Here’s How to Feed Pet Treats the Healthy Way

Feed Treats for a Reason

Pet treats are everywhere.

Pretty packaging, cute dogs, vivacious graphics.

Treat after treat, all lined up, and ready for you to purchase and feed to your best friend.

You see it all at the pet food store.

Another perfect example of marketing at its best, impacting all the decisions you make.

With so many pet treat options, how are you to decide what is best for your pet?

The decision is tough!

But there is a way, a much better, more thoughtful way to feed pet treats to your beloved family member rather than relying on marketing alone.

It takes some thought, but it sure will make your pet happier and healthier.

Introducing the Five-Element Theory

The Five-Element Theory is one of the two fundamental theories of TCVM and is a powerful philosophy regarding food.

The Five-Element Theory organizes the repeating pattern of all-natural phenomena into five distinct groups:

  • Wood
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Metal
  • Water

Each of the five groups contains multiple sub-categories such as season, direction, organ, emotion, taste, and more.

For example, the Water element corresponds to the kidney, the north direction, the season of winter, and the emotion of fear.

The Five-Element Theory also explains the following:

  • Our connection to the natural world
  • How all things are related
  • How elements and organs exert control over one another
  • The dynamic relationship between naturally occurring events

Each of the five elements is related to a specific organ in the body.

This fact is key to understanding the use of the theory in feeding treats.

The five major organs of the body and their corresponding elements are:

  • Heart-Fire
  • Spleen-Earth
  • Lung-Metal
  • Kidney-Water
  • Liver-Wood

These organs act independently of one another yet are also dependent on one another in promoting and maintaining health.

Maintaining all elements in balance promotes health and harmony.

Feeding Pet Treats the Five-Element Way

Food helps promote one or more of these major organs, enhanced each organs’ function, and subsequently supports the overall health of the body.

A simple example of applying the Five-Element Theory in practice is the dog with heart disease. According to the Five-Element Theory, a dog with heart disease needs to strengthen the heart.

Strengthening the heart can be accomplished by consuming the heart, and by choosing acupuncture points and herbal prescriptions that strengthen the heart’s function.

Likewise, a dog suffering from hepatitis, liver insufficiency, or increased liver enzymes would benefit from eating liver in the diet. The liver in the diet would help strengthen the malfunctioning liver.

Lastly, consider the older geriatric dog with debilitating arthritis. From TCVM principles, we know that the kidney controls bone. So, according to the Five-Element Theory and food therapy, strengthening the kidney would help arthritis.

Therefore, this dog should eat kidneys.

But, What Should I Feed a Healthy Dog?

Great question! Let me give you an example.

Let’s pretend you have a four-year-old Lab. He has been relatively healthy his entire life except for a few bouts of gastritis from eating too many goodies dropped on the floor. He loves M&M’s.

Well, according to the Five-Element Theory, he has no organ deficiencies.

Therefore, the idea is to continue to keep his organs strong by rotating different foods.

So, instead of feeding just one food for a specific deficiency, feed foods from each element in a rotating fashion to keep all of his organs strong and performing optimally. Maybe liver for a week or two, then heart, then spleen, and so on. You get the picture!

Remember, many of these foods are not commonly eaten in Western cultures, yet have been a staple in Eastern culture diets for thousands of years to both maintain harmony and health and serve as solutions for a variety of health issues.

So instead of feeding a treat for the heck of it, put some thought into why you are feeding a specific treat.


PET | TAO Treat Feeding Wheel

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What is TCVM?

When I first graduated from veterinary school, I thought I knew it all. I thought I knew everything about animals. Anatomy, physiology, drugs, surgery – learning about