The full title of this very weighty tome by Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Shaw Becker is “The Forever Dog: Surprising New Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Younger, Healthier & Longer.” It’s a mouthful, and this book is not a one-night read. Rather, it’s the kind of book you will skim, and then keep in a safe place for future reference. There’s a huge amount of information in these pages, but to anyone who has read about human health, nothing written here will be shocking or novel.
The authors actually very kindly sum up the whole point of the book in the introduction: “Eat less, eat fresher, and move more and more often.” See? I told you that this is not about novel information — that’s exactly what my doctor told me during my last physical. But chapter by chapter, point by point, they explain the science and give evidence as to why their advice is the best way for your dog to live longer and be healthier. And that’s what we all want, right?
I’ve been “into” organic food for decades. I don’t put chemicals on my lawn. I don’t have carpeting or use dangerous cleaning supplies in my home. I don’t smoke, nor do I heat foods in plastic. We don’t spray for insects or use scented products. But I must admit that while my husband and I drink the filtered water from our reverse osmosis filter, I wasn’t filling up the dogs’ water bowl with that. I figured that Lake Michigan water was good enough. That practice is changing. For those who don’t know about the harm that lawn products can have on your dogs, there is important information here.
There’s also a lot of information about superfoods and what to feed your dog. The information about the evil and disgusting nature of processed kibble is something I learned by reading “Big Kibble,” but in the chapter on dietary health, these authors share fruits and vegetables that are really healthy and should be added to your dog’s diet. Did you believe that avocado is deadly for dogs? I did, too. It turns out that’s just not true. And dogs can eat garlic in moderation and it’s good for them! There are recipes for making your own dog food, but they also recommend raw or gently cooked dog food. Interestingly, you might have heard of intermittent fasting and how that’s a healthy way for us to eat. Turns out, according to these authors, it’s also a healthy way for our dogs to eat. They recommend feeding them within an eight-hour window so that they end up fasting for 16 hours.
In addition to the probiotics and supplements that will helps our dogs be healthier, they also recommend getting your dog more exercise. (See? I told you this is all familiar!) So just as exercise is what most of us need to get more of, so do our dogs. Exercise and mental stimulation are good for them physically and mentally. And good for us.
The authors even have advice about which tests to add to your yearly bloodwork. My vitamin D was low in my last test, but I never thought that I should have my dogs’ vitamin D levels and C-reactive protein (CRP) checked. Color me educated. I will be keeping this book in my library and checking it from time to time to see what I can add to my dogs’ lives to make them happier, healthier and mentally more fit.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Harper Wave, the publisher, for review purposes.