What’s Your Doggie’s Dosha?
Ayurvedic Wisdom and Wellness Tips for Dogs (and Their Humans)
Canine wellness expert Amanda Ree dishes ayurvedic wisdom via dog dosha quizzes, balancing your furry friend's dosha and customizing it to meet your BFF's unique needs.
Your Dog's Dosha
Good news for dog lovers who can’t resist an online quiz: In just 13 questions, you can now learn your dog’s dosha and how it can help improve your dog’s wellbeing.
I recently sat down with canine wellness expert Amanda Ree and her four-legged companion Benny to learn more. Many spiritual seekers are familiar with how ayurveda―the mind-body healing “science of life”―can be helpful for humans. But, as an animal chaplain, I was keen to find out how it could help other beings. We started with dogs.
The first step, Ree explains, is finding out your dog’s dosha (mind-body personality type). This knowledge can help you customize your dog’s care for their unique needs, lifestyle, and personality, and, most importantly, help humans create environments that promote balance—sama—in a dog’s life.
What is Dosha
The three mind-body types within the ayurvedic philosophy are designated as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each is a combination of two of the five elements found in nature: space, air, fire, water, and earth.
Whichever pair of elements tend to be more prominent in a being’s personality determines their dosha. For example, a Vata dog will have more space and air; a Pitta, more fire and water; and a Kapha, more earth and water.
Tips for Balancing Your Dog's Dosha
Excessive barking, aggression toward other dogs, weight struggles, and digestive problems can indicate an imbalance. To help, Sama Dog’s website provides suggestions for a dog’s daily routine, behavior training, and meal planning to bring each dosha type into balance.
For example, Benny is a Vata. When balanced, he is energetic, inquisitive, up for new experiences, and very friendly. But when out of balance, he can be nervous, anxious, and restless.
Ree explains imbalance can manifest in a dog’s body as weight loss, constipation, hypertension, or digestive challenges—and in their mind as anxiety and fear. Creating a grounding routine can help assure a Vata pup they are safe. Consistency is paramount for this dosha.
Balancing Your Own Dosha to Help Your Furry Friend Thrive
In helping our dogs thrive, we can bring balance to our lives as well. Ree―a certified meditation teacher, Hatha yoga instructor, ayurvedic health practitioner, and lead educator at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing―founded Sama Dog to bring dogs and their humans together through natural, holistic, spiritual experiences and practices.
“Dogs are our focus at Sama Dog,” she explains, “and, yet, dogs are not able to jump online and come to our classes or listen to our meditations without humans.” To which I interject, laughing: “Not yet!”
“So, as humans,” Ree continues, we need to channel this wisdom into our dogs’ lives. And that’s what is so powerful and important. The human is influenced by the knowledge also. They become more in touch with their own spiritual essence, with their own heart and soul.”
What’s more, from an ayurvedic perspective, these mind-body types apply to all of life. Ree suggests, “When we look at the mind of different creatures, we see these tendencies: Are they nervous and ungrounded? Or intense, driven, and focused? Or loyal, grounded, and easy-going? When we start to recognize these qualities, we can better understand that creature and know what can bring them to balance so all can thrive.”
Three Ayurvedic Practices to Inspire Canine Wellness
- Discover your dog’s dosha: Take this quiz.
- Practice together: Sama Dog offers guided meditations, mantra suggestions, and online courses to help connect you and your furry family members.
- Help dogs in need: Help the Beagle Freedom Project in its efforts to rescue and rehome dogs used in experimental research. Support the folks at Feeding Pets of the Homeless who provide emergency care and food for dogs who live with homeless humans.
The Canine-Human Connection
From hunting partners to huggable companions, dogs have played many roles throughout human history. In her book A Dog's History of the World: Canines and the Domestication of Humans, Laura Hobgood-Oster suggests humans might not even be here had we not connected with dogs long ago.
“For over 30,000 years,” she notes, “the lives of humans and dogs have been inextricably intertwined. These two species have traveled the world on an emotional, interesting, sometimes beautiful, and at other times destructive, journey. … This pervasive and complicated interspecies connection reminds humans that they are not alone on this journey—and that they could not have walked it without a partner.”
Ree is direct proof. As a child, a dog saved her from drowning, inspiring her lifelong passion for helping canines and their people. With a heartfelt grin she reflects: “Dogs are a portal. They are a channel through which spirit can come into our lives.”
Read more stories about dogs and their humans: Check out Dogitation: Canine help along the bodhisattva path or How to Experience Canine Flow.