Texan Jake Perry broke the Guinness World Record for the largest cat – twice. In 1998, Perry’s cat Grandpa Rex Allen lived to the age of 34. In 2005, his cat, Creme Puff, lived to 38 years, almost twice the average lifespan of a domestic cat.
Berry’s secret? He would give his cats a dropper of red wine every night.
Could a small dose of resveratrol in wine have big effects on cats’ longevity? Ask Rodney Habib and Karen Shaw Baker in “The Forever Dog: Surprising New Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Smaller, Healthier, and Longer” (Harper Wave).
It’s no wonder that dog owners may wonder if a little booze can help their dogs live longer too – after all, they are willing to spend great lengths and spend big on this endeavour.
In their new book, pet influencer Habib and Becker, a veterinarian, look at things people can do to add years to a pet’s life. And they’re not all wallet busters.
The authors do not recommend giving Fido Merlot every night. But they note that resveratrol (derived from the Japanese knotweed, not grapes, which can be toxic to dogs) is beginning to be used as a supplement for dogs due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, along with neurological benefits.
“Supplements are powerful tools when used correctly,” they wrote, noting that, in addition to resveratrol, they favor supplements such as curcumin, probiotics, and milk thistle.
Another tip in the book is to defy conventional wisdom – such as that dogs should be spayed or neutered ASAP.
Studies show that the earlier a puppy is spayed or neutered, the more likely it is for health problems later in life, ranging from abnormal bone growth and bone cancer to an increased incidence of adverse reaction to vaccines and behavioral challenges such as fear and aggression. write.
Instead, Becker recommends that when spaying your puppy before puberty, use less invasive methods — such as vasectomy or hysterectomy — because they tend to have fewer negative side effects.
As for diet, the authors echo recent reports about the dangers of commercial foods, which tend to contain a lot of carbohydrates and are overprocessed, lack nutrients, and possibly full of additives. Its risks are similar to someone who eats fast food every day.
“Studies now show that the more dogs eat, the more likely they are to become overweight or obese and show signs of systemic inflammation,” Habib and Becker wrote. Homemade dog food is ideal, and raw or freeze-dried dog foods also tend to be healthy.
If you can’t feed premium dog food 100 percent of the time, upgrading 25 or 50 percent of the norm is a great option, as is meals containing fruits, vegetables and oily fish regularly.
And just as intermittent fasting and its supposed benefits have been all the rage in human health circles in recent years, it’s a growing trend in the canine world as well.
“Healthy dogs do not need to eat three square meals per day with rewards provided on a full-time basis,” the authors wrote. “A growing number of animal experts are recommending that healthy dogs (weighing more than 10 pounds) fast one day per week” to aid rest and recovery. (Fasting here means abstaining from food but never water.)
Given that they are not elite athletes, what dogs are recovering from?
“Dogs should get on their bones for at least twenty minutes of continuous heart rate exercise at least three times a week,” the couple wrote, preferably more than that. Two of the longest-lived pups ever – including an Australian kelp who was 30 when she died in 2016 – live on farms, where they enjoy plenty of exercise, fresh food and low stress.
But don’t bother serving this fresh fare in a cheap pet store bowl. As part of urging readers to reduce exposure to harmful household and environmental chemicals, Baker and Habib suggest avoiding the use of plastic food containers. Likewise, it’s a good idea to hide medications in almond butter instead of peanut butter (fewer additives) and wipe puppies’ paws to remove harmful chemicals and bacteria after they are out of the house.
The authors cite a study that looked at Scottish Terriers and the chemicals for the herb. The breed is prone to developing bladder cancer, but dogs in the study that were also exposed to certain chemicals in the garden had cancer rates four to seven times higher than dogs that were not.
“Although many dogs already live longer, like humans, many dogs are dying earlier from chronic diseases than ever before,” they wrote.
Much of the book’s advice is consistent with what doctors tell humans they should do themselves to live longer. The authors wrote: “Leading is a two-way street.” “As the world of medical research has become global, the choices for canine health are as vast as those for human health.”