Here’s a sobering fact: an estimated 8 million dogs have heart disease. As with humans, that risk increases with age: as many as three quarters of senior pups may be affected. While there’s no way to guarantee that your canine companion won’t someday join those numbers, there are things you can do to keep his ticker healthy. A Seminole, FL vet lists some key ones below.
The term ‘heart disease’ is an umbrella term for a variety of heart problems. Some issues are more prevalent in specific breeds. For instance, the Cavalier King Charles is prone to mitral regurgitation, while an older Mini Schnauzer may be susceptible to arrhythmias. Research your furry friend’s breed, and learn if he is at elevated risk of anything. (Tip: if you have a mutt, you may want to consider a doggy DNA test.)
Proper activity is just as beneficial for dogs’ hearts as it is for people’s. Make sure that Fido is getting the right type and amount of activity. Your canine buddy’s exact needs will depend on his size, breed, health, and age. Senior dogs, small dogs, and pups with health conditions may only need a few daily walks, while active adult dogs may need much more than that. You can try different things, such as jogging, swimming, and hiking. Ask your vet for advice.
Keep an eye out for the warning signs of heart disease. Some of these include coughing, weakness, difficulty breathing, and a reluctance to exercise. You may also notice swelling in Fido’s legs or belly, and/or yellowing of the eyes or skin. If you notice any of these red flags, contact your vet ASAP.
Fido’s diet is also crucial. Many of the foods that are good for our hearts, such as eggs, fish, and whole grains, are also good for our canine pals. If your furry pal develops heart disease, your vet may recommend giving him a low-salt diet. Certain supplements may also be beneficial. Some of the ones that are good for Fido’s heart include CoQ10, Vitamin E, L-carnitine, taurine, and fish oil and other Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Ask your vet for specific advice, including portion sizes and foods to avoid.
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