Traditional Chinese Medicine

What does the Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach Say?

Dating back nearly 30 centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on balancing the yin (cool and slow) and yang (warm and active) energetic forces existing in all life.  When these forces are in harmony, the resulting state of neutrality produces wellness. Using TCM principles, we can choose food for ourselves and diets for our pets that contribute to a healthy state of equilibrium by using the food classification system in which the thermal properties of the foods are considered to be hot, warm, neutral, cool or cold. This system is not descriptive of the food’s temperature when served, but rather the effect the foods have on the body as a whole.

Is your pet a HOT dog or do you have a COOL kitty?

Here are some clues:

Pets with excessive yang or insufficient yin, often referred to as HOT pets, tend to prefer cool resting spots. They may feel warm when touched and exhibit signs of anxiety or excitement. Allergies are common among these pets, and they may have malodorous skin and rashes. These pets also tend to drink excessive amounts of water and produce dark-colored urine. They may pant excessively, have red eyes, and experience dry stools or constipation.

Pets with an excessive yin or insufficient yang, known as COLD pets, usually display signs of lethargy and have slow, sluggish movements. They may experience decreased appetite and struggle to maintain a healthy weight. These pets have a lower internal body temperature than normal, making them more sensitive to cold weather and often seeking warmth. Poor circulation can cause their extremities to feel cold, and their hair coat may appear dull. Behaviorally, these pets tend to be quiet and less engaged in their surroundings.

Strive Towards Balance

Of course, not all pets will exhibit all of the above symptoms, but TCM strives to bring all creatures toward balance, avoiding extremes that are detrimental to optimum health. If you believe your pet is exhibiting a few signs of imbalance you might try some diet changes to bring him or her back toward the center. HOT pets should be given neutral to cold foods while COLD pets should be fed neutral to hot foods.

Since dogs and cats should have a meat-focused diet to promote optimal health, here are some proteins commonly found in pet foods with their respective temperature associations.

  • HOT FOODS: goat, venison, lamb
  • WARM FOODS: chicken, salmon, ostrich, shrimp, elk
  • NEUTRAL FOODS: beef, bison, pork, tilapia, tripe, whole eggs (white + yolk)
  • COOL FOODS: duck, rabbit, turkey, egg whites
  • COLD FOODS: cod, crab, tofu

How Does Northwest Naturals Fit Into This?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a very intuitive system and lists of the hot to cold food categories differ slightly according to different practitioners. Northwest Naturals has a wide variety of raw pet food for both your dog and cat to enjoy.

Dog recipes:

  • Beef – NEUTRAL
  • Beef and Bison – NEUTRAL
  • Beef and Trout – NEUTRAL to SLIGHTLY WARM
  • Chicken – WARM
  • Chicken and Salmon – WARM
  • Lamb – HOT
  • Turkey – COOL
  • Whitefish and Salmon – NEUTRAL to SLIGHTLY WARM

Cat recipes:

  • Beef and Trout – NEUTRAL to SLIGHTLY WARM
  • Chicken – WARM
  • Duck – COOL
  • Rabbit – COOL
  • Turkey – COOL
  • Whitefish and Salmon – NEUTRAL to SLIGHTLY WARM

Which Protein Should You Feed Your Pet?

A Holistic Life

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our everyday diets are seen as a way to promote balanced health. Adopting a thoughtful and holistic approach to nutrition that combines the best of both Eastern and Western theories is always beneficial for us and our pets, both in the management of diseases and prevention of health issues. With its centuries of experience, Traditional Chinese Medicine holds valuable wisdom that remains relevant and beneficial today.

By Carol Kendig and Dr. Lindsey Wendt 

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