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In 2014, I decided to start sharing my journey as a raw feeder. I had been feeding my dogs a raw food diet for a year and wrote about what I had learned as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Looking back, I cringe at how little I knew about raw feeding and decided to update each of those blog posts as I learn more.
When I first began learning about raw feeding, I learned about warming and cooling foods and I was pretty excited because I was convinced that food energetics was the solution for Rodrigo's digestive issues, food intolerances, and environmental allergies.
However, over the years, I've seen people jump on the warming and cooling topic with the same enthusiasm and I began to realize that while food energetics may be part of the solution, it's not the only solution. In fact, I personally think that it's a bad idea for someone to tackle food energetics as the first step on their raw feeding journey.
What are Warming & Cooling Foods for Dogs?
Food energetics is a bit more complicated than what I'm sharing here and I prefer to keep things simple. The theory of warming and cooling foods comes from Chinese Medicine and when we apply food energetics to our dogs, we're told that there are ‘Hot' dogs and ‘Cold' dogs. In my life with dogs, using the descriptions on various food energetic charts, I was able to label Rodrigo as a “hot” dog and Sydney as a “cold” dog.
The ‘Hot' dogs (Rodrigo) exhibit the following symptoms…
- they seek out cool places to sleep, rest
- they may be hot to the touch
- they pant even when at rest
- they suffer from allergies
- they may have red skin and eyes
- they may show signs of anxiety
The ‘Cold' dogs (Sydney) exhibit the following symptoms…
- they seek out warm places to sleep, rest
- they are relaxed and calm
- they love blankets and snuggling; they'll have no trouble sleeping in bed with their humans (won't get overheated)
- they exhibit a lack of appetite at times
- and despite the image I used, they aren't fans of playing in the snow
Chinese medicine tells us that the food we feed our dogs is partially based on which category they fall into – hot or cold. Avoid warming foods and seek out cooling/neutral foods if you have a ‘hot' dog. Avoid cooling foods and seek out warming/neutral foods if you have a ‘cold' dog.
* I've been told that turkey is warming food, a neutral food, and a cooling food.
* I've seen salmon identified in different areas, so I'm not sure about this one. We don't feed our dogs raw salmon due to the risk of salmon poisoning, unless it comes from a reputable brand (I prefer Northwest Naturals and Raw Paws Pet Food). I've also tried canned salmon when I can get it on sale (canned fish is expensive!).
My Thoughts on Food Energetics
If you are trying to heal your dog through food energetics, I suggest working with a veterinarian who practices Chinese Medicine. In my experience, incorporating food energetics has helped my dogs, however, I work with an experienced, local veterinarian who is experienced in food energetics and guides me on my way.
Tackling food energetics without working with an experienced veterinarian or nutritionist can do more harm than good, in my opinion. While you're spending hours trying to figure everything out, your dog is still suffering. Working with an experienced professional helps you reach the finish line sooner. If you don't have a professional that you can work with, do what you can with your veterinarian on board and when your dog is more stable, you can take the time to better educate yourself about food energetics for future use.
I say this because while food energetic charts may make it look easy to unravel, in reality, it's more complicated.
You can find a vet through the AHVMA.
Resources on Food Energetics
- Herbsmith Inc Food and Dietary Charts
- Helping Allergies In Dogs With Food Energetics, Dogs Naturally Magazine
- Feeding Your Pet from the Perspective of Chinese Medicine, Dr. Patrick Mahaney
- The Yin & Yang of Pet Food: Preventing pet disease with Traditional Chinese Medicine, The Honest Kitchen
- TCVM Energetically Cooling Dog Food Recipe: Food Therapy Backed by Veterinarians, Becki Baumgartner for Pet|TAO
- Feeding your dog from a TCVM perspective, Dr. Judy Morgan for Animal Wellness Magazine
Dr. Morgan also has a book with recipes that take incorporate the energetics of food for dogs. You can now order Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs: Maximizing Health with Whole Foods, Not Drugs on Amazon.com