Ayurveda for modern living

Ayurveda for dogs

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!!


Comments on: "Ayurveda for dogs" (3)

  1. This is a wonderful story! Great job bringing your friend back to balanced health. I am trying to help our very vata imbalanced cockapoo – curious about a couple things. Did you cook the veggies and the meat? If so, how thoroughly oooked? I would like to try the raw meaty bone diet but it’s not the right time yet. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

  2. I have two 10 year old English Bulldogs. Do you have dog food recipes you could share? Thanks!

    • Hi Shauna,

      I’m definitely not an expert in this, just a humble blogger, but a good homemade dog food normally has mainly a large amount of gfood quality meat for protein (although there are vegetarian options such as beans etc), vegies, and a small amount of grains. If your dogs’ digestion is sensitive, it is best to stay away from beef, lamb and chicken, and stick to fish, venison, turkey etc. Avoid wheat and milk too. Rice and oats are a safer option for grains. A small amount of fat can be added too.

      You should consider your dogs’ doshas when preparing the meal. It will be the same principles as for human food. For example, if your dog is vata, then beans might not be the best option, as they increase vata. If your dog is kapha, then be careful about how much fat you add. If your dog is pitta, then red meat will increase pitta, so white meat might be better.

      Here are some good dog food recipes I found at http://www.moneycrashers.com/homemade-dog-food-treat-recipes/

      Chicken Casserole

      This recipe uses chicken, which is a good source of protein, and lots of vegetables to create a flavorful mix. Green beans help your dog feel full and vegetables promote a healthy intestinal tract.


      4 chicken breasts
      1/2 cup of green beans, chopped
      1/2 cup of carrots, chopped
      1/2 cup of broccoli, chopped
      1/2 cup rolled oats.
      4 cups of low-salt chicken broth


      Remove excess fat from the chicken breasts and cut the breasts into small nickel-sized chunks.
      Cook the chicken breasts in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until no longer pink.
      Add the chicken, vegetables, rolled oats, and chicken broth to a large pot and cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender – about 15 minutes.
      Allow to cool before serving.
      Store leftover casserole portions in the fridge for up to five days.

      Pro Tip: You can use a small amount of olive oil to fry the chicken if you are having trouble keeping the chicken breasts from sticking to the skillet.

      Doggie Chili

      Dogs need large amounts of protein to keep them healthy and active. Your pup should get the majority of his protein from whole meat sources, such as fresh chicken. Beans also have a good amount of protein.

      This recipe blends chicken, beans, and vegetables to create a healthy and tasty mix.


      4 chicken breasts
      1 cup of kidney beans, drained
      1 cup of black beans, drained
      1 cup of carrots, diced
      1/2 cup of tomato paste
      4 cups of chicken broth


      Remove the excess fat and dice the chicken breasts into nickel-sized pieces.
      Cook the chicken breasts in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
      Add the chicken, beans, carrots, tomato paste, and chicken broth into a large pot and cook over medium heat until heated through – about 10 minutes.
      Allow the mixture to cool before serving.
      Store leftover chili in the fridge for up to five days.

      Pro Tip: You can add a 1/2 tablespoon of fish oil to this recipe. The flavors are strong enough that even picky eaters won’t notice the added healthy ingredient.

      Beef Stew

      This dog-approved version of beef stew includes meat for protein, vegetables for vitamins, and gravy for flavor. This is a good alternative to wet commercial dog foods.


      1 pound of beef stew meat
      1 small sweet potato
      1/2 cup of carrots, diced
      1/2 cup of green beans, diced
      1/2 cup of flour
      1/2 cup of water or organic vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying


      Cook the sweet potato in a microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until firm but tender. Set aside.
      Slice the stew pieces into smaller chunks, about the size of a nickel.
      Cook the stew pieces in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until well-done.
      Remove the beef chunks from the pan, reserving the drippings.
      Dice the sweet potato.
      Heat the drippings over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour and water into the dripping while whisking to create a thick gravy.
      Add the meat, sweet potato, carrots, and green beans into the gravy and stir to coat.
      Cook until the carrots are tender – about 10 minutes.
      Serve cool.
      Store remaining stew in the fridge for up to five days.

      Pro Tip: You can purchase pre-made gravy at some health food stores. This may save you time when making this food.

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