Humans are renowned for exercising and eating healthy to maintain a healthy heart and body. But what about your pup? Have you ever stopped to consider your own pupâ€™s heart (the physical one, not the big one she loves you with). Your pup’s heart can be affected by their own set of heart conditions, often going unnoticed because, well they canâ€™t always tell us there is a problem. It is important to get regular checkups with your vet and ensure that your pupâ€™s heart is taken care of.
Congenital heart disease
Though most heart problems develop over time, there are conditions in which your dog suffers from genetic problems that affect their heart. Pre-existing heart problems like these are commonly diagnosed very early in a pupâ€™s life. This is why it is important to always take your pet in for regular checkups. These problems often need to be maintained medically, so you will need to discuss the problem with your vet for proper care.
Acquired heart disease
Heart problems are most commonly developed over time. As your pup grows and ages, heart problems can begin to surface. Some problems are developed from normal wear and tear over time, and some can come from an injury or infection that your dog suffers from.
Affects my pup how?
Often problems will arise when there are changes to your pupâ€™s heart valves- preventing them from closing properly. This affects how your pupâ€™s circulatory system works, and can cause more problems further down the line if the problem isnâ€™t remedied. Other problems may arise from your pupâ€™s heart muscle weakening, also affecting their ability to pump blood throughout their body. Heart problems often lead to irregular heart rhythm, fluid buildup within the heart, and reduced circulation. These problems often force their heart to work harder to compensate.
What to do about your pupâ€™s heart
There are a variety of treatment options for your pup. Aside from surgery (hopefully not) your pupâ€™s diet and exercise plan come into effect here. As your pupâ€™s owner, it is up to you to ensure that your pup consumes a healthy diet and gets plenty of exercise (no couch potatoes).
It is important that your pup gets the minerals and vitamins that they need for a healthy body. Choosing the right dog food for your pup will take some research on your part, and ask your veterinarian about specific things to look for when choosing a dog food brand. As sodium (salt) often leads to water retention which can put excessive pressure on their heart, it is often recommended to stay away from high sodium diets. There are many additives and minerals that help strengthen your pupâ€™s heart such as the classic Omega 3. This is an excellent addition to your pupâ€™s diet and helps lower bad cholesterol and increase the good. There are many other natural substances that affect your pupâ€™s heart positively (hawthorn berries and valerian) but always ask your vet before administering any doses to ensure that your pup doesnâ€™t have a reaction to them.
Keeping your dog active is important in not only keeping them happy, but also keeping them healthy. If your pupâ€™s problem is diagnosed to be severe, you may wait for this until the problem is under better control as you may only damage their heart worse.
A good diet and quality exercise are not just important for a pup with heart disease, they are important in preventing problems as well. Remember to take your pup in for a checkup on a regular basis to ensure their health.
Keep your pup happy with a healthy diet and active lifestyle so that they can live many long years with you!