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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Apr. 7, 2017 2 years ago

Springtime - a time of (pet) renewal

How to get your pet back in shape and give them their best life, with some ancient Eastern wisdom thrown in
by: Isaac Babcock Managing Editor

By Sherri Cappibianca

In Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, the comprehensive system of medicine that dates back more than 3000 years, springtime is the time for rebirth and renewal.  The days become longer, the temperature warms, rains renew meadows and fields, plants germinate and begin to grow, and animals come out of winter hibernation.

Springtime is one of the five seasons detailed by one of the key components of TCM; the Five Element Theory, a principle that describes the flow and balance between the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. In Five Element Theory, each of these elements interacts with the other and depends on one another. Health is achieved when all of these elements are in harmonious balance. Among other things, each of these elements is associated with a season; this time of year, we're leaving winter, associated with water, and moving into spring, associated with wood.

Over winter, despite the lack of winter conditions in our area, it's our nature to draw inward. We slow down and conserve our energy. As a result, many of our pets lose muscle tone and flexibility. With the onset of spring comes a new cycle of birth, letting go of the past, a renewal of spirit, and looking forward to the future. It's time to get moving again!

What can you and your dog do to strengthen his wood element? For one, stretch! The wood element also is associated with tendons, and spring is a perfect time to renew tendon health and flexibility. After your dog is warmed up (via exercise or massage) try some passive stretching techniques to increase his flexibility.

Here are a few other suggestions for ways to strengthen wood.

Begin the day early with a brisk walk.

Eat green - green is the color of the wood element and of springtime. Add some green vegetables to your dog’s meal. Vegetables can be raw, just make sure you chop the vegetables in to very small pieces, or pulse in a food processor.

Check out your dog’s skin and coat. Inspect both thoroughly. You may want to schedule a trip to the groomer, or start a new grooming routine to keep your dog’s skin and coat in top shape. And don’t forget the brushing!

Since spring and the wood element are associated with reinvention and learning new things, this is a perfect time to teach your dog some new tricks.

Add a bit of cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl and pour a bit of olive oil over his meal. The cider vinegar must be organic and raw, it can’t be processed or pasteurized.

Do more outdoor activities with your dog - outside air helps the flow of the wood element.

Spring – a perfect opportunity for your dog to give you a new look and perspective. Enjoy!

Bio: Sherri Cappabianca, an expert in the field of canine health and fitness, is the author of two books on canine health, and co-owner of Rocky’s Retreat, an intimate and personal boarding, daycare, hydrotherapy and fitness center, and Barking Dog Fitness, Fitness for Dogs, both located in Orlando. For more information, visit or


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