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. 

Lila the Parson's Jack Russell Terrier

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. 

Jack Russell Terrier with baby

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. 

Parson's Jack Russell Terrier being given treats by a young child

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!)

Recommended for busy families

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