How to Improve Your Dog’s Heart Health
Who doesn’t love to see their dogs happy and healthy? Their outgoing and charming personalities can bring joy to any family member.
The truth is, there’s no avoiding the possibility for dogs to become ill. Diseases like heart failure in dogs, in particular, is something your pup’s either predisposed with or contracts as they go along the natural progression of life.
These heart diseases run rampant in specific breeds. In fact, around 10% of canines checked by a veterinarian show symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
If your pup is one of the unfortunate ones who show signs of looming heart disease, don’t fret. There are a couple of ways to detect and delay heart disease in dogs before they worsen.
Symptoms of Heart Disease in Dogs
Heart disease can worsen and slowly progress into congestive heart failure. When this happens, your dog’s heart begins to deteriorate and finds it harder to pump blood to the rest of its body.
How does it happen? Your pooch could be born with a problem in their heart. The progression of age, an external injury, and bacterial or viral infection may affect it too. Another prominent cause is the lack of a proper diet or exercise regimen.
Here are the symptoms you should watch out for with your dog:
- Difficulty breathing or exercising
- Coughing more frequently than in the past
- A more tired demeanor
- Having a hard time settling down before bedtime
- A high respiratory rate, or breathing per minute
If it worsens, more severe symptoms may arise:
- Swollen belly
- Fainting due to blood blockage
- Bluish gray tongue
- Weight loss
In cases like these, don’t hesitate to consult your nearby veterinarian for guidance. Progression and worsening of dogs' heart disease would need medical intervention.
If your pet is still in the early stages of heart failure, there are ways to slow down the progression of symptoms.
Below are some of the ways to improve your dog’s heart health.
6 Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Heart Health
Understand Your Dog Breed’s Needs
Some breeds are more prone to develop specific heart diseases compared to others. Early detection can direct you to take the proper steps in lengthening your dog’s lifespan.
While the exercise and diet of your pup matter, some breeds are more likely to develop forms of heart disease over others. Be aware of this as soon as you get your new puppy.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) and Chronic Degenerative Valvular Disease (CVD) are two of the main types of cardiac diseases in canines.
For DCM, these dogs are more likely to develop this heart disease:
- Afghan Hound
- Great Dane
- American Cocker Spaniel
- Doberman Pinscher
- Scottish Deerhound
- Irish Wolfhound
- English Bulldog
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Saint Bernard
For Valvular Disease, these breeds are prone to develop this heart disease:
- Boston Terrier
- Miniature Pinscher
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Fox Terrier
- Toy Poodles
If left unchecked and undiagnosed, this could eventually lead to congestive heart failure and a worsening of heart disease in dogs. However, if caught and taken care of early, your pet can enjoy a happy and healthy life free from the possibility of heart failure.
Give Them L-Carnitine-rich Supplements
Your dog harboring heart disease can be devastating news. While you may feel like the situation can’t be controlled, there are remedies that help. One example is a proper supplement intake.
The Pet Health Solutions CardioMAX Heart Health Soft Chews for Dogs is a supplement that hosts a range of good nutrients to keep your dog’s heart healthy. It’s an all-in-one supplement that’s great for older canines or those with heart disease.
What makes this chewable so great is the presence of the powerful compound L-Carnitine. With this amino acid derivative, your dog will have a boost in his circulation to keep his organ function active. It also keeps blood pressure levels at normal levels — decreasing the risk of developing heart failure in dogs.
The ingredients support the production of cells in the body, the strength of the circulatory system, and the prevention of heart muscle disease. It also takes care of nutritional deficiencies such as L-Carnitine and omega 3 fatty acids.
Give Your Dog A Strong and Proper Heart Medications
If your dog is in the moderate to critical stages of its heart condition, look into consulting a veterinarian and getting a prescription for cardiac glycoside heart medications like Digoxin.
Digoxin is a prescription that’s used to treat congestive heart failure,arrhythmias and heart rate and rhythm abnormalities in canines. It comes in various brand labels, namely, Digitek®, Lanoxin®, Toloxin®, Digox®, and Lanoxicaps®.
Digoxin is ingested as a tablet or liquid through the mouth, with or without the presence of food. In some circumstances, it can also be administered via a needle in the vet clinic. If symptoms of nausea start to arise, give the tablet alongside your dog’s usual food. Be careful with using the right measurements of this medication in liquid form; overdosing can be fatal.
Give Them Heartworm Protection
Heart disease in dogs isn’t solely genetic or diet-based — mosquitoes can also transmit infected larvae that can disrupt the healthy hearts of unsuspecting pups. The live larvae migrate through tissues and skin, and then eventually settle in organs such as the heart and lung tissue. This causes severe illnesses like heart failure and lung disease in dogs.
The American Heartworm Society website says that prevention is inexpensive, safe, and not difficult to provide. However, infection treatment can be costly and a tedious process for both you and your dog.
How to protect dogs from Heartworm: You can give your dog a monthly chewable and/or topical medications as a form of heartworm prevention. Alternatively, you can visit a vet and inject your pet once or twice a year.
No “natural” heartworm prevention medication exists.
Engage in Frequent High-Energy Cardiovascular Activities
If you’re a couch potato, you find the notion of exercising dreadful, and you’re planning to get a dog, you have two options. Get in the habit of running or brisk walking with your pup regularly, or get a cat instead.
All dogs need some form of exercise. The recommended period can range from around 30 minutes to 2 hours every day. This depends on the age, breed and other relevant factors like health conditions. It also depends whether you’re going for a nice stroll in the park or hiking dirt trails outdoors.
While excitable puppies can live with short bursts around the house, an adult dog demands a rigid exercise routine. Also, keep medical issues like hip dysplasia in mind when exercising with your pet. If you’re unsure about the medical fitness of your dog, consult your vet for a thorough examination to see if they’re fit for exercise.
Let your Dog Eat a Balanced Meal
To prevent any unwanted heart condition from arising, give your dog a complete and balanced diet. Home-cooked food can give a good variety of protein, fats and vitamins — but if you’re planning to go that route instead of buying store-bought animal food, consult a pet nutritionist first.
What does a good diet look like? Firstly, it’s entirely acceptable for your dog to eat a pure kibble diet for life, but other diets are also acceptable alternatives. While it depends on the breed, a diet mixed with some meat, fish, vegetables, and grains provides the right balance of nutrients.
What you shouldn’t feed your dog: Don’t feed them grapes and chocolate. Limit their salt intake as well to prevent heart problems down the line.
Keep Your Dog Happy
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