Update – The Forever Dog just became the first dog health book to hit #1 on The NY Times Best Seller List. History is made!
Several months ago renowned veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker and pet health leader Rodney Habib announced their new book The Forever Dog. When I heard, I got so excited, I began doing zoomies in my living room!
I have long been a fan of Dr. Karen Becker and her advocacy for pet health and engaging style of explaining health topics. I can’t tell you how many times I was worried or confused after one of Miles’ veterinary appointments and was able to find a video of Dr. Becker clearly explaining the topic. Dr. Becker has empowered me to ask the right questions, and I thank her for helping me have such productive relationships with every veterinarian and veterinary specialist I have worked with.
Around the same time I became aware of Dr. Karen Becker, I started seeing game-changing infographics and videos about pet health by Rodney Habib. Like Dr. Becker, Rodney Habib has had a profound effect on my and Miles’ life. And we are not alone: Rodney’s infographics and videos have been viewed by millions upon millions of people. Dr. Becker and Rodney Habib have been collaborating for a long time now, and I couldn’t be a bigger fan or more deeply grateful on a personal level for their work.
When my copy of The Forever Dog arrived, the sheer weight of the book impressed me. As I dove in, I noticed that nearly every page references at least one scientific study. It absolutely boggles my mind how they put this book together!
The Forever Dog doesn’t stick to a set agenda or method, but rather lays out clear scientific data and explains how that data relates to pet health. Dr. Becker and Rodney Habib focus on steering the ship of pet health forward, rather than laying down rules that are bound to be unraveled the more and more we learn. One of the most refreshing and freeing aspects of this book is that it moves away from the old rule-based approach we’ve had with pet health care for so long. If you aren’t quite sure what I mean, think of the last time you didn’t understand a “rule” about pet health, but followed it anyway because you felt confused and afraid… And you still felt confused and afraid after? It is time that pet people have the opportunity to feel empowered with knowledge rather than feeling in the dark, confused, and afraid.
For so long, we’ve been told what to do for our pets’ health, and so much of that information hasn’t been based on science. The Forever Dog is a trailblazer in offering a new science-based approach to pet health care.
Early on in reading the book, I found the information about the gut microbiome fascinating. Very recent studies on the gut microbiome are completely changing research and understanding of health. Inside our gut resides a diverse ecosystem of tiny digestive helpers. When we eat, we aren’t just feeding ourselves; we are also feeding our precious gut microbiome. This ecosystem can be rich, robust, and can lay the foundation for our best possible physical and mental health, or, it can be the first source of the unraveling of our health. Another concept that was wildly interesting to me is that one of our biggest areas of exposure to the outside world is through our gut. If you’ve ever thought about washing your hands when coming home, consider that what you eat is just as important. We take in the outside world intimately through our gut when we eat.
As the book details, pets are particularly vulnerable to the outside world through both their external and internal bodies because they are much closer to the ground than we are, and because they do not get to chose what they eat. Even when talking about difficult subjects such as the food industry, The Forever Dog always takes a positive approach: education is empowerment. As Rodney Habib says, “When pet owners know better, they will only do better.”
The book lays a very clear groundwork of where we have been, where we are, and where we can go to help ourselves and our dogs live longer, healthier lives. The reality is, statistically pet dogs are suffering from shocking levels of chronic ailments and illnesses, and they are dying prematurely. As The Forever Dog details, it doesn’t have to be that way, and change doesn’t have to be bewildering or cost prohibitive.
As a behavior consultant whose only desire is to see fewer people and dogs struggle with dog behavior challenges, I have seen with my own eyes how crucial a role health and diet play in behavior. As the book details, recent studies have shown that dogs who suffer from aggressive behavior often have a less diverse gut microbiome than dogs who appear emotionally stable. We all know that eating food that is minimally processed and avoiding environmental toxins help us lead healthier longer lives. Not surprisingly, the same is true for dogs. When you feel physically good, you will be better equipped to deal with whatever life throws at you. Just as for us, less physical and emotional stress also can lead to a longer life for our dogs. One of the most heartening aspects of the book is that the practical suggestions are extremely accommodating and flexible for any budget and any lifestyle. The book focuses on setting everyone up with attainable options towards offering our dogs the best we possibly can.
The Forever Dog offers a detailed, clear, and science-based guide to how to help your dog lead a longer, healthier, happier life.
Becker and Habib most definitely sound like trailblazers, and I look forward to reading the book. And, as for the photos of Miles reading, they should be required viewing for any of us trying to maintain our sanity in these trying times. Fabulous photography as we are used to from you, Emma, and hilariousness from Miles!
Couldn’t agree more!
I am looking forward to hearing what you think of the book! 🙂
Far too many cats and dogs are being treated with drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases including allergies and other “itis” conditions (ie. pancreatitis) and one out of two pets are developing cancer. I had the realization that most of our first Welsh Terrier’s health problems – yeast infections, pancreatitis and ultimately her cancer diagnosis – were brought about in large part by what we fed her. In the US large food companies have found a lucrative way to get rid of billions of tons of waste and turn it into something advertised as “convenient” for pet parents. Heck they own most of the large pet supply stores and have conveniently invested in veterinary care so when your pets do get sick you can have them conveniently treated in the same location. These large companies have made their way into nutrition classes in many veterinary schools where even buildings have been named after them and into the FDA and AAFO where they have a hand in creating slick labeling and ingredient standards and even breeders who make recommendations to pet parents on what to feed, some even sending home bags of kibble (a cute name for animal feed). But as consumers all is not lost; we have “heroes” that speak up for our pets like Rodney and Kohl Harrington and Susan Thixton. Their investigative work demands transparency. And there are so many sites today that guide pet parents on making homemade recipes. And for those who want to buy prepared food – creating a good relationship with an independent retailer, shopping the freezers, not the shelves can go a long way toward extending your pets life. So far Bailey at 10 is our little experiment – minimal vaccines and a diet of raw fermented goat milk and a rotation of raw, grass fed, beef, chicken, turkey and pork blends from a sustainable GAP rated farm for most of life have kept her body and teeth healthy – and out of the veterinarian’s office. So far so good thanks to the knowledge gained from wonderful people who dare to speak the truth against overwhelming odds!
It sounds like Bailey is one lucky pup! Thank you for the thoughtful comment Gail! Can you come and prepare my meals too? 😉
I’m as excited as you are, Emma! I pre ordered my copy ages ago. Can’t WAIT for its arrival! What a great review you gave it. I also have been a fan of Dr. Becker.. for 20 years now! Rodney and Karen are my go to people!
Truly can not wait for my book.
Thanks for your beautifully written review, and spreading the word. Love to you. Darcy and Sally
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you read it!
I’m ordering f this book. We have had so many issues with Robbie from the minute we picked him up. From allergies, aggression, ears, peeing on and on. We do have a holistic vet which helps.
You will absolutely love this book, Jackie. I am excited to hear what you think once you’ve read it!
Wow, I’m definitely interesting in checking out that book, and you totally sold it with Miles wearing glasses. I’m dying from how handsome he is – he’s always handsome, but add some glasses and be still my heart! Better yet, a dog who reads? Miles is the best!
But seriously, thanks for the book recommendation – any recommendation that has your gold star of approval has got to be worth reading!
Thanks Danielle, yes the pictures were fun to take too!
Looking forward to reading this book. Great photos bty. I especially like the one of Miles snuggled up in bed reading.
You will really enjoy the book JC! Thank you about the pictures – that one is my favorite too. 🙂
What a great review. I’ve been aware of the growing body of scientific literature on the gut biome and its role in human health, but was not aware of these two fantastic people and their many years of work on dog nutrition and health—not to mention the role of corporate economics in this aspect of all of our health. I particularly appreciate your observation Emma about the value of a book that gives us the materials to at least begin to think for ourselves and refuses to reduce everything to this week’s 10 things to do / think about dog nutrition. What a relief, and what a service to us all—them to provide this and you to alert us to it. Oh yes, and then there is Miles, truly the thinking person’s dog.
Thank you so much Rollo, you will love the book. Ha yes, Miles is certainly the thinking person’s dog, I like that!
As always, such a well written article and beautiful photos of Miles. I have been receiving Dr Becker’s daily emails for many years. They are so valuable. I have such deep admiration for both she and Rodney Habib. They have been fearless advocates for a better life style for our pets. I hope this book will help bridge the gap between veterinarians and pet owners.
Fearless is right. I feel the same as you. I am so grateful for them. It means a lot that human doctors such as yourself are supportive of bringing pet health understanding to the level we have achieved with our own health.
Pre-ordered, too. Love your review AND Professor Miles! 😍❤️
I can’t wait to hear what you think!! 🙂
Since your post on eating green, George gets green cubes with his raw food—beef, duck, and lamb—at breakfast and dinner. He thanks you, too! They are a little smaller (but not by much) than your cubes, given the size of the square ice cube trays we had on hand. And, after reading a bit of Forever Dog, I’ve been giving George more exciting healthy treats (instead of Ziwi Peak freeze dried lamb more exclusively) such as carrots—he loves the crunch—blueberries and coconut meat. I cut these up tiny so I can reward him on our walks. He says, woof woof! I must write his furr-friends we meet along our walks are not impressed. Typically, they take the carrot, but then spit it out and look up at me quizzically as if to say, no lamb? I also bought some red and yellow mini peppers to cut up for more “color” in this healthy variety. I thinking of trying sardines as an exotic dinner once in a while. Once a month? Still reading Forever Dog. It’s terrific! Thank you for the recommendation.
The book has been a game changer! 🙂
I am so looking forward to reading this book. I am a big fan of Dr. Karen Becker.
Me too! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
Thanks for keeping us in the loop Emma. The pictures of Miles are adorable!
You are so welcome Marilyn! And thank you, Miles says “hi”
Thanks for your thoughts Emma. I also am a big fan of Dr. Becker’s, she has made such huge strides in the well being of our pets. I ordered the book a couple of weeks ago and it just arrived looking forward to digging into it.
You are going to enjoy it so much! I couldn’t put it down!
Excellent book, and a lot of the same advice Emma had given us regarding diet for our Welsh Terrier. Over a year ago we were reluctant to change to a raw food diet and now we still talk about the many benefits we see – weight maintenance, clean teeth, good digestion – so better demeanor, and no smelly dog breath 🙂 I learned a lot about dogs and how external factors influence their health and well-being. Thanks for recommending!