Food for Life: Food for Thought About Your Pet's Diet
Food is more than just simple nutrition – it gives the body the energy, the tools to create a healthy immune system, and is the foundation of a healthy life. In essence, what we feed our pets matters, and in ways far more important than simply meeting nutritional baselines.
Many of our pets suffer from excess heat in the body, aka inflammation, from conditions such as arthritis, allergies, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, and many others. They may show signs such as panting, excessive drinking, and seeking cool places to rest in an effort to cool themselves. Some animals are simply naturally warm dogs, and we can help prevent overheating disease processes by simply feeding foods that, at the very least, do not worsen their naturally warm constitution. Cooling foods such as rabbit, alligator, fish, and duck are great proteins for cooling a warm animal. Grains such as millet, barley, and many fruits such as apple, banana, and melon are great foods for cooling your pet.
On the other hand, many of us have pets who seek warm places to lay, burrow under blankets even on warm days, and are generally always found in a warm spot. These may be older animals, animals with diseases such as kidney failure, or just pets of a naturally cool composition. Warming proteins such as chicken, lamb, and venison are great options for these chilly pets. Adding pumpkin, oats, sweet potato, rice, and turmeric go a long way to making a delicious, warming, complete meal.
Many disease processes are a result of Qi and/or blood stagnation. This means there is a blockage, buildup, or sinkhole where the Qi/blood is stuck and not flowing. Diseases such as Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD), some tumors, seizures, aggression, and many others can be due to Qi/blood stagnation in either an organ system or in a localized area. Foods such as Chicken, crab, lamb, mustard greens, parsley, radish, ginger, and turmeric can help an animal’s body resolve stagnation and allow the Qi and blood flow to return to normal.
Dogs and cats with allergic skin disease are difficult to manage – they are hot, inflamed, and itchy. The first option many people reach for is to try a “novel protein” diet. While this is a great idea in theory, not just any novel protein is the best plan. Choose a cooling novel protein, such as rabbit, alligator, or even duck, over lamb or venison. Many of these dogs will have better results when fed wet food instead of kibble.
In addition to warming and cooling foods, there are many foods that provide a natural Qi boost. Older animals, chronically ill animals, and pets with generalized weakness may benefit from a boost in the energy of life or Qi. Consider choosing a food with powerful Qi-boosting capabilities, such as beef, mutton, eel, trout, millet, corn, oats, glutinous rice, brown rice, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, lychee, lotus seed, or shiitake mushrooms. You can also create a “topper” that goes along with your pet’s regular diet for an extra boost of Qi.
Many of our pets can do great things when they are fed the appropriate diets. Commercial diets are not necessarily bad but choosing the right one can make a world of difference in your pet’s health. Come by for a visit at Home Vet, and let’s discuss your pet’s ideal diet. Check out the Home Vet TCVM Food Chart for a more complete list of foods.