Internationally known homeopathic veterinarian, Dr. Christina Chambreau, is a lecturer and author of the Healthy Animal’s Journal. She is also the editor of the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal. Ask her a question by leaving a comment on the Animal Wellness Magazine Facebook page. She’ll choose two questions to answer every week!
What is the best way to trim a dog’s nails? What are the health benefits to doing regular nail trims? What are the dangers/risks involved with trimming nails?
Keeping nails trimmed is more important for dogs and cats than it is for people, as nails that are too long can severely affect how dogs and cats walk. If they are walking improperly, the rest of their body can be thrown out of chiropractic balance causing further locomotion problems therefore possibly metabolic problems. Nails that are too long can get caught in fabric, causing the entire nail to be ripped out, or at least torn. Sometimes nails grow in a circle, piercing into the skin.
When done properly in a loving way, even trimming a nail too short will cause only short term damage compared to the long term damage possible from leaving the nails too long.
The very best is to begin training puppies and kittens to tolerate, even enjoy, having their nails trimmed. At whatever age you begin, the training will differ for each animal. Some are fine with having an expert trim their nails and once the expert has shown you how to do it, your dog or cat will readily allow you to trim.
Some animals have sensitive feet and need gentle training over months to get used to having their toes moved around. Clicker training can be wonderful for this training and Tellington T-Touch can sometimes be like magic (There are gentle circular moves like “Python” or ‘Raccoon” that can help if they are nervous about the trimming.)
If your dog is not happy when you get out the clippers, try some Rescue Remedy or other Emergency Flower Essences rubbed on your hands, then over the dog or cat before you begin. Have treats ready when they behave very well. You may need to begin with just touching the leg, then the foot, then one toe, then all the toes, then make the noise with the clippers then clip one toe. This may takes several months, or could happen in a week. You may do one toe every other day, or train them for one foot a day. There is not one way, since each of our companions are so unique.
A few dogs and cats are even hard to professionals to trim. These may need acupuncture (TCVM), homeopathy, chiropractic, Healing Touch for Animals or many other holistic modalities and a lot of patience on your part to tolerate regular foot care.
There are two types of nail trimmers – guillotine-style and scissors type. The guillotine are best for all but feline and very small dog nails. The following web sites have good descriptions on how to trim nails as long as your companion is comfortable with being handled.
Can you recommend natural treatments for a kitty with pancreatic cancer? Mr. Cotton, at this point, has days, weeks, maybe months to live and I want to make it his happiest and most comfortable.
You certainly have the right attitude – to make him as comfortable as possible. It is great that he is doing well at this time. Adding in the holistic approach actually gives the possibility of a complete cure of the cancer, or at least a very long extension of life.
Even when we do what we think is the very best for our animals according to the articles in this great magazine and work with the many holistic options, some animals still get cancer. Our goal is to keep our animals as active and engaged as they were at a few years of age, becoming ill only a few weeks prior to death. So even now, with a western medical diagnosis of cancer of the pancreas, it is possible to have that goal of health.
There are many totally safe healing options you can do yourself for any symptoms that appear. First, everyone should search right now for the very next class in Reiki healing. This can relieve any abdominal pain (in some animals), vomiting, and poor appetite if it occurs. You can even do Reiki on the food if an animal is not eating. A more extensive training is available in Healing Touch for Animals which can both relieve symptoms and sometimes give a deeper healing.
Flower Essences are totally safe and can address any symptoms that appear. Rescue Remedy is readily available and again everyone should have bottles in their purses, cars, houses and pockets as it is great for people, animals, plants and soil that are stressed or in need of any type of “rescue”. You do not need to find the one for pets. The “human” one is preserved with alcohol, so just dilute it 4 drops into a one ounce bottle. There are 38 specific Bach essences and crab apple is often used with animals who have cancer, but it is important to look for which one fits your cat specifically rather than merely looking for a “cancer” treatment. There are many other companies who make combinations specifically for animal problems. Healthy Helper from Spirit Essence or Immune Support from Green Hope Essences are a few that could help.
Of course, the very best will be for you to begin now to work with an integrative veterinarian. This is a person trained in many different approaches, including using conventional drugs only when absolutely needed. Working with one can increase the chance that your cherished companion can live a long and healthy life after recovering from cancer, or can be helped remain comfortable. There are good ones and great ones, and a few homeopathic veterinarians will consult by phone or email.
You can go to the web sites for each type of holistic practice and use their referral list to find one near to you:
1. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine: www.IVAS.org, www.avaa.org & www.TCVM.com
2. Homeopathic veterinarians (these can often help you by phone if no other holistic practitioners are nearby that you like): www.theAVH.org and www.DrPitcairn.com.
3. Chiropractor – www.animalchiropractic.org
4. Wide range of other treatments: www.AHVMA.org, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and www.civtedu.org.