Although a dog’s health is not exactly like that of humans, there are some similarities that should be considered. Here are some important tips that will help keep your dog’s heart in top-notch condition so that they may live a long, happy, and healthy life!
Just as it is with humans, slowing the onset of heart disease or preventing such a condition is possible through diet and lifestyle. Owners should carefully select the foods they feed their dogs, as the FDA has investigated a potential risk for canine heart disease with certain foods. Although many heart conditions are congenital, diet plays a major role in supporting a healthy heart and reducing the risk of heart diseases. Vitamin A supports strengthening the immune system and reducing the risk of infection of the heart valves. Foods rich in Vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy green vegetables, liver oil, and egg yolks. Vitamin E is a scavenger of free radicals that prevent free radical damage in cells, and it can be found in leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli. Taurine is an amino acid; if deficient in dogs it can lead to cardiac myopathy, an enlargement of the heart chamber, and thinning of the ventricles. Taurine is present in fish and meats, which form the foundation of any healthy canine diet.
However, before you start making any changes to your dog’s or lifestyle or diet, it is recommended that you consult with a Veterinarian who specializes in cardiac care.
Regular physical exercise like running, swimming, walking is very crucial for your dog’s heart and general well-being. Interestingly, exercising your dog is also a good form of exercise for you—a great opportunity for you to be active while having fun with your pet!
The importance of regular vet checks cannot be overemphasized. Dogs age faster than humans do, so it is highly advised to not let a year go by without a proper checkup, especially for older dogs. Vet checks can easily detect any heart issue before it becomes chronic or leads to other major problems.
Teeth & Gums
A dog’s dental issues can lead to other problems due to bacterial infections that find their way into the bloodstream, in the same as it does in humans. This exacerbates issues with heart failure when not detected and handled early.
Heartworm disease is a serious illness that affects dogs and leads to severe lung issues, heart failure, restricted flow of blood, and pulmonary embolism. It can be prevented with treatment from your vet.
The Symptoms of Heart Disease
Several breeds like Cavalier King Charles and Boxer are more susceptible to specific heart conditions. With adequate knowledge of what works for your kind of breed, certain heart issues can be easily prevented. In some cases, not all symptoms are expressed, but they are signs to watch out for.
- Dry cough after exercise with a cough that gets worse at night
- Shortness of breath
- Drastic weight loss
- Fainting spells
- Swollen stomach
- Pale gums
If you are not sure of what it is, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. You may need pet insurance to reimburse treatment. But do not wait until it is too late. As soon as you notice these symptoms, take preventive measures to keep your dog’s heart strong and steady.