“Dogs rarely develop atherosclerosis,” a buildup of plaque in the arteries, because of poor diet and lack of exercise, Coleman said. These and other heart disease risk factors, such as smoking and excessive use of alcohol, can lead to a heart attack or stroke in humans but arent a factor in the types of heart disease that affect dogs.
But that doesnt mean its OK for dogs to be overweight or inactive, Coleman said. Its just that those lifestyle factors dont impact a dogs risk for heart disease the way they do for humans.
Anyone who has been on the receiving end of a dogs love and devotion knows these furry friends are nothing if not good for our hearts.
But a poochs heart needs attention, too. And there are steps humans can take to make sure they get it. They just arent the same steps people take to protect their own heart health.
Dogs are either born with heart problems – called congenital abnormalities – or they have age-related degenerative heart diseases. These problems are more common in some breeds than others, but can occur in any dog, Coleman said.
Brush your pup’s teeth regularly
Some studies have shown a link between gum disease and heart disease in dogs. By cleaning your pup’s teeth regularly, you’ll prevent bacteria and decay from entering your dog’s bloodstream, which can affect their heart. Aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week. We know, easier said than done, so here’s a stress-free way to do it.
Prioritize Dental Care
Dental disease tends to rear its ugly head between the ages of 4 and 9, and has a strong connection to heart disease. The plaque, tartar and infection in a dog’s mouth can enter the bloodstream and contribute to congestive heart failure. Be sure to maintain a healthy dental care routine and see your vet if you notice problems like foul breath, sore gums, bleeding or drooling.