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Five Signs Your Dog Could Have Heart Disease...

Heart disease is extremely common and is usually discovered for the first time during your pets annual health check. However, the signs are frequently missed by owners at home.


Heart disease normally affects small breed dogs, but can be diagnosed in any dog.

These are five signs you should look out for at home…





1. Your dog cannot walk as far as he used to…

You’re out for your morning walk which you’ve devotedly dragged yourself out of bed for since your dog was a pup. You remember you used to walk 3km or more, but now your dog gets pooped and out of breath by the end of the street! Sometimes he actually lies down or collapses! This is called exercise intolerance and can be a sign that the heart is not able to pump out enough blood.



2. Your dog is coughing…

You’re peacefully asleep in the early hours of the morning, when all of a sudden you wake to the horrible sound of your dog coughing – not as nice as your alarm clock but equally effective. Coughing can be a sign of fluid build up on the lungs from heart disease.




3. Your dog is breathing really fast…

Relaxing back on your couch at night reading a book with a cup of hot tea is bliss… except that you’ve noticed your dog sleeping at your feet is not as relaxed as you… His breathing rate is very high. Any sleeping respiratory rate more than 30 breaths per minute could be another sign of heart disease.




4. His belly is bloated…

Looking in the mirror, you noticed that you’re not the ripped stud you used to be in your 20’s… and your dog’s not either… but the dog hasn’t been into the beer or pie as far as you know. Abdominal enlargement in dogs should not be ignored. It can be a sign that the heart is not pumping out enough blood, so there is back-pressure to the abdomen, resulting in a fluid filled tummy!





5. He is losing muscle

Digging holes in the back-yard or in the sand at the beach, running in the paddock or guarding the house may not be as effective as your personal trainer guided workout plans and meal-prep, but it has always been enough for your dog… until now. He seems now to be all skin and bones; his spine is sticking out and you can see his ribs. This can be a sign that the heart isn’t able to supply the muscle with enough blood, so they waste away.


These five signs are the most common indicators of heart disease that you can watch for at home. They may be caused by other diseases as well, so a vet check is in order if you notice any of these sound familiar…

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