Chinese Food Therapy For The Veterinary Clinic

Chinese Food Therapy For The Veterinary Clinic

Recommended Article #01July23

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Chinese Food Therapy For The Veterinary Clinic

From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine approach, different foods can warm or cool the body, resolve stagnation, increase energy, dissolve Phlegm or drain Damp.

Most would probably have at least have heard of the phrase “you are what you eat” once in an entire lifetime. This phrase goes back to the early 19th century and could be originally attributed to the famous gastronome, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, when he said “tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are”. This principle applies not just to humans, but to animals as well. Food is the foundation of life. As pet parents, it is important to know that there are several benefits of feeding a high-quality diet, and understanding how the diet affects your furkids.

In short, the better the nutrients put into the body, the better the body will perform. It is impossible for your pet to attain good health if it is being fed processed foods, sugars, dyes, and high carbohydrate diets.

Dr Judy Morgan advocates the use of real foods for her patients and advocates foods that help heal specific conditions.

From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine approach, food, depending on the type, affects the body in multiple ways. The major categories Dr. Judy uses for food therapy include the ability to warm (Yang), or cool (Yin), resolve stagnation, increase energy, dissolve Phlegm, or drain Damp.

Cooling diets

Diseases like arthritis, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, and infections, are diseases that cause inflammation in the body. These dogs commonly drink and pant excessively to try and cool their bodies. Their tongues would usually be red or dark on examination. These pets could be cooled internally by changing their diet, which would in turn decrease the annoying symptoms that cause anxiety for their owners. A recommended diet for these “heaty” animals by Dr. Judy, would be a protein base diet of rabbit, wild-caught fish, or duck. Millet or barley would be good choices for grains. Dr. Judy would also try to get the pet off dry kibble as kibble promotes heat and drying in the body. An alternative for treats would be melon or banana pieces, which not only are cooling, but moisturizing as well.

Warming diets

If your furkid looks to be cold, seeks sunny spots to sleep, or hides under blankets in an attempt to stay warm, this is a pet that would need to be warmed internally. Proteins like lamb, venison, or chicken would help to contribute to Yang energy. If grains are used in the diet, oats would be a good choice. In Dr. Judy’s practice, she has found that many of her older patients with renal failure really enjoy the warmth of a warm bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon first thing in the morning.

Chronic skin and allergies

Many veterinarians would choose “novel” proteins like lamb or venison for dogs with chronic skin inflammation and allergies. While these may be novel proteins for the pet, they may not necessarily be the right choice for the disease. To tackle the problem of inflammation, itchy, red skin, a cooling protein would be a better choice. Many pets often respond better when taken off dry kibble. Dr. Judy is personally a big fan of feeding a well-balanced raw or home-prepared diet; rabbit being her personal favorite cooling, novel protein for most patients with dry, itchy, inflamed skin. Luckily, there are now many rabbit-based raw and canned diets available. Alligator is another good choice for those that may have that option available.

Qi tonics

Aside from warming or cooling the body, foods have also been used as “Qi” tonics to add energy. “Qi” is the energy of life. Older and weaker cats and dogs are in need of these Qi-boosting foods that will help increase this energy. Pets with weak Qi commonly have pale and wet tongues. Some common tonics include meats like beef, chicken, lamb, rabbit, and tripe, and vegetables like pumpkin, Shiitake mushrooms, squash, and sweet potato. These ingredients could be used to make a homecooked meal or as a topping to add to the furkid’s current diet.

Phlegm dissolving

Food could also be used to dissolve phlegm. Phlegm is a thick, sticky and mucoid substance that is usually seen in pets with pneumonia or upper respiratory disease. This could be in the form of lumps, bumps, and nodules internally or under the skin. Bladder and gallbladder stones are also forms of Phlegm. The same goes for the thick and sticky discharge seen in dry eye, otherwise known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

Phlegm could be seen on the tongue as thick bubbles or a greasy, sticky coating. It is usually formed when the secretions in the body become too dry. Furkids on dry kibble diets are more likely to have issues with Phlegm. Foods like apples, clams, kelp, pears, peppermint, and radishes are great for dissolving mucous. It would be best to avoid dairy product-type foods since milk is really just a form of mucous.


Several bumps, lumps, swollen internal organs, and tumors fall into the category of “stagnation”. IVDD is a localized area of Qi and Blood stagnation. Pets with aggression or anxiety or those with seizures, may be suffering from Liver Qi stagnation. These are forms of stagnation in which blood and energy have become “stuck”. Pets with these problems have a common symptom of a lavender-colored tongue, akin to a situation where it is like that of a bruise, an area where blood became stagnant or has pooled. Not only would it have a lavender color, but it is also painful to the touch. To aid with getting the blood moving, and decreasing stagnation, the pet could be given foods like crab, ginger, lamb, radishes, shrimp, turmeric, venison, and vinegar. A great supplement, “golden paste”, made with black pepper, Ceylon cinnamon, coconut oil, and organic ground turmeric could be used to try and resolve stagnation.

Damp draining

There is a saying in Traditional Chinese Medicine: “The Earth element creates Damp, and the Metal element stores it”. The organs of the stomach and spleen are associated with the Earth element, while the large intestine and lungs are associated with the Metal element. When Dampness is created from impaired digestion, it usually likes to end up in the large intestine and lungs. When Dampness is stored in the large intestine, loose, mucoid, or sticky stools that are difficult to clean up, or diarrhea with undigested food bits become a common sight. Damp diseases include ascites, edema, or anything that causes fluid retention in the body. The tongue would generally be swollen with a thick white coating, while there may possibly be indentations along the tongue edges where it is in contact with the teeth. Damp conditions are usually caused by cucumber, dairy products, lamb, pork, and melons in the diet, which ought to be avoided in pets suffering from Dampness. To counter this, the diet could include asparagus, barley, celery, mushrooms, radishes, seaweed, and turnips to drain the Dampness.

In short, food therapy could be considered an additional tool in a pet parent's box of magic to help one's pet attain improved health through the preparation of ingredients at home so that the pet would reap the benefits of wholesome, delicious meals.

Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT, graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. She earned her certification for Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation in 1995, and went on to attain her certifications for Acupuncture and Food Therapy from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Morgan is a nationally renowned author, speaker, and holistic veterinarian certified in acupuncture, food therapy, and chiropractic care for dogs, cats, and horses. She has even authored three books on holistic pet care and feeding and is a co-host on the Radio Pet Lady network.

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JJ E-Homez Holistic Pet, a Singapore online pet store that focuses on the holistic well-being of your beloved furkid. Our recommended products aim to support and improve health, emotional and physical well-being, and help your pet have a better quality of life without compromise. Look out for Essential, Trendy and Premium quality pet products that are specially curated, with the pet parents concerns' as a priority. 

This blog first appeared on the Innovative Veterinary Care website, where this article "Chinese Food Therapy For The Veterinary Clinic" was curated and sourced from.

Original source: https://ivcjournal.com/chinese-food-therapy-veterinary-clinic/

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JJ E-Homez Holistic Pet has curated and reproduced this article in good faith, which may contain an element of consumer opinion, but cannot be held responsible for any information inaccuracies in it or any use assumed from this information by the reader. JJ E-Homez Holistic Pet welcomes positive recommendations for holistic healthcare products, but does not necessarily endorse the author’s opinion. We acknowledge each animal is an individual and may react differently to the highlighted product/s, and that there may also be other similar effective products available.


General recommendations made by JJ E-Homez Holistic Pet are solely for informational and educational purposes, and are not a substitute for the appropriate veterinary care. It is important to always consult professional help if you have concerns about your furkid’s health.

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