According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is categorized in many ways. One of these ways is to categorize food into “heating”, “cooling” and “neutral”. This does not mean that the foods themselves are “hot” or “cold”. What it means is that food has a thermal effect on the body. “Cooling foods” help to cool the body, decrease inflammation and can even go so far as to calm the nerves and/or aggressive tendencies of an animal or human. Conversely, “warming foods” can aid in blood and fluid circulation, keep the metabolism running efficiently and can treat arthritic conditions in animals whose suffering is greater in the winter.

Generally speaking, animals have a “hot” or “cold” type disposition. Though both of these body types, in northern climates, can be uncomfortable in the winter season, a “cold-type” will be affected much worse.

If you have an animal with constantly cold ears and feet, if you have an animal who is always stationed by a heater and is making an attempt to find any small speck of sunlight streaming through a window to sit in, your animal has a “cold-type” disposition. Cold type animals will especially benefit from a supplementation of “warming” foods in her or his diet.

Here is a list of 5 “warming” foods to keep your animal’s circulation healthy in the deep-freeze of winter:

1)      KELP- A form of seaweed, kelp has many benefits for you and your animal friend. It is a warming food, lowers the risk of cancer, helps in thyroid gland regulation, and is an immune-stimulant (will keep defenses up against cold viruses). DO NOT USE IF YOUR ANIMAL HAS AN OVERACTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM.

2)       SWEET POTATO- In addition to being a warming food, the sweet potatoes are very rich sources of necessary vitamins and minerals.

3)      CHICKEN- According to Traditional Chinese medicine, chicken is warming due to its rapid nature. As opposed to a turkey, which moves slowly and lumbers everywhere, a chicken moves with haste, thus creating a “warming” sensation.

4)      SALMON- Salmon have to swim a lot harder as they swim upstream.  Because this takes more energy to do than to swim downstream, they are considered to be warming.

5)      KALE- A warming food that is high in fibre, calcium and antioxidants

Those who are cat companions know that attempting to feed any new type of food to their cat will result in disastrous catitudes. For cats and small dogs, tiny portions of these foods are all that are needed to have a warming effect on them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When supplementing your animal friend’s diet with vegetables, it is incredibly important that you cook the veggies thoroughly before serving. Digestive systems of cats and dogs are extremely sensitive and can only digest cooked veggies. If they are fed raw veggies, they will become gassy, irritable, and the whole food will come out in their stool. Begin supplementation with a very small amount of ONE of these options and see how your animal friend reacts. If she or he is good with it, you may slightly increase the increment. If she or he does not like the one you chose, you may want to consider a second option from the list above. Remember every cat and every dog is different and will have different likes and dislikes.

The good news is that not only will these warming foods help your animal stay warm, they can also do the same for you!


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