Treating Canine Hot Spots Through Food and Diet

Spring Has Sprung and So Have the Allergens!

Spring brings warm sunshine and a promise for a nature’s revival. Spring can also result in an onslaught of allergens for both humans and dogs. The dreaded “HOT SPOT” is every pet owner’s nightmare and arises typically as the weather gets warmer and often coincides with allergy season.

In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), foods can be used for their energetic properties to help treat a medical condition. In order to use foods in this manner, one must understand the TCVM diagnosis and the specific properties of foods that can be used to correct the energetic imbalance. Hot spots are classically considered in TCVM diagnosis as “Damp Heat”. These are moist, red, and inflamed skin lesions that are warm to the touch.

Foods and conditions that can that can lead to damp heat:

  • Dry kibble diet (these diets have a warming energetic due to processing at extremely high temperatures and are also dampening due to large carbohydrate load)
  • Diet rich in carbohydrates
  • TCVM “hot” or “warming” foods (venison, lamb, chicken, mutton)
  • Dairy and fatty foods
  • Obesity

In order to treat Damp Heat via TCVM food energetics, we can use an herbal formula and foods that have a cooling and damp draining effect.

Foods with cooling properties:

  • Rabbit
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Most fruits (especially apples, cranberries, pears, mango)
  • Many vegetables (including, spinach, peas, kelp, broccoli, green beans)

Foods that are damp draining/resolving:

  • Alfalfa
  • Barley
  • Celery
  • Green tea
  • Parsnips

As spring approaches, you can avoid “Damp Heat” with the above TCVM food strategies. Please be sure to consult with your veterinarian and ideally, an experienced TCVM practitioner, if you are considering using Food Therapy for your pet.

Meet the Author: Dr. Leilani Alvarez

Leilani Alvarez, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVCHM is an integrative veterinarian, utilizing both conventional and holistic modalities and is employed at the renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Alvarez is the director of The Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation & Fitness Service at NYC’s Animal Medical Center. She practices Integrative Medicine, which includes therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy and physical rehabilitation, which help to increase the overall health of a patient and can often increase the success of conventional treatments.

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