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Shifting into Autumn- foods that nourish your dog!



For those of us in the southern hemisphere we are heading into autumn while the northern hemisphere heads into spring. The shift from summer into autumn energy marks a time where we need to be discerning about where out energy flows and use it wisely. Just like trees shedding their leaves to let go on the old, we too need to consider letting go of too many commitments and focusing on ourselves and what we need at this transitional time.


So how does Autumn energy affect our dogs ?

One of the things that you will notice for our dogs is that temperature and daylight changes tend to cause metabolic and hormonal changes- The amount of food required will change. For example, When the days are longer, during summer and spring, the brain signals for a smaller appetite and lower metabolism rate. This is because the brain is assuming that because of the longer days there will be more time to eat!!  

But when the temperatures become colder in the autumn months, the body’s energy demands increase. The body needs more nutrients to maintain body temperature. The brain signals for slow metabolism and an appetite increase. So you could expect your dog to want more food during autumn and winter.


You may also notice with your dog that there is much more dryness with the coat, skin and paw pads, that their mood may lower and become a little depressed due to less sunlight and potentially short darker days and of course, there can be dry stiff joints that flare up during this colder drier time. This is sometimes related also to less activity – for example you might not be taking your dog for as much exercise due to colder weather.

 

When it comes to foods, how can we best support our dogs during the autumn season?? Of course you may choose to continue to feed your dog the same way all year round. But focusing on certain foods depending on the season can help nourish and keep your dog in a healthier more balanced state through each season. When it comes to autumn, meats such as free range chicken and lamb are considered to be warming meats and therefore suitable to help strengthen the body during the cooler months. Of course if there are allergies or intolerances to these please avoid them. in addition to feeding any  good quality animal proteins consider:

 

Root vegetables- in small amounts root veggies are perfect in autumn - Root vegetables like such as beetroots and carrots all have roots that reach down deep within the Earth. These roots anchor the plant to the ground, which is its foundation for life. IN this way, Root veggies can help your dog align with the autumn season and stay grounded, calm and nourished as we all settle into the slower routine and pace of the autumn. While veggies only form a smaller part of the diet (and yes, I know there are some of you out there that choose not to feed any veggies at all which is your choice), root veggies can be very beneficial for all dogs during the cooler seasons. Consider carrots, sweet potato, celery, ginger, garlic, fennel and  beetroots. While some of these can be given in their raw state others like sweet potato and better and more tasty once steamed and mashed into your dogs food.


And speaking of roots, when it comes to herbs similar principles apply. There is a downward shift in natures energy during these Autumn months- this downward shift is used to help produce larger root systems -  when we use these roots as medicine they are at this time at a higher nutritional and healing level, giving us peak healing properties. Herbs such as Marshmallow root, dandelion root, burdock root and astragalus root are all excellent herbs to consider during autumn but of course, can be used at any time of the year.


Also adding in warming herbs and spices can help create internal warmth and improve your dogs  circulation along with reducing inflammation and stiffness. Keeping the circulation moving is important I cooler months especially if your dog is not as active or is an older dog that may not be able to move as well. Turmeric, Ginger, cinnamon, thyme and oregano are all good choices here. You can use the fresh, dried, or powdered versions of any of these and add small amounts in a few times per week or daily if needed.


And what about other foods?? Fruits like apples, pears and cranberries are great choices for autumn. All are rich in nutrients such as antioxidants and can help provide immune , gut and urinary support.

Warming food such as bone broth are always a great choice in the cooler months especially if your dog has any type of joint problem. The many nutrients in broth including collagen and glucosamine are naturally supportive of joint and gut health and is a nourishing tasty food to add into your dogs diet- warming it a little and then adding can make it taste even better.

And of course when it comes to any food its always best to feed what is in season where possible as this will mean that the food is at its peak nutritional state.

 

Well I hope you found this short video helpful guys- and as I mentioned last week if you are looking for my herbal formulas you can find them on my website under the online store tab- simply click on this and create a quick and free account to be able to access all my practitioner only herbal formulas.

 

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