Your dog’s heart is charged with the task of pumping oxygenated blood to the whole body over the entire course of your dog’s life. It would be an understatement to say that the heart is one of the most important organs in the body, so heart health in dogs should be taken just as seriously as it is in humans.
Blood vessels such as the aorta and pulmonary artery and vein need to be maintained over the course of your dog’s life. If the heart stays healthy, it will keep pumping oxygen-rich blood to your dog’s other vital organs.
It’s great news that you’re taking your dog’s heart health seriously! Here are some of the biggest things to keep in mind when protecting your dog’s heart.
Keep Your Dog a Healthy Weight
We know it’s tempting to shower your dog with tasty treats and spoil them! Unfortunately, we do all need to make an effort to keep our pets lean and at a healthy weight. They have no control over the amount we feed them, so the responsibility is ours as owners.
Sadly, overweight dogs tend to live shorter lives due to the increased strain on their hearts and other organs. If you aren’t sure about whether your dog’s weight is healthy, take them to a veterinarian to be professionally weighed.
Exercise is Key
Particularly for larger dogs, spending a significant amount of time per day exercising is crucial for a healthy heart. All dogs need at least one walk per day, and outdoor play time is great for bonding too!
Take Your Dog for Check-Ups
Annual check-ups at the vet should reveal any heart problems with your dog. Though these appointments might make both yourself and your furry friend a little anxious, it is best to catch any diseases as early as possible.
Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms of Heart Disease
While your regular visits to the vet will reveal any heart problems, you should still stay vigilant and look for any signs. These could include:
- Coughing, especially dry-coughing post-exercise and coughing that gets worse at night.
- Rapid weight loss or a swollen abdomen.
- Depression, a lack of activity or a decreased appetite.
- Pale gums
- Fatigue or fainting
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is definitely best to take them to a vet as soon as possible to have them checked out.
Early Prevention is Key
As touched upon, the range of heart-related diseases for dogs can sadly be very serious. These include congestive heart failure, valvular disorders and hypertension.
However, if these diseases are picked up at an early stage, your dog will stand a better chance of recovery.
If you suspect an unhealthy lifestyle or have noticed any symptoms of heart problems in your dog, do take them to a veterinary cardiologist as soon as you can. You will usually be referred to one of these experts if your vet detects an irregular heartbeat or build-up of fluids in your dog’s lungs.
It need not all be doom and gloom, though. Fortunately, taking walks and playing with your dog are some of the greatest ways to prevent heart disease – and some of the best ways to have fun together!
Thank you to guest author Jack Vale a writer from Happy Writers, Co.