Signs that Your Dog Might Have a Heart Problem

By February 22 | See Comments

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Just like humans, dogs tend to suffer from heart problems too, and those problems can turn fatal if left untreated. Protect the health of your dog by learning to identify common causes and signs. You will notice several possible symptoms if your dog has a heart condition. They can be related to other causes too, but if you see a lot of them, heart issues are a probable cause.

Symptoms
  • Vomiting – This is accompanied by poor appetite.
  • Fatigue – If your dog is getting tired quite often or refuses to play, that's an ominous sign.
  • Swollen belly – This happens due to fluid build-up in the organs, especially lungs.
  • Fainting – This happens cause the heart is not able to pump enough blood to the brain.
  • Excessive coughing – It is serious especially if it happens during or right after exercising, or a couple of hours before bedtime.
  • Increase in heart rate – If the case is critical, you can observe it by laying your hand on your dog's chest.
  • Heavy breathing – If your dog is having difficulty breathing, contact the vet immediately.
  • Loss of weight – This happens when your dogs have heart disease as they lose their ability to store healthy fat.
  • Discomfort – You will start to notice that your dog is pacing around more than usual or avoiding laying down due to discomfort.
  • Bluish-gray gums or tongue – It happens due to poor oxygen flow.
Common causes

Heart issues come up due to a variety of reasons:

  • Old age – Just like human beings, the hearts of dogs grow weaker with age. This can lead to a number of different problems.
  • Injury – Certain injuries, like a broken rib can damage the heart or lead to added pressure that forces their hearts to work faster.
  • Infection – A lot of the infections can cause heart damage. Bacterial endocarditis, Lyme disease, parovirus and Chagas' disease are a few of them.
  • Diet – A diet rich in fat can cause heart problems in your dog, especially if you let him get obese.
  • Breed – Some of the breeds are more vulnerable to heart issues than others. It is quite a long list; so make sure to consult your vet about your breed/breed-mix.
  • Exercise – Dogs need plenty of exercise, but you should know when to stop. If you put a lot of strain on their heart, it could cause problems.

While it is not possible to prevent heart disease in every single case, there are things you can do to reduce your dog's odds of developing cardiac diseases. Make sure that your dog's weight is under control. An overweight body just causes the heart to work harder. Engage your dog in daily exercise and be on the lookout for heart murmurs and abnormal rhythms. Schedule regular visits to the vet to ensure that your dog's heart is healthy.

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