Determining if your pup is suffering from physical injuries is typically straightforward. But knowing when your four-legged friend may develop or suffer from an internal disease or sickness, especially those related to the heart can be more complicated.
Thankfully, you can take steps to help minimize your pup's chance of developing heart issues and detect issues they may have early:
Regular Vet Visits
Regular vet visits have an abundance of benefits for your pup aside from keeping their heart healthy. Having them routinely see a professional to ensure they are healthy and to schedule procedures that they may need to live a long and happy life is vital. To ensure your pup’s heart is healthy and protected from potential illnesses, your vet will inspect their teeth, track their weight and vitals and suggest foods or vitamins that they may benefit from.
While many owners push them off, dental cleanings are often suggested to be performed on an annual schedule. Aside from eliminating plaque and tarter build-up on the teeth and gums, dental cleanings help benefit the heart too. If your pup has an infection, tartar, or build-up that is not treated in a timely manner there is a possibility that it can travel into their bloodstream and contribute to heart failure. Bleeding, excessive drooling, bad breath, and visibly irritated gums are all signs that you may need to speak to your vet and get dental services scheduled.
While pets should go more frequently when they are in the puppy stage, make sure they see a vet once a year when they are an adult, or more often if they have conditions that require it, to help support a healthy life.
Heartworms are a big concern in the world of veterinary care because they can be deadly, create lifelong issues, and are expensive to treat. Heartworms are parasitic roundworms that are spread through the bite of a mosquito. Once an animal is infected with these types of worms, they can lead to lung failure, organ damage, heart failure, and eventually death.
While treatment plans are available if the worms are caught early, it is pricey, hard on the dog’s body, and had the possibility of failing. Rather than wait until your pet is infected, it is highly recommended to give your dog prevention medicine. There is a variety of medicine that serves as heartworm preventions so it is best to consult with your vet to determine the best option for your pup.
Just like humans, dogs heavily benefit from routine cardiac exercise. Not only does this help with weight management and keeping their heart strong, but it is also mentally stimulating.
Exercises such as walking, running, hiking, doggy daycare, and swimming will also greatly impact your pup's heart health.
A Healthy Diet
Obesity is one of the top causes of health issues in pets so ensuring your four-legged friend is receiving a balanced diet with portions that keep them in a healthy weight range will help keep them happy and fit.
While many pet owners may think the more expensive foods are better, that is not always the case especially if your pup has specific health issues that can be targeted through nutrition. For example, if your pup suffers from allergies then non-chicken-based foods may be suggested. There are also medicated foods that may be prescribed if certain health issues are presented in your pet. While it should be confirmed with your vet, incorporating Taurine (amino acid) and Omega-3 Fatty Acids are also known to help with overall heart health in dogs.
Research the Breed
Specific breeds are susceptible to certain illnesses and diseases. For example, large breeds like Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds and Saint Bernards are more prone to developing heart disease than others.
Understanding and properly educating yourself on the illnesses or conditions that are common with your breed of dog will help you to be aware if they start to show any symptoms.
Protecting your pup's heart is critical in order for them to live a long, healthy life. Staying updated on your pup's current condition, speaking to your vet about any concerns or issues, and providing your pet with the nutrition and exercise they need can all help to minimize potential illnesses.
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