What Chinese Herbs Can I Use for My Dog?
Common Patterns of Imbalance in Dogs According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
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Spleen Qi Deficiency in Dogs
Internal Dampness can develop due to Spleen Qi Deficiency in animals contributing to many disease patterns including digestive disorders, skin conditions, pain, atrophy, muscle weakness, low energy, or obesity. Spleen Qi Deficiency can also be indicated by lack of appetite, inability to absorb foods and nutrients, bloating, or weak digestion of pets. Spleen Qi Deficiency also develop with signs of excessive Internal Dampness such as lipomas, chronic sinus congestion or Lung Phlegm, skin eruptions, fungal infections, and rashes with drainage or puss. Tiredness an weakness of the muscles are also signs of Spleen Qi Deficiency in pets. Consider our Earth Element Spleen Qi Tonic for dogs!
Internal Dampness (Fixed Bi)
When Internal Dampness occurs, your pets’ condition will worsen in damp weather, and your pet will dislike getting wet. You should make sure that your pet does not repeatedly have to sit on damp or wet ground as this can contribute to Dampness. Additionally, pets should be given shelter from rainy conditions to avoid exacerbating Fixed Bi. As Internal Dampness sets in over time, it coagulates and becomes more and more difficult to treat; the longer your pet has suffered with this condition, the longer it will take to treat. Pets prone to developing chronic Internal Dampness tend to have Spleen Qi Deficiency.
Diabetes in Dogs
In Chinese medicine, the pancreas is part of the Spleen energetic organ system. While there can be several indications of imbalance related to diabetes, the most common patterns are Spleen and Kidney Yin imbalances.
Liver Imbalances in Dogs
There are often indications of Liver imbalances with joint stiffness, as the Wood Element governs over the joints and this system that includes the Liver, is responsible for bathing the joints in blood, and insuring that they do not become dry and stiff.
Liver imbalances are common with eye problems, arthritis and joint issues, hypertension, and hepatitis. You may notice increased irritability, rib tenderness, or that your pet angers easily as Liver Qi Stagnation develops. Chronic stress or pharmaceutical medications that your pets may be taking can cause Liver Qi Stagnation. Liver Qi Stagnation can cause the Liver to overact on many other organ systems and can be associated with digestive problems and sleep problems. A pet with Liver issues (Chinese medicine) may seem impatient or frustrated. Consider our Wood Element Liver Support formula for dogs!
If Liver congestion is not cleared up, Liver-Fire can develop in time. Liver-Fire can also be the result of medications in pets, chemotherapy, or toxic poisoning as well as chronic abuse of pets. Liver-Fire conditions would be indicate with dogs who are especially agitated, develop red eyes, pace a great deal, or cannot sleep normally. Detoxification herbs taste very bad to dogs.
Damp Heat in Dogs
Liver-Fire can combine with Dampness to create any number of complicated conditions. Toxic Damp-Heat can manifest as damp-type eczema, jaundice, itchy skin disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, itching around and possible discharges around genitals in pets.
Restrictions due to joint stiffness can lessen your pet’s quality of life as your once playful cat or dog becomes increasingly sedentary. Chinese medicine designates arthritic and muscle pain as ‘Bi Syndrome’ (pronounced bee) and can include pain and stiffness, osteoarthritis, canine hip dysplasia, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, spondylosis and intervetebral disc diseases (most common in Dachshunds). Pains caused by arthritic conditions are typically chronic and the symptoms may develop gradually and can be more difficult to recognize than pain due to an injury. Dogs generally show a change in behavior or personality when they’re experiencing chronic pain. Look to our all-natural Joint Flexibility Support formula for dogs in pain.
Back leg edema or coldness in dogs would be a clear indication of Kidney Yang Deficiency and would indicate our Water Element Yang Tonic for Dogs. Additionally, renal failure, infertility, and hypothyroidism are indications of Kidney deficiency. In Chinese medicine, the Kidney energetic system is paired with the Bladder; incontinence and dribbling also be indications of Kidney Deficiency.
Pain and Stiffness (Cold Bi) in Dogs
Herbs can actually target the tendons and joints relieving stiffness and inflammation. Your pet would have difficulty moving especially in cold weather, trouble getting up after sitting, and probably does not prefer that the joints be rubbed or massaged with indications of Cold-Bi. This condition is often seen in dogs with hip dysplasia and hind leg weakness.
Kidney Yin Deficiency in Dogs
Chronic heat or stress in your pet can consume the Yin and lead to Yin Deficiency that must also be addressed for prolonged wellness. Many disease patterns including hyperthyroidism, diabetes, excessive hunger, insomnia, or Cushing syndrome can have elements of Kidney Yin Deficiency. Yin Deficiency can also be indicated in cases of constipation with very dry bowel movements. When Kidney Yin Deficiency is present in your dog, their symptoms can be worse at night time. In cases of Yin Deficiency in dogs, consider our Water-Yin formula!
With Yin Deficient pain patterns you would notice that your dog experiences more discomfort and limited movement during warm weather, dry weather conditions, or in the evening. Pets will often have dry skin and will be thirsty much of the time. You may also notice that your dog has scanty condensed urination, but may want to urinate often. Your pet may also appear to be irritable.
Healthy Pet Coat
Nourishing the Kidney energetic system and invigorating Blood flow can help to produce a shiny, healthy coat for your furry friend while preventing cracked paws and dry, flaky, or itchy skin. Dry flaky skin is an indication of Yin Deficiency.
Heart Qi and/or Heart Blood deficiency would be indicated by easy fright or lack of fright to something like thunder, trouble focusing, poor memory and sleeping disorders. Dogs who are recovering from heart worms, or any pet that has a weak heart function can benefit from the Fire Element Heart tonic formula.
Lung Deficiencies would be indicated by chronic coughs (dry or wet), COPD, bronchitis, and asthma in pets which are especially common in dogs. Lung Qi Deficiency would also be indicated with frequent colds and nasal congestion. Consider our Lung Support Metal Element formula for dogs!
In Chinese medicine, the Wei Qi circulates at the surface of the body and protects the body from pathogens; it is said that disease cannot occur if the Wei Qi (immune response) is strong enough. Often, the Wei Qi is compromised by disease, chronic stress or old age, and must be re-enforced for your pet to maintain health and vitality. This Wei Qi formula would be especially appropriate for any pet who has chronic infections, allergies, colds, or who has a compromised immune response.
Herbs that re-enforce the Spleen-Kidney-Heart are indicated when animals are not thriving, are weak or tired, have developed rear weakness, are not able to maintain a healthy body weight, or who have urinary incontinence, or dribbling. You may notice graying of your pets’ coat, or a lackluster fur which would indicate decline in an aging dog. Consider our Aging Dog Support which includes rejuvenating tonic herbs.
Nervine-type herbs for calming pets down when they are over-excited, or to use to keep them calm before a stressful event such as visiting the veterinarian's office, traveling, or a move. Adaptogen-type herbs in the Calm Shen formula work over time to help moderate the nervous system of a dog who tends to be aggressive or who suffers from anxiety.
For dogs who are experiencing chronic stress, and ongoing stressful situations such as a loved owner's prolonged absence, consider adding the Wood Element formula to the Calm Shen formula. Liver herbs in the Wood Element formula would also help with aggression in dogs.
Why did My Dog Get Sick?
The type of health issues that Chinese herbs can address in dogs listed here are chronic in nature. This means that the condition has likely been developing over a matter of months or years. Chronic conditions also arise due to the genetic disposition of a dog. Environmental conditions can also contribute to chronic health conditions in dogs; an example may be a dog who lives near the water or in a humid climate developing Damp conditions internally. Causes of disease in Chinese medicine.
What are Patterns of Imbalance?
In traditional Chinese medicine one disease or one ailment can manifest in many different ways. An example might be that there is not just one type of arthritis; one patient may have hot joints; another patient may have pain that wanderers from joint to joint; yet another patient may have cold stiff joints. Never-the-less, all three conditions may be referred to as "arthritis". Chinese medicine breaks down each individuals specific symptoms, or indications, in to patterns so that the specifically correct herbs are administered. To diagnose a pattern of imbalance it is not necessary that ALL indications are manifesting. However, just one indication certainly does not create a pattern of imbalance. Therefore, you are looking for at least three indications in the list of symptoms Chinese medical terminology and definitions can be found here.
How Do I Choose the Correct Herb Formula for My Dog?
We have provided the main types of patterns for specific conditions on this website. The pattern will correspond directly with the product that addresses the imbalance. It should be understood that most dogs who have developed chronic diseases and internal balances will have multiple disease patterns and require several formulas used at one time. We often refer to these patterns as complicated disease patterns!
How Long Must My Dog Take the Herbs?
Chronic conditions do not clear up quickly in humans or dogs. About 20% of dog owners may see improvement of the condition in the first month of herbal therapy. Most should expect to see some type of indication that the dog is improving by the end of the second month. It will likely take 4-6 months or more to fully resolve any chronic condition in dogs with regular dosing.
When Can I Discontinue Giving the Herbs to My Dog?
Continue giving the herbs at full dose for at least three weeks after the last symptom has dissipated. In Chinese medicine, one organ system out of balance will eventually lead to all the energetic organ systems becoming imbalanced. Therefore, your dog will likely have symptoms of more than one pattern of imbalance and will require a combination of remedies.
Important Note: Our products are not intended for use with nursing dogs or bitches unless recommended by your veterinarian.