Amanda Ree Ringnalda
It’s that time of year again when you get to enjoy longer days, more time outdoors, and generally more space to relax and experience life’s blessings. Each season brings its gifts, as well as its challenges.
Ayurveda suggests that you make considerations for each season since they can have a strong impact on your body and mind. Being that Ayurveda is “the science of life,” its principles apply to all living things. By reflecting on this wisdom, you can gain the ability to self-manage your own well-being.
If you have a canine companion who holds a special place in your heart, it’s especially interesting and helpful to understand how the summer season affects their health and well-being as well. When you practice intentional choice-making on behalf of your beloved dog, you can support them to have a comfortable, safe, and long life.
Summertime and The Pitta Dosha
Summer is the season governed by Pitta (fire) dosha—one of the three qualities of nature that make up your mind-body constitution, as defined within the science of Ayurveda. Maybe you’re already aware of your dosha. If not, you can take a Human Dosha Quiz Here.
But did you realize that you dog has a dosha too? The same timeless principles apply to your furry friends, so by understanding the qualities of each dosha, you’re able to interpret which of them is most predominant in your dog. You can take a DOG Dosha Quiz Here to learn your dog’s type.
Ayurveda can guide you to align with nature and live in harmony with the seasons. Animals know exceptionally well how to ebb and flow with the natural progression of time, and nature overall effortlessly allows continual transformation to happen as the year unfolds. Yet humans tend to disregard the natural rhythms of change and go about their busy lives with convenience as their guiding principle. When a body/mind – whether it is human or animal – is out of harmony with its natural balance, it can and will eventually become ill.
You have choices. Free will. When you’re made aware of the ways in which you can adjust your lives to be more in tune with Mother Nature, and you make your choices accordingly, in no time at all you’re able to feel the ease of your most natural existence. Aligning with nature is the essence of Ayurveda.
Here are a host of ways you can help your pup (and yourself) stay balanced, safe, and in optimal health throughout this summer season, inspired by Ayurveda:
Add a small amount of the following foods to your dog’s meal daily to help reduce the temperature within the body:
*Note that all whole foods added should be pureed or slightly cooked. You can also add Aloe Vera gel or juice and coconut oil.
Water, Water, Water
Water is the most cooling of the elements and critical for maintaining the equilibrium of the fire element. Therefore, the taste of water, as well as its sight, sound, smell, and feel is going to bring more of that element closer.
Bring your pup, especially if they enjoy water, to the ocean, a lake, or a river to benefit from all its rejuvenating effects. If you don’t have access to a body of water, they’ll gratefully settle for a kiddie pool or small sprinkler setup in the backyard. Inside the house, try providing them with an ample water bowl, a tabletop fountain, or the sounds of water via CD or digital music. The essence of water is what’s needed—so get creative!
It goes without saying that it’s best to consume more fluids in the summer, and this certainly applies to your pets too. One easy way to get them more hydrated is to simply add a little filtered water to their food. This is especially important if you’re feeding your pet kibble (dry food), which falls way short of how much moisture animals actually require in their diet. So, go ahead and make it soupy!
When you see the cooling colors of water, it sends a soothing wave through your internal landscape. Although it’s true that dogs aren’t able to see the same vivid color as humans, studies now show that dogs do see shades of color – it’s much less saturated, but they still see tones and hues.
So choose soothing tones like blues, greens, and pastels for their bedding, collar, blankets, etc. Even simply placing a lightly colored old bed sheet over their dog bed is usually a summer delight for your furry friend.
Ice Is Nice
Some dogs especially love to eat ice. This is a great cooling snack, although you should be careful of it becoming sharp when broken, so it’s best to feed smaller cubes. Making your own little pupsicles for your dog is a lot of fun. In your standard ice trays, you can add various foods such as peanut butter (slightly watered down) or a low-sodium chicken broth with a little treat or a few blueberries in each one. Or try some plain yogurt with mashed banana inside. Your dog will be so grateful for all your effort!
Even the most devoted pet parents sometimes forget to consider what an experience is like for your dogs – especially when outdoors or in the car. Please do your very best to think about the temperature of the ground and their proximity to it, or their difficulty in cooling themselves down when exposed to the sun – especially if they have a shorter snout. It’s important to use doggie sunblock on bellies and noses of the pups who like to lounge in the direct sun. Sadly, they can get skin cancer too.
It’s your honor and privilege to be the guardians of such beautiful creatures. And it’s likely you agree with that statement if you’re reading this article. So how you care for them makes all the difference to their physical health, as well as to their behavior, their dynamics with other humans and animals, and their emotional well-being. By helping them to stay in balance, you help them to be the very best version of their dog-selves they can possibly be! And everybody wins.
Now, off to the dog beach!
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