Ever Wonder if You Could Do More for Your Pet?

Ever Wonder if You Could Do More for Your Pet?

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Today I’m chatting with my friend and co-author, Rodney Habib, about our soon-to-be-released second book, The Forever Dog Life: 120+ Recipes, Longevity Tips, and New Science for Better Bowls and Healthier Homes
  • The official book release is June 4th, but we’re encouraging everyone to preorder now, because our first book (The Forever Dog) sold out almost immediately, and we want all of you passionate pet parents out there to avoid disappointment and a potentially long wait this time around
  • The Forever Dog (book No. 1), was the “why” behind the importance of providing a thriving, sustainable lifestyle and environment for your animal companion; The Forever Dog Life (the new book) is “how” — a step-by-step manual presented in a colorful, photo-rich format
  • Listen in or read along as Rodney and I discuss the many ways we believe The Forever Dog Life can help pet parents everywhere learn simple ways they can help their dogs live longer and better from the inside-out and the outside-in with easy-to-follow tools, recipes, and tips

My guest today is my very good friend Rodney Habib, and he’s here to discuss another exciting project we’ve teamed up on, our second book! Our first book, The Forever Dog, was the “why”— it’s heavy on words, but light on pictures.

The second book, The Forever Dog Life: 120+ Recipes, Longevity Tips, and New Science for Better Bowls and Healthier Homes, which will be released in two weeks on June 4th, is the “how.” It’s a beautiful, photo-rich visual representation of the science behind The Forever Dog.

My first question for Rodney: What was it like to shoot an entire color photo book?

“Well, I can tell you it was extremely exhausting, but extremely gratifying at the same time,” he replied. “The Forever Dog climbed to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and we were on cloud nine. But we were getting a lot of feedback from readers with questions like, ‘Where are all the wonderful pictures you guys are known for?’So, our new book, The Forever Dog Life, is a shout out to all the people who know us for our online content, our memes, our videos, and so forth. The photos in the second book were taken in remote locations in different parts of the world where we sat down for conversations with some really extraordinary pet parents who've raised extraordinarily long-lived dogs.It's a traveling tale. It's a food journey. It’s a home environment journey. And none of it would have been possible without the help of Dr. Susan Recker, who worked with you to assemble the content, or Bea Adams, who helped with the photography.”

The Forever Dog Life: A ‘How-To’ Pet Lifestyle Manual

Susan and I were responsible for creating the over 120 nutritionally complete recipes found in The Forever Dog Life, and it was a huge challenge. Pet parents who want to create homemade diets for their animals are naturally a bit nervous about getting everything right. Susan and I created separate European and AAFCO nutrient balanced recipes for puppies, kittens, adult dogs and cats, and less active dogs and cats. The recipe portion of the book covers all six of those bases.

The meal prep recipes represent about half The Forever Dog Life, and the other half is lifestyle “recipes” — it’s about creating a healthy home environment for pets, with the science to back it up.

“We definitely showed the science,” says Rodney. “There are over 330 citations in this lifestyle book.”

In our first book, we summarized the top-line concepts we presented using the acronym D-O-G-S: Diet, Optimal movement, Genetic predisposition, and Stress (which encompasses environmental, physical, physiologic, emotional, mental, and chemical stressors in our world, and in our home and outdoor environments).

In The Forever Dog Life book, the main concepts are captured by the acronym L-I-F-E: Lifestyle, Ideal microbiome (because the science is quite clear that health and wellness begin in the gut), Food, and Environmental stress.

Another difference is that in our upcoming book, cats are prominently featured along with dogs. Our first book was exclusive to dogs, whereas The Forever Dog Life also honors our feline family members.

Actions You Can Take to Minimize Your Pet’s Toxic Load

“Many thanks to scientific research for making it very easy for us to explain exactly how to make our homes less toxic,” says Rodney. “Dogs and cats spend most of their time at home, and certainly more than we do. So, if your home is toxic, guess who's bearing most of that burden? Research shows that all the different types of potentially toxic forever chemicals in our home environments are present in our pets.In the Forever Dog Life we provide recipes to make, for example, a DIY air purifier for less then $30. We offer lots of recipes for cleaning up both your pet’s indoor and outdoor environment.”

Cats are actually more at risk than dogs in terms of their chemical load. Indoor only kitties don’t roam around unsupervised outside due to the dangers involved, but they do take on the risks associated with a chemical-laden indoor environment. In the book we show pet parents how to swap out chemical-based household products for natural, nontoxic products.

Most dogs get outside in the fresh air every day, but they also walk through lawn and other types of chemicals used outdoors, which is why it’s important to address both indoor and outdoor pollutants.

From Pet Food Hacks to Health Hacks to DIY Home Cleaners

One of Rodney’s passions is helping pet parents who can’t or aren’t ready to upgrade their dog’s or cat’s food learn how to make small, incremental changes in that direction.

“Let’s say you’re a pet parent feeding a balanced diet, but it's primarily an ultraprocessed diet, and you want to add some fresh food toppers,” says Rodney. “How many and what kind of foods could you add (or substitute) and still keep the diet nutritionally balanced? We address some of those questions in The Forever Dog Life and offer options for replacing a lot or a little of your pet’s ultraprocessed food with better options.We’ve reviewed over 10,000 canine gut microbiome studies and papers and selected foods that are packed with polyphenols, fiber, antioxidants, and other microbiome-pleasing bioactive foods. We’ve included them such that you can add just a teaspoon of this or that to improve your pet’s immune health. There are so many different directions you can go in.”

Rodney continues:

“There’s another section of the book that addresses common health ailments in pets. It’s about having a toolbox at home that you can reach for if your pet has a minor injury or illness. It’s full of quick little home hacks, sort of a personal medicine cabinet for your pet.”

The book also contains my own recipes for things like homemade ear cleaner, toothpaste, and shampoo. Mama Becker and I also created a DIY laundry detergent that costs just pennies per load. We just made a batch yesterday and she said, "My entire house smells amazing, and it's all natural. For under 10 bucks, I can do wash all year." So not only are you saving money, but when you make these household products yourself, you know exactly what's in them and the date you made them.

Pet Food Recipes From Across the Globe

Over the many years Rodney and I have worked together, one thing we’ve heard over and over from pet parents is “I want to make food at home for my pet, but I have no idea how. I just don't know how to do it,” and believe me, we understand and want to help.

Toward that end, we now have an incredible data team assembling a website that will allow you to find a recipe in The Forever Dog Life book you want to try, take it onto the website, and come away with many different ways to create your recipe.

The recipes in the book are balanced thanks to input from board-certified veterinary nutritionists. They’re also “tastes from around the world” — recipes from different countries inspired by pet parents from those regions who have extraordinarily long-lived dogs.

Research is pretty clear about how to diversify the microbiome to make it more resilient. One of the ways to do that is to introduce new foods with new prebiotic fibers. Every food has its own unique set of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, etc. One bite at a time, you can begin working on building your pet’s ideal microbiome.

4 Recipe Prep Categories: Raw, Oven, Crockpot, Poached

Another thing we hear often from pet parents is, “I can't feed raw. I don't want to feed raw.”

“We’re trying to include something for everyone in The Forever Dog Life,” Rodney explains. “Food philosophies are like religion, and we have to understand that while you and I are huge fans of minimally processed foods, there are many pet parents out there who can’t even contemplate feeding raw. So, for all of you listening or reading here today, the book isn’t just about raw diets.We offer four different cooking strategies to use to prepare the balanced recipes in the book. If you don't want to cook the food, there's an option for you. If you like to use your oven, there's an option for you. If you’re crazy about your crockpot, there’s an option for you. And there’s an option for gently cooked (poached) recipes.”

Poaching is my personal favorite if I’m going to cook (vs. feeding fresh/raw). Immunocompromised and older animals often do better with cooked food, and poaching is the best way to maintain important nutrients, keep advanced glycation end product (AGE) levels low, and provide flavorful, warm meals with the consistency of canned food.

You’ll also find four different nutritional analyses to go along with the four different types of food prep. You'll see differing amounts of ingredients based on the cooking method you choose. I'm pretty sure this is the only pet food recipe book that offers this depth of information, based on feedback from veterinary nutritionists who’ve reviewed it. The thing is, cooking matters and heat matters, and we want the nutrients to be adjusted accordingly.

Rodney and I are really excited about the response we’ve received on the little recipe “preview reels” we’ve shared online. Some of the recipes, for example, longevity root vegetable stew, are delicious and healthy for humans as well.

“The stew recipe exploded online, and everybody started making it, reposting it, and tagging us on reels and stories,” says Rodney. “It was unbelievable. That's the exciting part about some of our recipes — they’re not only good for your pet’s microbiome, but yours as well. Many of the recipes are quite unique. Another that's gone crazy is your collagen ball recipe.”

Preorder Today and Get Ready to Learn and Be Inspired!

One of my most important goals for The Forever Dog Life is to remove the fear so many pet parents have about making their own pet food. We want to meet people where they are and help them move forward one tiny step at a time.

“Our first book was listed as a contemporary classic according to Harper Collins, which means it's a book that shifts culture, printed in 22 languages around the world,” says Rodney. “I don't think I can top that, but my goal with The Forever Dog Life is to change people’s perception. For a lot of people, ultraprocessed food is the only reality because they don't know any better. And food fears are real.You can go online right now and read that broccoli is bad for your dog. Nuts are bad for your dog. So are culinary mushrooms. There are so many food myths floating around. My hope is that when pet parents see all the photos in the book being splashed all over the place, their perception shifts to ‘Hey, maybe dog and cat food doesn't have to look like pellets’.”

The release date for The Forever Dog Life: 120+ Recipes, Longevity Tips, and New Science for Better Bowls and Healthier Homes is June 4, but we really want to encourage you to preorder now.

Our first book sold out in 90 seconds all over the world. This is an opportunity for you to secure your copy, because when you preorder, you don't have to worry or face disappointment if it sells out immediately. You've got your ticket and your number in line. You're not charged until the book is shipped to you. You’re just getting your spot in the lineup.

I'm looking forward to doing a follow-up interview with Rodney after the release. He’s producing a tremendous amount of content right now, bringing awareness to the book and giving away a bunch of free recipes. He has done the heavy lifting on this project, and I appreciate all that he’s done and continues to do.

“I’m very excited, too,” Rodney says. “I can't wait to see all the ways our how-to manual is going to inspire pet parents to know better and do better!”

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