VATA: The Air + Space – Metal Type


In balance                           Out of balance
Quick to learn                    Anxious
Happy                                   Upset stomach
Friendly                               Nervous
Talkative                             Tires easily
Lively                                   Easily distracted
Energetic                            Can’t settle
Light body                          Dry, itchy skin
Adaptable                           Dull coat  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Five Element Theory represents fundamental elements in nature. These natural forces are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. These five elements, or principles, are in constant motion and change. They are what constitute the universe. In Chinese medicine, the relationships between these elements, in particular an imbalance, are the basis for disease. The Five Elements principles can also be used to describe stages of life, directions, climates, seasons, and personality traits. Every individual is born with inherent personality traits that make each of us have a dominant element for our personality. Explore the Five Element personality characteristics below to see which you think best describes your dog or cat or horse or yourself. When treating clients I use TCM and Ayurveda to determine the dominant Element/ Dosha of each patient’s personality.

Wood Type

  • Dominant behavior
  • Athletic, fast runner
  • Impatient
  • Angers easily
  • Alert and responds quickly
  • Narrow-minded, intolerant to new ideas
  • Big eyes, thin body type
  • Predisposed to hypertension, stroke, allergy, depression, behavior problems

Metal Type

  • Confident, good leader
  • Rule follower
  • Likes organization and routine
  • Aloof
  • Consistent
  • Good hair coat, broad chest
  • Predisposed to respiratory problems (asthma), diabetes, and constipation

An animal with a dominant Vata dosha is characterized by the qualities of Space and Air. Vata controls all movements of the mind and body. In TCM these types make up constitutionally of wood and or metal.

Vata Personality: A happy, friendly animal companion who is lively, energetic and finds it hard to stay in one place for long time! Vata animals are generally good communicators when they are not distracted.

Vata Mind: Intelligent, impulsive and quickly learns new tricks. They are easily distracted.

Vata Body: Vata animals generally are rather taller or shorter than average, with thin and light body frames that reveal prominent joints and bones. Eyes may be sunken and small. The nails may appear rough and brittle. By now if you thinking a grey hound like dog or siamese cat you are right! Vata (Air) resides in the hollow spaces (Space) within the body. Its main locations are brain, nerve tissues, skin, ears, joints, bones and colon Vata governs movement of energy, therefore it controls breathing, barking, movements in the muscles, transmission of impulses through the nervous system, circulation, assimilation of food and elimination of waste.

In balance: When Vata is balanced, you pet will be happy, have good energy, moves about with ease, easy to train and fun to be with.

Out of balance: When Vata is out of balance in the mind, it can manifest as fear, anxiety and nervousness. Excess Vata can cause dry flaky skin or coat, dandruff, gas, bloating, constipation, arthritis, neuro-muscular issues, tiredness and impaired circulation No appetite, itching, can’t settle. Did you know that external factors like seasons, weather and humidity can also impact our pet’s internal dosha balance? As the weather begins to turn dry and cool, and the leaves begin to change color and fall, it is time for us and our pet’s to change our daily routine. During fall the cool, dry and rough qualities of Vata are aggravated. So, Vata and Pitta dogs are more likely to have an out of balance Vata during this time of the year. If your animal has 3 or more of the above symptoms start by feeding 1 tsp of turmeric with black pepper to aid digestive fire.I love to make sweet potato numeric chips for my Great dane pup. cats can be a little more fussy around turmeric so adding some numeric milk over their food works like a charm. 30 minutes later feed a Vata diet of warming, earthy, lubricating foods. Think bone broth made of chicken and cardamom, turmeric milk, coconut oil or omegas along with sprouted Mung Beans, Sprouted Peas, Sprouted Lentils, Protein sourced from sprouts & pumpkin seed, Oats, Flaxseed, Rice Bran, Carrots, Squash, Pumpkin, Beets, Beans, Sweet Potatoes, Water Cress, Parsley, Turmeric, Ginger, Fennel, Cilantro, Mint, Apple, Cherries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Banana, Alfalfa, Sunflower Kernels, Pumpkin Kernels, Coconut, Sesame Oil, Kelp, Indian Berry, Chebulic Myrobalan, Belliric Myrobalan, Cumin, and Basil. A sprinkle of Ashwaghanda as an adaptogenic can be added to stop these inquisitor minds from spinning into upset and worry.

1- 3 check marks : If the symptoms are temporary and disappear after a short while, it means that your dog, cat or horse’s body is trying to adapt to seasonal changes and is likely to have an out of balance Vata If symptoms last more than a few days, then your animal has an out whack Vata. So if you’d like to keep your friend balanced through the seasons, I recommend that you rotate their food and feed then seasonally appropriate foods. Starting a Vata balancing diet 1 or 2 weeks prior to start of fall weather helps balance Vata Dosha.

Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine provides tools to help restore balance. It’s based on the principle that we are all comprised of a combination of the five great elements; space, air, fire, water and earth. The ratio we possess of each element determines our predominant mind-body type or dosha. Every-body has all three doshas within them, yet each of us possesses a unique combination of these qualities. And just like us, dogs have doshas too. Also like us, their dosha(s) can become imbalanced and lead to many physical or mental/emotional disturbances.

What’s the big idea? To bring balance to the doshas, and the body/mind system overall. This is the path to the ideal state of equanimity or ultimate balance (“Sama”). It’s no secret… We all want the very best for our furry best friends. We all want them to live happy carefree lives without disease, injury or pain. Unfortunately, things never work out that way… And when our animals do get sick or injured, most people believe the only choice is to go to the vet. Which means, now you have to pay the cost to see the vet, the cost of treatment and, if necessary, the surgery costs. To make matters worse, many of the most expensive issues are due to poor diet and inadequate nutrition. Which means, most of them can be prevented!

Imagine… What if there were ancient yet powerful techniques to prevent disease, heal injury, boost energy AND cut down on all those expensive trips to the vet…simply by using food? It’s time I formally introduced you to the holistic teachings of Ancient Chinese medicine. These feeding philosophies can transform your pet’s life. Most people don’t know this… …But food therapy has been successfully used for over 3,500 years as a branch of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Eastern Food Therapy uses food and food combinations to prevent disease, heal injuries, increase happiness and improve longevity in animals. In fact, the #1 best way to help your pet live the long and healthy life (without breaking the bank) is to use their FOOD AS MEDICINE. See what other TCVM veterinarians have to say about this course: “I think eating for balance is important and mostly overlooked in allopathic medicine.” -Kris Dailey, DVM “I believe you folks got it right. I like all the educational stuff you are putting out there. I am having fun reviewing the Modules and just reviewing what I do know!” -Suzanne Walski, DVM “Interesting. Good approach, useful way to introduce people to the concepts.” Patty Ungar, DVM

Disclaimer: The information presented on this page and website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or behavioral advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified animal health care provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical or behavioral condition/s.