Leashed doxie sitting in front of food bag next to garden.

Which Protein is Best For Your Dog? Warming, Cooling, Neutral?


Unless you are deeply interested in holistic pet care or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); there's a high chance you haven't heard about the different food energies (cooling, neutral, warming, and hot).

Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that a person's (or animal's) natural energy requires balance that can be achieved through a variety of factors such as food. These practices date back to ancient China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD).

Following TCM practices, it is believed that each animal protein or plant-based ingredient has an energy that can interact with your pet's natural energy.

An imbalance could cause itchiness, food sensitivities, skin irritation, or excessive panting. The goal is to create perfect harmony for both the yin and yang energies.

The foundation to finding what type of proteins your pet should be eating depends on what their energy is like. These characteristics of each of the different energies can help you understand what your pup is:


Pets with cold energies are always seeking heat. They will have cold ears, nose, back and limbs. They tend snuggle up in blankets and can become sluggish during the colder months. Pets with arthritis that is affected by the cold can also be categorized within this energy.


Pets with hot energies can be warm/hot to the touch. They will always be seeking cool places such as a cold floor to lay on or shade. They may exhibit red eyes, red skin, and pant at inappropriate times (not while exercising or excessive heat)

By TCM theory, feeding your pet foods that will help your pet reach a neutral state will help create balance. If your pup has a cold energy, you will want to feed foods that are warming or hot. If your pup has a hot energy, you will want to stick with cooling foods. Both pups can eat foods that are considered neutral as they won't affect balance.

Here's a breakdown of a few proteins by energy source:

Cooling Proteins:

 Neutral Proteins:

Warming Proteins:

 Hot Proteins:

 You may notice that many pet foods will mix more than one of these proteins, so following energy guidelines can become difficult. If you are looking to follow Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, look for a limited-ingredient, single-protein food.

*It is important to remember that following energy guidelines does not replace your pet’s nutritionist and/or veterinarian's advice and any major diet changes should be ran by your vet if your pup has any health complications or has difficulty with food changes.