Blog: TCVM Series Part 4 of 7- Fire Element Personality

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine: Fire Element Personality

by Alexandra Mittner DVM

Today we are going to discuss the Fire element personality type and some of the diseases that they are predisposed to. Remember, previously we discussed the 5 element theory and how everything flows through a cycle between the elements; wood to fire to earth to metal to water. We also discussed how each element has assigned characteristics, such as taste, color, time of the year and stage of life. Some of the characteristics we mentioned were associated with the fire element are: the color red, the direction of south, the emotion of joy, and foods with a bitter taste.

In Chinese medicine, each animal has a base personality type. Typically once their personality is established, the animal remains at its core that personality, and predisposed to the influences of that element. However, as the animal goes through life, and through the cycle, the other elements will influence how they react to their environment and can influence and add depth to their personality. Every person and animal has a different set of experiences, we are all individuals. Knowing core personality types can help us better understand our interactions throughout life.

Fire personality animals are very jovial and love life. They are the type of dog that is going to be bursting with happiness to see you and possibly try to give you as many kisses as you will allow in greeting. Fire is associated with the tongue, and people who are Fire love conversation.  Fire animals also tend to be very vocal often expressing themselves with a wide variety of sounds, besides the typical bark. They really do talk to their owners and often like to be talked to. As mentioned, they will try to lick your face as often as you will allow. These animals love attention and want to be the star of the show, however they are not usually competitive, as wood animals for example. They are driven by the joy of life and want to play just for the fun of the game. These animals will strive to do what their people ask of them as they love the reward when they get it right, but they can be difficult to train due to their short attention span. Fire dogs are often considered hyper, or unable to sit still for long; they want to be on to the next fun thing. They are more motivated by your attention than anything else.  For some dogs, it doesn’t matter if the attention is positive or negative as long as they are receiving it. However, these dogs are also very sensitive and can be easily frightened.

Fire animals have strong bodies and are often are well muscled no matter their size. They have small, bright eyes and prominent blood vessels. Often their face or skin will be more of a reddish hue. They are very fast but don’t have a lot of stamina, making them good short-distance racers and hunters of small game like rabbits and rodents. 

Fire is unique as it is associated with four organs in the body instead of two, like the other elements. All the major organ system s in Chinese medicine are associated in pairs, one organ being more yang and the other more yin. Fire’s organ pairs are the Heart and Small intestine, Pericardium and Triple heater (San-Jiao). Triple heater is a special organ in Chinese medicine with no real western equivalent, though its major function is in governing the circulation of body fluids and nutrient processing. It is also important to note, when discussing the Fire element’s organ systems, that in Chinese medicine the heart is the house of the mind.

Fire animals tend to have a lot of energy and are predisposed towards yang. They burn hot and bright and therefore can damage their yin energies, which leads to imbalances. Often an imbalance may start during hotter times of the year, like summer. Since Fire rules the mind and the adolescent development stage, which is the time during which the personality undergoes major development, these animal need a lot of stability and support during this stage to avoid behavioral issues later. Because of this, fire animals are predisposed toward behavioral disorders such as restlessness, mania, and separation anxiety.

Fire animals are predisposed to cardiovascular diseases. Their heat can easily burn up the yin energy of their heart, and they often have shorter lifespans, sometimes passing away suddenly without any prior warning. However, prior to seeing signs of cardiac disease, other conditions may arise throughout their lives indicating they are becoming yin deficient. They may experience chest or upper back pain as an early indicator that their heart is affected. As previously mentioned restlessness can be an indicator of imbalance, often affecting the animal’s sleep. These animals may also dump extra energy onto the Earth system, which is next in the cycle, causing gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation or diarrhea. Since the small intestine is a fire organ, the animal’s ability to absorb nutrients from their food may be compromised and they may produce voluminous stool as the food is moving  quickly through this part of the body. Because fire is associated with the tongue these animals are also predisposed to heat pathogen issues in the mouth such as ulcerations on their tongues.

Knowing the personality of your animal can help to understand why they react to situations a certain way and what diseases they may be predisposed to. Once we have determined their personality type, we can work together to support your best friend throughout their lifetime and    optimize their quality of life.