Incorporating these ancient Ayurvedic principles and techniques into your dog’s lifestyle will help prevent illness while increasing his everyday health and well-being.
The oldest tricks in the book are sometimes the best. This is certainly true of the timeless healing science of Ayurveda. This proven and highly effective 5,000-year-old modality can be applied to our dogs with good results. Using some simple and easy-to-apply techniques from the Ayurvedic approach, your dog can enjoy great improvement in his overall health and well-being.
An individualized approach
It’s important to know that Ayurveda is not a “one size fits all” approach. It teaches that all sentient beings have a unique mind-body personality, also referred to as their “dosha”. Knowing your dog’s dosha can be very helpful in determining his natural tendencies, behaviors, disposition, and common ailments. It also helps you pinpoint what your dog needs in order to achieve and/or maintain steady, vibrant health, and can provide an access point to the root of his physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. A clear Ayurvedic roadmap can be tailored to support your pup’s wellness and longevity, and essentially bring him back into his natural state of balance.
Understanding the three doshas
There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. All beings are made up of all three doshas, but we each carry our own unique ratio or combination of them – and so do our dogs. It is this personal “recipe” that determines one’s primary dosha or constitution.
For example, a Vata type will have more Space + Air; a Pitta type more Fire + Water; and a Kapha type more Earth + Water. This gives us a wonderful foundation for better understanding how the elements, which are obvious outside of us, are also present inside of us.
Ayurveda provides specific practices, techniques, and lifestyle shifts to assist us in balancing all three doshas. When we or our dogs experience a certain physical, emotional, or even spiritual challenge, Ayurveda guides us towards which dosha needs attention.
To find out what your dog’s primary dosha is, take a quick Dog Dosha Quiz at SAMADOG.COM/QUIZ.
Dosha qualities – and how to address imbalances in your dog
When the doshas appear to be out of balance, Ayurveda offers specific steps to regain that balance through lifestyle changes and natural treatments. This boosts your ability to address your dog’s health and behavioral issues at the root source, supports the length and quality of his life, and even creates a deeper soul connection between you.
- Vata dosha has dry, light, and mobile qualities. When a dog’s Vata is in balance, he is active, energetic, and very social. Vata that’s out of balance may express itself as anxiety, fear, or hyperactivity. A Vata-imbalanced dog may have a weak appetite, lose weight, or struggle with arthritis. If your dog is shy, insecure, or fidgety, Vata imbalance could be the culprit.
How to balance this dosha:
- You can help balance Vata dosha by thinking consistency. If your dog is Vata imbalanced, establish a grounding routine that includes an exceptionally stable and peaceful environment. Your dog will benefit from regular exercise followed by massage (add in some deep audible breathing) and a good brushing.
- Nourishing foods for Vata are warm and moist, and include goat’s milk, healthy oils, and lightly-cooked root vegetables.
- The scents of vanilla or cedar, used very lightly and never directly on your dog’s hair or skin, will provide grounding and balance.
- Pitta dosha shows as being hot, moist, and sharp. A dog with his Pitta in balance is a focused, purposeful, and attentive canine. Too much Pitta will often be evidenced by skin problems (including rashes), digestive disorders, and inflammation. Mentally, a Pitta-imbalanced dog might have some aggression, be overly intense, or exhibit jealous behavior.
How to balance this dosha:
- Pitta pups favor foods and environments that are cooling in order to regulate their heat. During the hot seasons, they should have a cool resting spot designated just for them. Cucumber, apple, pumpkin puree, and parsley – all cooling foods – can be added to their diet, along with a bit of coconut oil.
- It’s best for Pitta dogs to avoid intense situations or overstimulation. Many enjoy a good swim or time near water. During playtime, skip the roughhousing and introduce mentally-stimulating activities instead, like agility, games, or fetch.
- Especially light scents, such as rose or lavender, can help a Pitta-imbalanced pup regain balance.
- Every dog will enjoy meditating, but Pittas in particular should meditate with you daily.
- Kapha dosha presents as stable, consistent, and heavy. A balanced Kapha dog is strong, reliable, and has great stamina. Excessive Kapha leads to stagnation, lethargy, and possessive behavior. A dog that is withdrawn, overweight, or unaccepting of change could be Kapha imbalanced.
How to balance this dosha:
- Kapha canines need activity. Although it’s common for Kaphas to want to withdraw or hide when out of balance, dog parents should remember to “keep Kaphas moving” and provide a daily schedule of invigorating play and activity.
- Use bright, energizing colors and patterns on their bedding, collars, etc. to add energy.
- Keep meals on the lighter side by including pureed leafy green vegetables and a small amount of finely-chopped ginger to stimulate digestion. Avoid avoid heavy, fatty foods, processed foods and treats (aka junk food for dogs).
- Kaphas may benefit from very light scents of cinnamon or sage.
Understanding the three doshas helps us better understand our dogs and allows us to more easily work with nature to enhance their overall well-being. Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendations are especially applicable to our canine companions because they support healing through the senses – taste, touch, smell, and sight. Canines live in an entirely sensory-oriented world, so by adjusting their environments, we can literally change their lives.
Getting back to nature
Over the centuries, we have slowly moved away from the natural world and its ability to nurture and heal our bodies and minds. And we’ve brought our canine companions right along with us. We are currently living in an era of significant medical advances that help treat disease and injuries.
These are important developments, of course, but why isn’t our focus also on promoting everyday health and well-being, which doubles as preventative medicine? Ayurvedic medicine does exactly that. It offers innumerable natural methods and practices to reconnect the body/mind to its innate healing capability.
Enjoy your Ayurvedic journey towards a more natural lifestyle together. By practicing the suggestions presented in this article, you’ll soon see healing benefits in your canine companion — physically, behaviorally, and in the form of a more profound bond with your best friend.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or behavioral advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified animal health care provider with any questions you may have regarding your dog’s medical or behavioral condition/s.