What Is a Dosha?

The term dosha in Ayurveda refers to each being’s unique physical and mental constitution, which influences their tendencies and personality. Each being — human, canine, or any other — has their own dominant dosha.

Ayurveda provides tools to help restore balance. It's based on the principle that we are all comprised of a combination of the five great elements; space, air, fire, water and earth. The ratio we possess of each element determines our predominant mind-body type or dosha. Every-body has all three doshas within them, yet each of us possesses a unique combination of these qualities. And just like us, dogs have doshas too. Also like us, their dosha(s) can become imbalanced and lead to many physical or mental/emotional disturbances. 

What's the big idea? To bring balance to the doshas, and the body/mind system overall. This is the path to the ideal state of equanimity or ultimate balance ("Sama").

The three doshas are: Vata, Pitta and Kapha


THE THREE DOSHAS
(in the context of canines)

VATA (Space + Air)

Vata dosha has the qualities of dry, light and mobile. When in balance, dogs are energetic, active and especially social. When out of balance, this can manifest as weight loss, arthritis and lacking appetite. Behaviorally, an excess of Vata can present itself as anxiety, fear or hyperactivity. If your pup is shy, insecure or anxious, his Vata might be imbalanced.

Dogs with a predominance of Vata dosha usually have a thin, light frame and excellent agility. They are generally lively, happy animals who could be called “busy bodies.” Their energy comes in bursts yet they can tire quickly. Vatas typically have drier skin and fur and cold paws. They sleep lightly and their digestion can be sensitive.

Function of Vata

  • Vata controls the movement of the body and mind.
  • Vata governs assimilation, the thought process and activities of the nervous system.

When Vata dosha becomes imbalanced

  • Vata imbalance can manifest in the BODY as weight loss, constipation, hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness and digestive challenges.
  • Vata imbalance can manifest in the MIND as anxiety, fear, nervous behaviors and an overall lack of ease. 

BALANCING TIPS for Vata Dosha :: Establish a grounding routine – think consistency

  • Regular exercise is beneficial and they will likely enjoy a good massage or brushing after.
  • Practice calm communication and presence, doing your best to provide a stable, peaceful environment.
  • The scents of lavender, cedar and chamomile are balancing for Vata dosha (always applied especially lightly for animals).
  • FOODS: Neutral to warming meats. Grounding, warm, moist foods like root vegetables, grains (if not allergic) and goat milk.

MORE TIPS AND PRODUCTS FOR BALANCING :: VATA DOSHA

Articles:
Benny’s Blog — Vata Dosha

Videos:
Cooking Video — Vata

Supplements:
Ayush Herbs – Ashwagandha

Treats:
Healthy Hound Dog Biscuits – Zen Sampler

Ayurvedic Dog Food:
Curry n Pepper Dog Food — Vata Blend

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food:
Ideal options for supporting Vata:

KEEN — Turkey is neutral to slightly warming plus carrots, potatoes and oats.
VERVE — Beef is neutral, plus barley and oats, potatoes, apples, green leafy vegetables and eggs.
LOVE — Beef is neutral, sweet potato, pumpkin and honey are grounding.
EMBARK *grain-free — Turkey is neutral to slightly warming, contains root vegetables like carrots as well as green beans.

The Honest Kitchen (Ayurvedic) Bone Broth: Chicken + Cardamom (Cardamom is grounding).
Ayurvedic Golden Milk


PITTA (Fire + Water)

Pitta dosha is marked by being hot, sharp and moist. When Pitta is in balance, dogs are focused, attentive and purposeful. When out of balance, excess Pitta can create digestive disorders, rashes and other skin problems. Mental evidence of Pitta imbalance will show as aggression, intense behavior, jealousy or over-reactivity.

Dogs with a predominance of Pitta dosha usually have a more muscular or athletic build. They can require an above-average amount of exercise. Their purposeful demeanor and sharp mind are kept balanced by having “jobs.” They prefer cooler environments and their bodies run warm. Pittas have a fiery nature which manifests in both body and mind.

Function of Pitta

  • Pitta controls transformation of the body and mind.
  • Pitta governs digestion, metabolism and energy production.

When Pitta dosha becomes imbalanced

  • Pitta imbalance can manifest in the BODY as digestive disorders, rashes and other skin problems and an excess of heat buildup.
  • Pitta imbalance can manifest in the MIND as aggression, jealousy, reactivity, hyperactivity or generally intense behavior.

BALANCING TIPS for Pitta dosha :: Favor cooling environments and food

  • Make time for swimming, water sprinklers and cool baths. Designate a cool place for him to rest.
  • Forgo rough-housing for non-aggressive and mentally stimulating play, like fetch.
  • Meditate together daily or simply set aside some peaceful time for the two of you.
  • The scents of sandalwood, mint, rose and lemongrass are typically enjoyable for Pitta dogs.
  • Cooling foods are ideal, like cucumber, apple, aloe vera or parsley.

MORE TIPS AND PRODUCTS FOR BALANCING :: PITTA DOSHA

Articles:
Benny’s Blog — Pitta Dosha

Supplements:
Ayush Herbs — Turmeric

Treats:
Healthy Hound Dog Biscuits — Nama-Stay Blend (Peanut Butter and Turmeric)

Ayurvedic Dog Food:
Curry n Pepper Dog Food — Pitta Blend

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food:
Ideal options for supporting Pitta:

SPRUCE — Duck is cooling, plus sweet potatoes, navy beans, eggs are astringent.                     
VERVE — Beef is neutral, plus barley and oats, potatoes, apples, green leafy vegetables and eggs.
LOVE *grain-free — Beef is neutral, sweet potato, pumpkin and honey.

The Honest Kitchen (Ayurvedic) Bone Broth:  Beef + Turmeric (Turmeric is cooling and anti-inflammatory)    Ayurvedic Golden Milk


KAPHA (Water + Earth)

Kapha dosha is represented as heavy, stable and consistent. When in balance, Kapha is reliable, strong and has great stamina. But when too much Kapha is accumulated, stagnation, lethargy or possessive behavior can show up. In the mind, it might be expressed as withdrawal, laziness, and difficulty accepting change. A four-legged friend with bad breath or some body odor may also be Kapha imbalanced.

Dogs with a predominance of Kapha dosha usually have more mass to their body and really love their food! They have excellent stamina, sleep soundly and are loyal, steady and loving. Kaphas are usually calm, lower-maintenance dogs who are good with children and other pets.

Function of Kapha

  • Kapha controls the structure and stability of the body and mind.
  • Kapha governs the skeletal and muscular structures, holds the cells together and its main function is protection.

When Kapha dosha becomes imbalanced

  • Kapha imbalance can manifest in the BODY as stagnation, lethargy, possessive behavior and a buildup of toxicity (which can be smelly).
  • Kapha imbalance can manifest in the MIND as laziness, withdrawal, difficulty accepting change and a tendency to become overly attached.

BALANCING TIPS for Kapha Dosha :: Keep your pup active and motivated

  • Implement daily invigorating movement and play; keep Kaphas moving.
  • Ideal scents to balance Kapha include cinnamon, basil and sage.
  • Avoid heavy, fatty foods and prepare light, energizing options instead.
  • Some green leafies are always great choice.

MORE TIPS AND PRODUCTS FOR BALANCING :: KAPHA DOSHA

Articles:
Benny’s Blog — Kapha Dosha

Videos:
Cooking Video — Kapha

Supplements:
Ayush Herbs — Triphala

Treats:
Healthy Hound — Peaceful Pup Blend (Goji Berry and Ginger)

Ayurvedic Dog Food:
Curry n Pepper Dog Food — Kapha Blend

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food:
Ideal options for supporting Kapha:

HOPE — Beef is neutral and chickpeas are astringent.
KEEN — Turkey is neutral to slightly warming.
ZEAL *grain-free — Fish is neutral and grain-free will decrease common Kapha yeast.

The Honest Kitchen (Ayurvedic) Bone Broth: Turkey + Ginger Spice (Ginger is invigorating and stimulating to digestion).


Disclaimer: The information presented on this page and website is not intended to be 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 pet's medical or behavioral condition/s.