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Earlier this week, I wrote about an adventure I had at Bark in the Park in San Jose. While I was at this fun event, I met Hetal who owns Curry n Pepper, a company that creates food that balances a pets dosha: Ayurveda for pets.

Last year I discussed the five Chinese elements with our eastern vet, and Mort was classified as a fire dog (surprised?), and Tig as a earth dog. But Ayurveda is a bit different, so I asked Hetal to help me understand what it is all about, and why she started making this food.

How Curry n Pepper began creating food and treats for dogs

Both of Hetal’s rescued dogs suffered from health problems: Curry had gastroenteritis, and Brownie suffered from allergies. Hetal explains,

After exhausting all our options with a variety of foods and meds, I started researching further on how I could help my dogs with natural ingredients, especially given that commercial pet products often contain non-human grade ingredients, preservatives and chemically synthesized ingredients that in the long haul, is not good for our pets. After talking to my vet, I decided to start cooking for my dogs, so I could incorporate organic, locally available, seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs that best suited Curry and Brownie’s body type and metabolism using Ayurvedic methods.

Curry and Brownie from Curry n Pepper

Curry and Brownie suffered from several ailments until switching to a healthy, natural diet.

And what happened as a result? Over time, their health and energy levels improved. This meant no more vomiting, diarrhea, or allergy problems. Not to mention, their coats became soft and shiny, and external indication of their internal health!

Hetal’s neighbors noticed the remarkable transformation and improvement in her dogs’ health, and asked if she could make the food and treats for their dogs as well. This led to the formation of Curry n Pepper.

Pepper the dog from Curry n Pepper

Pepper is a sweet little Indian Mongrel rescued back in India. She is Hetal’s constant source of inspiration and always reminds her to give back to the community. Hetal says “A portion of Curry n Pepper’s sales are donated to local shelters in SF Bay Area, and are and also used feed stray mongrels in India.”

hetal

What is Ayurveda for Pets?

I asked Hetal to explain more about what Ayurveda is. She explained:

Ayurveda means “knowledge of life”. It is an ancient philosophy based on holistic view practiced for several thousands of years on people and animals. It uses nature as its base to help increase prana (life energy) in harmony with environment. Even though its based on a complex science, it is simple and easy to practice.

Dosha’s are the three major influences upon every living being that given the bodily functions. The dosha are Vata (Air + Space), Pitta (Fire + Water) and Kapha (Water + Earth). When a dosha is out of balance it can lead to lack of energy, discomfort or disease.

She told me that identifying and understanding a pet’s dosha is key to balancing it.

What makes Ayrveda food different

I asked Hetal what makes Ayrveda different from other natural or raw diets. This is what she explained:

Did you know that animals in the wild know how to eat the right herbs/plants when their system is out of balance? When dogs were wolves, they had no vets, they relied on nature’s resources to heal themselves.

Our Dogs for that matter all pets, just like us humans are made up of five elements of nature (Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Space). When the elements or dosha’s are out of balance, it can weaken a pet’s immunity or manifest in the form of various ailments/diseases. According to the science of Ayurveda also known as science of life these elements can be balanced through food, exercise and yoga/meditation.

So what sets these products apart is Curry n Pepper helps you identify, understand and balance a pets dosha. The basic principles of Ayurveda are applied by incorporating the concept of dosha, Ayurvedic herbs, recipes and methods in the products. This helps to balance a pet’s dosha in a natural way.

A balanced dosha will strengthen a pet’s metabolism and immunity, creating a happy and healthy pet! Curry n Pepper uses seasonally available fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms to make that your dog receives maximum prana (positive energy).

What I especially love about the products I bought at Bark in the Park last week is that they are vegan, cruelty free, and also do not contain any common allergens like Wheat, Corn, Gluten or Soy. The products also don’t contain salt, sugar, or any artificial colors or preservatives. In other words, no junk. That I can get behind!

How do I find out what elements my dogs are, and what I should feed?

CurrynPepper provided this incredible document that teaches you how to identify your pet’s dosha.

ayurveda for dogs explained

Learn about ayurveda for dogs.

For additional information on ayurveda for pets, see this great resource on Dogs Naturally Magazine.

Regarding appropriate ingredients from Curry n Pepper:
While Curry n Pepper does not create meat based food/treats, for those who wish to incorporate into their pet’s diet whether cooking or mixed with our food, I listed the meats that would be beneficial for each dosha.

Vata
Foods to avoid: Veggies like Broccoli, Pork, Venison, Rabbit meat, Turkey and Lamb.Food that would benefit Vata, Plain yogurt at room temperature, in between meals, it helps balance the air elements as well as it help her with bloat.
You can include carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and other dog safe veggies that grow in the fall season. You can stir in a tsp spoon of sesame oil once a day (you don’t need to do this if you feed fish).

Pitta
Foods to avoid: cheese, chicken, fish, turkey, beef, lamb, pork, sesame oil, too much peanut butter.
You can include a little bit of coconut oil as it is cooling, add vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cranberries or a little bit of brewers yeast. Meats suited for Pitta would be venison.

Kapha
Foods to avoid: Coconut oil, sweet potatoes, kelp, cheese, fish, beef, pork, duck.
You can include green beans, broccoli, spirulina, carrots, turmeric, ginger. Meats suited for kapha would be chicken, rabbit and venison.

And how does it taste?

That’s right, I tried both the food and the treats (oh, and so did Mort and Tig). It’s pretty darn good, even to me! But then the treats are peanut butter and berry flavored, so you can’t go wrong.

And Mort and Tig were doing all their tricks to get some, and Mort filed his own nails for some treats this evening. Not only this, but I can now get food that is specifically designed for a dog like Mort, and another one specifically designed for Tig and her individual needs. At the same time I’m supporting pets in need. How cool is that?

Tig likes these treats

She is putting on her cute face for some ayurveda dog food and dog treats.

Dogs like these dog treats

Mort says he can put on a cute face too, will he get some treats for it?

Mort is trying to get some treats, but Tig says “not yet.”

Dogs really, really want some treats

All right, come on, we can have some now right? We’re both smiling!

Where to find Curry n Pepper

Visit www.currynpepper.com for more information on Ayurveda for dogs, or if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area you can visit them at Walk n Wag on Oct 4, 2014, Hellyer County Park, San Jose (9.00 am to 1pm). You can also follow them on Facebook for natural tips and remedies for dogs!

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About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.

  • Great tasting individualized food that also supports animals in need, like you said what’s not to love? And I’m glad to see a smile on Tig’s face after the previous treat incident :)

    • LOL! Yes, there was even a blurry shot on the cutting room floor of her keeping Mort’s face away from the treats (he listened this time).

  • Jody Miller-Young

    What a great post, Jen! I am so interested in this. I love the info graphic, too. I’m going to check out their site. Sophie is so a Vata and Jasper is so a Pitta. I never knew Ayurveda applied to dogs but makes perfect sense. Thanks, Jen!

    • Thanks so much! Yeah I was really excited when I found her company this past weekend – I hadn’t thought of specific food being made that considered the elements, which is neat because my vet had detailed what I should do (but it’s hard to do when busy and all that). It’s a great idea, a great resource for sure :) Just updated with more info about ingredients too.

  • Steve Pepe

    In chinese medicine Venison is a warming food…are you sure this is appropriate for Pitta dogs?