by Linda Montgomery DVM
Whether you prepare your dog’s food yourself or purchase a commercial raw or kibble diet, your choice of a protein source is very important. Considerations include whether the meat is organically raised or not, any allergy issues your dog might have and whether it is meat or meat “meal”. Another, less commonly considered, aspect of choosing a meat source for your dog, is choosing one based on his or her constitution and/or current TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) pattern.
The focus of today’s newsletter is feeding according to your dog’s TCVM pattern. While many dogs are in balance, patterns of imbalance are present in most disease conditions. Keeping your dog in balance is important in preventing and helping treat common disease conditions such as arthritis and skin problems.
Dogs who are Yang deficient or bothered by cold, damp weather benefit from warm meats. Examples of warm protein sources include chicken, pheasant, beef kidney, chicken liver.
For dogs who are Yin deficient or bothered by heat, cool protein sources should be used. These include duck, rabbit, turkey and white fish.
Dogs who are Qi deficient are generally weak and can have a Yin or Yang deficiency in addition to a Qi deficiency. Qi tonic foods include beef, chicken and rabbit.
Blood deficiency is not the same as being anemic. Blood deficient dogs have dry skin, and brittle hair and nails. Beef, liver and heart are all blood tonic meats.
For dogs who are in balance, neutral foods are recommended to help keep them that way. Neutral protein sources include beef, beef liver, eggs, pork and tripe.
Some protein sources are very hot or very cold, and should only be used for short amounts of time or avoided completely. Lamb, venison and trout are hot, whereas crab and clam are cold. This is important because many commercial dog foods are lamb based and should be not be fed long term.
Commercial kibbles are highly processed and impart heat, which can be a problem for dogs with Yin deficiency or other heat related conditions. Home cooked diets or commercial raw diets such as Honest Kitchen are preferred over kibble for most dogs.