Zoopharmacognosy refers to the process by which animals naturally forage and self select plants and plant extracts to self medicate. The Ingraham method of applying this to domesticated animals is a growing area of interest in animal wellbeing, and is the subject of a number of scientific studies.
Applied Zoopharmacognosy provides a behavioural method of helping animals. It involves offering choices of essential and macerated oils, and dried plants for self selection. Animals utilise the plant extract as they need it; via inhalation, ingestion or sometimes topically.
The animal’s body language indicates appeal or lack of appeal for the plants and oils they are being offered. It is therefore vital to be aware of facial and body language responses when offering.
Animals do not choose to overdose on pure raw plant oils and powders as long as certain rules and understandings are adhered to. Education is required for the person offering these choices, so that are aware of the types of oils and plant extracts that are appropriate to offer, and understand the method of application. They must also recognise self medicative behaviour in animals.
Animals with a wide variety of issues have responded well to this method, including behavioural / emotional problems, physical problems, poor digestion, poor coat, skin problems and low immune system.
Jo has used this method with champion show cats, Crufts qualifiers and advanced event horses amongst others.