We already know that our hearts are vitally important to our quality of life. There is a plethora of literature out there on staying heart-healthy—but do we spare a moment to think about this for our pets? As a pet parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your best friend, and we want to help you do just that. We believe the first step in protecting pets is educating their parents, which is why we want you to know the facts when it comes to your pet’s heart health.
Amazingly, heart disease in pets is almost as common as heart disease in humans. When left untreated for too long, heart disease can be fatal for our fur babies. Once a pet reaches the point of congestive heart failure, there is no cure or treatment. But there’s no reason to panic, today we have some tips for you to help keep your pet healthy.
Keep their diet balanced
A balanced diet is one of the most important steps to prevent heart disease in your pets. Dogs and cats should eat a diet recommended by your veterinarian. Some pets may have special needs, depending on their overall health. The important point to remember is that you’re best served by bringing your pet in for an evaluation and following your vet’s recommendations. Two special things to remember are to avoid raw foods as they may contain bacteria that can be detrimental to your pet’s health, and to feed meat to cats as they need taurine, an amino acid that cats don’t produce on their own.
Get some exercise
For all of us— humans and pets—regular exercise is important for a healthy heart. Though specific exercise needs are based on your pet’s breed, size and age, every animal needs some form of daily activity.
At minimum, most healthy dogs should get at least 30 minutes of brisk physical activity every day. Hunting or working breeds (like Labrador retrievers and hounds) may require an additional one to two hours of activity. Consult your veterinarian to determine the exact amount and type of daily activity required for your dog.
Cats should spend at least 15 minutes each day engaging in physical activity. As most cat owners know, it may require some imagination and a bit of trial and error to discover what activity your cat prefers. If your pet doesn’t have the endurance or interest to play for the full 15 minutes, start with a few minutes of play multiple times a day.
Use the appropriate regular medication
Regular heartworm prevention for dogs— often monthly (or according to medication instructions)—is crucial to avoid severe medical issues that can result from heartworms. The American Heartworm Society also recommends that dogs get a heartworm blood test every two to three years (and more often if they don’t regularly receive prevention medication).
Other parasites, like fleas and ticks, can also carry infectious agents that can affect an animal’s heart. Preventing these parasites can be necessary year-round in Oregon, where the weather is often be mild, creating an extended living environment for the creatures.
Prevention is easier
Even though most forms cannot be prevented, heart disease caused by heartworms can easily be avoided with year-round preventatives. Likewise, in dogs who have developed heart failure, quality of life and life expectancy can be improved with early diagnosis and treatment. We recommend taking your dog to your veterinarian for a routine check-up to screen for heart disease at least annually and every 6 months for older pets. Another important factor is everyday stress that can build up over time—such as being away from their owners or being home alone for long periods of time. One thing that can help is having a pet sitter who can take over when you’re away for work or other duties. They can also keep you updated about any changes in your pet’s state so you can be alerted about potential issues.
We at Pet Nanny Inc are experts in taking care of the mental and physical health of your pets. If you can’t be at home 24/7, we can take care of your pets for you! Our Pet Nannies are all experts in taking care of pets and will be sure to keep your pets happy and healthy. If you have a busy schedule, give us a call and we will make sure your pets get all the attention they need. Contact us at 734-981-6108 or use our on-line contact form and we will be in touch with you shortly.