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Books. In our ever more automated lives, books seem to be less of a factor than ever. Time was when you wanted to know something, you looked in a book, you went to the library or if you were lucky, used the family encyclopedia. Reference books have become a rarity.

Which is why I find myself awed by the fact I have purchased quite a number of books of late. Actual paper and print books! I have always loved reading, and my office has shelves and boxes full of the books I have enjoyed over my life, with extra copies I’ve picked up to give or loan to people I think might enjoy them too.

But reference books, not so much. Today, you want an answer, you Google it. You get the most current information (once you weed through the nonsense clickbait). My current passion for pet nutrition, though, has made me purchase a number of books, and I’d like to share some of them with you.

The first one I recently bought was “Your Urban Carnivore”. Written by Brenda Hagel, who’s quest in species appropriate diets started in 1982 when she purchased Dr. Pitcairn’s guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. While not an animal nutritionist, she is an avid researcher, and the book is chock full of information relating to getting our pets what they need, naturally. With her husband Dennis, she started Carnivora, one of my favourite raw food manufacturing companies in 2003.

You would think a book written by a company owner would be basically an advertorial for their products, but this is far from that. It is easy to read, well laid out, and full of very specific information for nutritional needs based on life stage and situation. It explains the roles of various nutrients and how to acquire them, and the roles of bacteria, good and bad. A great reference book for any raw feeder.

The second book I picked up at the recommendation of numerous of the online groups I participate in is “Feeding Dogs” by Dr. Conor Brady. Subtitled “Dry or Raw? The science behind the debate”, he delves into the discussions about whether our pets are carnivores or omnivores, using strong scientific arguments to makes his points. When discussing dental concerns, for instance, he quotes from numerous studies, and I love that the term “hassle factor” is centered on, something I’ve long believed, that a pet needs to work for its food for its teeth to do their jobs, just swallowing processed foods can’t be good for teeth, they need to gnash and gnaw.

He talks about processed pet foods (kibbles) and the issues they present. He goes over why there is confusion about what foods are appropriate for our pets, including veterinary training, corporate and human food and drug industry influences, and questions where the Pet Food Police are. He also discusses the raw market, and how to navigate the options there, including Do-It-Yourself meal prep.

The most recent purchase I have made is “The Forever Dog”, by Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker. I was fortunate enough to meet these two rock stars of the pet nutrition world a few years ago at an industry event. Rodney was giving his first presentation of “The Forever Dog”, which has evolved into this book. His talk centred on a number of people he had met who were having remarkable success in having long lived companion animals.

While I am but a short way into the book, it is well written, and an easy read. It discusses why our pets are living shorter, less healthy lives than their predecessors, and how lifestyle choices factor into longevity. Much like for our own health, wise nutrition choices can be the cornerstone for long term improvement. They show the little things and the big things you can do, referencing real world examples of people that have made a difference, as well as scientific studies that prove them out. (For many of the references, you may need to access their website, they did not want to weigh the book down and kill more trees, so those resources are available online).

My bookshelf has a lot of reference material on it now, these are but a few of the books on it, and working through them results in daily new insights. Its nice to know there are tools like these for everyone to use on their pet nutrition journey.