We, as well as our pets, tend to be less active in the winter months. With the colder temperatures, shorter days and general ‘let down’ after the holidays, we would rather stay inside and be home bodies! I think it’s very natural. And….we probably need the rest.
Our pets accept this cycle much better than we do. Sure they still want to go for their walks, but are seemingly more patient about getting out to do their business! They are more in tune with their environment and surroundings and therefore better able to ‘go with the flow’. We can learn a lot from our pets.
One reason they hesitate going outside to do their business….It’s COLD out there!!! Winter is the season that is associated with the Water element in the 5 phases of transformation according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The other 4 elements are Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. Each element has a transition phase linked to a season. Fall transitions into Winter and Winter transitions into Spring….
The Kidney and Bladder are the organ systems that correspond to the Winter months and relate to the idea of ‘storing up’ the bodies resources, and Water, to combat the harsh, cold season that is Winter. Dogs and other animals might seem a bit lethargic, or slower moving. Consider the bear that hibernates during the winter. After our Holiday feasts, we’ve put on a layer of fat to keep us protected from the cold, dry and windy weather that comes from the North.
Our animals are contemplative during this time. They are coming to an end of a cycle and in a sense, are in decay mode. Dogs and Cats are getting ready to transition into a growing period. They need those resources, just as plants do in the springtime, to rebuild and blossom again. It is no coincidence that Spring’s element is Wood. We need Water to grow Wood.
Not only do the Kidneys store the water and essential fluids, they also hold the animals Original or Source Chi that it was born with. This is the vital substance that gives the animal the power to grow, develop and reproduce. It’s that ‘constitution’, ‘will’ or ‘fire’ that we are all born with. This fire continues to burn throughout our lives. It cannot be replenished. It fades as we get older. However, since it is the source of strength, we need to give it extra support especially during the Winter.
How do we strengthen our pets Kidney and Bladder systems? As always, good nutrition and abundant, fresh water. If you are buying your pets food from the grocery store, most likely, it’s got way too much sodium in it. Dogs like this, but too much of it can cause Kidneys to be overworked. Consider going to your local pet food store. Ask the clerks-usually they are very knowledgeable about good nutrition. You can also read the ingredients to make sure there aren’t any fillers.
As I mentioned above, your dog may hold his urine longer because it’s cold outside. This could lead to a Bladder infection because the Bladder lining can get irritated holding onto all that urine. You might want to get your dog out of bed and let him stay outside for several minutes a few times a day.
Make sure your pet gets enough exercise-even in the winter! Aside from keeping the body’s water and electrolytes balanced, the Kidneys produce a hormone that involves regulating the blood pressure. Regular exercise without a doubt helps the Kidneys function properly. Also, the Kidneys are the creator of Bone and Marrow according to TCM. Daily exercise maintains strength in the bones and nourishes the spinal column. During the Winter, if your pet is limited by arthritis, he may exhibit more discomfort. Some gentle exercise can help alleviate stiffness and get Original Chi flowing.
Acupressure can help boost the function of these organ systems by initiating the free flow of Chi, Blood and vital fluids like Water, so that they may reach the organs and keep them nourished and keep the Kidneys moist-thereby keeping the skeletal system lubricated. Acupressure relieves any blockage in the body when the proper Meridians are worked with a gentle, healing touch. We try to restore or maintain the Yin/Yang balance in the body through this method to promote the much needed circulation of Chi.
A few more things about the Water element associated with the Kidneys in the Winter season:
The parts of the body that is managed by the Kidneys and Bladder are bones, teeth, marrow and the spinal column. And as I mentioned before, grow issues are related to the Water element.
The emotion related to the Water element is Fear. Think about the being so scared, you peed your pants! Or scared so much that your skeleton is trembling!
The color is Blue or Black-no mystery there….Winter Blues…..
The sense organ is the Ear. Fluid in the ear can cause dizziness. When loss of hearing is an issue, a cat or dog can become fearful of loud noises and hide under the bed. Or an animal with Kidney problems can be extra sensitive to noise in general.