Just like humans, dogs can experience heart difficulties or canine congestive heart failure. Canine congestive heart failure may be due to birth defects, age degeneration of the heart valves, heart worms and diseases of the heart.
Pet owners should be aware of five common signs of congestive heart failure to look for in their dogs. If your dog is experiencing some of these symptoms, speak with your vet in order to properly diagnose the problem and seek treatment.
1. Excessive panting
Dogs pant as a way to regulate their body temperature, since they do not have sweat glands like we do. However, if your dog is constantly panting this could be cause for concern. Your dog may be having a buildup of fluid in the lungs because the heart is not circulating blood properly.
2. A cough that won’t go away
If your dog is coughing incessantly but there is no evidence of an airway blockage, this could be a sign of fluid buildup in the lungs.
3. Difficulty breathing.
If your dog is having a hard time catching their breath or breathing, then heart failure could be the issue, causing poor circulation. Inadequate circulation will affect the lungs’ ability to function and receive oxygen, preventing the lungs from contracting and expanding, leading to difficulty in breathing.
4. Loss of Appetite
If your dog is known for having quite a hearty appetite but suddenly loses interest in eating, then they could be suffering from heart failure. Dogs experiencing heart failure often become fatigued and lose interest in food.
Dogs that have recently begun to show signs of fatigue, such as not lasting long on walks or seeming sluggish, may be experiencing heart failure. If your dog’s circulation becomes impaired because their heart is no longer pumping blood effectively through the arteries, then this is where the problem lies. Poor circulation means the muscles are not being properly supplied with enough oxygen. As a result of the onset of heart failure your dog may become fatigued & and tired.
Treatment of congestive heart failure in dogs will vary case by case, but the primary goal will be to reduce the buildup of fluid and to increase the amount of blood being pumped by the heart to the lungs and the rest of the body. This can be done with medications or therapies. Speak with your vet for proper consultation and treatment.
For other dog health tips, check out our blog.