3 Ways Heart Problems in Dogs Will Change Your Daily Routine Know the Steps Youโ€™ll Need to Take to Manage Your Dogโ€™s Condition

BY | February 07 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
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Canine heart disease is a serious problem, but one that can be dealt with if detected early enough. The treatment and management of this condition might require some substantial changes to the way you live with your dog.

Heart disease is a serious problem for anybody. The heart is an integral part of normal bodily function, and when it starts acting up, it can cause a great amount of distress. Thankfully, if caught in time, most heart problems in dogs can be treated, allowing your dog to resume a near-normal quality of life.

So what lifestyle changes will be needed?

1. Medication

If your dog is diagnosed with heart disease, chances are they will be put on some type of medication like Enalapril for dogs or Pimobendan for dogs to help them regain normal heart function. There are a plethora of drug types effective in the treatment of heart disease (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, anti-arrythmics, inodilators such as Vetmedin for dogs, positive inotropes), but no matter what your vet prescribes to your dog, the medication will need to be administered every day.

How it affects your life

Once you and your vet find the medication that works best for your dog, which depends on the progress, symptoms, and type of heart disease, you will need to keep enough of the medication on hand to give your dog a dose every day. This means routine trips to the vet to get refills on the prescription, and if you are worried about the mounting cost of pet pharmacy and pet supplies, you will want to shop around for the best price on your pet meds online

You will also need to find an effective way to give your dog their medicine. Dogs, despite their reputation for eating anything, are not particularly fond of the bitter taste of most pills. Some pet parents try to hide the pill inside a ball of meat or pill pockets for dogs, while others use the direct delivery method. Since this will become a routine experience, find out what works best for your dog and stick to it. And if your vet gives the OK, give your dog a treat afterward to help create a positive association with pill time.

2. Diet

Another factor in heart disease treatment is diet. Make sure to avoid foods that are known to exacerbate a heart condition. Excess sodium and trans fats should be avoided, as they are known for putting a strain on the heart. Other ingredients like B vitamins, Nordic Naturals Omega-3, magnesium, taurine, and carnitine can help bolster heart health.

How it affects your life

No more feeding them the cheap stuff. To find foods that can help reduce the effects of your dog’s wonky heart, you are probably going to have to start looking in the gourmet section or even get your dog's prescription dog food. Depending on what your vet suggests, you may also want to consider putting your dog on some supplements such as salmon oil for dogs. Avoid canned dog food and stick to items like Diamond Naturals.

You'll also need to stop feeding your dog from the table, so your vet can better regulate your dog's diet. Invest in a slow feeder dog bowl or an automatic dog feeder.

3. Exercise

Unhealthy weight is a common cause of heart problems in people and dogs. And even if your dog is not packing on extra pounds, some daily exercise is one of the best ways to make sure their ticker keeps running on time. Just make sure to not go too hard on your dog -- that means if you notice your dog is starting to get tired, give them plenty of time to recover before resuming play.

Regular exercise helps to keep weight off and maintain muscle mass. Physical activity is also important for dogs with heart disease, as it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A recent study found that 25 minutes of brisk walking a day lowered the risk of death in dogs with heart problems by 50 percent over eight years.

Regular exercise benefits your dog’s kidney function too. If your dog has high blood pressure or has had a stroke resulting from a narrowing of the carotid arteries (the vessels that carry blood to his brain), then he needs frequent access to water during exercise. This is because it can prevent dehydration during long walks or hikes outdoors.

How it affects your life

Looks like you are going to be spending a little extra time walking and playing with your dog. Hopefully, this is not a massive life change and will be fun for everyone.

As a dog owner, you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heart disease in canines. For example, if your dog is struggling with an irregular heartbeat but seems otherwise normal, he may simply be panting more heavily than usual. However, if you notice that he's resting or sleeping more often than usual—especially if he's not recovering from an injury or illness—it could be a sign of heart problems. It's also important to recognize what changes in behavior mean when your pet has been diagnosed with a heart condition:

If your pet is lethargic and has no appetite after being diagnosed with a heart problem, this could indicate that she won't be able to tolerate exercise as well as she used to.

In addition to being less active overall (and therefore requiring less food), dogs who have experienced severe cardiac distress should eat low-fat foods containing low sodium content until they've fully recovered. You should monitor how much exercise your dog gets each day so that it doesn't get too much physical activity while recovering from its condition.

It’s important to understand that heart disease in dogs is a serious condition. If your dog has it, they need regular check-ups and medication to keep them healthy. Also, make sure they are getting enough exercise so they don’t put on too much weight or lose muscle mass—both of which can be detrimental to their health.

More on Keeping Your Dog Healthy

Getting Your Dog to Lose Weight
5 Facts on Heart Disease in Dogs
A Joint Health Exercise Routine for Dogs
Natural Pain Relief for Dogs: What Are My Options?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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