When you go to the doctor, chances are they ask you about your diet. Why? Because your diet is one of the key building blocks to overall health and well-being — and diet is even more important if you’re struggling with a health issue. In fact, one of the central tenants of Chinese medicine is that food has the power to heal; food therapy is often used to supplement other practices to restore balance back to the body.
When it comes to your beloved pet, the same mindset applies. Food therapy can be used to help treat your pet’s health issues. Many of our patients find relief through tailored diet plans, along with other traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) modalities: Tui-na (massage), acupuncture, and herbal medicines.
When creating a diet plan for your pet, we look at multiple facets to help guide us: their age, species, what their personality is like, and any current disharmony or disease they’re suffering from. Once we’ve observed your pet, we choose specific ingredients based on each food’s energetic properties (known as “temperature”) and taste. Certain foods are meant to “cool” the body, while others are meant to “warm.” For example, salmon maybe ideal for pets suffering from inflammatory skin conditions. And pets who are suffering from lethargy or low energy can benefit from different proteins.
According to TCVM theory, these diets fall into one of the categories below:
Health Promotion and Prevention:
Recipes in this category are designed to help your pet’s everyday health and prevent issues related to season and climate.
These recipes do as the name says — treat clinical health conditions, which include autoimmune diseases, skin issues, and a weakened immune system.
These recipes serve to complement primary treatments for your pet’s illness, including cancer, liver failure, and UTIs.
It should be noted that food therapy takes time to show positive results; pet owners looking for a quick fix need to be patient. Restoring balance to your pet’s body is a slow process. The good news is that food therapy, when done correctly, is extremely safe and virtually free of side effects.
I believe in the power of food therapy. In fact, I recently completed my first requirements for certification in Veterinary Food Therapy at The Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine. This program covers the art and science of tailoring diet plans to individual patients. I’m looking forward to helping my patients find balance and relief through food therapy.