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As Valentine’s Day approaches, you might be thinking of some unique ways to show your loved ones your appreciation for them this month. If one of them happens to be furry and plays fetch, the best thing you can do to show your love is to keep him or her healthy.
In February, not only do we celebrate Valentine’s Day, but we also celebrate American Heart Month. That makes this the perfect time to learn more about the danger of heart disease in dogs—and how to prevent it. Here’s what to know if you want to improve your dog’s heart health.
Is Your Dog's Heart Protected?
What are the Symptoms of a Dog with Heart Problems?
Catching a heart issue early is very helpful for improving or managing the condition. It’s important to pay attention to some common signs that there could be a problem with your dog’s heart. Some of the main symptoms to watch for include the following:
If you notice your dog displaying some of these symptoms, you should set up an appointment with the vet. It may turn out that your dog just has allergies or a minor illness, but it’s definitely better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of your dog’s heart!
What to Know About Heart Disease in Dogs
Now, you know the symptoms of dog heart disease. But what exactly is heart disease, and how can you get it diagnosed and treated? To start, it’s important to know that heart disease can fall into two categories.
One is congenital heart disease, which means the dog was born with the condition. The other is acquired heart disease, meaning the dog got the condition at some point during his or her lifetime.
Some of the most common types of heart disease that affect dogs include the following:
You should also note that certain dog breeds are higher risk for heart problems than others. For instance, Boxers and Doberman Pinschers are at risk of an irregular heartbeat that can result in fainting, weight loss, or even death. Miniature and toy Poodles are at risk of developing a heart murmur, while Dachshunds have a risk of a leaky heart valve. Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, and Bulldogs are some examples of breeds that are susceptible to heart problems, as well. This means knowing the symptoms of heart disease in your dog--and trying to prevent it--is especially important.
To find out if the symptoms your dog has indicate heart problems, you should take him or her to the vet for an exam. If it turns out your dog has heart disease, the next step will be choosing a treatment. In most cases, the vet prescribes medication for the dog. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to treat heart disease. And sometimes, the vet will recommend supplements to slow down the progression of the heart problem.
Best Supplements for Dog Heart Health
Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most important and essential nutrients for heart health in both dogs and humans. Omega 3 benefits dogs in many ways. improve heart health and reduce the chance of heart failure in the future by reducing cytokines in the body, which are proteins that cause inflammation. Additionally, these essential fatty acids help to reduce muscle loss, improve the appetite, lower blood pressure, and suppress abnormal heart rhythms, helping your dog stay as healthy as possible even after being diagnosed with heart disease. Plus, omega 3 for dogs can boost the health of the brain and immune system overall.
Just like humans, dogs are unable to produce omega-3 fatty acids, and therefore, must get them from their diet. To ensure your dog is getting enough omega 3s, it’s a great idea to add omega 3 supplements, such as Omega Soft Chews, to improve your dog's health while you await the next vet visit. Additionally, salmon oil for dogs and fish oil for dogs are a great way to supplement omegas in your dog’s diet.
Treatment for your dog’s heart condition might also include more exercise and a better diet, such as a low-sodium eating plan. In general, the right treatment will depend on the type of heart condition your dog has, as well as his or her age and overall health. So be sure to set up a vet appointment for your dog to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
How to Protect Your Dog's Heart
As with any condition, it’s better to take steps to prevent heart problems than have to treat them after the fact. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the odds of your dog having heart problems. Here are a few tips for protecting your dog’s heart:
Basically, if you want to pay a little extra attention to your dog’s heart health this month, you can start by taking him or her to the park for a fun game of fetch! Then follow up that regular exercise by ensuring your dog eats the right foods, takes quality supplements, and sees the vet for preventative care. Surprising your pet with a fun doggie present for Valentine’s Day wouldn’t hurt, either!
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