Heart disease in dogs is a very common diagnosed disease, and quite a serious one at that. It is a very common cause of death in dogs in North America.
Now, prevention and treatment are two quite separate protocols, in this post I will be talking about ways you can prevent heart disease and even potentially reverse it if its in a minor stage. No two dogs or cats should be treated the same when there is a diagnosis at play, and that is why I talk about prevention here and not treatment.
I will be doing everyone a disservice if I don’t mention diet first and foremost. It is number one on the list for a reason and the most essential component in preventing any disease. Your pet needs to be getting all the amino acids (both essential and non-essential) in the most bioavailable way, a.k.a. a non-processed species appropriate diet. Make sure that the diet is as fresh as possible and balanced with enough organ meat- that is key!
2. Antioxidants: Polyphenols
If you know me by now and have followed my work then you will know I always mention beautiful and wonderful antioxidants. They really are like magic! For heart health, what I am looking for though is specifics, such as polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant-based antioxidants that come from nature. My favorite and easiest way of getting polyphenols into my pets (and myself) is olive oil and/or olive leaf extract. However, not every olive oil is the same, make sure when purchasing you find real olive oil, unfortunately even if it says so on the bottle it does not mean it is real and you will not get any therapeutic results from it. When you purchase olive oil from us it is a guarantee that it is true and authentic and real.
Another great antioxidant worth considering is very high-quality green tea leaf extract, standardized to contain 98% polyphenols, 75% catechins, 45% EGC. As you all know, I like specifics. GTLE has been proven in research studies to have cardiovascular supportive properties, is anti-inflammatory, improves fat metabolism, reduces risk of cancers/metastasis, is neuro-protective, aids in detoxification and also helps to support respiratory and skin disorders, just to name a few!
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Of course I had to include the super star of fats when it comes to cardiac support; omega-3's are no joke when it comes to heart disease. Antiarrhythmic, anti-inflammatory, hypotensive (promotes low blood pressure) and antivasopressor (lowers blood pressure). Ideally, you would want to supplement with an already converted form of omega-3 where the EPA/DHA are active, marine sources are the most popular. Low plasma concentrations of EPA and DHA in dogs are associated with heart failure. There is a lot of controversy about omega-3's on the marketplace (due to rancidity reasons), we have done our homework and research when it comes to selecting the very best, that’s why when you shop with us we give you the right choices to choose from for you and your pet.
More specifically the superstar mineral for the heart: magnesium.
Magnesium is the mineral most important to the healthy functioning of the heart. Magnesium has antiarrhythmic properties which means it alleviates abnormal heart rhythms and has antithrombotic activities which means it reduces blood clots.
I personally like to supplement with a mineral complex which has magnesium in it, however there is a very unique way in giving magnesium to your pet that a lot of people don’t talk about (and not in an oral supplemental either), but to spray it on. Not on their coats but on their paws and bellies! That is right, you can spray magnesium on your pets’ paw pads and bellies and they can absorb magnesium that way.
5. Dental Health:
Believe it or not, the bad bacteria from the mouth can actually travel down to your pet’s circulatory system and damage their epithelial cells that may cause heart disease. Staying on top of your pet’s dental health is key. Adding beneficial bacteria such as probiotics to their meals, like kefir or sauerkraut can also be beneficiary.
6. Weight Management:
If your pet is overweight there is that much more internal pressure on his/her organs to function and perform properly, including the heart. The heart has to work that much harder to pump blood into the extremities of the body. It is best to keep your pets like lean mean fighting machines with plenty and plenty of exercise, even for seniors, although you would need to moderate their exercise plan. Check out our last blog post where there is a weight scale provided to see where your pet lies on that chart.
As always, consult with your veterinarian if you are planning to add anything new to your pets diet.
Lucy is an avid pet mom; with dogs, cats, goats and horses to keep her busy! All of her pet 'kids' are fed a species appropriate diet with proper supplementation so she can watch them thrive. Her expertise and experience lie in nutraceutical supplementation and is a health advocate for proper diet and nutrition. Her other passions in life are schutzhund and equestrian riding.