Jon Geller, D.V.M.,, Dipl ABVP  
Ft. Collins, CO

Specialties: Canine and Feline Medicine

Interests: Urgent Care, Emergency care, critical care
Veterinary Emergency Hospital
970 484-8080
Ft. Collins, CO
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Can Rescue Remedy be Fatal to a dog?

Jul 27, 2009 - 17 comments

Rescue Remedy




IV fluids

Can 4 drops of Rescue Remedy cause a dog to become gravely ill? Izzy is a 4 yr old Chihuahua mix that came into our emergency clinic last weekend with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Her owner had put 4 drops of Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic flower extract, into some water and Izzie drank all of it. The next day, she was lethargic, not eating, and started to have severe bloody diarrhea. She was so weak when she got to our clinic she could not stand up.

Poor Izzie’s owner was racked with guilt. She was convinced she had poisoned her dog, and unfortunately another veterinarian had told her that Rescue Remedy could be fatal. Well, it turns out you could probably give multiple bottles of the product to one dog without causing any harm, because it only contains microscopic amounts of plant extract. Of more serious concern is the alcohol base that the plant extracts are in. It is probably questionable whether products like Rescue Remedy have any beneficial effect at all with dogs, but that is my own skepticism getting in the way of an open mind.

Izzie’s blood work showed that her blood was way more concentrated than it should be (PCV=66% if you like lab numbers), and much of the fluid had leaked out into her intestines. This is typical of a disease syndrome in dogs known as HGE (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis), which may have many different causes including bacterial infection, stress or dietary indiscretion (ie eating a dead animal).

The treatment for HGE is IV fluids and IV antibiotics, and that is what Izzy got. Most likely, her bloody diarrhea was due to the stress that prompted her owner to give her the herbal product in the first place. At our hospital, we have seen many animals get better with IV fluids and treatment, even if the diagnosis was unknown. We have an almost religious faith in the ability of IV fluids to help heal any condition; maybe we could start a new religion?

In any event, 48 hours of fluids did the trick for Izzie, and home she went. I am pretty sure that her owner will not give her any more Rescue Remedy the next time Izzie gets stressed. I wonder if it would work for me???

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by ginger899, Jul 28, 2009
Well, as a person who does use herbal, and also homoeopathic medicine for myself and for my dog I can say this:
Herbs work. For me anyway. I am a little leery of using some full-strength herbal remedies for my dog, as not all herbs suit them.

Rescue Remedy comes into the "Homoeopathic" category.

Homoeopathy is different. It is (herbal or other substances) diluted literally HUNDREDS of times until only vague traces of the original substance remain. If it were analyzed scientifically it would be found to contain NONE of the original substance. (!) And microscopic traces diluted to the 'n'th' degree contain no toxins.
Now this sounds crazy. And the medicine (containing scientifically "nothing" of the original substance) -why does it WORK? HOW can it work?? It's surely impossible, and a wacky idea to use this stuff as a medicine!

Yet I've seen it work, both for humans and animals. A farmer I know used homoeopathic medicine for his herd of cattle, and they were cured of Mastitis. The vet examined them. Some vets specialize in Homeopathy. They wouldn't do that if it didn't work! They wouldn't get any clients!
I have seen many cases when it worked well for animals. I have used Homeopathy for my dog. The meds are absolutely safe, have no side effects at all.

Let me say that I've taken them, and had mixed results. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I can't prove they do, by trying them with a human, as mind over matter can influence humans.
But animals don't think like that. So they are good subjects.
Homoeopathy continues to baffle me!

I can almost certainly say that it wasn't the Rescue Remedy that caused that lady's dog to be so ill. If she had given it large amounts of the NEAT remedy it might have done, as it contains alcohol, but not diluted.

But Rescue Remedy SOMETIMES works, and sometimes doesn't........ What's THAT all about?

Dr. Geller:

I think this is a great post regardless of whether or not Rescue Remedy works or could even be the culprit.  My take home point from this posting is that "things aren't always as they seem".

It's only natural that we want to see a cause and effect in many situations, but as your post shows, it's not always the case.  We see this kind of situation often in veterinary medicine because of the fact that our patients can't explicitly tell us what is wrong.  A pet may be experiencing some pain or distress or even a subclinical type of infection and only after the owner gives the heartworm preventive, flea medication, or, like this case, some supplement does the pet show more severe signs of the issue.   Since we as owners didn't notice the early signs, we equate the more severe symptoms with whatever "product" or medication we used.

I can't wait to see more of your blogs about cases at your hospital!

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by Jim Humphries, B.S., D.V.M.Blank, Jul 28, 2009
Good Blog Dr. Geller:  I for one would like to hear case reports from the ER!!  we can all learn a lot.  

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by PlateletGal, Aug 14, 2009

Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic remedy. Of course some of these homeopathic formulas have alcohol in them and I'm wondering if it was the alcohol that could have caused this problem with Lizzy ?

Avatar universal
by RidgeBackLover777, Apr 18, 2011
One could add the Rescue Remedy to wam water, to disapate the alcohol, first before adding it to the water dish.  It takes less than 2 minutes to completely disapate.  That is what one would do for children.

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by iasiahkennedy51, Aug 16, 2012
my dog is a 10 month old rout he has been come guite non energy lazy not eating its been 4 days since i gave it to him what should i do to get it out of his system

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by GURJITKAUR, Oct 17, 2012
My dog has the problem of seizures since his childhood, but his vet never recommnded Valium or any other medication. The whole period was well but last month he had the tick problem, his mouth started smelling and last week he had 6 seizures in a day. We went to another vet. He advised ValiumThe first blood report gave us the signal of his kidney damage(80-90%) .. IV fluids were given for a week and the second report showed worse results. so we started hydro therapy n some home made recipes for him, coconut water, chicken soup, vegetable soup, chick pea soup. We give him small helpings and now he asks for more. He is not able to walk properly but manages to come to the kitchen 4-5 times a day asking for more . How can Rescue remedy help him? do u recommend it? my Dog is 12 yrs and 8 months old and is a Japanese Spitz

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by Constantinova, Mar 07, 2013
Our cat had emergency surgery for FORLs, a dental disease not caused by cavities, in which her R side molars had to be removed. While she was recovering and on powerful antibiotics, she got toxoplasmosis (from the litter box? from a mouse that another cat brought in from kennel (they do not roam freely). Someone recommended Bach Rescue Remedy for pets since her immune system was compromised. I used it two days, putting the drops on her ears and rubbing it in, as recommended in the instructions as an alternate to putting it in food or water if pet is having difficulty eating (she was learning to ear without teeth on one side so was having difficulty). She became very lethargic and stopped eating. Two days after I stopped the Bach's Rescue Remedy, she began eating again and acting more normal. Since the toxoplasmosis caused her to lose sight in her L eye (uveitis) and since the vet has her on eye drops to prevent glaucoma or recurrent inflammation which could affect her R eye, I once again tried Bach's Rescue Remedy, rubbing a few drops into the back of her neck, for two days. She became lethargic and stopped eating entirely. Using a cat shampoo that I had used previously, I washed the back of her neck last night and this morning. No eating this morning. Suddenly, about 1/2 hour ago, she began purring, rolling over on her back, and curling her paws - something she has not done for a few days. I offered her some dry food & she managed to eat a few bites. I think, since she has seasonal allergies, and the Bach's Rescue Remedy contains flowers (no alcohol in this mix, just glycerine & water), she may have had a reaction to the Rescue Remedy as no other treatment changed during the two times I used it. I am definitely never using it again, though it may be safe for most animals or even humans, because this is too much of a coincidence for me to ignore. Some cats may, indeed, be allergic to the flowers in it, other substances used in processing etc. She never drank or ingested it, yet still experienced extreme lethargy and complete loss of appetite for several days after using Bach's Rescue Remedy (non-alcohol formula) for Pets. Her energy and appetite returned when Bach's was stopped (and washed off, the 2nd time).

Avatar universal
by squirtkapule, Jun 21, 2015
Yes herbs work! TOO well sometimes. And the FDA doesn't regulate it as well as prescription meds, which it should. No accountability for content or quality of the ingredients, no outcome measures, no safety studies, no interaction information. I really wish there was more known about homeopathic formulations, it might be a reliable, even excellent substitute for some more dangerous or expensive stuff. I really, really wish we knew. At least 2 ppl on our state counteracted their chemotherapy with all natural herbs becuz their Chinese practitioner was giving them green tea extract, you know, to kill the cancer...while their oncologist was giving them chemo, to stop the cancer. The two medicines cancelled each other out-DOH! Not all antioxidants are appropriate for all situations. Also anyone on the heart RX digoxin (aka Lanoxin) shouldn't try to antioxidant themselves...that medicine actually is homeopathic itself, but can be cancelled out by antioxidants. Again, DOH! And the two different components of pot...also not studied, no accountability, outcomes, etc. Maybe we'll see the day when all these substances can be used together. Born too soon, I guess!

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by crosswind76, Jun 22, 2015
I am questioning Bach's Pet rescue remedy I gave to my cat last night (who has nasal cancer, asthma, many allergies & is very sensitive. We found her yesterday morning with a swollen face & could not eat. Very scary! I had to increase her steroid, kitty dose of Benadryl, herbs & enzymes I've had her on for 3 months. If I hadn't done that, she would be in the ER now. One of the remedies I added last week was Pet rescue Remedy & I have to her before bed. She started getting better today, but then seemed to swell up again. I will stop the Bach Pet Rescue & see if that helps. I want to add that for 5 yrs, I have used CALM STRESS homeopathy by Dr Goodpet. It's another tincture with different flowers. None of my cats ever had a reaction to that formula. I will highly recommend it & I will go back to that one.  Thank you for posting this. I'm glad IZZIE got better. http://www.goodpet.com/dogs/calm-stress-homeopathic/

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by crosswind76, Jun 22, 2015
Btw, the new Bach Pet Rescue Remedy has 80% glycerin

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by Leah_ramos, May 02, 2016
My baby girl bella was a 2 month old full bloody pitbull two days ago i purchase pet bach pet rescue. Remedy and my puppy ended dead this morning and i dont understand why this medicine is still in stores it should be remove completely...im very upset cause i just got her not even a week ago and i bought her the parvo test and it was negetive & i took her to vet cause she had warms so i dewormed her and she was perfectly fine and being playfull but now she gone cause i gave her that remedy please take the remedy of the market it causes bloody stools and vommiting:-(

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by Anniemary, Oct 09, 2016
Leah_ramos I would not automatically assume it was Rescue that caused your poor pup to die.  The reason you gave it to her I am assuming was her restlessness and that could have been caused by pain from something else that was going on.  It is very unlikely that Rescue Remedy caused her death.  I think I would have asked for an autopsy as it would drive me crazy not knowing.  I am so so sorry for your loss, what a shock that must have been.  

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by Ing30, Apr 05, 2017
Rescue remedy FOR PETS does not contain alcohol and won't hurt them.  It's great for dogs who suffer fear of storms

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by Tazzy400, Jun 12, 2017
This is not True at all Shame on you people, trying to promote this so call "Back Rescue medicine" It is very dangerous and it will kill  your pet if not careful, especially if your pet has hart problems. I gave this  "back rescue remedy" to my dog about a month ago to calm him down a bit since sometimes he shakes continuously from his back legs so I figure this will be good medicine to keep him calm and since a lot a people recommend it here on the forums, so I went out and buy it, bad mistake, my Schnauzer got very, very sick, he got very lethargic, vomiting, very rapid palpitations, very restless  I couldn't even take out to walk so he can do his business, had to carried him down stairs,  he would just stand there not moving at all.The problem was that we didn't know then what the problem of the symptoms were, and now that we gave him this same poison back rescue remedy again, the so call "medicine" a month later, the same exact symptoms occurred  and they lasted for 2 days about the same time period that lasted last time. My wife and I were extremely upset and devastated, because you don't know if you family pet companion may died of this unregulated so call medicine. I sincerely, and honestly recommend no to use this product, you do not want to hurt your dog. Please be extremely causes of this people trying to tell you and sell you products like this. They are out to make money and the FDA has no proven to be reliable anymore this days. they hardly regulate anything anymore. I honestly hope this helps. Have a great everyone and love your pet : )

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by Tazzy400, Jun 21, 2017
Hello I am so sad to communicate to all you that unfortunately my beloved pet Tazzy passed away. Our heart is so heavy for our lost, at this point we can't even understand what had happen. Unfortunately later that day my dog did not get any better of the symptoms from the Back Rescue Medic. The very rapid and high palpitations worsen that afternoon to the scale that we had to rushed him to the emergency hospital right away,  after about 2 minutes of being there, nurses came out form the emergency room were he was being treated and told my son and I that his heart had stop, so we demand to go in to see what was being done to him, there were about 7 doctors and nurses administrating CPR to our Tazzy, he had tubes and needles all over him.  He came back once after 2 to 4 minutes of hard chest compressions and his heart started bitting, then his heart stop for the last time, at that point we had decided  that it was in off. it was very paint full to take that in and so we were ask by the nurses that if we wanted to continue with CPR will cost much more money and no warranties what so ever. Unfortunately at that time we told them to stop all efforts so my beautiful Tazzy had Died at this point. This is so hard for us to write in here but it needs to be addressed so more pets will not died as a result of this bad drug or what ever it is. Please take care of your pets and be very careful of the products out there that claim relief or cures of your pets, do more research about the products before buying. Now we feel extremely sad heart broken and the feeling of  guilt, for not researching more information of this product before we bought it. : ( Please "DO NOT DELEAD" this comment This is very important for all of us. I am willing to go Facebook and all mayor forms of communication necessary.  This People have the right to now about this dangerous drug. Back Rescue Medicine.

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by crosswind76, Jul 08, 2017
Maybe it's the "Glycerin" in the "Pet Bach Rescue Remedy" that is bothering pets? or allergies to the flowers? So sorry to read earlier comments where pets died after using it. I remember giving regular people Rescue Remedy to our cats 10 years ago with NO side effects. This NEW formula made "FOR PETS" made with glycerin instead of alcohol, might be causing a problem. How is Glycerin made and WHERE is it sourced from?

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