27 Feb How to Prolong Your Dog’s Life
My dog, Chaga, is my best friend.
You probably already knew that since I can’t seem to ever stop talking about him. I can’t help it! From day one, I wanted to make sure that he lived a happy, healthy life. So since I’m a bit obsessed with nutrition, I made sure he was getting the right kinds of fresh foods that he needed for his body. But I get that not everyone has the obsessive knowledge I have on superfoods and nutrition. And we’ve pretty much been trained to believe that dogs and cats need dry kibble, and that “people food” is bad for them.
The thing is, nutrition is just as important to an animal’s body as it is to a human body. You wouldn’t feed your kids dry, processed brown balls day in and day out, would you? So why are we feeding this crap to our pets??
On a recent episode of The Darin Olien Show,
I was so stoked to have authors of the book The Forever Dog on to chat about pet nutrition. Both Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker are dog owners themselves and are passionate about prolonging the lives of pets everywhere.
Rodney is a digital artist, filmmaker and award-winning content creator. He also founded Planet Paws, the world’s largest pet health page on Facebook. When establishing the non-profit organization Paws for Change Foundation, his research on animal nutrition and lifestyle shaped his focus.
Dr. Karen Becker, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has spent her career developing a common-sense approach to creating vibrant health for companion animals. She is one of the most followed vets on social media! As the first veterinarian to give a TEDx talk on species-appropriate nutrition, you could say she knows what she’s talking about.
What are you feeding your dog?
The majority of my conversation with Rodney & Dr. Becker centered around pet nutrition. Because as we all know, what we eat directly affects our health. And that concept is exactly the same for animals! Unfortunately, most vet clinics in the United States will recommend dry kibble for your dog. Morning and night, day after day- just dry kibble. WHY?? Because the truth is, most kibble pet food found at stores is highly processed, full of additives and dyes and is made from food scraps that aren’t deemed suitable for human consumption. Gross!
“About 85% of dogs in North America get the vast majority of their calories only from ultra-processed, highly-refined foods,” Dr. Karen told me.
Our dogs should be eating fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables and high-quality meats and proteins. You just can’t get that from dry kibble. And almost just as important as the quality of foods you feed your pet is the variety of foods. You wouldn’t want to eat the same thing for breakfast and dinner every day of your life, would you? Neither do your pets. Or as Dr. Karen said, “Animals don’t have a choice. They’re held captive in our homes, so we better make really good decisions.”
The Science Behind Fresh Food Nutrition and Animals
Dogs all across America have been getting sicker and dying prematurely over the past 30 years. They’re suffering from the same chronic diseases that afflict humans. We can make the decision to change our diet and eat more fruits and vegetables- our pets can’t. Rodney and Dr. Karen stress that it’s up to us pet parents to make smart, science-backed choices to prolong the life of our furry friends.
And it’s a lot easier than you think! Rodney told me that adding just one tablespoon of fresh healthy food- for example, steamed broccoli- into your pet’s diet a day could make a HUGE difference. In fact, a 2005 study conducted at Purdue University showed that adding fresh vegetables to dry kibble prevented and/or slowed down the development of bladder cancer cells.
I know that not everyone has the resources to feed their pet exclusively fresh food. However, little changes, like chopping up some cooked veggies and adding them to their bowl can make a huge difference in their health. Let’s take care of our animal family members, by making informed decisions on what they eat.
To hear more of my conversation with Rodney and Dr. Karen, check out their episode of The Darin Olien Show.