Though a topic not often discussed, dogs are as plagued by heart disease as humans. In fact, 30% of senior dogs suffer from heart disease. So it is essential to keep your dog’s heart health in mind when deciding on your dog’s diet.
If your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease or if you just want to make sure you are taking some healthy preventive measures, here is a guide to feeding your dog a heart healthy diet.
What Causes Heart Disease In Dogs?
Like with humans there are several factors that can lead to heart disease in dogs. A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel is blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen. Heart disease can appear in dogs as a result of genetics. Some breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and Poodles are prone to heart conditions. Heart disease can also be caused or triggered by other chronic illnesses like hypothyroidism, vasculitis, bacterial infection, and tumors. Finally, heart disease in dogs can be caused by a lack of healthy diet and exercise.
Take Some Preventative Measures
Though not all of the causes are preventable, there are some things you can do to make sure that you reduce the chances of your dog developing heart disease. The first is regular exercise. Exercise strengthens your dog’s heart, maintains a health blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol. The second thing you can do is ensure your dog is eating a healthy diet. Obesity is a leading cause of heart disease so make sure you aren’t overfeeding your dog. Also make sure they are eating a low fat, high fiber diet that is rich in vitamin E, C, B, and D, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium.
Symptoms Of Heart Disease In Dogs
Even when you are feeding your dog a heart healthy diet and making sure they are getting a lot of exercise, they can still develop heart disease. There are several symptoms of heart disease you should look out for with your dog. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to seek veterinary care immediately:
- Coughing for more than three days
- Breathing difficulties like shortness of breath, labored breathing, or rapid breathing
- Changes in behavior including less energy, being withdrawn, showing signs of depression, or being less playful or affection
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss, weight gain, or a bloated, distended abdomen
- Fainting or collapsing
- Weakness or easily tired
- Restlessness especially at night
- Edema or swelling of the abdomen or extremities
These can also be symptoms related to other illnesses so it is important that you see your veterinarian if your dog shows any of these symptoms.
Talk To Your Veterinarian
Whether your dog has a predisposition to heart disease or is showing any signs of heart disease, you need to talk to a veterinarian nutritionist to learn what to do. Veterinarian nutritionists will make some lifestyle recommendations including what foods to feed your dog. If you make any changes to your dog’s diet, you want to make sure you follow up with your veterinarian to see if they are doing well on the food or if some adjustments to their diet still need to be made.
What To Feed Your Dog If They’ve Been Diagnosed With A Heart Condition
If your dog has been diagnosed with a heart condition, your veterinarian will make some special recommendations for their diet including what is the best dog food for their diet. Usually a heart healthy dog food will:
- Be low in fat and to help them manage their weight
- Have low levels of sodium to limit fluid retention
- Have extra taurine, l-carnitine, and other amino acids that support heart function
- Be high in B vitamins and magnesium to increase energy
- Be rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Have plenty of vitamin C and vitamin E to reduce the chance of a repeat heart attack
Heart Healthy Dog Food
With all of these specifics, it may lead you wondering what is a the best dog food for your dog’s heart health. Most high quality dog foods meet all the requirements to prevent the development of heart disease. However if your dog has been diagnosed with a heart condition consider checking out the following brands:
NUTRO ULTRA Weight Management is formulated with healthy lean proteins and contains a ton of fiber. It is also loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog’s heart health. The formula was designed specifically to help maintain a healthy weight but also to bolster heart health. It’s a great option for a heart healthy dog food.
Solid Gold Wild has been formulated with a ton of heart healthy ingredients. It contains 20 superfoods which ensure the whole health of your dog. With high fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats, it is also great for maintaining a healthy weight. So it’s a really great option for a heart healthy diet.
Some Heart Healthy Snacks
Whether or not your dog has been diagnosed with a heart condition or you are just looking for a way to bolster your dog’s nutrition, there are heart healthy people foods you can give your dog as treats including:
- Sweet potato
Dogs will also love these treats, so they are a great addition to any heart healthy diet.
Heart disease is a serious health concern for any pet owner. So it is important that you talk to your veterinarian and ensure that you are feeding your dog a heart healthy diet. There are some great heart healthy dog food brands on the market but you can also give your dog special treats that support heart health. So feeding your dog a heart healthy diet is an easy way to ensure that they will live a healthy, happy life.