Heart disease is one of the most common ailments for senior pets. If you want your beloved dog or cat to live a long, healthy, and happy life, it’s essential to keep your pet’s heart health in mind with preventive 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 pet developing heart disease. One of the best preventive measures is giving your pet a heart-healthy diet. Here are a few heart-healthy feeding tips for your furry best friend.

 

Quality High-Protein, Meat Based Diet

 

To keep your pet’s heart healthy, they need to have a high protein, meat-based diet.

A meat-based diet should be part of their regular meals. Meat contains the essential amino acids that help promote heart health. It will also help your dog or cat maintain a lean body mass to prevent obesity which can become a major problem later for pets with heart disease. High protein diets that are meat based also tend to be more palatable. Most senior pets and those diagnosed with heart disease have the tendency to become picky eaters, so the meat based diets will help entice them to eat better.

 

Make sure that you aren’t overfeeding your pet either. Your pet should maintain a healthy low fat, high fiber diet that is also rich in vitamin E, C, B, and D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium.

 

Here are other heart healthy treats you can add to your pet’s diet for them to enjoy

  • - Fish
  • - Blueberries
  • - Oatmeal
  • - Flaxseeds
  • - Carrots
  • - Sweet potato
  • - Pumpkin
  • - Broccoli

Limit Sodium Intake

A diet with reduced or limited amounts of sodium is generally recommended for a healthy diet, especially for pets with heart conditions. Watch your pet’s sodium intake, and make sure that you don’t feed them scraps from your table, especially junk food like hot dogs, deli meats, cheese, and even rawhides that can have quite high sodium levels. Some pet treats, especially those multi-colored ones stuffed with artificial coloring and preservatives, may also be high in sodium, so check the label before giving them to your pet.

Heart Healthy Supplements

 

Here are some supplements that are commonly found helpful for cats and dogs with heart disease:

 

  • - B vitamins
  • - Omega-3 fatty acids -- These fish oils are essential for an all-around heart-healthy diet for dogs and cats. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and protect against abnormal heart rhythms. Other natural sources include cod liver oil, sardines, and salmon.
  • - Taurine and carnitine – These two substances are present in protein sources and can help promote heart health in some cases. Cats in particular are unable to make their own taurine and must ingest it to stay healthy.
  • - Magnesium

Symptoms Of Heart Disease In Dogs

Even if you follow heart healthy diet for your pet and make sure they are getting the best nutrition, unfortunately they can still develop heart disease. Here are several symptoms of heart disease you should look out for with your pets:

  • - Sudden weight loss or weight gain over the course of a few weeks
  • - Restlessness especially at night
  • - Changes in behavior including less energy, being withdrawn, showing signs of depression, or being less playful or affectio
  • - Dry coughing post-exercise
  • - Coughing that gets worse at night, or goes on for more than three days
  • - Rapid, unexplained weight loss
  • - Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • - Lethargy, fatigue, gets easily tired
  • - Collapsing and fainting spells
  • - Pale gums
  • - Swollen abdomen
  • - Depression
  • - Decreased appetite

 

Keep in mind that these symptoms may also be related to other illnesses so it is important that you see your veterinarian if your dog shows any of these symptoms.

Regularly consult your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is in top health. Making a visit to the vet is one of the best ways to prevent and fight against heart disease. Go to the vet at least once a year to get your dog or cat a full physical check up and blood test to identify any problems you need to address early on.

Heart disease is a serious health concern for any pet owner. So it is important that you talk to your veterinarian and make sure that you are taking the necessary steps to ensure that your beloved pets will live a long, healthy, and happy life.