In this article, we show you how you can help your friend with optimal nutrition, we will explain the basics of nutrition for dogs with heart problems and will discuss why low sodium dog food is much better for your furry friend.
Many people do not hesitate for a moment to welcome a dog into their home, one of the most popular choices as a pet and it is not surprising, because it must be said that its loyalty is such that it can sometimes be puzzled.
Welcoming a dog is synonymous with great responsibility and you will have to give it your full attention, give it the affection and care it needs so that it can enjoy a full and happy life. However, over the years, they are also susceptible to many diseases.
Cardiac pathologies in dogs
Between 20 and 40% of the canine population suffers from damage to the heart valves and, interestingly, this same percentage is overweight, so we can observe how the nutritional status and eating habits affect the health of your pets, just like humans.
If these percentages are extrapolated to small breeds such as Yorkshire or Pekingese, the rate increases, as 60% of these dogs suffer from some type of heart problem.
Cardiac pathologies in dogs result in heart failure, i.e. the pumping capacity of the heart is reduced, and this fact also decreases the supply of oxygen, blood and nutrients to the tissues, which overall affects their whole organization.
As mentioned above, diet is directly linked to these illnesses (although other factors do play a role) and it is possible to prevent them if you feed your friend the right way. However, if the disease has been diagnosed, you should know that an adequate diet should be part of the treatment.
Recognize the symptoms of heart failure in dogs
If your dog has a heart condition, it should be noticed as soon as possible to go quickly to the veterinarian, who will prescribe dietetic and sometimes pharmacological treatment. Heart failure in dogs can manifest as follows:
- Fatigue during any type of physical activity such as walking or playing
- Rapid breathing
- A rapid pulse
- Loss of appetite
You can take the pulse of your dog place your index and ring finger on the inner thigh of your pet, the normal heart rhythms are as follows:
- From 100 to 160 heart rate for dogs weighing less than 30 lbs
- From 60 to 100 heart rate for dogs weighing 30 lbs or more
The specific nutritional requirements for a dog with heart problems
Feeding a dog with heart problems should cover the following specific nutritional needs:
Low sodium dog food
It is well known that dogs love salty food, which they find particularly appetizing. Salt is not only found in food, but also in certain household products, which your dog would be tempted to swallow. But a diet too high in salt can be harmful.
Ordinary salt or sodium chloride retains fluids, which leads to an increase in blood volume, since blood plasma consists mainly of water. By increasing the volume of circulating blood, the heart takes on even greater work, which is why it is so important that your dog’s diet is low in salt.
An extraordinary contribution of taurine
Taurine is an amino acid present in animal proteins and is essential for the proper functioning of heart cells. It is found in fish, chicken and beef, among others. It is even common for your veterinarian to recommend a nutritional supplement based on taurine.
Tasty and appetizing nutrition: As seen above, heart failure can manifest itself in a significant loss of appetite, which compromises the nutrition of your pet. So, in order for the dog to ingest the energy required by the diet, you need to offer it mouth-watering food, including some specific moist foods for dogs.
Home cooking of low sodium dog food?
It is obvious that dog food adapts perfectly to the nutritional needs of our dog friends, and, in case of heart problem, you should know that there are specific canine food lines that market food that meets to all of the above characteristics in their nutritional composition. You should also keep in mind that if your dog has eaten kibble all his life, you should not suddenly change his diet.
However, the problem arises when your dog is used to home cooking and suffers from heart failure, so you should try to meet his specific nutritional needs through food for human consumption.
In any case, the veterinarian will tell you what kind of food is most suitable for your dog, if low sodium dog food is required and will help implement it gradually in you dog’s diet. He can also recommend how to properly feed your pet with homemade food, if you choose to take that approach.