THE BOOK SHELF: Creator’s passion for dog health is changing pet lives worldwide

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Rodney Habib’s blueprint for find out how to increase the health and lifespan of your dog is a Recent York Times bestseller and skim by pet lovers around the globe.

In the brand new book, The Ceaselessly Dog: Surprising Recent Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Younger, Healthier, and Longer (Harper Wave), Habib, a pet-care influencer and owner of Dartmouth-based pet store Planet Paws Pet Essentials, and co-author Dr. Karen Shaw Becker, a preferred American veterinarian, take a look at what people can do so as to add years to their dogs’ lives and dramatically improve their pets’ physical and mental health.

“The book has shattered records. It’s a worldwide phenomenon,” said Habib, from his home in Dartmouth, near Shubie Park, where he walks his 10-year-old miniature Husky 3 times a day. Named after the park, Shubie graces the book’s cover.

The Ceaselessly Dog, which has already been translated into 14 languages, features interviews and advice from top geneticists, microbiologists, longevity researchers and dog owners of long-living animals, including an Australian Kelpie that lived on a farm and was reportedly 30 years old when she died in 2016.

“Eat less, eat brisker, and move increasingly more often,” write the authors. “That’s a truism for each you and your dog. And it’s the most important takeaway you’re going to get from this book.”

Habib never intended to publish a book about dog health. As a first-generation Canadian growing up in Dartmouth and raised by Lebanese parents, pets weren’t welcome within the family home. It wasn’t until 2008, while recuperating from a football injury and seeing his dream of reaching the skilled football leagues end, that he got his first dog: a German Shepherd he named Sam.

“I fell head over heels,” he said.

Creator Rodney Habib – Contributed

When Sam nearly died before her first birthday after eating tainted chicken jerky treats, he sought Dr. Becker’s dietary advice to avoid wasting Sam’s life. A number of years later, when his beloved dog was diagnosed with cancer, he met Dr. Becker again; they each wanted to seek out modern ways to stop the disease’s progression through pet health and nutrition.

Habib went to Facebook to spread his concerns and discoveries about traditional pet foods. In 2012, he launched the Planet Paws Facebook page with a picture and list of all of the ingredients present in a typical bag of economic pet food. Overnight, the post was shared half one million times. Planet Paws now has 3.5 million followers and is taken into account the most important pet health page on Facebook, said Habib.

Nowadays you won’t often find Habib in his Dartmouth store. As a pet-care influencer with the most-viewed TED discuss dogs, he’s a sought-after public speaker. In 2019, he was invited to talk at Facebook headquarters in California about his journey and the way he grew his following. Often, he’s asked to talk to veterinarians and veterinary students. Earlier this month, he was in Finland, and this fall he’ll be the keynote speaker at a big veterinary gathering in America.

He spreads his knowledge about dog nutrition and health and the parallels between human and animal health. “Like many humans, numerous dogs are overfed and undernourished,” writes the authors in The Ceaselessly Dog. “You already know that eating highly processed food at every meal might be not idea. That’s pretty obvious. What’s not commonly known is that the majority industrial pet food is just that – highly processed fare.”

Industrial kibble tends to contain too many carbohydrates and be overprocessed, lacking in nutrients and, potentially, stuffed with additives.

“Studies now show that the more kibble dogs eat, the greater her likelihood to be obese, or obese, and to point out signs of systemic inflammation,” Habib and Dr. Becker write. Homemade pet food is right, but raw, dehydrated or freeze-dried dog foods also are inclined to be healthier, in response to the authors. The book includes some recipes (there are more on the web site: foreverdog.com).

Making changes slowly, by incorporating 10 percent of your dog’s calories from brisker foods is start, in response to the authors. They recommend frequently feeding fruits, like green bananas, blueberries and avocados, vegetables, eggs and oily fish.

Like Habib, who takes his dog, Shubie for each day walks within the park, the authors also recommend getting outside in nature day by day to exercise and release stress.

“Dogs should get a bare-bones minimum of twenty minutes of sustained heart-thumping exercise at the very least 3 times every week; most dogs profit from longer, more frequent sessions,” the authors write. “Along with each day exercise, take your dog on circadian-setting sniffaris twice each day – morning and night. No less than once a day, let her sniff whatever interests her for so long as she wants.”

Habib understands how strong the bond between humans and dogs will be and the importance of fostering that connection by making healthy decisions. “The physical and emotional well-being of our dogs is formed by the alternatives we make for them. And the well-being of our dogs in turn impacts us. That leash is a two-way street,” the authors write. “Because the world of medical research becomes more global, the alternatives for canine health are as vast as those for human health.”

Dulse to Donairs

In his book, Dulse to Donairs: An Irreverent History of Food in Nova Scotia (Pottersfield Press), creator Steven Laffoley presents the history of the province’s cuisine in 12 courses starting with hors d’oeuvres and ending with the mignardise or bite-sized dessert. For appetizers, he offers, amongst others, easy recipes for eel chowder and beer-battered onion rings. He suggests ending a meal with fresh French Soldiers’ bread with a cranberry sauce topped with Nova Scotia truffles and served with a small glass of rum.

“In Nova Scotia, I discovered deep-fried seafoods, boiled crustaceans; and an otherworldly, late-night, post-beer, Middle Eastern fusion food called the donair. All of them stimulated my appetite and captured my imagination,” writes Laffoley, who was born and raised in Massachusetts. “I discovered that Nova Scotian food might be fresh and interesting, frivolous and fun.”

Gardening for Acidic Soils

On Aug. 28 from 1 p.m. to three p.m., join gardening experts Todd Boland and Jamie Ellison for a book signing and free garden tour. The event, hosted by the Atlantic Rhododendron and Horticultural Society, will happen at 5 Sime Court in Hammonds Plains. Boland and Ellison are the authors of the brand new book, Gardening for Acidic Soils: Working with Nature to Create a Beautiful Landscape (Boulder Books). Acidic soils are sometimes related to foggy, wet climates like in Nova Scotia.

“Classic acid-loving shrubs akin to rhododendrons, mountain laurel, heaths, and heathers are described in the next pages, together with woody plants, including witch-hazel, Magnolia, and Viburnum,” the authors write within the book’s introduction. “Among the many herbaceous perennials featured are Japanese iris, gentians, and candelabra primroses. These fascinating plants have a myriad of decorative attributes with specific survival strategies for acidic soil conditions.”