The Be Strong Dog
The Be Strong dog had started to become sluggish on his walks and they gradually became shorter and less energetic.
It reached a point where he was breathless most of the time and in even mildly warm weather he was drooling and panting furiously.
He had started to limp on his rear legs and in a morning he was very stiff indeed. He seemed happy though, always sleeping at our feet, only getting up when he knew there was food around. We decided to take him to the vets to see what was wrong with him – was it his joints, arthritis? Was there something else lingering beneath the surface, we were worried!
The vet did some tests which included listening to his heart, taking some blood and weighing him and we returned to the waiting room. The vet nurse called us in some 40 minutes later and the vet was looking at us with a very serious look on his face. We just knew it wasn’t good news.
He told us that our dog had diabetes, inflamed joints, lots of water retention and a weak heart. He was really at risk and we were absolutely devastated – we had got him from a good breeder, we researched his bloodline, what had gone wrong?
We knew he had been gradually putting on weight over the years, he’d been eating lots and lots of treats, he absolutely loves ‘pig’s ears’. He has a great appetite, always pestering for his next meal whilst all the family are constantly giving him leftovers which he patiently waits for. What we didn’t know was that he was actually 50% heavier than he should have been – the weight was slowly killing him.
The vets advice was simple, we had to give him a measured amount of dog food twice each day, and walk him for 40 minutes in a morning and 30 minutes before bed. Both walks would be off the lead and we would throw his favourite ball for him on each. There would be no additional treats or leftover foods.
The transformation in such a short period of time was astounding. After just 6 months he was livelier, no longer breathless or drooling. He was like a young pup again, with bright eyes, fresh breath and he jumped out of bed each morning. We returned to the vets where the vet gave him a totally clean bill of health, he was cured!
There was no miracle shakes, pills or potions involved. No colours or points in sight! The Be Strong dog simply ate the correct amount of food each day and increased the amount he moved. The only difference between the Be Strong dog and us is choice. As humans we can choose to eat more and move less, or we can choose to eat less and move more. It all really depends on you, and how important it is to you.
When we eat and drink more calories than we use up, our bodies store the excess as body fat. If this continues, over time we may become overweight and can become obese. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Many adults in the UK need to lose weight, and to do this they need to eat and drink fewer calories. Combining these changes with increased physical activity is the best way to achieve a healthier weight.
How much should you eat?
Our bodies need energy to keep us alive and our organs functioning normally. The amount you need to eat for your body to do this depends on a range of factors, including your size, age, gender and how physically active you are.
To maintain a stable weight, the energy we put into our bodies must be the same as the energy we use up through normal body functions and physical activity. An important part of a healthy diet is eating the right amount of calories; balancing the energy you put into your body with the energy you use.
As a guide, men need around 2,500kcal a day to maintain a healthy body weight, and women need around 2,000kcal a day.
If you need to lose weight, aim to lose about 1-2lb a week until you reach a healthy weight for your height. You should be able to lose this amount if you eat and drink about 500-600kcal fewer a day than you need.
Be Strong members can view their own personalised nutrition plans here.