OUR BIGGEST TAKE-AWAYS from the healthy dog expo!
Larry and I have spent an amazing weekend at the Healthy Dog Expo in New York, furthering our education on proactive pet wellness, soaking up lots of incredible information, and learning about the latest science on how to raise a Forever Dog.
It was an incredible event organized by Dr. Laurie Coger, where we got to learn from some of the world’s most accredited holistic and integrative pet wellness professionals including Dr. Karen Becker, Rodney Habib, Dr. Kendra Pope, Susan Thixton, and Billy Hoekman.
In this Blog post, you're going to get all the juicy details, so you can benefit from what we’ve learned - without even leaving your couch!
Table of contents
- Dr. Karen Becker's Lecture
- Rodney Habib's Lecture
- More Take Away's
A GREAT REMINDER
I realized the event was actually a great reminder that when we know better, we get the chance to do better, BUT we still have to put in the work and be consistent, because knowledge alone won’t help our pets live longer…
We can purchase all the remedies and supplements we want, but unless we use them consistently, it’s not going to benefit our dogs as much as we would hope.
Every single lecture we attended at the Healthy Dog Expo had incredible takeaways and we learned lots of new insights, but there were two lectures that were especially outstanding to us personally and I want to get more into it now, so you too can benefit from what we’ve learned.
Dr. Karen Becker’s Lecture
WHAT ARE AGEs?
Dr. Karen Becker’s lecture was very much focused on AGEs and the effects of AGEs on our dog’s health as well as our own human health.
Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that can be linked to some of the top health concerns that veterinarians deal with. AGEs cause massive degenerative disease, premature aging, and inflammation in humans and dogs. We know chronic inflammation is linked to a higher risk of diseases.
In other words, if you want to prevent health issues such as arthritis, cancer, and more, then you’ve got to know how to reduce AGE consumption and AGE presence in the body.
AGES in Pet Food
AGEs are formed in the body when protein or fat combines with sugar in the bloodstream. AGEs are also created in food when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures.
For our pets, processed pet food is the biggest contributor of AGE accumulation in the body, and a study out of the Netherlands found dogs consumption of AGEs is up to 122 times higher than human consumption! In cats, the consumption of AGEs is 38 times higher than human consumption. (1)
STOP! Can we read this again, please? The small bodies of our dogs have to deal with 122 times higher amounts of the compounds that contribute to premature aging and degenerative disease!
FYI: The FDA doesn’t require pet food companies to test for food-borne toxins such as AGEs or Glyphosate. Crazy, isn’t it?
To summarize, AGEs are compounds that can be linked to some of the top health concerns that veterinarians deal with. As proactive pet parents, we want to make sure to reduce the number of AGEs our pets are exposed to.
What PeT Foods Are low in ages?
Choosing a dog or cat food that has a low AGE content is a huge part of raising a healthy dog that has the best chances of living a long and healthy life right by our side.
In her lecture, Dr. Becker showed a graph of AGEs found in different types of pet food. AGEs were highest in canned food followed by dry pet food. Air-dried diets had a lower amount of AGEs and not surprisingly, the lowest amount of AGEs was found in minimally processed raw foods.
It is very important to choose your pet food based on the content of AGEs and choose a minimally processed pet food, hence, freeze dried, air dried or best: raw pet food.
Rodney Habib’s Lecture
My biggest takeaway from the entire Healthy Dog Expo was definitely Broccoli Sprouts!!
WHAT?! Yes, you’ve heard that right! The first thing I did when I got back to Dubai, was I ordered my broccoli sprouts! Keep reading and you’ll be ordering some too :)
During his lecture, Rodney Habib was telling us about his travels for the Forever Dog Book, and here is what he said… We all know the importance of fresh, nutritious dog food, and we know how important it is to feed a minimally processed, fresh food diet.
So during his travels, Rodney and Dr. Becker asked the world's best human and animal scientists: “Apart from feeding a fresh, raw diet, what are TWO ingredients that every pet parent should be adding to their pet’s food, no matter what they are feeding?”
Fresh Food Addition #1: Mushrooms!
Scientists from all across the world said if you can only add two things to your pet’s food, no matter what you’re feeding, let one of them be mushrooms!
At PAWDEGA, we speak about the importance of feeding medicinal grade mushrooms to your pet, A LOT, especially when it comes to taking a proactive approach to cancer prevention. There is incredible research being done on the importance of Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Chaga Mushrooms, showing their impressive anti-cancer properties.
Rodney shared a study that found people who consumed mushrooms daily had a 45% lower risk of cancer than those who didn’t consume mushrooms. (2) This is incredible, considering that over 50% of dogs are diagnosed with cancer in their life.
There are thousands of studies being done on a variety of medicinal mushrooms and studies are showing how beneficial they are for humans and animals.
Mushrooms can also help regulate insulin which can help regulate seizures. We talk about this more in this blog post (click here).
TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOM
TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOM
Helps Prevent Cancer
Helps Fight Cancer
Fresh Food Addition #2: Broccoli Sprouts!
This was one of my biggest takeaways from the Healthy Dog Expo because I had no idea about just HOW incredible this tiny superfood is!
Scientists all over the world said the second thing that any pet parent can add to dramatically improve their pet’s life is Broccoli Sprouts!
Broccoli sprouts contain a compound called “sulforaphane”. In dogs and humans, sulforaphane has been shown to slow down the rate of cancer and cardiovascular biomarkers, reduce inflammation, and significantly remove toxins from the body including AGEs! (Remember the importance of removing AGEs from the body from Dr. Becker's lecture??)
In fact, in Rodney’s lecture, we learned that broccoli sprouts are the best way to remove AGEs from our dogs (and our) bodies!
The first thing I did when I got back to Dubai, was I ordered my broccoli sprouts! I actually have a sprouting system at home so at some point I’ll also try my luck in sprouting the broccoli seeds myself at home, but for the time being, I’ve ordered them on Kibsons.
Rodney recommends feeding 1 teaspoon of broccoli sprouts per 20 pounds of body weight, which is 1 teaspoon per 9 kg of body weight. BUT, before you get too excited, you must know it is important to shred or puree the broccoli sprouts, in order for our dogs to get the full benefits!
We’ve been adding broccoli sprouts to our dog’s raw food on a regular basis, and we’ve even implemented them into our own diet.
Something else that started a debate between Larry and me after Rodney’s lecture are feeding times. As Rodney and Dr. Becker explain in their book The Forever Dog, “The healthiest food in the world, eaten at the wrong time of day, becomes a physiologic stressor.” This means that the timing of WHEN you feed your dog can be just as important, and it may even be more important, than what you feed your dog.
Intermittent fasting is recommended, which means we restrict any food intake to only 8-10 hours of the day. Especially free-feeding (leaving the food out for your dog to consume all day long) has been shown to increase the risk of obesity and chronic disease.
Research shows that intermittent fasting can literally add years to a pet’s life, so we have been doing intermittent fasting with Milka as well as for ourselves for a few years now. We typically eat between 1 pm and 8 pm only, however, the Forever Dog book, as well as Rodney’s lecture, stresses the importance of something called circadian fasting.
Our circadian rhythm is the pattern of repeated activity associated with the cycles of day and night, it includes our sleep-wake cycle, ebb and flow of hormones, and the rise and fall of body temperature throughout the day.
A healthy circadian rhythm is important for hormonal health, when your rhythm is not synchronized, you may not feel 100%, and the immune system is not fully operational.
Research done by Professor Panda demonstrates that limiting feeding and treating to match our animal’s biological clock can prevent many of the common age-related metabolic diseases.
Research has also shown that time-restricted feeding supports cellular youth, slows down aging, promotes energy, increases fat-burning, and decreases the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease.
Due to the circadian rhythm, it is highly recommended to feed/eat only when it’s bright outside, for example, between 8 am-6 pm only. This is because our bodies start the production of Melatonin when it starts getting dark outside and if we start eating after dark, the Melatonin production stops.
It was good hearing and learning about this again, because yes, I was aware of it, but busy life got in the way. That's exactly what I meant in the beginning of this blog. When we know better, we do better, BUT we still got to put in the work and be consistent, because knowledge alone won’t help our dogs live longer…
Larry and I have talked about feeding times a lot and we have implemented a circadian fast pretty much on all days for Milka. There is just one challenge for us personally. When we’ve done our animal communication session with Dr. Isla Fishburn (BSc Zoology and MBiolSci and Ph.D. in Conservation Biology), we found out that Milka prefers eating at the same time as us, which makes sense, because we’re a family and her digestive juices start flowing once we start cooking it up in the kitchen. You know that feeling when our mouth starts watering when we smell good food? Our dogs go through the same experiences and their digestive tract prepares for mealtime when they smell food. So circadian fasting continues to be a bit challenging because Larry and I can’t always have dinner before it gets dark out, but it’s a journey and we’ll get there at some point. Sometimes we would feed her early dinner and then just give her a LickiMat with some bone broth when it's dinner time for the humans.
DR. Kendra Pope - Using natural medicine in Veterinary oncology
At the Healthy Dog Expo, we also really enjoyed Dr. Kendra Pope’s lecture about using natural medicine in veterinary oncology.
A proactive approach to cancer prevention lies at the very heart of PAWDEGA. We’ve always raised a lot of awareness on the topic of cancer prevention and have done a lot of research on it, because the cancer rates in dogs are just too high.
Dr. Pope spoke about the importance of a patient-centric approach when it comes to treating cancer which includes:
We learned that there is so much that can be done to support a pet with cancer, during and after conventional treatments. A patient's microbiome changes how well they respond to chemotherapy, which is so important to know. If your pet is struggling with this horrible diagnosis, we highly recommend that you get in touch with Dr. Pope for supportive therapies.
To summarize, the Healthy Dog Expo was an incredible event that again reminded us about the importance of taking proactive and consistent steps toward improving health and wellbeing naturally. Knowledge isn’t enough, we have to take consistent action too. One step at a time, we can make a huge difference in our pet’s health & longevity, and help reduce our vet bills.
When considering pet food, AGEs are very important to keep in mind and at the very least, scientists from all over the world agree that we should all be adding mushrooms and broccoli sprouts to our pet’s diet, no matter what we feed!
Also, definitely have a look at your schedule and consider following circadian fasting for your dog and maybe even yourself!
If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Becker and Rodney Habib's research on how to create a Forever Dog, then we’ve got the perfect book for you! You can get the NY #1 Bestseller THE FOREVER DOG here.
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About Charly Pruden
Charly is the #dogmom of French Bulldog Milka, and Co-Founder of PAWDEGA. Charly has always had a passion for animals, but her passion for pet wellness activism began when Milka’s undiagnosed health issues were healed by adapting a natural, non-toxic, and proactive pet wellness lifestyle. Through extensive research, content creation, attending pet health conferences in the US, and working with world-renowned holistic and integrative veterinarians, Charly continues to raise awareness on important pet health topics to empower pet parents to help their pets live longer.