Reiki itself as a healing modality has been used with people for over a century but the use of Reiki with animals has just recently become more prevalent. Some practitioners have been offering Reiki to their own animals over the years, but now we are starting to see practitioners specializing in animal Reiki as their desired profession. Because of its gentle nature, Reiki is a beneficial practice able to be used with all animals, no matter their size or species.

Reiki in Japanese simply means “Spirit Energy”. It is an energetic healing technique that involves the transfer of “chi”, the energy life force within all things to help people, animals and even nature maintain inner balance.  This noninvasive, pain-free technique is ideally practiced in a completely stress-free environment.

Since animals are highly sensitive to energy, one cannot “give” an animal Reiki. For this reason, the “Let Animals Lead” approach was created by Kathleen Prasad, founder of The Animal Reiki Source. This approach allows animals to take part in their own treatments at their own pace, taking what they need as they need it, perhaps even for an issue the practitioner may not even be aware of.

Reiki can be performed hands-on or from a distance. While some animals enjoy human touch during treatments, others prefer to be left to enjoy the energetic space from across the room. Reiki energy is limitless and knows no boundaries, so it is as effective overseas as it is in person. Depending on the issue, there are times where a distance session is a better option for both animal and practitioner.

One example of this is when an animal has suffered a severe trauma or has aggressive tendencies. Reiki can help animals heal from past mental and physical traumas as well as reduce behavioral issues and aggression in animals.

Reiki is also extremely supportive in the dying process of animals, allowing them to pass in peace while being held in love as they cross over. This also helps with the loss felt by their humans and can assist in the grieving process.

Most importantly, Reiki is a complimentary practice for all other treatments—whether conventional or alternative. It should not be used in place of licensed veterinary care for any reason. Reiki practitioners are non-medical professionals and cannot at any time diagnose or prescribe anything for your pets. Practitioners may offer suggestions, however it is the responsibility of the pet owner to always seek the professional advice and treatment from a licensed veterinarian when needed.

Lastly, if you are ready to invite Reiki into your animal’s life, do not be afraid to ask questions of the practitioner, as not every practitioner will be the right fit for you and your pet. There are different practicing styles of Reiki, just as there are different teaching styles. Some are derived from Japan, while others have found the western style of Reiki to better suit their personal beliefs. Much like an interview, it’s always good to know the practitioner’s lineage (who they trained with), their daily self-practice, what Reiki means to them and any expectations you may have of your pets’ sessions, as well as policies, payments and length of treatment.

Being able to have an open conversation prior to your animal’s treatment is the best way to create the energetic space you want and need between you, the practitioner and your pets, to feel safe and connected along your Reiki journey together.

Kelly L. McCarthy is an animal Reiki practitioner, communicator and educator who travels throughout Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, and offers distance Reiki from her home in Litchfield County. She is a foster mom for “For The Love of Lab Rescue” and volunteers her services to licensed rescues for animals awaiting their forever homes. Connect at