by Dr. Isla Fishburn (reprinted with author's permission)
Canine wellness is about physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of your dog. In order to maintain balance in your dog as a WHOLE organism, we have to observe and analyse several aspects of your dog’s life from before birth to present day. Over the next 12 days of wellness I will introduce you to some of the concepts of wellness, what these include and what we need to consider on a daily basis to optimise the health and longevity in our dogs.
Today, we are going to look at ABUNDANT ENERGY.
So, we are almost at the end of the twelve days of wellness. I hope you have enjoyed learning just a little about what wellness means and what to consider to support your dog’s wellness.
Having an abundance of energy is quite self-explanatory as to why this is important for both wellness and a sign that your dog is balanced. Having abundant energy is different to your dog showing stressed, anxious or hyperactive energy (all of which can seriously agitate the nervous system and create imbalances). Having abundant energy goes hand in hand with your dog feeling well, having healthy skin, good diet and digestion, ability to express natural behaviour, receiving a sense of peace, ability to think clearly and adequate quality of rest and relaxation.
Expressing an abundance of energy means that your dog has had time to recuperate his/her energy instead of this being used up or exhausted by your dog’s body trying to right any imbalances or prevent them from becoming more intense.
Having an abundance of energy will be a clear sign that your dog’s wellness is optimal, or at least near optimal if your dog has just one or a few minor symptoms that do not affect your dog most of the time. For example, one of my dogs has an imbalance in her biochemistry when she sees another dog, or certain people. This means that in these instances, my dog does not exhibit balanced behaviour. Of course, this does mean that this imbalance is within her body, trapped in her cells. Yet, when you know the circumstances of why my dog would exhibit this behaviour and how severe trauma affects the biochemistry of an individual, I understand why she exhibits those behaviours if she is placed in such a situation. As best as possible, I put her in a situation where she is at a safe distance to see the thing that scares her, but where her cells are feeling safe so that she does not need to exhibit such intense and imbalanced responses. In every situation I am thinking about how her experiences have affected her wellness and what additional support I can give her. For example, if an experience occurred where she did see another dog at a distance where her cells were told to be fearful and she responded by showing an imbalance in her behaviour, then I would think about how I could support this using the different needs of wellness, described above. This might include a shiatsu massage, meditation, allowing her to use some mental stimulation through seeking, breath, allowing her body to rest for the remainder of the day, etc. What I do will vary depending on the day and what has occurred prior. I might even choose to not take her for a walk the following day if it looks like her body is still on alert – remember, this is not abundant energy but imbalanced energy.
Having an abundance of energy means that your dog has a natural balance in being able to rest for long periods, but is ready to be on the go at your first invitation of this; your dog’s get up and go has not got up and gone! Of course, dogs that are very elderly should still exhibit good signs of abundant energy, but at a pace that is slower than what it was when they were younger. Signs of this can include your dog still wanting exercise but walking or running at a pace that is steadier and for a shorter period. This may not be a sign that your dog is failing in their health and wellness, but that their ageing body is changing the balance between times of rest and times of exercise. I am a big fan of asking my dogs if they would like to go out for a walk and they can choose if they want to stay indoors. For example, our little dog Charlie will usually get very excited about going for a walk, but some days she pops her head outside, has a little stretch of the legs but then heads off home. If this is what she would like to do then I allow her to do it. For some reason, for that day, she would prefer to stay indoors rather than venture on a walk. Why would I make her do something she doesn’t want to do – this will only create imbalance.
Of course, as a Western society many of us have accepted that with age comes ill health and a slowing down. But this should and does not have to be the case for any of us, including our dogs. In many indigenous societies, their health and wellness does not deteriorate as they age – they live a long and healthy life. What you should be striving for in your dog (as well as yourself) is for your health span (the length of time you are in optimal health) to equal your life span. We should not focus on disease prevention, with the expectation that illness and poor health in our dog is inevitable at some point. Instead we should focus on a health care system that identifies your dog as a whole organism and how to optimise your dog’s wellness so that imbalances are restored or prevented. This involves balancing the whole system; the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of your dog. Once we stop poisoning our dogs with food by providing them with raw, natural whole foods, once we understand the biochemical responses in our dog, once we become more aware of the toxins that may go on or in to our dog, once we allow our dog to have more rest, once we allow our dog to exhibit natural behaviours, once we allow our dogs Qi to flow freely and once we really observe and listen to our dog…then your dog’s system will begin to return to its natural state of balance.
There are just TWO things left that I feel are vital for optimising your dog’s wellness and one will be discussed tomorrow, with the final one being discussed on the last day of our twelve days of wellness. Tomorrow I will talk about one thing that your dog needs, that we all need, and that we all may feel separated from!