Monday, Aug. 2nd 2021

Hot Enough For You?

Cooling your pet with food during the Dog Days of Summer

Summer’s heat can contribute to discomfort for our pets.  Besides the obvious solutions of keeping a pet in an air-conditioned home and making sure they have water and shade available when outdoors, what else can you do to keep them comfortable?

In Chinese Medicine, specifically Food Therapy, we understand that various foods can have heating or cooling properties.  Feeding a pet cooling food during hot weather can help regulate their internal thermostat and keep them more comfortable.  Remember if you are introducing foods your pet isn’t used to, or changing foods, that you should do so with no more than a 10% change in their diet daily to avoid GI upset. 

A complete list of Therapeutic Foods can be found on our website here: (

Feeding a dog or cat food with a main ingredient that is cooling is an easy way to help your pet through the summer.   Dr Leonard completely avoids chicken and lamb in the summer for all her pets, focusing on turkey, fish, rabbit, and duck as main proteins. 

Summer-ripe fruits and vegetables are usually naturally cooling.   This includes melons, banana, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and eggplant.  Grains that are cooling include barley and brown rice.  Other foods your pet may enjoy include plain yogurt (no artificial sweeteners!), seaweed, and mushrooms (food types).  While adding these as whole-food toppings provides the most benefit, you may also choose to use foods that contain some of these ingredients in the recipe.

Keep in mind the type of food you feed may also play a role.  Most warming among food types is extruded kibble, followed by baked then freeze-dried kibble, then canned.  After that, dehydrated foods are more cooling than canned, and fresh-cooked refrigerated is about the same.  Freeze-dried raw is next, and finally raw food is the most cooling. Depending on ingredients, however, there may be some overlap.  For example, a chicken-based raw food may be more warming than a duck-based dehydrated diet to your pet.

The degree to which you cool your pet with diet may depend on their breed, coat type, lifestyle, and medical issues.  Pets prone to summer skin issues will benefit most, while old dogs with lots of arthritis or thyroid problems may not need much cooling through diet.  If you have a Nordic/Northern breed of dog (sled dogs, Newfies, etc), they will be more in need of cooling foods than dogs bred for more southern or warm climates.

Many ingredients have other therapeutic value as well.  Dr Leonard performs Chinese medical examinations on pets to determine what issues may respond to certain foods or herbs.  This examination goes beyond a routine physical to evaluate tongue shape, size, and color; pulse quality and strength; skin and coat health; distinctive odors; constitution (like personality/preferences); and more. This evaluation can guide a practitioner of Chinese Veterinary Food Therapy in recommendations of best ingredients and food types to focus on for most benefit to the pet.  

Dr Leonard believes that the quality of the diet may be the most important thing a pet owner can do for pet health and longevity.  You get what you pay for with pet food and many clients have found that spending more on food results in great savings in other health care costs relating to skin or ear issues, GI issues like chronic diarrhea, and even less arthritis!  Feeding a higher quality food can also result in less waste due to a higher digestion and utilization of the better ingredients.  Less food per meal is required with high-quality food as well because of this higher digestibility, so a pet owner will go through a container of food less quickly. 

If you’d like your pet evaluated to determine the best diet for their health issues, call us to schedule a Physical and Chinese examination (or our Comprehensive exam which includes chiropractic if they are due or haven’t had a chiro exam previously) and Dr Leonard can go over her suggestions for your pet. 

Other News:

We will be closed on Labor Day

We will not have a doctor or technician on Friday, August 27.  Sarah will be here at 9 a.m. to return phone messages, take calls, and make reminder calls.  If you need to make a purchase on that day, plan to arrive before 11 a.m. We will not be able to see patients on August 27. 

We will have limited appointments (either tech only/no doctor, or doctor only a couple of hours in the morning) on these Fridays: August 13 and September 3. And since Fridays are often quiet, we often close before 5 p.m. on Friday.  If you wish to make a purchase or pick up a prescription on a Friday, call as early as possible to let us know.  We can take payment over the phone and make arrangements for where you can pick up your purchase if you can’t be here before we close.

Don’t forget about our online pharmacy.  They don’t carry all of our favorite products (no Missing Link or Aminavast, for example) but they do have most of them.  They also carry all our favorite skin treatment line, and all common flea and tick and heartworm products.  Be aware the doctor must examine your pet at least once a year in order to authorize any prescription product.  You can find the link and set up an account here ( and have products shipped directly to you.  This is a great option for products you need regularly as you can actually set up an auto-ship and avoid paying shipping costs.

Also available for online ordering is our PawTree store.  They have some wonderful products, from pet food to CBD treats, to skin care, to food seasonings, to supplements, to treats and treat mixes.  Browse the store here:


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Whole Health Pet Center
18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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