You may think me barking mad, but I think I even cured my dog with Ayurveda.
He’s a beautiful 2-year-old big golden labrador called Luka. When he was a puppy, we bought a giant bag of expensive, “scientifically-formulated” dog biscuits. Luka appeared to love them, wolfing them all down at embarrassing speeds. The bag said it was “specially formulated for labradors”, and so had omega-3s in it, for delicate labbie skin, so we relaxed.
But Lukie started to develop tummy upsets, and then terrible terrible itchy skin. His coat was dull and so were his eyes. He became really nervy too, jumping at everything. We had to put him on steroids before he itched his skin raw. The steroids had horrible side effects. They made our beautiful baby a zombie at one stage. For such a young dog, he looked a mess.
At first, we thought it might be allergies. Labs are reknowned for this. Maybe the grasses at the beach were causing the itch? So, we gave him a bath with gentle oatmeal shampoo after every beach visit (labbies love the beach!). It didn’t seem to help him at all. We put him on low-dose antistamines. No joy.
Then I learnt what horrific stuff is put into commercial dog food. Diseased farm animals, euthanised dogs, indigestible animal parts like chicken’s beaks, mouldy grains … and all covered with a smear of rendered animal fat to keep our pets wolfing the stuff down! Dog junk food! It made me feel sick – no wonder our beautiful boy was looking so sickly!
Then we decided to start making his food from scratch: cooked rice, mixed vegies and small pieces of beef. He started to improve, becoming less itchy, his raw legs started to heal. He seemed much much happier.
Luka’s doshas were clearly out of balance. From all the dry food he was eating, he was getting constipated (then diarrhea!), just as humans would if they had to live on a diet of dry crackers. The blockages (and unhealthy dog biscuits) were creating ama in his system, hence the dry inflamed skin. An ‘Ayurveda for dogs’ website reminded me of this danger. Luka’s vata was imbalanced and this was affecting his pitta too. The same thing happens to me if I’m not eating the right things – my scalp gets itchy and my skin breaks out. Cooked moist food is much better for his overtaxed digestive system. Luka’s nerves also suggested that he had a vata imbalance.
Labs are normally sweet-natured and calm, with strong bodies – true Kaphas.
Then, as an experiment, I bought Luka an organic dog roll made mainly of beef, barley, garlic and kelp. He loved it, wolfing it down, but he started to get itchy again. From this, I guessed that he probably can’t digest beef properly, especially if his agni is not strong. I suggested that we try chicken in his homemade dog food.
Amazingly, Luka has transformed before our eyes! His coat is thick and shiny, his eyes are bright, his nose is wet, he is putting on healthy muscle tone and his nerves have settled. He has ojas, as all healthy dogs should. He has also become a Kapha labbie. Thanks to a bit of research, and some Ayurvedic guesswork, Lukie is now brimming with vitality!!