Sharing your life with a dog means that you are also willing and able to take full responsibility for ensuring the fulfillment of their every need. Since dogs are unable to easily communicate with their owners, owners must fully understand these needs. Even the most well-intentioned owners may err in failing to provide full, necessary care to their dog, usually only realizing their error after their dog receives a non-optimal health diagnosis. Considering that heart disease in dogs can cause extensive problems to a dog’s health and happiness, but that many forms of heart disease are entirely preventable if the dog leads a healthy lifestyle, it is important for owners to understand their role in preventing this disease.
Preventing Heart Disease
Effectively preventing heart disease begins with understanding the main types and their causes, as well as what one can do about it.
- Congenital heart disease occurs when a dog is born with a heart issue. Symptoms and complications of this issue can develop at any time in the dog’s life. While congenital heart disease is normally caused by genetic issues that cannot simply be stopped or reversed, a healthy diet and exercise regimen may be able to delay or even entirely prevent its onset.
- Acquired heart disease occurs when a dog is exposed to some sort of infection or illness. Fortunately, acquired heart disease can be prevented by ensuring a dog is effectively protected against many common but serious infections or illnesses, such as heartworm, parvo, and Lyme disease. Monthly pest prevention measures are usually simple and effective, whereas the infections and illnesses pests cause are far more challenging to treat.
Many veterinarians agree that heart disease in dogs can normally be effectively prevented by ensuring dogs have a high-quality diet, participate in a regular exercise regimen, and live in a low-stress environment that provides much-needed discipline and affection. If you are unsure about the diet and exercise regimen that may be right for your dog, especially if they suffer from a pre-existing health condition, check with your veterinarian. Also check with your veterinarian if you notice significant changes to your dog’s normal appetite, energy, sleep patterns or behavior, as these can be signs of a health issue. It is certainly well worth it to invest the time and effort needed in order to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle for your dog, so they can live a long, happy, heart-disease-free life.