Year of the Tiger

I want to dedicate this article to the memory of Clara, who left our world peacefully on Sunday Feb. 14th, surrounded by friends and companions. She was a real little tiger for all her 21 years, and will be fondly remembered by all who knew her.

We have entered the Year of the Yang White Metal Tiger (Geng Yin) in the Oriental 12-year Lunar cycle. This is a time of change; in Chinese astrology, the tiger is one of the most dynamic and powerful signs. Its nature is unpredictable, courageous and volatile. Therefore the year of the Tiger is usually associated with major changes and social turmoil.

On the health front the Metal element system includes the lungs, colon, skin and immune system. This means that your pets may be much more predisposed to developing conditions like skin allergies, rashes or infections, asthma, bronchitis or kennel cough, colitis, irritable bowel disease, diarrhea or constipation, compromised immunity or autoimmune conditions such as IMHA, thrombocytopenia and polyarthritis. The Metal element controls the Wood element, much like an axe prunes a tree. Wood element system organs are liver, gall bladder and nervous system. Over- or under-control leads to disharmonies such as anxiety, hepatitis, cholangitis and liver tumours. I would advise you to work on preventing the development of these type of condition by ensuring that your pet gets regular exercise, a proper diet for his or her constitutional type, and the use of acupuncture, as well as herbal and nutritional supplements.
Walking your dog and playing with your cat engages you both, with the added benefit of reducing your own stress and tension by lowering your stress hormones. Incorporating functional foods that possess healing properties into your diet as well as your pet’s diet can help you avoid illnesses. This is one of the main foundations of Chinese medicine. I would suggest adding a small amount of the following foods into your pet’s diet (but not all at once!): dill, *oregano, cilantro, *rosemary, sage, peppermint, turmeric, basil, coriander, fennel, anise, cardamom, ginger, collard greens, Swiss chard, *mustard greens, parsley, dandelion greens, *daikon radish, turnip, beets, artichoke, pear (especially Asian pear), papaya, pineapple, cherry, blueberry, almonds, pine nuts, and flax seeds. There are also foods that should be avoided, such as: cow’s milk dairy products, sugar, wheat, deep fried and fatty foods, processed and refined foods, tomato, eggplants, green peppers and white potato. All foods marked with a * should be avoided by our feline friends, the “little tigers” in our lives.

Being proactive also includes using herbal and nutritional supplements appropriately to support your pet’s health and wellness. I have considered herbs and supplemental nutrients as part of my family’s diet and have used them effectively for prevention for many years. Be aware that our furry companions have different digestive and metabolic systems than we do. Consult with a veterinarian trained in herbal and nutritional therapy before using any supplements for your pets.

In summary, the Year of the Tiger will bring about more change, even turmoil in the world and in your life. However by using this as an opportunity to shape your life, like sculpting a beautiful and useful object out of raw wood or molding from metal you can ride the tiger triumphantly towards your goals. Cultivate patience, kindness and peace so that your interactions with others can promote harmony and love. Take walks and get out in nature with your pets to refresh your spirit. Eat well and get plenty of sleep and cultivate health in the five areas of your life—body, mind, spirit, finance and relationships so that you can manifest balance, wellness and fulfillment in 2010, and be able to be the best companion to your pet that you are able to be.

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