ‘mentor’ in your life? Someone who really understands your animals needs and can help guide you to make the best decisions on their behalf?

Unfortunately I see all too often that people do not take their responsibility towards animals seriously. I see health professionals who feed their animal’s poor quality food and the wonder why their animal’s health suffers; people that in all honesty should know better due to the fact that they clearly understand the impact that poor nutrition has on their bodies. It is not that they do not love their animals, but that they are not really listening to them and researching their needs. If you understand that food is your medicine then you perhaps should understand that the same applies to your animals?

I see other people that tell me that their dog is quite happy being left at home all on their own – they are not, fact, but perhaps it is that they have just given up complaining as no-one listens?

I see people who keep their horses stabled all day, and think that is acceptable, but then will not spend any money on giving them the physical and environmental stimulation and nutrients they need, but will spend a fortune on lessons in an indoor school that offers no enhancement to the horses at all. Keeping a horse restricted all day with no social interaction is not acceptable physically or emotionally to the horse, or a dog in a house all day on its own, or a guinea pig in a hutch – but who is listening to the animals when they cry for help? I want to scream on behalf of the animals and I can assure you the animals are screaming – sometimes silently and sometimes more overtly! What happens when they scream overtly – they get punished, called rude and told ‘this behaviour is not acceptable’ (often with physical violence) – well to whom is this behaviour not acceptable because to the animal the humans treatment of them is certainly not acceptable, but the poor animals have no control over their environment so they depend on us ?


But enough of doom and gloom – what can you do about it?

  1. Research your animal’s needs – knowledge truly is power BUT only if it is applied;
  2. Find an animal mentor – someone who is truly an expert in their field, and follow their advice. Your animals will soon tell you if you are getting it right;
  3. Really listen to your animal’s needs, sometimes what they are not ‘saying’ is as important as what they are! If your animal is not energetic, playful, with a shiny coat and good social skills then there is something wrong, most times what is wrong is the decisions that the owner is making for them!
  4. Change your mind set – when you truly believe that your animals have the same rights as you do you will be rewarded tenfold, and your interactions with humans will also improve exponentially.

Start today, your animals are worth it and so are you!

Naturally Animals Shares the Gift of Knowledge.

Naturally animals, catherine edwards, animal health, holistic animal care, be complete, health and wellness, lifestyle blog, animals and emotions

At this time of year people are more conscious about seeing their friends, recommencing with distant friends who they may not have seen or spoken to at all, and being more aware of visiting those who may be on their own. We all know how amazing it feels to know that someone is there for you, and we all know how difficult it can be when we feel we are alone.

How many of you have animals or pets that do not share their lives with their own species? I constantly hear people complaining that their horses (herd animals) do not like leaving their friends; I constantly see signs of physical and emotional stress in horses who are not in fields with other horses, and so are prevented from interacting with them in a natural way. Herd animals must live with others of their species to avoid long term stress – this does not mean seeing a horse over the fence! They need to groom each other, play with each other and interact e.g. they will bunch together if they perceive a threat or danger.

Similarly I know many people who have one dog, cat, guinea pig or rabbit. This can cause real stress on the animals. We put our worst offenders in solitary confinement, and this has been used for years as a form of torture, yet we feel it is acceptable for animals. Being isolated from members of your own species is very stressful for virtually all animals (there are a few exceptions). However much time we spend with them, we are not the same species and we see the world through different eyes / ears / smells etc. Dogs that are left alone for long periods always show signs of stress (sometimes the owners are not aware of this); small animals such as rabbits get very depressed and stressed when they do not have others to interact and snuggle up with, and any owner of multiple cats knows how they love to cuddle up together! Birds are generally very sociable too!

So what can we do to ensure our animals do not feel lonely at this time?

  • For those of us with horses make it your commitment to ensure they have daily turn out with a herd of horses – a minimum of 3 is normally Ok. This will allow them time to groom, play and interact with each other as they choose. If this is not immediately possible then negotiate some free play time in a school and start looking for a new yard!
  • For those with dogs on their own, arrange walks and play time with other dogs; offer to dog share whilst people are at work; take your dog with you as much as possible; consider getting a companion for them!
  • For cats on their own – if possible get another cat (there are loads of amazing rescue cats looking for a new home) and introduce them gradually – rescue centres or I can advise how to make those initial introductions a success!
  • For small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs again investigate getting them a friend (introduce gradually and with expert advice), spend as much time with them as possible and give them as much space as possible.

You will be so thrilled with how grateful your animal is – they are our best friends, now let’s make sure they have a best friend of their own! Happy Christmas!

Naturally animals, animal health, human emotions, Catherine edwards, holistic animal care

Many of us are constantly working on self-development. It is really helpful when doing so to have a deep understanding of your true emotions, value systems and dreams. Often we as humans can say one thing and mean another. This can be for a variety of reasons, including not really understanding what we truly feel, or not wanting to hurt others feelings. However, when we say one thing and do another this can give misleading signals to those around us.

Animals are amazing at giving a true reflection of whether we are being really honest with ourselves and others. Animals don’t concentrate on the words we say, but on the true meaning and emotions behind our words and behaviours. This can provide us with invaluable information on areas of ourselves that we may want or need to work on.

This week I attended an ‘Alignment with horses’ course. It was amazing. I have loads of animals myself, including horses, and am well aware that we can hide nothing from them emotionally! As an animal therapist, I also see close links between conditions that animals present with (physical and behavioural issues) and their owners. For those of you that are lucky enough to have animals of any species in your lives, trying these simple exercises can really help you understand your subconscious thoughts, emotions, values and also how you may be subconsciously judging others and why:

  • How does your animal react when you walk into the room? Does this reflect how you think you are feeling?
  • How does your animal react when you are angry? What emotions does this provoke in you when you see this reaction?
  • Look at your animal playing, or if for example you have a dog, out on their favourite walk. What emotions do you feel when you watch them?
  • If you see an old or sick animal how this make does you feel?

As animals have such sensitive energy fields they pick up our true emotions and often mirror them back to us. Taking an honest look in that mirror is so helpful and can really help to understand what energy you are giving off in certain situations – once you recognise it then you can decide which, if any, of your emotions and behaviours you would like to work on.

Do try this and let me know your results!