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Ayurveda and Your Dog

CATEGORY: Pet Care

Author: Alakananda Devi, M.B., B.S. (Lond.)

Just like you, your dog can benefit from an Ayurvedic approach to food and daily routine. The best routine for your dog is that which most closely resembles the natural life of a non-domestic dog.

Food
The single most important thing to for your dog’s health is to feed him a raw food diet. Here’s why:

Dry dog food provokes vata because it is dry and rough.

Dry dog food provokes pitta due to content of toxic chemicals such as ethoxyquin (used to harden rubber) and BTA. These lead to aggressive behavior and fighting.

Dogs are extremely prone to food allergies, if given the same food daily.Commercial dry dog foods often contain such items as rendered cats and dogs, cancerous parts of cows, meat from diseased animals (all so-called meat by-products) as well as sweepings from granary floors. Such foods can lead to prion-caused diseases such as mad-cow disease.

Commercial wet dog foods also contain dangerous meat by-products. Use a good quality wet food such as Innova, Wellness or California Natural.

Dogs don’t cook. Their natural diet is raw and this is what they can most easily digest and assimilate. If you are unable to prepare a raw diet for your dog, use a good quality wet food. However, your dog will live a longer, healthier and happier life if given a raw food diet.

Caring for your dog’s digestive fire
Although the following rules may sound harsh from a human’s perspective, they are essential for your dog’s health.

  • Leave 12-24 hours between feedings. Usually 24 hours is best, with a small treat in the evening, unless your dog’s vet suggests more frequent feedings
  • Do not expose your dog to food between feeding times.
  • All food MUST be room temperature to lukewarm, NEVER refrigerator-cold.
  • Rotate protein sources. Dogs readily develop food allergies and do not tolerate a mono-diet.
  • Don’t give your dog allergens such as dairy, wheat, corn yeast and soy.
    It took many millennia of agriculture for humans to develop the ability to digest these foods. Your dog does not have this evolutionary background and will very easily suffer severe allergy reactions to common treats from your plate or the pet shop.
  • Your dog needs a calm, safe place to eat, where they have no fear of being attacked.
  • Don’t feed old or stale food.
  • A raw food diet is ideal for your dog.

Exercise and weight
Give your dog plenty of exercise on a daily basis and do not allow your dog to become overweight. Letting your animal gain weight is one of the most common forms of dog abuse.

Emotional needs
As a pack animal your dog has specific emotional needs, not always the same as yours. Your dog needs company. If you must leave your dog alone for long hours, consider getting another dog or a kitten as a companion, or dropping your dog off during the day with a human, canine or feline friend.

Many dog breeds are bred for a specific function e.g. sheep herding. They will feel happier if they get a chance to do their job.

Speak gently to your dog and train them through rewards and positive feedback. Yelling at your dog or speaking harshly will reinforce aggression, both your own and the dog’s, damaging your spiritual growth and the dog’s behavior.

Sleep
According to the social structure of canines, exclusion from sleeping with the pack is a sign of ostracism. This is a severe emotional stress to your dog. As long as your dog has no fleas and you are not allergic to your dog, it may be best for him or her to sleep in a basket in your bedroom. Dogs often carry giardia, so it is important to keep your animal away from your pillow, face and personal items.