Ahhh, spring! A time of fresh starts, flowers in full bloom, warmer weather… and possibly a few irritating bugs and dreaded allergies. This year, we’re here to help both you and your dog welcome spring with open arms and zero fear, focusing on the season’s beauty by minimizing any adverse effects that might come with it. It takes a little preparation, but it’s well worth the effort.
Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system that forms the foundation of Sama Dog’s teachings, associates each season with a dosha, or a certain constitution that correlates with the different elements that make up the world and everything on it – air, space, fire, water and earth.
The qualities of Kapha dosha, linked to the elements of earth and water, are heavy, moist, slow, steady and cool. Winter and spring is the season of Kapha. Winter is heavier because the days are shorter and the weather is usually cool, and the beginning and end of spring embody the moist quality of Kapha.
The best approach to staying balanced during Kapha season is to think stimulation. When there’s an abundance of Kapha in the atmosphere, it’s easier to become stagnant, complacent and sometimes lethargic (think earth + water = mud). For both yourself and your four-legged friends, invigoration is key.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to help your dog enjoy every second of the new season.
Get a Fresh Start
Start by keeping your pup bathed so mud and stagnant energy don’t accumulate. Once a week is plenty, and be sure to use a natural shampoo with a calming scent (lavender or chamomile are good choices). Be intentional: bath time can be an enjoyable bonding experience for you both, especially with a stimulating doggy massage mixed in. In addition to invigorating touch, you can also pep up your pup with a bit more exercise to shed the weight of winter.
The bathtub is also an ideal place to keep an eye out for fleas. Regular skin checks are necessary all year, but especially in the spring. Insects love wet weather and dogs, so it’s best to plan now if you want to keep them from coming home with you.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural flea repellent. Add it with equal parts water to a spray bottle and spritz all over your pup before going outside. It won’t kill fleas but will definitely discourage them from tagging along. You can also add it to your dog’s food for double insurance. Always start light, with just a few drops and work your way up to a lid full of apple cider vinegar over their dinner. This addition, along with regular baths, can help them stay bug and chemical free all season.
Simplify This Spring
Now is also a good time to simplify your pup’s meals. Less variety means less possibility of triggering an allergy. Dogs with grain sensitivities should stay away from oatmeal products (it’s easy to forget, but oatmeal is a grain). Keep their diet simple, but that doesn’t mean boring. Raw goat’s milk for dogs is a yummy treat that’s also good for them, loaded with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes and more. It’s especially beneficial for pups with allergies, as it helps with digestion and inflammation. Look for raw goat’s milk at your local/boutique pet food store, and make sure to get the unpasteurized version that is specifically for pets.
Build a Force Field with Honey
Seasonal allergies are rife during the spring and just as many canines suffer as humans do. The answer you’ve been looking for might just be local raw honey. Local bees consume the exact allergens that cause our pups adverse reactions to seasonal changes. Introduce honey now and their systems will slowly acclimate to small amounts of the offenders – building some immunity to them. Remember that anything new must be given in very small quantities. Give them literally one drop of honey first to ensure your pup displays no signs of sensitivity, then work your way up to one teaspoon per day (over time) for a 30-pound dog – always paying close attention to the weight/administering ratio.
Honey is excellent for pups without allergy issues, too. It contains live enzymes, all essential amino acids and up to twenty vitamins, minerals and beneficial fatty acids. The dense nutritional content of vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants in locally sourced bee pollen and honey work to optimize your dog's health and vitality. Many animal lovers notice a positive difference in their canine companions in only a few weeks! Local organic farmers – typically represented at your farmer’s market – also uphold more sustainable and conscious practices, adding another reason to buy from them.
All of this is to say that there’s much we can do to easily and naturally bring balance to ourselves and our dogs this season. Spring brings a few challenges, but it is mostly about renewal, new beginnings and growth. If you try these tips and find your dog is still struggling with allergies, excess weight, or any other issues that can happen with Kapha season, it’s possible they need a bit more individualized care. At Sama Dog we offer a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation, during which you’ll learn more personalized tips and tricks to bring your dog back into balance.
Ayurveda gives us a new lens through which to view the world. By simply keeping this key word – invigoration! – in the back of your mind during this Kapha time of year, you’ll help both yourself and your pup spring into a new season with a joyful pep in your step.
Photo Credit :: Saketh Garuda