Why Grounding Vata Dosha Is Important
The timeless wisdom of Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old holistic healing science of the East, teaches that each "being" is a unique individual with a unique mind-body constitution, or Dosha. This applies not only to dogs, humans and all living beings – seasons (and times of day) have a Dosha as well, in which certain natural elements predominate. By gaining an understanding of the Doshas in your dog's (and your own) internal and external environment, you can apply the healing principles of Ayurveda to bring about mind-body balance in an integrated and holistic way.
Fall is a season of change. It corresponds with the Vata Dosha, in which the elements of space and air – cold, dry, light, movement – are in excess. As these elements increase in the external environment, it can also mean an increase of Vata in your dog’s internal environment. When too much Vata accumulates in the body and mind, it may cause imbalances that can show up in dogs (or humans!) as restlessness, digestive issues, dry skin, worry or anxiety.
To help your canine companion stay balanced this fall, it’s quite beneficial to make some adjustments to their daily routine, diet and home environment to keep them in tune with the seasonal changes occurring in the physical environment.
Here are our top suggestions on how to use your dog’s five senses to help them stay calm, stable, grounded, moisturized and balanced this Vata season.
The most important principle to nourish your dog through their sense of taste is to give them warm, moist foods. Since Vata is cold, dry and rough, warm foods mixed with a little warm water, bone broth, olive oil or small amount of ghee have a wonderful soothing effect that immediately calms down restless Vata. Providing liquids to drink alongside a meal can also have a balancing affect, such as warm raw goats milk, bone broth or low sodium, organic vegetable broth. Try adding some cooked vegetables such as beets, carrots, squash or sweet potatoes to your dog’s food as well. Seasonal vegetables are always best. Check out a recipe for nourishing, grounding pumpkin dog treats at the end of this article.
Product Option: Honest Kitchen Bone Broth with Turmeric
Scents that help ground, balance and calm your dog are especially effective during Vata season. Therapeutic-grade essential oils such as citrus, cinnamon, vanilla or lavender can be used in several different ways. Always be mindful of how much more sensitive a dog’s sense of smell is compared to ours – go VERY easy on the scents. Try placing ½ drop on or around your dog’s bedding or mist oil on a hanky wrapped around the dogs collar. You can also use an oil diffuser in the room your dog is in, or put a very small amount of oil in your hands and allowing your dog to inhale the aroma from whatever distance they are comfortable with. You can also try mixing a small amount of essential oil with a drop or two of olive oil, dabbing the mixture at the base of your dog’s spine (between the top of the tail and bottom of spine), between their shoulder blades and on back of their head between the ears.
Soothing, calming music and sounds are a great tool to help ground and balance an anxious pup. There are a wide variety of CDs and music tracks available that are made specifically for dogs. Play these quietly in the room your dog is in, or use them as comforting background music while doing meditation or massage with your dog.
There are also a multitude of YouTube videos you can play that provide relaxing, anti-anxiety, or even sleep-promoting music for your pets! You can find just one of them here, and you can even find healing mantras on Youtube to bring about a sense of peace and balance – for both you and your pet.
The different colors in your dog’s environment can have a strong effect on their state of wellbeing. While dogs are not color blind as once believed, they don’t see colors and tones in the same way as humans. So although your pup may not be able to see the color of their bed like you do, colors emit an energy and dogs can sense that energy.
Try changing your dog’s bedding, blankets, collars, leashes, feeding bowls and mats to warming, earthy colors such as burgundy, chocolate, burnt orange, or sage green.
Product Option: Earthdog Solid Hemp Leashes
As the weather turns colder and the air becomes crisper, keep your pup feeling warm and cozy by bringing out heavier materials for their bedding, blankets and coats. Try using more fleece, corduroy, quilted covers, faux lambswool, faux fur, etc.
Product Option: Big Sky Dog Blankets
Keep in mind
As you integrate these tips into your dog’s life, keep in mind that maintaining routine and regularity is essential to balancing Vata. Do your best to create a stable, consistent daily routine for your pup – feeding them at the same time every day, walking them on a predictable schedule, and making time each day for sufficient rest, exercise, and play. As you weave these practices into your dog’s way of life this fall, you’ll notice that even making small changes will do wonders for the mind, body, and spirit of your beloved canine companion.
We (and the dogs) love this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen
Grain-Free Pumpkin Dog Treats
YIELD: 16 COOKIES
2 1/2 cups garbanzo flour
1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a medium bowl, add the garbanzo flour, peanut butter, eggs and pumpkin puree. Mix until completely combined.
The dough will be sticky, so flouring everything is important: the wax paper, rolling pin, cookie cutter and your hands. Transfer the dough to the floured piece of wax paper and roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies using a cookie-cutter of choice. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more cookies. (I used the pumpkin and dachshund cookie cutter and ended up with about 16 cookies.)
Transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. These cookies won't spread so you can place them close together without worrying. NOTE: If you don't want to roll out the dough, you can always scoop a teaspoon of dough onto a baking sheet, flattening the cookie a bit and baking it from there.
Bake the cookies for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the cookies to come to room temperature on a cooling rack. Cookies will be good for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article 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.