My apologies for the gap since our last info-rich post. As the clinic gets busier during the summer months, we’ve needed to adjust timing a bit. The good news is, this post has a boatload of great information for you. And we’ll be working very hard to post more frequently going forward – Yea!
Most of us know our pets can have mild or severe food allergies. Your new kitten gets diarrhea every time you feed him a canned food with salmon in it, though that doesn’t happen with the same brand that contains only chicken. Or your Saint Bernard has the same problem every time you feed her a dry food or treat with corn in it.
And many of us know how we personally feel different when we eat different foods – eating a salad gives you more energy, while eating a salad calms your best friend down. But few of us know how to determine what foods may affect our pets in subtle or not-so-subtle ways.
Today Dr. Frank answers questions on Food Energetics, a fascinating topic he is passionate about. As a holistic vet with a specialty in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Frank spends a considerable amount of time studying how properties in food can balance your pet’s systems, or throw their physical, emotional and/or mental systems out of whack (scientifically speaking).
How does that work, you say? Read on and he will explain.
Q: What is “Food Energetics”?
Dr. Frank: In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all foods have unique characteristics (energetics) that can be used to balance a pet’s system or constitution (physical makeup). TCM has classified foods as having “cooling”, “warming” or “neutral” energetics when they are consumed. And in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), each individual animal’s constitution is unique on a cool to warm spectrum. Feeding foods that balance your pet’s unique constitution can help maintain optimum health. For example, if a pet’s constitution is found to be overly cool, then “warming” foods might be recommended.
Q: Why is this important to the health of my pet?
Dr. Frank: Common issues such as skin allergies, chronic inflammation and itching are typical manifestations of a system that is out of balance. By feeding the most beneficial diet to your pet, these issues can frequently be avoided or resolved – ultimately saving on medications and vet bills!
Q: How do you know what foods my pet should eat?
Dr. Frank: A TCVM exam is necessary to determine the appropriate diet for your pet. Very specific questions will be asked pertaining to your pet’s behavior which assists the doctor in determining if your pet needs cooling foods or warming foods. Based on this discussion, the doctor will put together a recommended list of foods to feed (and not to feed), specific for your pet.
Q: Is it different for dogs and cats?
Dr. Frank: No, food energy does not vary by species. But, every pet is unique, their constitution is unique, and therefore their diet should also be unique.
Q: Do I have to be willing to make my pet’s food if I am going to follow the doctor’s food energetics recommendations?
Dr. Frank: No. There is such a wide variety of foods available commercially these days that it is usually possible to find a diet that contains most of the recommended foods. However, because so many ingredients are sometimes included in commercial foods, it is essential to read the labels.
Be aware that the way food is processed (canned, dry, raw, dehydrated, etc.) can change the energetics of the food. So if your vet recommended dry food for your pet, it will be wisest to call and ask him or her if another form will be as favorable for your pet before substituting a raw or dehydrated food.
You especially want to find diets that do not include the “not to feed” items on your list, or at least make sure they are very, very low on the ingredient list.