This is the third in a series of articles that we are publishing throughout the year to explore the nature of the different seasons from a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) point of view. We hope that with a better understanding of how the different times of year affect our pet’s health, we can provide special considerations for their specific needs.

Fall is upon us and as the days shorten and tree branches become bare, we feel a significant shift in the energy of our environment from Yang to Yin. We are no longer spending time outside in the hot weather tending our prolific gardens, but instead we find ourselves preparing for the school year, the holidays, and the winter to come.

While there’s an exciting crispness in the cool Autumn air, we may find ourselves missing the warmer, longer days. In Chinese Medicine, this season is represented by Metal and the emotion of grief. It is a time of “letting go” and of “purification”. The approach of winter can be a challenging time for people, especially when facing the prospect of losing something in their lives that they are attached to. For some it may be simply the loss of summer weather and its effect on their mood, but for some of us it may be the prospect or the memory of losing a beloved companion.

The rhythms of the seasons mirror the rhythms of our lives. Sadly, our pets live much shorter lives and most of us have experienced or will experience losing multiple pets. Their time with us is much too brief, and we grieve for them as we would for any family member. We have the comfort of their memories, but we often still carry the pain their absence leaves us. Fall is a time to breathe out the sadness, letting go and accepting our losses while filling our lungs again with pure cool air, feeling the connection we have with each other and restoring our balance, readying ourselves for the next remarkable creature to cross our paths.

The positive emotions associated with Metal are integrity and dignity. The Lungs and Large Intestines, the organs associated with Metal, take in substances (air and partially digested food), sort out what we need, and eliminate what we don’t. The body is always in this process of taking in, keeping what is integral to our needs, and passing on what isn’t useful anymore. The end result is the worthy state of Yin and Yang in balance, the whole undivided.

Some of the symptoms we may see when the Metal aspect of the Lungs and Large Intestine are not in balance include:

  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Itchy skin
  • Constipation
  • Runny nose and eyes

It’s important to be conscious of the upcoming changes in climate and take care to avoid exposing your pet to extremes in temperature. For ourselves, it may be wise to keep our necks covered with a scarf to avoid wind cold invasion and the common cold.

We know we have a very special group of clients and we are honored to have the privilege to assist you with the care of all of your animals; past, present, and future. We wish you and your your furry friends the best of health this Fall season.