Keeping your dogs heart healthy is very similar to what you would do to keep your own heart healthy. Good diet , exercise, good oral care,low stress environment and lots of playtime are great ways to maintain your pups heart health.
Heart disease in canines can be congenital (hereditary), but the vast majority of cases (95 percent) are acquired. It is typically a condition of middle-aged and older dogs, and involves either the heart muscle itself, or the valves of the heart.
Common heart disorders in dogs include:
- Valvular disease. Heart valve problems are the most common type of canine heart disease. The valves of the heart weaken with age and begin to leak when the heart muscle pumps.
- Heartworm disease. Mosquitoes are the carriers. The worms take up residence in the heart and cause disease.
- Myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart caused by infection (usually bacterial). Myocarditis both weakens and enlarges the heart muscle.
- Pericardial disease, in which the protective sac around a dog’s heart fills with liquid, interfering with the normal beating mechanism.
- Arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat brought on by a problem with the body’s electrical control system.
Interestingly, one of the most common reasons for heart disease in humans, blocked arteries, is rare in dogs.
Unfortunately, heart problems in dogs are relatively common.
A heart murmur can be caused by abnormal blood flow within the heart, usually involving the heart valves. Murmurs can also be caused by problems in communication between the left and right sides of the heart.
Murmurs can be present at birth (congenital). They can also be acquired due to disease or the aging process.
Heart murmurs in puppies tend to be pretty innocent… but with older dogs it should be looked into. Heart issues can be difficult to detect but there are some signs that should not be ignored
- Coughing that does not go away after 4 to 5 days
- Blue or Bluish appearing tongue ( this is serious so vet asap.)
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue, weakness, loss of stamina, decreased exercise endurance
- Too fast or too slow heart beat; increased respiratory effort, including increased respiratory rate
- Heart rate depending on size of dog.. little guys beat faster 60-140 beats per minute
- Breaths per minute you can count these but make sure your pup is at rest 10-35 per minute the full up/down motion is considered one breath.
Certain breeds are more prone to heart problems:
|Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dachshund, Small breeds||Acquired mitral valve disease|
|Bull Terrier, Rottweiler||Congenital mitral valve disease|
|Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever||Myocardial failure|
|Cocker and English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherd, Maltese, Poodle||Patent ductus arteriosus|
|Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, English Bulldog, Mastiff, Miniature Schnauzer, Samoyed, West Highland White Terrier||Pulmonary stenosis|
|Boxer, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, Rottweiler||Subvalvular aortic stenosis|
|Labrador Retriever||Congenital tricuspid valve disease|
|English Springer Spaniel||Ventricular septal defect|
The good news is, if your pup is diagnosed with any if the above in most cases there is a lot you can do to keep them happy and healthy.
Diet and supplements play a big role in your dogs heart health, along with good dental health.
For more information on click on the link below
There are also some great acupressure points that can also help if your dog has been diagnosed, or can be used as preventative to keep the heart strong and functional especially if your dog is on the list above.