Ayurveda for your Pets

Maybe I’m crazy but, I don’t think so! When I look at dogs I can’t help but assess their Ayurvedic constitutional type. You can do this with other animals too! I focus on dogs because I have one…a goldendoodle. So, let’s look at her as an example. She is average sized. Her golden leans to the reds.  She does not do well in the hot summer heat but loves the cooler weather.  She is moderately active and needs daily exercise to balance her emotional well-being as well as her physical health.  When I look at her I see a primarily Pitta dog with Kapha a good second.  Much like myself!

When you study Ayurveda, you start to see everything in doshic terms.  Is this tree more Vata or Kapha?  These animals?  This food, the weather, and so on!  Ayurveda, as I’ve said before, is so simple and practical even though its so profound and complex.

So, if you know your dog doesn’t like the heat and needs to exercise, you can figure that out by sheer observation.  But, how can understanding these traits be helpful in being proactive around their health?

Here are some tips for a Pitta dog to try with them.

  • don’t take them for walks at noon (especially in the summer) unless its in a forested area or winter (early morning and early evening are better)
  • keep them cool.  allow them to be in that cool place in your home.  tiled floor, maybe the mud room, basement if they are happy to go down to it, etc.
  • feed them dog food that isn’t based on meat that is heating (like beef – stay with more poultry and fish)
  • recognize how important the morning walk is and that it should ideally be more of an exercise than a gentle little walk
  • engage their minds – pittas like to learn!
  • following that, take them to new places and give them new experiences.  they generally also like to meet new people
  • pittas like to EAT!  but, they can easily overeat so you need to monitor how much they get

Here are some tips for a Vata dog to try out.

  • routine is especially critical for your thin, wired, and high energy dog
  • walking in the same place is helpful to keep them grounded and calm – a gentle morning walk
  • keep calm yourself!  don’t come home and wire them up.
  • keep feeding times the same and understand that they sometimes want a lot and sometimes want little but keep the food amounts consistent
  • they like to run and be active but you need to consider keeping them within their actual physical ability so they don’t run themselves down (which they will)
  • when you pet a vata dog, be firm but quite gentle and be slow.
  • let them be cosy and warm.

Here are some tips for your Kapha dog to try out.

  • your kapha dog will NOT want to go for walks but they must. you might have to drag them outside but don’t let their tendency to be a ‘couch potato’ win.  it is not good for them.
  • play with them.  this interacting is so important for them and also helps them get into movement
  • watch their weight!  just like a kapha person who can gain weight by looking at bread (you know exactly who you are and its sad because you love the bread!), kapha dogs can also gain weight easily.  so, that helps you pick the food and how much to give them.
  • your dog will LOVE the sun where the pitta dog does not.  they will love to lay out in that hot sun.  so, beware.  let them but keep a close eye and monitor that they don’t overheat.
  • kapha dogs like kapha people are beings of creature comforts.  unlike the vata dog that needs routines and cosy warm places to curl up, the kapha dog needs a little more shaking up here and there.  take them in the car with you (when the weather is appropriate of course!) so they can experience the sense of speed, travel and variety
  • they need lots of exercise and lots of variety, especially in the early morning!

I am not a dog whisperer by any stretch of the imagination!  But, Ayurveda is really a way of observation and taking cues from cause and effect so maybe some of these tips will prove a helpful way of looking at your pet.