In this pathbreaking guide, two of the world’s most popular and trusted pet care advocates reveal new science to teach us how to delay aging and provide a long, happy, healthy life for our canine companions.
Like their human counterparts, dogs have been getting sicker and dying prematurely over the past few decades. Why? Scientists are beginning to understand that the chronic diseases afflicting humans—cancer, obesity, diabetes, organ degeneration, and autoimmune disorders—also beset canines. As a result, our beloved companions are vexed with preventable health problems throughout much of their lives and suffer shorter life spans. Because our pets can’t make health and lifestyle decisions for themselves, it’s up to pet parents to make smart, science-backed choices for lasting vitality and health.
The Forever Dog gives us the practical, proven tools to protect our loyal four-legged companions. Rodney Habib and Karen Becker, DVM, globetrotted (pre-pandemic) to galvanize the best wisdom from top geneticists, microbiologists, and longevity researchers; they also interviewed people whose dogs have lived into their 20s and even 30s. The result is this unprecedented and comprehensive guide, filled with surprising information, invaluable advice, and inspiring stories about dogs and the people who love them.
The Forever Dog prescriptive plan focuses on diet and nutrition, movement, environmental exposures, and stress reduction, and can be tailored to the genetic predisposition of particular breeds or mixes. The authors discuss various types of food—including what the commercial manufacturers don’t want us to know—and offer recipes, easy solutions, and tips for making sure our dogs obtain the nutrients they need. Habib and Dr. Becker also explore how external factors we often don’t think about can greatly affect a dog’s overall health and wellbeing, from everyday insults to the body and its physiology, to the role our own lifestyles and our vets’ choices play. Indeed, the health equation works both ways and can travel “up the leash.”
Medical breakthroughs have expanded our choices for canine health—if you know what they are. This definitive dog-care guide empowers us with the knowledge we need to make wise choices, and to keep our dogs healthy and happy for years to come.
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About the Author
Rodney Habib is a digital artist, filmmaker, multiple award-winning content creator and founder of Planet Paws—the world’s largest pet health page on Facebook—and most importantly, a pet parent. Rodney established the non-profit organization Paws for Change Foundation to further education and research in the area of animal nutrition and lifestyle as it relates to longevity and healthspan. Rodney’s first TEDx talk on pet health stands as the highest viewed TED talk in history pertaining to dogs. He was recently honored by the Canadian government as having one of the most influential platforms in Canada.
Veterinarian Karen Shaw Becker's deliberate, common-sense approach to creating vibrant health for companion animals has been embraced by millions of pet lovers around the world, making her the most followed vet on social media. She has spent her career as a small animal clinician, empowering animal guardians to make intentional lifestyle decisions to enhance the wellbeing of their animals. Dr. Becker also writes and lectures extensively and serves as a wellness consultant for a variety of health-oriented organizations. She is the first veterinarian to give a TEDx talk on species appropriate nutrition, which has been a lifelong passion of hers.
Table of Contents
Authors' Note ix
Introduction: Humanity's Best Friend xi
Part I The Modern, Unwell Dog: A Short Story
1 Sick as a Dog: Why We and Our Companions Are Losing Our Longevity 3
2 Our Co-Evolution with Dogs: From Wild Wolves to Willful Pets 27
3 The Science of Aging: Surprising Truths about Dogs and Their Risk Factors for Disease 51
Part II Secrets from the World's Oldest Dogs: The Long Tale
4 De-Aging through Diet: How Food Is Information for Health and Longevity Genes 99
5 The Triple Threat: How Stress, Isolation, and Lack of Physical Activity Affect Us All 149
6 Environmental Impact: The Difference between a Muddy Dog and a Dirty Dog 177
Part III Pooch Parenting to Build a Forever Dog
7 Dietary Habits for a Long and Healthy Life: Building a Better Bowl 207
8 Supplemental Habits for a Long and Healthy Life: The Essentials to Navigate Safe and Effective Supplements 249
9 Personalized Meals as Medicine: Pet Food Homework and Fresher Percentages for a Durable Dog 279
10 Putting the OGS into DOGS: Fitness Guidelines and Controlling for Genetic and Environmental Impacts 345