Check out this episode of Dr. Steven Gundry's podcast where he discusses the major health crisis that is facing our dogs. Unfortunately, our dogs are getting sicker much younger and there are many reasons for that. Dr. Gundry is a famous human heart surgeon and dog dad of 4. In this podcast, he interviewed Dr. Karen Becker, DVM and Rodney Habib, founder of Planet Paws on canine longevity. You can learn more about the subject in the book they co-wrote called The Forever Dog, which focuses on preventative care and health optimization starting in puppyhood.
Dr. Becker and Mr. Habib looked at the oldest dogs in the world that lived until 29 and 30 years old and investigated how and why they lived so long. The one commonality that they could find is that these dogs were fed a predominantly fresh, whole food, species-appropriate diet for most of their lives. No ultra-processed foods, including kibble.
Generally,, dogs are not living as long as they used to. According to Dr. Becker and Mr. Habib, golden retrievers in the 1970's would live to be around 17/18. Research today shows that the average golden retriever lives to 8 or 9.
So why is this happening?
This is happening for a bunch of reasons, the biggest reason being poor diet and nutrition. Unfortunately, 94% of dogs in the USA are fed kibble, a diet typically very high in refined carbs, which means that 94% of dogs have a compromised gut microbiome because they aren't eating enough diversified whole foods, which messes up their gut and makes them susceptible to sickness. Even more unfortunately, vets advocate feeding these ultra-processed foods, aka kibble, which truly is a slow form of poison.
Additionally, vets are not taught preventative medicine. This means they aren't taught how to optimize health with nutrition and lifestyle. Typically, you take your dog to the vet, when he/she is sick and the vet then treats the problem with medication without identifying the root cause, which then suppresses the symptoms and hides them until they come back with a vengeance. This approach to "care" is super reactive and fails to proactively build health instead of suppress sickness.
If you want your dog to thrive, feed them a species-appropriate diet. Raw is best, followed by home-cooked. If these options aren't available and you have to feed some form of kibble, choose the kibble that has been processed the least and lowest in advanced glycation end products. Bobzilla, in collaboration with Dr. David Turner, PhD is compiling a database of popular dog foods that will be able to tell you the best and worst kind of food to feed your dog. Stay tuned!