When I first started feeding my dogs raw food I was overwhelmed and somewhat confused. That was over five years ago. I have learned a ton and made it a priority to educate myself to benefit my dogs and so I could teach other dog parents about feeding raw food. The raw feeding learning curve doesn’t happen overnight. There is a transition for dogs and humans that must take place.
One of the most beneficial things I have learned is how to choose the right protein and additional foods to feed each of my dogs. If you are in my Facebook group, I just did a live video yesterday about how I feed my dogs as individuals. I couldn’t imagine feeding Izzy the same foods as Hudson or Mylah because the three of my dogs are so different. That is what I think a lot of us forget. We just think, ‘oh feed all three this and it’s fine!’. But that mentality really doesn’t work because every dog is different. Dogs all share the scientific fact that they are carnivores BUT every dog will react to certain foods in a different way. Just in the same way we as humans are different and require (and like) different foods, we need to think of our dogs like this.
So, how do you choose the best foods to feed your dog? For Izzy and Hudson, I use TCM Food Energetics. Mylah is a completely different scenario because she has multiple medical issues so I am going to keep her out of this and focus on the best raw foods for your specific dog using Izzy and Hudson as examples.
Using TCM Food Energetics
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), food energetics are used to look at how food affects our bodies from a neutral, cool and warm standpoint. So instead of evaluating foods based on protein, calories, and carbs like Western culture does, TCM looks at vitamin and mineral content in addition to the sensations foods have on our bodies. For dogs suffering from allergies – warm and hot foods must be avoided. When you look at your dog’s behavior and then pair it with TCM food energetics I bet you might see some ways you can improve your dog’s diet.
For example, for a long time, I fed my dog Hudson chicken because he loves chicken. He would have allergic skin flare-ups… but he also loved chicken. Raw chicken really messed with his skin so sometimes I would cook it for him too. Ultimately, feeding chicken just wasn’t working long term for him. When I applied TCM food energetics to Hudson, I realized he is a dog who runs warmer. It’s a running joke that we call him a furnace because he makes us warm when he snuggles with us and it never lasts because he often gets overheated (he is a warm / even a hot (yang) dog is what I found.
So, Hudson needs to be on a diet of cooling foods – and guess what? His skin irritations have decreased! I have also made an effort to include many anti-inflammatory natural supplements into his diet like golden paste and flax seed paste.
How do you figure out which are the best raw foods to feed your dog using this method?
Start by using the descriptions below of a neutral, cool or warm dog and then match it to the infographic I made above! Then start incorporating those foods into your dog’s diet. As with any new food being introduced to your dog, take it slow!
Neutral Dog: The Yin and Yang of your dog are in balance – your dog is able to develop and maintain warmth while showing qualities of coolness by being quiet and an inward but confident dog. If you want your dog to be balanced then try using neutral foods to harmonize your dog’s body.
Cool Dog (Yin): Your dog shows signs of being cooler if they are a cuddler and seek out warmth in the bed or under blankets. Some clinical signs are fatigue or weakness. If your dog has a poor appetite or issues with diarrhea and losing weight – these can be signs of needing warmer foods and being out of balance.
Warm Dog (Qi Tonic): This is a dog who likes to lie on a cool floor and seeks out areas that are cooler. They aren’t super interested in cuddling because they get overheated. These dogs will pant, be thirsty and can be restless at night. They also might have dry skin. If a dog is running hot (yang) they are often dogs who show signs of inflammation and are overly active or outward.
Hudson – runs warm and has been hot in the past. So I feed him cooling foods mainly but some neutral foods as well (he does well with pork).
Izzy – has been pretty much a neutral dog but has shown some signs of being warmer so I introduced some cooling foods which are helpful for her especially in the summer because she has a thick warm coat.