Our health topic for December is heart health. A healthy heart is important for the overall health of your pet. The heart is responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to the organs. Overall heart health can be supported through several things you can do at home.
Dental care is very important for overall heart health. Tartar is full of bacteria which can get into the bloodstream causing damage to the sensitive heart valves and other organs such as the kidneys. Brushing teeth is the best way to keep the bacteria that can damage the heart valves at bay. There are several options to keep their mouths healthy if brushing isn’t an option. Water additives such as Healthy Mouth, prevent the buildup of plaque before it starts forming tartar. Dental chews physically eliminate the plaque before it can form into hard tartar. When looking for products to use to promote oral health, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal. This seal tells you the product is effective at reducing plaque and decreasing tartar formation.
Diet is another important thing that can ensure heart health. Taurine-deficiency related heart disease was first recognized in 1987 when researchers at University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine found a link in cats. Cat diets were quickly supplemented with the amino acid taurine and the problem all but vanished.
There were several news bytes over the summer (Heart Health and Boutique Diets) that reported research done at UC Davis found a link to heart disease in Golden Retrievers fed a grain-free diet. The study found that there was not only a genetic component to heart disease in these dogs, but also a link to feeding diets low taurine. There have been an increasing number of puzzling cases of young dogs with heart disease popping up all over the country. It was discovered that they were being fed a lentil-based, grain-free diet or a diet with exotic ingredients. Some of these pets were able to be saved before permanent damage was done, but others were not.
Keeping your pets from becoming overweight may also reduce the risk of heart disease. Obesity can predispose pets to hypertension, diabetes, respiratory and heart disease. Measuring your pet’s food according to the manufacturer’s feeding guide can allow you to keep you pets fit and trim. If you are unable to determine the recommended feeding amount we are happy to help you! Exercise also decreases the risk of obesity and is good for heart health not only for your pets, but also for you.
Dental care, proper diet selection and keeping your pet at an ideal weight are things you can do to keep your pet’s heart healthy for many years. If you would like more specific information about keeping your pet’s heart healthy, please discuss it with us at your next visit to the office. We would be happy to come up with a specific plan for your pet.