CEDAR FALLS – There isn’t a dog lover in the world who doesn’t want their dog to live longer, healthier lives. In their New York Times bestselling book, The Forever Dog, Cedar Falls-born Dr. Karen Becker and co-author Rodney Habib provide the latest scientific data and practical information on promoting longevity and good health so that every dog parent can play and cuddle with their fur babies for as long as possible.
Dr. Karen Becker surrounded by stacks of the best-selling dog health book, The Forever Dog, co-written with Rodney Habib.
PHOTO WITH KINDNESS
But like their human owners, more and more dogs are being treated and dying prematurely for chronic diseases, cancer, diabetes, and cardiac, autoimmune and degenerative diseases, according to the new groundbreaking book.
“For whatever reason, we don’t always take care of our own bodies, but we do everything for our dogs and cats,” says Becker.
“I realized that many people are desperately trying to keep their animals from getting sick. There is no such thing as the best information. I’ve had customers who said to me, ‘I didn’t know enough and I lost my dog.’ They live all their lives with regrets and open wounds. This book gives people all the tools they need to make great decisions, ”she said.
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At its core, “The Forever Dog” provides owners with a detailed, practical, and prescriptive “groundbreaking” plan that focuses on food, nutrition, exercise, stress, and more, including a dog’s instinctive need and enjoyment of frequent “sniffaris.” It is the study of the science of canine genetics and health, and offers ways to delay aging and enable dogs to live long, happy, and healthy lives.
“We don’t want to teach you how to have a dog that literally lives forever. And we’re not going to solve every dog’s health problems in this book either – there are too many variables and potential combinations of health conditions in all types of dogs to treat every opportunity on the spot, ”the authors write.
“The purpose of this book is to provide a scientifically sound framework for optimal dog training and care that you can adapt to your particular circumstances.”
At the same time, a healthier dog can lead to a healthier owner – “Wellness is also possible on a leash,” says Becker. “They improve our lives in many ways.”
Prior to the pandemic, Becker and Habib, filmmakers and founders of the world’s largest pet health website, Planet Paws, traveled the globe on Facebook to interview top geneticists, microbiologists, immunologists, oncologists, infectious disease doctors, nutritionists and longevity experts, and owners of dogs who lived in their 20s and even 30s.
“We spent three years traveling and speaking to owners of these exceptionally long-lived dogs. That was great. There was a 30 year old dog in Australia! I’m obsessed with longevity science, and every researcher and expert I’ve contacted hasn’t turned me away. We sat down with the most brilliant minds, ”said Becker.
As an expert in proactive and integrative wellness for small animals, Becker is recognized as one of the top veterinarians in the USA and worldwide. She is the most followed veterinarian on social media with over 2.5 million followers around the world and received a Creator Award from YouTube in 2020 for more than 100,000 subscribers.
A graduate of the now defunct Northern University High School in Cedar Falls, Becker received her degree in veterinary medicine from the Iowa State University School of Veterinary Medicine in Ames. She completed exotic internships in California and at the Berlin Zoo in Germany and is certified in animal acupuncture, homeopathy and rehabilitation.
In 1999 she opened the first proactive veterinary clinic in the Chicago area and had 15,000 customers in two years. In 2001 she opened an exotic veterinary clinic and in 2011 a clinic for rehabilitation and pain therapy.
In 2013, Becker moved to Arizona, where she continues to practice veterinary medicine and educate the public about natural pet health through interviews, lectures, podcasts, and presentations. She is the author of the cookbook “Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs & Cats ”and co-produced the critically acclaimed“ The Dog Cancer Series ”in collaboration with Habib. She is also a co-founder of the Companion Animal Nutrition and Wellness Institute.
“I was put on this earth to work with animals,” said Becker simply. That was evident as a child when she pleaded with her mother to rescue worms that had washed up on the sidewalk after a rain.
At 13, she volunteered and later became a kennel worker with the Cedar Bend Humane Society, where then director Tom Colvin, along with Black Hawk County’s wildlife rehabilitator Linda Nebbe and local veterinarian Dr. Lori Cherney became a mentor. Becker received her state wildlife rehabilitation license at 14 and her federal license at 16 under Nebbe’s guidance. Cherney supported and encouraged Becker in math and chemistry to ensure she got into veterinary school.
Becker attributes her passion for wellness and health to her parents Jim and Jeannine Becker, who are now retired in Arizona. Both teachers, the Beckers, are avid gardeners and cooks and are interested in natural foods and healthy eating. Her mother is the creator of the popular Dr. Becker’s Bites goodies.
The Forever Dog is the first dog health book to make the New York Times bestseller list. Habib’s rescue dog Shubie wears a red cape on the cover, which inspired fans to put capes on their dogs and send photos to the authors.
More than 50,000 fans of ‘The Forever Dog’ took photos of their dogs (some in red capes like the cover picture) and sent them to the book’s authors, Dr. Karen Becker, a native of Cedar Falls, and Rodney Habib were sent.
“When it reached # 1, I sat down and cried. We had over 50,000 people sending us photos. This shows their promise to their dogs that they want to become knowledgeable advocates for their dogs, ”said Becker. “When dog owners embrace wellness on this scale, it ultimately leads to happier, healthier dogs.”
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