Ayurveda For Pets: Know Your Dog’s Dosha

French bulldog. Original watercolor illustration of a dog.

They say pets are like a mirror image of the owner. So a well-balanced pooch means a well-balanced you. Taking care of your dog’s health can be as simple as first getting to know his dosha…

The three doshas in Ayurveda are based on the theory of the Five Elements and their combinations that make three distinct metabolic forces within the body. Frankly, you could apply this to just about any pet, but in this article, we will primarily be talking about dogs, their doshas, how to counteract those doshas, and the best herbs you could use for your pet’s superior health. Not everything that works on humans works on pets though, just like some things we eat should never be given to our pooches.

Kapha Dosha in Dogs

The kapha dosha is made up of the elements of water and earth—this provides strength and fluidity or lubrication. Kapha dogs are usually the ones with the most soulful eyes, a gentle disposition, and extremely affectionate behavior. They are gentle and make great pets for children as well, and they’re known to be faithful, loving, and forgiving. Other characteristics include:

  • Physically strong dogs, they often have a heavy build and can become overweight quickly even on a normal diet.
  • They don’t like cold or damp weather and may have climate-related allergies as well.
  • Amongst all other dogs, they have the longest-lasting and most consistent energy. However, their energy is more of the marathon runner kind, not the sprinter kind, so they are not very excitable.
  • They love to sleep and are sound and long sleepers as well.
  • Their digestions are usually sluggish, with pale and soft feces that they need time to expel.
  • These animals have soft fur, soulful eyes, and a rather easygoing temperament. They are slow-paced but graceful in their lumbering.
  • Other than if down with an allergy or a breathing problem, they are usually resistant to disease, have good stamina, and stay healthy for most of their lives.
  • They are slower to learn but once they get it, they have the longest memory of all.

If this sounds like your dog, here are a few tips to keep him calm, happy and in good digestive health—which in turn should take care of its soft fur as well.

  • Give your kapha pooch light and energizing foods and keep him away from heavy or fatty treats.
  • He will need daily exercise—he is mostly a big dog with plenty of energy. Take him running for a few miles with you to expend this energy and keep him healthy.
  • Make sure he has a good and comfortable space to sleep—like a crate or a dog bed. He is a good sleeper and will need his comfort space.
  • Diet Tips: Since Kapha pooches tend to be a bit heavyset, give them more wholesome foods such as fresh veggies. Include more carrots, squash, and pumpkin. Keep starch, grains, and fats to a minimum and completely avoid any sweet stuff. Give him just a pinch of dried or fresh turmeric with one meal on an everyday basis.

Pitta Dosha in Dogs

The pitta dosha is the chemistry of water and fire—elements of transformation and dynamics. Pitta doggies are challenge-oriented and very competitive. Along with being loyal to their family, they are also very loyal to their food and can get snappy when hungry. They make good guard dogs and pack leaders because of their intense nature.

  • Pitta dogs have medium to slender bodies and may even look delicate, but their aggressive nature more than makes up for what they lack in bulk.
  • They can look mildly muscled or bony, with soft, warm fur and eyes that aren’t as soulful as kapha dogs. The claws may be a little soft too.
  • The paws of pitta dogs will be warm to touch and they do not do well in the heat—too much sun can leave them feeling warm and exhausted.
  • They are big water drinkers and accordingly need to go water the bushes more often than the usual dog.
  • They don’t sleep too long but the sleep they get is uninterrupted and peaceful.
  • They boast a strong metabolism and good digestion and have a strong appetite and a sharp thirst. Waiting for food will make them irritable and snappy so having a meal routine is a good idea for them.
  • They are intelligent and have good concentration so teaching them is easy as long as the reward is food. Plus, these are not the kind of dogs who will wait for you to take them for a walk—they will insist, be vocally active, and even a tad pushy when not being paid attention to.

A few tips on the best care for your pitta pooch:

  • Give him cooling food and keep his environs nice and cool as well.
  • Take him swimming or playing in the snow—these are not hot weather dogs and thrive in cooler and even colder climates.
  • Set aside a little play time with them, with activities like playing fetch. You need to tame their aggression down as excitable play can make them super excited with “snappy” results.
  • Diet Tips: Pitta dogs do better with cooling foods such as cottage cheese, chicken, duck, and even tofu if they develop a taste. Blanched and pureed leafy greens work well too. Give him just a pinch of cumin or coriander with one meal on an everyday basis. 

Vata Dosha in Dogs

  • Vata dosha is associated with air and ether and denotes all movement in the body and the mind. When happy and healthy, vata dogs are energetic, happy, and very playful. But they are also moody and can turn depressed, stressed, and anxious at the drop of a hat—this is a dog that needs a lot of affection and attention or it can get morose and consequently feral. These dogs do not handle transitions well so moving from a place or adding to the family becomes very stressful for them.
  • These are the slenderest of all three body types, often being taller than normal or shorter than normal.
  • They have flat chests with very visible muscles, tendons, and veins. The claws are usually dry and brittle.
  • They seem to have sensitive skins that are cool to touch but prone to roughness, dryness, and flaking and mostly have bristly fur.
  • Their paws are cool to touch and they are tropical temperature dogs, cold weather makes them irritable and ill.
  • They don’t sleep much and whatever they do get is restless—and so they are also high on energy in short bursts. Too much intense activity overexerts them.
  • Appetite varies on their mood and their digestive efficiency. They have little urine and their feces are usually dry, hard and small.
  • They tend to be high strung in stress and are often found cowering in a corner with growly breaths when out of balance. They learn quickly but forget as easily…

To take care of your vata doggo:

  • Keep communication calm and evenly toned at all times.
  • Give him lap time or brushing time on a one-on-one basis as part of an everyday routine.
  • Food wise, stick to warm and moist meals and keep his environment warm and dry as well.
  • Diet Tips: For vata dogs, avoid veggies like beans, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, and potatoes. Instead make their diet about warming foods like beef, carrots, and squashes. Blanch and puree the veggies for better digestion. You can also feed them Ayurvedic kichari made with rice and mung beans. You can add a little black pepper, cumin, coriander and just a bit of asafetida for vata pooches. You can also add a pinch of dried or fresh ginger with one meal on an everyday basis.

 

Just like us, dogs have doshas too and can immeasurably benefit from Ayurveda as well…So try the Ayurveda way of keeping your pets healthy and fit.

 

Articles published by Basmati.com are no substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider before beginning any new regimen. For more information, please visit our disclaimer page here.

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