Tag Archives: TCM Five Elements

Which Element is Your Pet?

Riley

Last week, I introduced the concept of TCVM constitutional types (see here). Now it’s time to have some fun and see how this concept might apply to your pet.

As I talk about Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood, I will mention a breed of dog that best exemplifies each element. It is the stereotypical dog of that breed that I’ll refer to. I do not want to leave the impression that every dog of that breed is necessarily associated with that specific element. After all, there is individuality in the animal kingdom. And of course, cats and other pets can also be categorized into one of the elemental categories. So, let’s look at the constitutional types and see where your pet fits.

The Fire constitution is represented by the typical toy poodle. The Fire pet is full of excitement and enthusiasm. When this constitution is balanced, the pet shows love and affection and is good at communicating with her owner. When this type becomes sad, lonely, and lacks interest, it is said to be deficient of Fire. On the other hand, excess Fire is manifested be over-excitement and manic or inappropriate behavior. The organ for this constitution is the heart and Fire pets are prone to cardiac disease.

The Earth constitution is typified by the Labrador Retriever. Earth animals tend to be gentle caregivers who hover, nurture, and protect. When this element is balanced the individual is sympathetic and supportive. If there is a lack of Earth energy then the animal tends toward excessive worry. Too much of the Earth tendency can cause the pet to be clingy and possessive. The digestive system is associated with the Earth element and these pets are prone to obesity, food intolerance, and diarrhea.

The Border Collie is the dog bread that best represents the Metal constitution. This constitutional type is focused on getting things done RIGHT. When in balance, metal animals have an easy rhythm of taking in and letting go. Those with a deficiency of Metal energy may have an inability to form lasting bonds and tend toward isolation. An excess of Metal leads to inflexibility and an extreme need for control. The Metal element is linked to the respiratory system and this constitution tends to have lung problems such as asthma or pneumonia.

The Water constitution is best demonstrated by the St. Bernard. They tend to be “thinkers, not doers.” When the Water animal is in balance, they have a firm will and are not easily discouraged. Too little Water energy can result in an animal that is fearful and easily discouraged. Excessive Water can lead to stubbornness. Physical problems associated with the Water constitution include birth defects, kidney and bladder issues, and deafness.

Finally, the Wood constitution can be seen in the Jack Russell Terrier. These types are always active and doing something. When balanced, the Wood constitution conveys confidence and creativity. With a deficiency of Wood, a pet becomes uncertain, has low self-confidence, and is easily dominated. Too much Wood energy leads to aggressiveness, impatience, anger, and frustration. The Wood element is associated with the liver and this constitutional type is prone to liver disease as well as redness of the eyes and vomiting of bile.

Learning about these five constitutional types can help you better understand your pets and anticipate their needs. You might even learn a little about yourself in the process. Here is a good book about pets on this subject and here’s one on people.

Which element is your pet?