Heart Disease in Dogs
Dogs that have heart disease need special monitoring and care at home because it can quickly progress to congestive heart failure. This is when your dog's heart has difficulty pumping blood to the rest of his body. Heart disease can affect one or both sides of his heart, can progress slowly, and may take years to detect. Proper care and monitoring of your dog at home can help slow heart disease and alert you if his condition worsens.
Caring for the Dog with Heart Disease
Your vet may recommend a specific diet for your dog if heart disease has been diagnosed, such as a diet low in sodium and avoiding treats and other foods with a high salt content. Ensure that your dog has access to fresh water at all times. This is especially important if your dog is receiving diuretics. Don't limit your dog's access to water even if he is urinating more than usual. This is a natural reaction to the diuretic medication and limiting water intake could cause dehydration. Ideally, dogs with heart disease should avoid humidity or extreme heat. Also, excitement should be reduced as much as possible and excessive physical activity should be avoided.
Monitoring Canine Heart Disease
Observing the development of your dog's condition is a crucial part of caring for a dog with heart disease. It is particularly critical to watch for the signs of heart failure, including:
- Activity level
- Exercise capacity
- Appetite changes
- Ability to breathe comfortably
- Interaction with family members
- Measuring the sleeping respiratory rate
Though it may be impracticable for you to prevent your dog’s heart disease from exacerbating, proper home care can assist in enhancing his overall quality of life and well being. Careful monitoring can help determine if your dog’s condition is worsening and warn you that a visit to your veterinarian is essential. With the proper care, monitoring, and treatment, your dog can have a comfortable and long life.
Disclaimer: We are NOT licensed vets. DO NOT try to diagnose or treat animals based off this or any other information you find on the internet. This page is just basic information to help bring awareness to different health issues that are common in pets. If you pet is having any kind of medical issues, please seek professional treatment from a licensed vet who is trained and set up to handle such matters.