Expert Author Val Heart

Itch, itch, scratch, scratch... thump-thump-thump... I honestly don't know who whines more when our dogs have itchy skin problems, us or them!

As a professional animal communicator and master healer, I am often asked to work with dogs with skin condition problems. This can be a complicated tangled knot to unravel, fraught with a complexity of contributing causes.

Usually your vet will offer steroids to suppress the allergic reaction, antibiotics, and expensive medicated shampoos. All that does is suppress the symptoms for a little while and does nothing to resolve the source of the problem.

In the long term, your dog will suffer from a recurrent itchy skin problem which may be worse over time, developing hot spots and oozing sores. They will also suffer from the many debilitating side effects from the steroids themselves, which can shorten their lfie. AND, your dog may actually be allergic to the medicated shampoo!

What's a caring, loving responsible dog parent to do?

Allergies are a symptom of a body experiencing toxic overload and systemic overwhelm. There are better ways to approach the problem. Here are the top 12 causes of itchy skin problems:

  1. Thyroid and hormone imbalance, including over active adrenals from stress. This can also come from spaying and neutering creating a sudden and dramatic effect like forced menopause...
  2. Food allergies including an allergy to rice, wheat, soy, corn, dairy, and nightshade plants like potatoes, tomatoes and peppers
  3. Poor quality polluted water, especially tap water or water that is bottled in plastic which has carcinogens like benzene in it...
  4. Heavy metals or other hidden contaminants in your dog's food and environment...
  5. Environmental allergens like hay, pollen, grasses, weeds, contact with toxic plants...
  6. Chemical preservatives in the food, in the cans themselves or the packaging, bedding, shampoos, toys...
  7. Pesticides, both used orally and in the environment
  8. Wormers which are poisons that affect the liver and kidneys
  9. Antibiotics which have destroyed the intestinal balance of probiotics and enzymes
  10. Flea allergies, along with all the topical flea/tick treatments
  11. Parasites like pinworms, tapeworms, roundworms and the like which thrive in a polluted, toxic body

All of those things must be taken into account and addressed. However, the number 1 cause of skin problems that few vets will tell you about is this:

    12. Vaccinations with their many side effects. Over vaccinating your dog can cause a great deal of chronic long term problems including auto-immune disorders and degenerative disorders, like joint pain and arthritis, diabetes, cancer and digestive problems.

So what can you do about it?

1. Go homemade - food, that is. No more commercial pet foods. Try feeding your dog a bionutritionally sound diet that includes organic steamed vegetables including garlic in a bit of broth (low sodium is ok), natural raw or lightly cooked chicken or turkey or lamb, a good quality grain, and add in the right supplements like vitamins B, C and E, and full spectrum trace minerals like zinc and selenium. Be sure to include a high quality fat like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil which are all necessary for good health as well as happy skin and shiny coats.

2. Rebuild their digestive system. If they aren't allergic to dairy, offer yogurt or cottage cheese, and/or add probiotics and enzymes to help them digest it.

3. Clean water only. Purify their water with reverse osmosis or another type of quality filter.

4. Use natural flea, tick, mosquito and parasite prevention.You can use an essential oils formula like Cedarcide™, mulch your yard with cedar mulch, or try using The ShooTag™ which are all viable non-toxic alternatives to flea preventions and oral wormers. Beneficial nematodes will clear your yard of fleas and their eggs. There are also herbal remedies for parasites. Remember that if your baby can't touch it, then it can't be good for your dog either.

5. Soothe the itch naturally. Aloe vera gel and coconut oil can help soothe the itch, as can many homeopathic remedies, including rhus tox, pulsatilla, arsenicum, apis, nux vomica, belladonna and mercurius vivus. See a professional's assistance to determine the right remedies for your dog.

6. Vaccinosis Homeopathic Protocol. No more vaccinations while your dog is ill, or you will make the problem worse because you should never vaccinate a dog who isn't well. There are ways to calm the inflammation using homeopathic medicine. Again, contact me or see a professional for assistance in determining the right protocol for your dog.

The good news is this: Not only will your dog start feeling better soon, but you will too. Because what's good for your dog, is also good for you.


Expert Author Val Heart

Our bodies store cellular memories of events, traumas and injuries that we've experienced, sometimes at a deep sub-conscious level. Some memories are from our current life, yet some aren't. One explanation is that they come from past lives. Animals often tell me about incidents that happened to them in another time and place. Many times they remember their people from 'before'.

In order to resolve a current behavior or health issue, we have to find the trigger for it. And that trigger may have happened a long time ago...

Cocoa, lahsa apso dog, suddenly developed an intense fear of water. She had never had a problem before with baths, the swimming pool, or showers. But now, if they went into the bathroom to take a shower, Cocoa was terrified and ran to hide. If they went outside to enjoy the pool, Cocoa, horrified would bark frantically behind the door, afraid to come outside. When they came in wet from the pool, she was afraid of them until they changed clothes.

The owner, Dee, said nothing traumatic had happened prior to her unusual behavior. Cocoa was fine the day before. The next day, she was afraid. Could I help?

We needed to first talk with Cocoa. Animals do what seems right to them given their instinct, experience and training. Sharing her viewpoint would help us resolve the problem.

Cocoa told me the water terrified her with an unreasoning kind of fear. Desperately afraid that her humans would drown or be harmed, she felt out of control and helpless. The images she showed me were confusing, painful and traumatic. To further complicate the matter, what I was intuiting had no obvious connection with her current life or history! This suggested we were dealing with a past life memory, possibly triggered by a current event(s).

Many of our powerful gut-reactions, phobias, attitudes and emotions seem to come from nowhere, and we are helpless to change how we feel or think. We react without truly understanding why.

Since Cocoa was unable to discuss the situation and her fears rationally, I suggested to Dee that we try the BodyTalk System healing therapy to help her resolve and balance the deep-seated fears.

Through the BodyTalk System, Cocoa's Innate bodymind wisdom (the part that heals us when sick or injured, and knows the multiple causal factors for dis-ease) guided us through the 8th Chakra Portal into the past.

"The 8th Chakra relates to the concept that at birth we are already "programmed" with many traits of behavior, attitudes, fears, phobias, illnesses and beliefs from our parents, ancestors, religions and previous lives.

"When addressing the 8th Chakra we are utilizing a concept that there is an 8th Chakra [energetic center] located just above the head, and that it contains the essence of this programming. Whether this is the case, or whether the programming is only in our genetic code, or both, is debatable. The important thing is that when we use this concept, results occur." [The BodyTalk System, Module 6 manual, by Dr John Veltheim]

Cocoa remembered being a dog on a ship at sea during a terrible storm where the ship broke apart and she was injured then thrown overboard to drown. She remembered feeling helpless, watching her humans getting hurt and drowning. The ship had been under attack and there were bad people killing and destroying her family and crew. She felt powerless and terrified, everything beyond her control.

Through the BodyTalk System we released the memories and balanced her brain at all levels, helping her cope with the emotional triggers of panic, terror and fear, and being out of control.

Within a week, Dee told me that Cocoa had willingly joined them in their swimming pool, allowing her husband to help her swim! Nothing had changed in their management of her, except our conversation and the BodyTalk therapy.

The BodyTalk System is a state-of-the-art, safe and effective holistic therapy that allows the body's energy systems to be re-synchronized so they operate as nature intended. Each system and cell is designed to constantly communicate with each other at all times, allowing adaptability and flexibility. Various life stressors compromise these lines of communication, leading to a decline in physical, emotional and/or mental health. Reconnecting these lines of communication enables the body's mechanisms to function at optimal levels, preventing disease and rapidly accelerating the healing process.

We are designed to heal and rebalance rapidly and quickly - it is a matter of survival. When we don't, that tells us there is something in the way that is unresolved and not at peace, something that stops us from being well and whole, living a life full of purpose, clarity and prosperity.

"The Issues are in the Tissues" means that the wisdom of the bodymind knows exactly what is wrong, where it is stored and why. Our job is to listen and learn from it, to use our waiting time productively. When we do, amazing things can happen!

Yes, I work with animals -- but I help YOU regain your sanity, balance and clarity.

One of my clients recently experienced, in just a one hour session: life counseling, diet and nutritional adjustments for herself and her cat, overall healing and rebalancing for herself and her cat, a quick chat with her dog, plus she had a shamanic experience where she met her animal teacher guide/totem, and also received a message from her deceased father! Wow!

The Bottom Line: If you are not healing quickly and easily, are not resilient and adaptable, or are not enjoying your life -- then there is something blocking you. I am trained to discover and help you resolve that, and with your help and commitment to the process, you can expect to see things improve -- sometimes dramatically and quickly, other times more slowly and surely.


Expert Author Val Heart

Bringing a dog successfully into your household and lifestyle consists of a lot more than just buying dog food, letting them run in the backyard, giving them an occasional bath and a place to sleep. It requires patience and an understanding of appropriate ways to discipline your dog, which provide boundaries, rules and stability, making them into model K9 citizens. Your dog should be a true joy to have in your life, and if they're not, take steps now to remedy the situation.

Many dog parents don't prepare properly and they don't take the time to learn how to train their new canine friends. They often wind up getting into serious trouble very quickly. The problems can become so overwhelming that they get rid of their dogs.

To easily and successfully discipline your dog, incorporate these tips and your dog training will be a lot more fun and rewarding, for both of you.

1) Tell your dog what you want. To create a healthy working relationship, start by setting the ground rules, what you like and will tolerate (the reward), and what you won't (the deal breaker). Like us, dogs are creatures of habit and their behavior depends greatly on how we expect them to behave.

By observing your reaction to their actions, they discover what behavior they can or cannot get away with. The sooner you let your dog know what is and is not acceptable, the sooner he will know right from wrong according to your rules.

2) Dogs respond to clear and consistent leadership. Show your dog that you know what you are doing. Be calm and confident, and don't forget to give a positive reinforcement by immediately rewarding them for good behavior. And, take immediate action so your dog understands that that kind of behavior is not tolerated.

3) Behavior that persists does so because it is being rewarded in some way. When you are too slow in the way that you recognize and reward your dog's actions, you actually wind up rewarding the very things that you dislike. And even worse, wind up ignoring the behavior that you love and want to encourage. So, if you are giving the wrong signals at the wrong time, you will just confuse your dog.

4) Feeling so hopeless you just want to hire a professional to do it for you? That's a mistake. Many dog owners feel so powerless with their dogs they resort to hiring a professional to train them instead. That approach usually backfires because as soon as your dog is back home, they slide back to the old, unwanted behavior -- because it's your lack of consistency and clarity that caused the problem with your dog's discipline to begin with.

Good training habits on your part will result in happier, better behaved and more fun-loving pets, and your dog will be a joy for the rest of their life.

The hidden benefit of becoming a better dog trainer also makes you a better human being. The concepts you learn can be applied to all other relationships as well, because the insights, clarity and ability to communicate what you truly want are priceless skills and will serve you well.

So decide right now to learn how to train your dog properly and you'll reap the rewards for many years to come.


Expert Author Val Heart

What to Do When Fluffy or Blacky Don't Want their Teeth Brushed

Animals communicate with feelings and imagery, so be sure that you share your feelings of love with them before you begin. Also, if you deliberately feel and project calmness, then your pet will pick up on this, and it will make your task much easier.

1. The very best thing to do is to start the task when they are very young. This way they will expect it each day, be accustomed to it and won't fight you - if you train them to accept and enjoy it right off the bat. But if your pet is older, don't despair because you really can teach older dogs (and cats) new tricks!

2. Brush their teeth at the same time each day. Animals crave and thrive on routine just like children do.

3. Use kittie toothpaste. They have flavors that your pet will really enjoy, such as poultry. Let your cat lick and sniff it before you begin brushing their teeth. If your animal doesn't like the smell or taste of the toothpaste, then you may need to try something else instead, or don't use anything at all. After all, it's the act of brushing, massaging and stroking the teeth and gums is the important part.

4. Use the right toothbrush for the job. There are also different types of tooth brush options today. You can use a traditional type of tooth brush, but you also have the option of using a finger brush. A finger brush fits on the tip of your own finger, which you then use to brush and massage their teeth. Many animals respond very well to a finger brush.

5. Prepare properly by teaching them to relax and enjoy the sensation. Touch their mouth, massage their lips, rub along their gum, touch their tongue and the roof of their mouth. When they let you do that successfully and relax, then be sure and reward them. And take a short break.

6. Next, load the brush with the toothpaste. When they're comfortable with you touching their mouth, next load the brush with a dab of toothpaste. Go slowly to introduce it to them by again showing it and offering to let them smell and lick it.

7. Then begin the mouth massage. When you're both calm and relaxed, hold the brush close to your fingers so it's an extension of your hand, and gently touch their mouth with it and then reward them for staying calm with a treat or a word of praise. And take another short break. Warning: Don't get excited and rush anything - go slowly and stop if your pet seems uncomfortable or impatient and always reward them for their cooperation. You can always come back and try again later.

8. Next time, do a little more and a little more... and before you know it, your pet will be happy and eager to have their teeth brushed.

And you'll both enjoy all the benefits of a brighter, healthier smile as well as a better relationship.


Expert Author Val Heart

Did you know that animals have philosophies of life that are as profound as any master teachings? I once spoke with a Burmese mountain dog and what he told me about living a good life was as insightful and beautiful as any I've ever heard.

* We are here to enjoy life fully - deeply experiencing the fun and playfulness of being.

* Our job is to love others unconditionally; to have compassion and tolerance for all other Beings.

* We are all one and can feel the joy of being connected.

* Others are here to play with and enjoy.

* It's important to forgive and let go quickly, so we can get back to the game.

* It's important to connect ourselves with the energies of the planet and other species.

* A walk isn't just about exercise or relief; it's about feeling the wind and sun, savoring flavors, smelling new smells, being invigorated by life and others, creating new, fun games to play, and most of all, loving each other and sharing joy.

So many times since then, I have been reminded of these loving, kind, wise words and they have transformed my mood and attitude, enriching the quality of my life. I hope they speak to you on your path as well.

Learning to communicate telepathically and share life experiences with other Beings is a priceless gift.

It allows us to better understand that we are not alone, that we are connected, and that we can help each other.

Communicating intimately with other species also enriches our own lives through the sharing of our experiences with one another. Many companion animals choose to spend their lives attempting to break through our barriers, help us heal and become reconnected with all of Life and our Divine Nature.


Expert Author Val Heart

Are you thinking your cat may be pregnant, but you're just not quite sure?

Whether you are a first time cat breeder or have somehow acquired an unspayed female feline, here is some helpful information for finding out whether your cat really is expecting or just getting pudgy!

First, carefully observe and assess your cat's physical and/or personality changes.

Second, notice whether your cat's heat cycle has stopped. Cats usually have heat cycles that occur every ten days to two weeks. If this stops, the likelihood of your cat being pregnant is very high.

Third, another sign is called "pinking" or when your cat's nipples become swollen and change in to a rosy color. Increased appetite, abdominal enlargement and possible vomiting are also signs to be watch out for.

Fourth, your cat may show increased affection and nesting for a period of time, wherein the cat prepares for the arrival of the kittens by seeking a quiet and peaceful habitat which will be a suitable area for giving birth to her kittens.

Five, if you still have your suspicions but aren't sure, the next step is to visit your vet. Your vet will carefully examine your cat by palpating your cat's abdomen. Your vet will be able to feel fetuses during the 17th-20th day of pregnancy.

Your vet can also do an ultrasound of your cat's abdomen. An ultrasound can detect the fetuses as early as 2 weeks from conception. The heartbeats may be heard as early as 3 weeks. Remember that your pregnant cat's nutritional needs will be different. Please consult your vet for any vitamin and/or nutritional supplementation. If your cat IS pregnant, you may wonder how long it will be before the Happy Event. The gestation period for cats is 58 to 65 days, or about 9 weeks.

So do the math and determine how to best meet the changes coming for your household, not just for your feline friend. This is a crucial time to communicate with your cat directly about how they are feeling, what they most need during this important and exciting time, and how you can best support them during their pregnancy.

For instance, talking to your cat about their vet visits will minimize stress on the mom. If she is feeling poorly or is worried, giving her a voice to express herself will help her receive the attention and treatment she needs. Talking with your cat is also a great way to invite her to help you create the perfect place to deliver the kittens.

Does she want a hidey hole? A covered den? Or a special spot in the closet? Will this box do, or would she prefer something else?

When the kittens are born, communicating with them is a wonderful way to get to know their unique and special personalities. And, if the kitten isn't feeling well, they can tell you so you can respond appropriately before it's too late. When it's time for the cute little furrballs to find their own new homes, taking the time to discuss what will happen to them, and giving them a voice and a choice of their new human parents will go a long way toward easing the stress of separation. And talking with them will also help them integrate into their new home easily and quickly.

Communicating these things with your cat ensures that she will be more cooperative and makes you a committed and supportive participant in the process. Giving your cat a voice helps her know that she is being completely taken care of and loved during this important time, and goes a long way toward ensuring that your happy healthy kittens have the best chance of a long happy healthy life.

What's next after that? Be a responsible cat parent. If you don't want to repeat the experience, be sure to get your cat spayed at the earliest opportunity and before she comes into heat again. Remember that for every new kitten you help bring into the world, it's your job to take care of them whether they stay with you in your home or you find them good loving homes yourself. And by the way, communicating with your cat about being spayed before the procedure will go a long way towards your cat's rapid recovery and well-being.


Expert Author Val Heart

Are you struggling with a behavior or training problem with your Trakehner? Trakehner horses are spirited, gifted, intelligent athletes. But if you get on the wrong side of your sport horse, regardless of their breed, then things can go bad in a hurry.

If any of these scenarios feel familiar, then you've got a real problem on your hands that may not be easily or quickly resolved through normal training methods or approaches.

* Does your Trakehner horse spook, act skittish or nervous in hand or under saddle?
* Is your horse so heavy in your hands that you think your arms are going to fall off?
* Do they stoically refuse to go forward... or run away with you once they get going?
* Does your Trakehner dressage horse race along with their nose in the air and a hollow back, consistently evading the bit and your hands?
* Does your horse bite or nip at you (or others), or run away when you approach?
* Does your horse kick out, rear up, or strike out at you or others?
* Does your horse refuse to load (or unload) safely in a horse trailer?
* Do they hold their head so high you can't bridle or halter them?
* Does your horse constantly swish their tail or pin their ears under saddle?

If your horse does any of these things, then this is the perfect time to discover why -- by asking your horse directly. The answers may surprise and entertain you, and will always help you grow dramatically in your horsemanship.

Animal communicators are gifted with ability to have an in depth conversation with any animal, including horses. And after working with horses for most of my life and communicating with them professionally for almost 20 years, I've discovered that what the horse owner, rider or trainer thinks is going on is rarely the truth, from the horse's viewpoint.

If you miss the boat on this one, then you will spend a lot of wasted energy, time and money going in the wrong direction in a hurry. You can even wind up being hurt - or your expensive Trakehner can lose their health, their willingness to work with you (their goodwill) or their home... and in the worst cases, lose their life.

What Do You Do With A Horse Who Won't Take Direction?

Most often the trainer or rider blames the horse for the problem, thinking they are just being obnoxious or don't want to perform. They rarely think about their horse experiencing an emotional, mental or physical problem.

Don't blame your horse for their behavior or training problems, or the inability to master a skill. It is time for you to assess what you may be doing wrong and make the appropriate changes to rebalance your relationship.

Your horse knows why they are behaving the way they are and it makes perfect sense to them. Poor communication is at the root of most every issue... and communication is always the key to resolving things.

If you want to have a happy healthy horse who is delighted to see you and work with you, then start here before doing anything else.

Your best horse trainer and riding instructor is not your trainer! It's your horse!

Who knows better than them what is working or not? What hurts or is confusing, and why?

It is the rider and trainer's responsibility to learn to communicate effectively so your horse understands what is being asked of them and can perform to their best with a willing and happy heart.

Take a moment to open your own mind and heart. Take the time to connect and really listen to them; honor what your horse has been trying to tell you; experience what it is like to be them; learn from their viewpoint; and, invite their feedback or suggestions on how they think you can improve your riding and relationship.

You can get what you need to know straight from your horses' mouth! Communicating with your horse to resolve behavior or training problems will ultimately and quickly strengthen the bond between you and your horse. Instead of fighting with a nightmare, you can begin to enjoy the horse of your dreams.

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