Heart Health Month For Pets Too!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and it is American Heart Month. Pets suffer from heart health problems too. Education and awareness and the more you know is the best defense to help keep your beloved companions heart- healthy for the long run.

Sara Forsberg · February 09, 2021

Heart Health Month For Pets Too!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! And it’s American Heart Month. Pets suffer from heart health problems too. Education and awareness and the more you know is the best defense to help keep your beloved companions heart- healthy for the long run.

Heart Disease in Dogs

Like people, dogs can develop heart disease, either as a condition they developed as they age or a congenital condition they were born with or inherited.  The most common symptoms of heart problems in dogs include a decreased tolerance to exercise, cough, collapsing or fainting.  Additionally, some other signs could be unusual restlessness or hiding, abdominal swelling or distortion, and loss of appetite/ change in body weight. This is typically diagnosed with a heart ultrasound (echo) and x-rays to help determine if there is heart disease, so that appropriate treatments can begin.  Always check in with your veterinarian if you notice changes in your pups breathing or a new persistent cough. 

Heart Disease in Cats

Cats are also at risk for heart disease. It is usually a hereditary form and may become apparent at an earlier age. In cats, heart disease can show up in different ways than dogs, and they can suddenly appear in a life threatening condition.  Contact your vet immediately if your cat has increased respiratory effort, particularly during rest time. If they seem to be breathing with the abdominal muscles instead of from the chest. Panting or open mouth breathing, or crying out with difficulty walking, contact your vet immediately.

Heartworm Disease

Most of us as pet owners are familiar with heartworm disease.  It is a mosquito borne parasite that is extremely abundant in the southeast, but it is found in all 50 states. Unfortunately for cats, there is no treatment and often the first sign of infection is sudden death. For our canine companions if it is left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal. Treatment is expensive and can be painful. However, heartworm prevention is very effective, both for cats and dogs.  Talk to your vet about what you can do to protect your furry family members.

How Does a Raw Meat Diet Help Your Pet’s Heart?

Pets on raw food diets are less likely to become obese. Healthy eating on the BARF® diet helps maintain optimal weight. They don’t eat as many carbohydrates including sugars as kibble-fed pets do. They are less likely to overeat without a bowl (filled with other types of pet food) sitting out all day- and eating as they please. Our BARF® diet makes them less prone to diseases that we’ve come to associate with obesity, or may be worsened by extra weight like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, etc. It can especially help your feline avoid fat cat syndrome; overweight kitties with and without heart disease that successfully lose weight have an easier time breathing and are more comfortable. It is much easier to get a dog moving than a cat, so it is even more important with our cats to keep them at their optimal weight through their diet.

Get Your Pets Moving and Active!

  • Dog walks! Not only is walking great for your own heart health but it also offers exercise for your beloved furry companion.
  • Head to a dog park for additional exercise and the added benefit of socializing with other dogs.
  • If your dog likes to play fetch and you have a long hallway or stairs you can throw a ball for them to retrieve and bring back.
  • Feline friends need to be active as well! Many don’t understand how important play is for our cats. Interactive play is a great way to give them good physical exercise. Regular daily playtime sessions can also help your beloved kitty to shed a few pounds.
  • You can play hide and seek inside with both dogs and cats. Hide some healthy BARF® treats around your home and let your four legged companion sniff them out. This is something that will keep them busy!

So remember with Valentine’s Day coming up this week, do all you can and be vigilant in watching out for any problems with your furry friends’ hearts that are oh so dear to your own heart!


Sara Forsberg

Sara Forsberg

Sara has been part of the BARF team since 2019. She is responsible for some admin duties, helping keep the office running smoothly and support for Rob Jr. and the rest of the team. She has been passionate about animals since a small child growing up with a Siberian Husky and 3 cats, and as an adult having a Labrador Retriever that suffered from a lot of allergy problems. She now has a rescue orphaned kitten, Poppy, and a new addition in another Lab named Jax. She has 7 children that keep her busy in most of her spare time; but enjoys anything on or near the water, spending time with friends and family, music, reading and cooking.


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What is BARF?

"BARF®" is our acronym that means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is a complete and carefully balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. Our formula mimics what nature has designed our pet's to thrive on in the wild. The result is a pet free of allergies, digestive problems, and full of life!

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