Food Therapy for Summer

In TCVM, traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, food therapy is the art and science of using selected food ingredients or/and superior herbs. Taking into account a pets' age, species, breed, personality, current disharmony or disease process, and geographical location, in order to develop a recipe based on TCVM theory.
Food therapy can treat specific health conditions as a primary treatment or as an adjunctive therapy. Its' use is also indicated to promote health and to prevent disease.
Most western pet diets are based on research using data from the National Research Council.
TCVM Food Therapy is based on individual needs and the individual TCVM pattern diagnosed. This means a diet of various flavors and energies, as well as eating foods according to individual needs and physical constitution. The sum total = balance.
In Chinese medicine, the seasons are associated with different bodily organs, ages and personalities.
Learning how to adjust our diets/pets' diets during the different seasons, can help prevent illnesses.


Summer is almost here in North Texas! The spring storms are rallying, but the eventual slow moving, humid filled days of summer are getting closer.

Early Summer is associated with the Fire personality, the tongue, the heart and pericardium, small intestine and the Triple Heater...which doesn't fit an exact anatomical organ but is somewhat similar to the thyroid. The Fire personality is outgoing, friendly and likes to be the center of attention.

In the heat of summer, Fire problems such as shen disturbance, which can be seen as noise phobia or other abnormal behaviors, are more likely to occur. To cool Fire animals or any other hot animals in summer, feed cooling foods such as watermelon ( in small amounts to prevent diarrhea), celery (which drains damp, helping hot animals with diarrhea or moist dermatitis), greens (small amounts), cod and other whitefish. Feeding organ meat like heart is also helpful (cooked or in freeze-dried forms). A cooling fan or bed is also a great adjunct in hot weather.

Other cooling foods include: turkey, rabbit, brown rice, barley sprouts, quinoa, spinach, broccoli, kelp/seaweed, dandelion, pears, mushrooms (shiitake), peppermint, flax seed oil, sesame oil.
Neutral foods would include: beef, pork, salmon, sardines, tuna, chicken eggs, tripe, mackerel, black beans, green beans/peas, kidney beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, peanut oil

Late Summer is associated with the Earth personality, damp heat and the gastrointestinal system, called the Spleen and Stomach in Chinese medicine. Earth personality pets are laid back, mellow, round and large, sociable and sympathetic.
To help a weak gastrointestinal system, in an Earth personality pet, well-cooked quinoa, sweet potato, pumpkin or squash are strengthening, along with beef, rabbit and tripe.
Damp draining foods for those with loose stools or moist dermatitis include celery, mushrooms, and turnips (roasted).
Avoid dampening foods when diarrhea is present, as these worsen moist dermatitis and diarrhea (watermelon, pork, salmon).
Limbs should be cool from the carpus (wrist) distal and the tibiotarsal joint (ankle) distal in all animals, the ears should be warm towards the head and cool at the tips, the nose should be cool and moist in dogs and cats, and the paw pads should be soft and pliable in a healthy animal. If these areas are hot, too moist or too dry, we can suggest food therapy to correct the imbalances.

Let us know if you need help in adjusting your pets' current diet!

Shannon Leska DVM

"Let medicine be your food and food be your medicine" - Hippocrates

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