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Case Study: A busy family and an overweight dog

Me and my dog

My name’s Laura and this is my dog Lila (technically Lila-Belle but the double barrelled name has softened over time!) Lila is now an 8 year old Parson’s Jack Russell Terrier whom I have had since she was a puppy. 

Rescued from a static caravan park she has been a bit of a surprise ever since the day she came home with me in a box! I was rather naive in my ‘rescue’ thinking a small dog would not need much exercise (living in a tiny flat in central London at the time.) How wrong I was! Lila was (and still is!) full of energy, tenacity, with a never-ending faculty for ‘play‘. 

Dog/life balance and ‘guilt treats’

For the first 5 or so years of her life, we managed to keep each other pretty fit – going on daily walks and even 6 mile runs a couple of times a week up the Thames. 

However, this all came to a crashing halt when I got married, fell pregnant and found myself in the never-ending struggle of life, work and family. Little by little, Lila started packing on the pounds, driven by a lack of exercise (where was I meant to find the time with a small baby, a husband working away and then the return to work after 8 months?!) and too many ‘guilt’ treats. 

An overdue trip to the vets

It wasn’t until I took her to (a very overdue) vet’s appointment that the vet told me, to my horror, that she was 2kg overweight (thats 25% over her recommended bodyweight) which was putting pressure on her joints and respiratory system. At a bit of a loss as to how to rectify the situation, my vet recommended PitPat’s free weight tracking app – which I instantly downloaded, entering Lila’s current weight and target weight (as recommended by the vet). Whilst I cut out the snacks and tried to increase the amount of exercise we did, I found that life continued to get in the way and her weight loss was slow, if at all. 

PitPat to the rescue!

On my next, somewhat depressing, visit to the vets, he recommended that I purchase the PitPat device, set a personalised daily activity goal and stick to it! I was a little dubious at first but seemed worth trying for £39. I ordered it online and it arrived the next day. It was easy to get set up on the app – we just entered some simple information to personalise the activity goal to Lila and we were ready to go.

Even as a small dog her recommended activity goal is 90 mins (this is made up of walking, running and playing – it doesn’t mean I need to give her a 1.5 hour walk every day!) After a couple of weeks I got a good read on what I needed to do to hit this goal – a long walk on the lead, a shorter walk off-lead, playing with her while I was sat playing with my daughter, or even whilst watching the TV in the evening.

 I found that PitPat simply made me more aware of what I should be doing, and think of ways to fit it into my already pretty jam-packed routine – making small changes every day. What’s more, it’s kept us on track! If I know I’ve had a particularly busy couple of days I make sure to find the time for a proper walk – which benefits not only Lila but me too, the fresh air and exercise in nature release a lot of tension and stress and make us both happier by the time we get home (a difference my husband has definitely noticed!)

I would recommend PitPat to any busy mums, families – to any busy people in general! Just like a FitBit or Apple watch, I find simply being aware of what I should be doing makes me more inclined to do it! And what’s more, I know it not only makes Lila happier and healthier, but me too. 

Laura & Lila x

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