You care for your canine companion in many different ways. You feed him or her, provide social interaction, and make sure he or she has a safe, warm, dry place to sleep. You give each other unconditional love (like those Sunday morning snuggle sessions!) and you provide your best friend with consistent veterinary care.
Taking care of your pup’s body is integral to a long, healthy, and happy life. There are so many things to consider when it comes to your pet’s health, but cardiovascular health is up at the top of the list of importance. Bone up on dog heart health so you can help your pet’s ticker keep the beat.
When Good Hearts Go Bad
We are used to thinking of massive heart attacks, coronary blockages, and strokes when it comes to people, but these events are quite rare in our four-legged counterparts. They are much more prone to heart valve disease (congenital or acquired), muscle disorders like cardiomyopathy, problems with the formation of the heart, and infection with heartworm disease.
Pets who are affected with cardiovascular issues may have symptoms:
- Increased breathing rate
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- Collapse episodes
- Loss of appetite
- Blue/gray gums at times
- Swelling of the abdomen
Many times, though, pets with heart trouble have no noticeable symptoms at all, especially if it is in its early stages. All of these symptoms can have other causes as well, so it is important for us to diagnose the problem properly.
If we suspect that a pet might be experiencing heart issues, we often recommend additional diagnostic tests to find out the nature and extent of the problem. Needed tests may include blood tests, radiographs (x-rays), echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), electrocardiogram (heart tracing), and blood pressure monitoring.
Dog Heart Health for Pet Owners
If you are like most pet owners, you are probably wondering what you can do for your pet’s cardiac health. Unfortunately, not all heart disease is preventable, but there are plenty of proactive things you can do to promote heart health.
Be sure to:
- Remember to keep your dog on a recommended heartworm prevention plan. Please ask if you need recommendations.
- Help your pet to maintain a healthy body weight. Just as in people, extra body weight can predispose a pet to heart issues.
- Encourage your pet to lead an active lifestyle and maintain cardiovascular health.
- Brush up on dental care for your pet, as periodontal disease is directly correlated to some types of heart disease.
- Feed your pet a quality diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health.
It is also important that we diagnose and begin to manage heart issues as soon as possible, which means alerting us to any changes in your pet’s health. Routine wellness examinations are also helpful in maintaining dog heart health and detecting signs of trouble before they become serious.
As a pet owner, it is important to take matters into your own hands when it comes to dog heart health. Let us help you take care of your pet’s heart and overall health at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center.