This is the second 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 animal’s health we can provide special considerations for their specific needs.

The season of Summer is associated with an abundance of Yang energy, characterized by heat, increased activity, and moving outward. After a Spring of growth and renewal, we are outside having more fun with our pets in a warmer and dryer environment. Summer is associated with the Fire element and the emotion of Joy. The organs associated with the Fire Element are the Heart, Pericardium and Small Intestine. The Heart houses the Shen or spirit and is responsible for a sense of healthy engagement with our environment.

When the Fire element and its associated organs are in balance there is a calmness of spirit and mental well being. When in disharmony, stability of the mind is compromised. There can be an excess of Yang, heat and dryness.

Symptoms we see in our patients with Fire or Heart disharmonies include:

  • Increased restlessness and anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Heat stroke

Treatment strategies that may help prevent or treat some of these conditions include:

  • Chinese Herbs that tonify Yin to balance excess Yang, clear Heat, and calm the mind.
  • Provide unrestricted access to water, since our pets can’t sweat to regulate their temperature.
  • Keep pets in the shade or air conditioning during periods of extreme heat.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in your car.