Hot Dogs and What to do About Them....
This episode should be titled From Hot to Not..... Sorry Mama June. Hot dogs aren't my thing.... Wait. What? Hot dog, as in the kind that goes on a bun? Hot dog, as in the kind that collapses after a walk on the cool floor by the water bowl? Or hot dog that gets up in the middle of the night panting? Hot dogs are bad. All of them. (Although, cover the bun kind in chili and cheese and I will make an exception...)
What is hot vs metabolically hot? Hot, is an 110 degree August afternoon in Texas. That kind of hot is due to external circumstances. Summer. An overly hot, hot tub. Eating a hot bowl of oatmeal on a 110 degree day. Sweat glands open up, and that crystal clear pool looks, oh, so inviting. You will cool down quickly if you jump in. Or head into the nice air conditioned building. Or slurp an ice cold frozen margarita, while munching on watermelon. Metabolically hot is when your body's internal air conditioner is broken. A great example of this is a menopausal hot flash. You throw a middle aged, menopausal woman having a hot flash in a pool?? She won't cool down... She'll just be pissed. (My suggestion is to give her the frozen margarita. She wont cool down with that either, but at least she wont care so much about being too hot).
The term Excess Yang means too much heat. The term Yin Deficient means broken air conditioner, not enough cooling. Yang is hot. Yin is cool. It's always about balance. You need both Yang and Yin. Too much of one, or too little (or deficient) of another, and the body will be out of balance. Being overheated on a hot day is Excess Yang. Having a hot flash is Yin Deficient. Excess Yang is pretty easy to fix. Toning up your Yin, or fixing your internal air conditioner... It's not that easy. You can also have both at the same time.... Just ask the middle aged lady you just shoved in the pool.
So, how do you tell if your dog is just overheated hot (Excess Yang) vs metabolically hot (Yin deficient)? Don't worry. They will tell you. The former cools down pretty easily. The latter.... not so much. Excess Yang dogs cool down when given the proper environment. Beware, though. If you have a hot natured dog (High energy, large personality, happy, happy, happy dog) They may cool down easy now, but they might be putting a rather large strain on their internal air conditioner. It's only a matter of time until it breaks down.
On the other hand, if your dog... pants. All. The. Time.... If your dog drinks. All. The. Time... (Water, not frozen margaritas) If your dog seeks cool floors, even when they are in a fairly cool environment or at night, they may be metabolically hot.
Last, look for a red tongue. Are the very tips of their ears hot? Are their feet hot? Tips of ears and feet should feel slightly cooler than their body. (a dog's resting temperature is about 3-4 degrees warmer than ours so they will almost always feel warmer than we do, so compare ears and feet to belly and under legs). Do they have redness anywhere on their body? Eyes, ears, feet, belly? If you have several of these signs, you probably have a metabolically hot dog. Either way, food can be used to help cool down your dog. Long term, or short term, or both.
Some of these symptoms are signs of heatstroke, illness, infection, and inflammation. If your dog is showing a lot of these signs, please see your veterinarian. There are quite a few diseases that, if treated, can help your dog feel better. For example, panting can be a sign of heat, OR it can be a sign of pain. Sometimes, it can be a sign of both. If you cant tell the difference, it is probable that a veterinarian can. It is important to note that diet, while helpful, does not eliminate the need for good medical attention. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program....
So, you've decided that you have a hot dog. Now, what.... We need to cool them down, and tonify (or assist) their Yin. There are foods that can help. It is important to note that ALL processed food is hot. Any food that has been changed in any way, or comes in a bag, or can, is processed. Bacon... Hot. Any dry dog food... Hot. Any canned dog food.... Hot. Uh oh... We are feeding hot dogs, hot foods... aren't we? Yep, we are. Personally, I think a lot of diseases and inflammatory conditions are because of this. I think we can help our pets a lot by cooling them down a bit, or at least giving them foods that counteract the "heat" that comes from processed food.
So, which foods do you pick? The simple answer, is... pick the ones your dog will eat. I'll list proteins, carbs, vegetables and fruits that will be good choices for your dog. Try them out... they may eat them. They may not. When choosing foods, consider how the food cools your dog. Some foods work in kind of an external way to cool down and are good for Excess Yang. Think watermelon and cucumber. Some work in a more metabolic way to help fix the internal air conditioner (Yin deficient), like pork (no not bacon, that's processed...) and kidney beans. Some will do both, like clams and spinach. Do you have a high energy dog and it's summer? Give them some watermelon (They can have the rind too!) Do you have a dog that's sitting in the bathroom panting and it's only 60 degrees outside? Yep. Clams, spinach and kidney beans are your best bet. But it's really hard to go wrong if you pick cooling foods in general. I've put a "*" by the foods that are good for both a dog with Excess Yang and a dog who is Yin Deficient (broken air conditioner). You get a double whammy with those!
Proteins: Turkey, Duck*, Rabbit* (farm raised), Clam*, Whitefish (Cod, Haddock, etc), Yogurt, Egg Whites*, Tofu*. (There are others, but when was the last time you saw alligator or frog at the grocery store.)
Carbohydrates: Millet, Barley*, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Wheat bran, Mung Beans, Quinoa.
Fruits and Veggies: Watermelon, Pear*, Strawberry, Orange, Banana, Spinach*, Celery, Broccoli, Tomato*, Eggplant, Bitter melon, Seaweed (Kelp), Mushrooms, lettuce.
Other foods that are cooling: Honey*, sesame seeds*, peppermint(fresh), salt, green tea, flax seed oil.
Foods that will help tonify Yin (fix that air conditioner) but aren't necessarily cooling: Goat's milk, Pork, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Asparagus, Wheat, Apples, Goji Berries.
Lastly. The temperature of foods. Serve your dog cooked food at room temperature or warmed. ESPECIALLY, to very young dogs, very old dogs, or very weak dogs. The body uses energy to warm up food enough to process it in the GI tract. Some dogs don't have the excess energy to spare. And just because the food came from the refrigerator, doesn't mean it will cool them down.... Which brings me to raw or uncooked foods...
I am not opposed to raw diets, but you have to have some significant food safety knowledge when using raw diets in dogs. So, if you don't know what pathogens can infect your dog by eating a food raw, then cook it. Or in other words, if you wont eat it raw, don't feed it to your dog raw. Apples, are yummy raw. Raw pork? No. Just No.
Next up.... Feeding your Dog's Personality... Is Your Dog: "Most Popular?" "Most Likely to Succeed?", "Most Likely to End up on a Viral You Tube Video?"...