Pets with cardiac issues need a little extra TLC. If you are the caretaker of one of these special animals, you may be wondering what you need to do at home to help your pet stay as healthy as possible. Oakland Veterinary Referral Services knows that you want to do everything you can to achieve this. With a little extra effort at home, pet heart patients often do quite well.
Home Strategies for Pet Heart Patients
Depending on your pet’s diagnosis, our team may have individualized recommendations for your patient at home. There are some generalized things, though, that most pet heart patients can benefit from.
Monitor closely – You know your pet best. Watching for changes, no matter how subtle, in activity level, demeanor, appetite, and water intake is very important. These indicators can tell a lot about your pet’s overall well-being and alert us to issues early, before they become a major problem.
Diet is everything – Most pet heart patients will be recommended a diet designed to benefit their overall health. At home, be conscientious about any extras you give your four-legged friend. Weight gain can put your pet at undue risk. It is also wise to avoid saltier treats, such as hotdogs, as increased sodium levels can be harmful.
It’s all in the RRR – The most crucial thing to monitor is your pet’s resting respiratory rate. Count the number of times your pet’s chest rises in a 60 second period when he or she is totally relaxed. It is ideal to check this rate a few times a week. If you notice a sustained increase, it’s time to bring your pet in.
Keep moving – We will discuss any exercise restrictions for your pet with you, but keeping up the activity is a good thing. While we don’t want to strain the heart at all, overall cardiovascular fitness and weight management are essential for pet heart patients.
Medications are important – Be sure to administer your pet’s medications as prescribed. If you are having trouble, or if you suspect side effects, let us know so that we can help you to troubleshoot. A pillbox is often helpful to keep track of medication administration, as these patients are often on multiple medications. It also important to keep all pets, but especially pet heart patients, on a good heartworm preventative.
There Is No “I” in Team
Once your pet is diagnosed with a heart condition, we need to work together as a team to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Communication is key from both sides. Please let us know if you are unclear as to the plan or instructions for your pet. We are happy to address your questions or concerns. It is vital that you keep your pet’s scheduled rechecks as well. This is the best time for us to fully evaluate how your furry patient is doing overall, discuss the game plan, and make adjustments to medications.
With good care, many pet heart patients live long, quality lives. We are happy to have your help at home to maximize results. You, your pet, and our dedicated staff make a great team!