beauty

"Meet Sadie, the best 'health kick' buddy I’ve ever had."

Image: supplied. 

Sadie is my dog. I just want to get that out of the way so you don’t feel like I tricked you into thinking I had met a new diet guru or hot personal trainer.

Actually, Sadie is more than my dog. She is my fur baby, my fourth child, my beloved. She’s also suffering from a weight gain of epic proportions, thanks to her time with a dog sitter who has a history of expressing love to pets by cooking for them.

RELATED: 11 reasons why dogs are good for your health.

I won’t name and shame the dog sitter as she didn’t mean any harm; however, she was completely incapable of following the very simple instructions I had left with her, which went something like this:

Sadie eats once a day, at night, just dry food. She can have a maximum of two treats during the day, one bone and one cheese stick.

"Sadie is more than my dog. She is my fur baby, my forth child, my beloved." (Image supplied.)

I said it out loud, I emailed it, and I even repeated it moments before we left. We even weighed Sadie on the day of our departure. She was a slim 12.9 kilos; as an eight-month-old female cocker spaniel who is not yet de-sexed, it was the perfect weight.

We arrived home and weighed her straight away. She weighed 14.1 kilos. That’s a weight gain of 1.2 kilos, which didn’t seem like much to me.

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Then my husband put it in perspective. "That’s an enormous amount of weight for a little dog to gain in five days. If you look at it in percentages, that’s a nine per cent increase in body weight. If I had put that much weight on in five days it would be the equivalent of ten kilos! What if we’d been gone for two weeks?"

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Our dog sitter confessed to feeding Sadie twice a day, including wet food, cooking for her and feeding her more treats than she could recall. She also gave her chicken necks, which she could completely consume as opposed to bones she’d just chew on and suck on. (Post continues after gallery.)

We want her to be our regular dog sitter because she loves Sadie so much and makes up for our absence, but the price is just too high.

So, after bidding her farewell (after busting her trying to feed Sadie a bite of cake with strawberry jam on it) I sat down and devised a health kick for my dog — and for me, too. I’d eaten one to many scones and jam drop biscuits so had a couple of kilos to shed myself.

RELATED: Why dog-friendly offices are good for your health

Here’s what we did:

  1. We increased our walks to twice a day instead of once a day
  2. We increased our incidental exercise by running around the backyard playing
  3. We went back to our healthy eating program, which no cheating
  4. Water was always available
  5. Instead of using food as love, we used love as love. Less snacking, more snuggling
Jo and Sadie. (Image supplied.)

Sadie has proven to be the best health kick buddy I've ever had — certainly better than my husband, anyway. As a side note, our cat didn’t put on any weight. Millie eats as much as she needs several times a day, just little bits, and her weight never changes.

Sadie, on the other hand, will eat as much as you put in front of her. She’s a bit like me, and the reason I can’t keep chocolate biscuits in the house.

RELATED: Why my boyfriend's diet is cooler than mine."

It’s pretty funny, when you think about it.

How does your pet keep you healthier?