cute dog

How to Keep Your Dog's Heart Healthy

cocker spaniel

My heart beats dog. Fidose of Reality followers know this much is true. My dog’s heart, too, beats strong and I plan to keep it that way for many years to come. My dog’s heart healthy status is beating great!

March has been dubbed Canine Health Month, and a recent survey of dog owners revealed that only half of respondents ever discuss heart health of their dog with their veterinarian.

One of my new year’s resolutions  has been to do something proactive for my dog, Dexter, each month of the year. By resolving to do something each month to help keep my pooch healthy, I can ensure that 12 steps are taken to keep his tail wagging all year long. One of the things I have done has been to use for a pet health calendar and checklist to keep Dexter healthy all year long.

cocker spaniel

While at Global Pet Expo recently, I met actress Tiffani Thiessen, whom you may recall from Saved by the Bell and currently on White Collar. As the spokesperson for Sergeant’s Embark on Pet Health, I thanked Tiffani for her role in helping to bring the message of good healthcare for pets to pet parents everywhere.

I found an app called The Resting Respiratory Rate (RRR) mobile app, available through the iTunes and Google Play Stores – helps pet owners and veterinarians detect the early signs of heart failure by tracking and comparing a dog’s RRR over time. Data is uploaded directly to veterinarians, who must provide a dog’s target breathing rate to pet parents and specify how often they should count their dogs’ RRR. 

Tiffani Thiessen

Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure are keys to keeping a dog well. Some things to watch for include, according to PetMD, include:

  • Weakness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Coughing and trouble breathing
  • Dog stands in unusual positions to relieve pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Crackles heard when listening to the lungs
  • Pale/gray/bluish mucous membranes
  • Gums stay pale longer than a few seconds when pushed upon with a finger
  • Possible heart murmur
  • Weak pulses on the insides of the dog’s thighs

There are many signs of heart issues, which is why early diagnosis is key. My last dog lived with a grade 2 heart murmur, which thanks to early detection by  her veterinarian, was able to be monitored her whole life.

In honor of all the pets out there, we are celebrating healthy hearts by sharing the message with our pet blogging friends below:

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  1. I, too, was planning a goal for each month of 2013. Not just for Chester and Gretel but also for my heart health! January was the 30/30 walking challenge. February and March are for the Idita-Walk. I don’t have a plan beyond that but I need one.

  2. Woof! Woof! Golden Thanks for this information. One reason we take every precautions and staying healthy to prevent any diseases especially I am a senior dog. Good to report that I am well. Happy Wednesday. Mom enjoys the white collar show. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  3. Great message and so important! At Slimdoggy, we are dedicated to pet health, fitness and well being. Heart health is certainly critical, as is diet and exercise. We are really concerned with the obesity problem and the Heath problems that result. You should check out our App that helps owners determine proper diet and exercise goals for healthy weight.

  4. Thanks for sharing this important information. I must admit I would of never thought of asking my vet about Maggie’s heart, especially when she was young. However I was lucky enough to have a vet who starting checking Maggie’s heart from our very first visit and educated me on why he always checks. Since then any new vet that Maggie has… I’ll always say how is her heart doing?

  5. Super CUTE photo of you and Tiffani, and of you with Dexter of course! So great that you are reminding everyone how important it is to be knowledgeable about keeping our pets healthy!

  6. Like Jessica I’ve wanted to work on better health for both Gizmo and me this year and the walking challenges have been a great start…Maybe I need to think up another for April? My Bruno had a stroke and I didn’t even realize it till i noticed that his face had started to sag a bit on one side…Before that I hadn’t known that dogs got strokes…sounds strange but it hadn’t ever occurred to me

  7. Wow! This is fabulous info! I have always felt overwhelmed at times with how much I need to know about Taylor’s health, but I will forever be up to the challenge! Thank you so much for letting us know about these great sites!

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