Applying TCVM Food Therapy


In my last article I wrote about Chinese food therapy and how foods have innate warming, cooling, or neutral effects on the body. We can use these food properties to balance an animal’s energy system. “Hot” pets (those who seek coolness, overheat easily, are experiencing inflammation, or are in a hot climate) can be fed cooling foods. “Cold” pets (those who seek heat, or are in a cold environment) may benefit from warming foods. Animals whose temperatures are balanced should be fed neutral foods.

Here are some examples of Chinese food therapy temperatures.

Warming foods:  Beef kidney, Chicken, Chicken egg yolk, Chicken liver, Goat milk, Ham, Lamb kidney, Lamb liver, Mutton, Pheasant, Prawn, Shrimp, Venison,  Apricot, Basil, Blackberry, Cherry, Chestnut, Chives, Clove, Coconut, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Garlic, Hawthorn, Horseradish, Mustard, Nutmeg, Papaya, Peach, Pepper, Plum, Pumpkin, Quinoa, Raspberry, Squash, Sweet Potato, Sunflower seed, Tangerine, Thyme, Turmeric, Walnut
Cooling foods:  Alligator, Clam or Mussel, Cod, Conch, Crab, Duck, Duck egg, Egg white, Herring, Rabbit, Scallop, Turkey, White fish, Yogurt,  Alfalfa, Apple, Amaranth, Banana, Bitter melon, Blueberry, Broccoli, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Gingko, Kelp or Seaweed, Kiwi fruit, Mango, Mushroom, Orange, Pear, Persimmon, Spinach, Strawberry, Tomato, Watermelon, White radish
Neutral foods:  Beef, Beef liver, Bison, Catfish, Chicken eggs, Flatfish, Goose, Mackerel, Milk (Cows), Pigeon, Pork, Pork kidney, Pork liver, Quail, Salmon, Sardines, Tripe, Trout, Tuna, Wild rabbit, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, Date, Figs, Ginkgo, Grape, Lemon, Lotus, Lychee, Pineapple, Potato, Radish, Sweet Potato, Shiitake mushroom, Yam

The Chinese also considered that how a food is prepared affects its temperature. Raw foods are very cooling, foods that is steamed or boiled are more neutral, foods that are grilled baked or fried are warming, canned pet food is hot, and dry pet food is off the scale hot.

If your pet is hot, choose a diet made with cooling foods or feed cooling foods as treats and avoid processed foods. You may also want to add some of these cooling spices to his food – Mint, salt, honey, flax/sesame/soybean oils. If your pet is cold, feed warming foods and avoid totally raw diets. You might also want to try some of these warming spices – Chives, clove, ginger, garlic, horseradish, mustard, nutmeg, pepper, thyme, turmeric, olive oil, rice wine vinegar.

Are you ready to apply TCVM food therapy?

12 thoughts on “Applying TCVM Food Therapy

  1. Mark

    Dr. Doug-
    So on a raw diet — how would say a chicken back be classified vs say a duck neck? How would they rate on the scale of warming to cooling? Would they both be cooling? Is it the fact of how the food changes when heated determines its “heat” or just the food itself?

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      That is a great question Mark. My understanding is that the rawness trumps the inherent food energetics. Raw meat is cooling no mater what the meat is. My personal opinion is that the food therapy rules came form data from human consumers. Dogs evolved eating raw and that’s what their genetics are geared for. I think raw chicken is warming but not as much as cooked chicken.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Warming foods are hot – that’s how they warm. I would say lamb is often considered the hottest meat.

  2. Jill larche

    I have a bichon/poodle cross, he has pink warm skin an always itching…he’s a rescue dog so he didn’t have a good start. I feed raw food ie chicken necks, lamb, lamb offal, tripe, fish. But I read you mention rabbit an beef I’m a bit scared to try red meat….I love your ideas.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      The turkeys of today do not look much like the turkeys of ancient China so no doubt the energetics have changed. I would classify it as neutral.

  3. Lisa

    On different websites, emu is hot, and so is kangaroo and likely ostrich. I can’t find info about goat anywhere, so I am assuming it is neutral unless informed by someone wiser than myself. As to “today” versus ancient China, no meat’s energetics are what they once were, so this ancient warming/cooling thing is likely no longer applicable, unless you grow your own food animals and they in turn aren’t fed hormones, antibiotics, grains, etc., and further graze on organic grasses growing in nutrient-dense soil that is not mineral-depleted. Just about all the soil in North America is depleted and contaminated. Then there’s the entire water supply problem. The fact is pretty much all of our food is fake food and empty calories and harmful “other” ingredients.


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