Dog Heart Failure on the Rise
Tips on how to keep your dog alive
Your dog has your heart, make sure to take care of his, especially as he ages, by following our tips for canine heart health.
Just like humans, dogs can develop heart problems with age. In fact, it’s estimated that 7.8 million dogs in the U.S. have heart disease. That is 10 percent of all dogs. While coronary heart disease in dogs is rare, valvular disease (small dogs), heartworm and myocardial disease (large dogs) are concerns in older pooches.
The first defense against heart issues is to know the symptoms and seek care if you notice:
Shortness of breath or fainting
Rapid weight loss
Dry cough that is worse at night or after activity
Prevention is always a better approach than treating a problem after it develops. To help ensure that your dog’s ticker will tick for a long time, focus on these top six things.
What you put into your dog’s body has a direct correlation on his health. Extra weight is hard on the heart, so ensuing that your dog is at an optimal weight is imperative for heart health. Choose a balanced, grain-free diet made from high-quality ingredients. If your pooch needs to lose a few pounds, consult your vet to create an action plan.
Use it or lose it. To keep the heart healthy, it needs cardio activity. Walk, hike, play fetch, swim—whatever your dog likes to do, do it often.
Prevent Heartworm Disease:
Heartworm accounts for about 13 percent of heart disease in dogs and it is the only cause that is 100 percent preventable. Heartworm is transmitted by the pesky mosquito and can lead to inflammation, constricted blood vessels, pulmonary embolisms, and heart failure. Heartworm can be prevented by a simple pill, or topical used monthly.
Just like in humans, dental issues are linked to heart issues. In dogs problems in this area tend to creep up between four and nine years old. The build-up of plaque and tartar can enter the bloodstream and can contribute to congestive heart failure. Talk to your vet about how to maintain good oral care, and see your vet if you notice excessive drooling, bad breath, or any gum issues.
Frequent Vet Visits:
As your pet ages, seeing the vet more often helps prevent disease. Consider bi-annual appointments for older dogs. Additionally, there are tests like the ProBNP test that can check the levels of a peptide hormone in the blood. Peptides are released when the heart is working too hard, so high levels indicate a heart issue. Veterinarians can also use X-rays, ECGs and cardiac ultrasounds to determine if your dog has a heart issue.
Understand the Breed:
Unfortunately, some breeds are more prone to heart issues than others. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels see the most heart disease of any breed, but heart issues are also more common in boxers, golden retrievers, dachshunds, toy poodles and miniature poodles and schnauzers than some other breeds.
If you’re concerned about heart disease in your dog, click here to schedule a consultation.