You may not know it, but a heart check-up is just as important as the other routine checks your dog should have. When you are next at your vet for a routine appointment (such as for a vaccine or a weigh-in) make sure you talk to your vet about your dog’s heart. Your dog should have their heart checked by the vet at least once a year, to detect problems early before any symptoms develop.
Vets will usually check your dog’s heart during a routine examination but may not mention it, especially if it’s normal and healthy. Vets will welcome questions and a proactive discussion about your dog’s health, so never be put off asking for more information about their findings.
Do remember though that it’s important to stay as quiet as possible when the vet is examining your dog’s heart as they will be listening very carefully for any abnormalities. Once they’ve finished, you can use these handy questions to help start a conversation.
If your vet does find something to indicate heart disease, they may suggest some tests such as an X-ray or an ultrasound scan to look at your dog’s heart in more detail. Early detection of heart disease is key as early intervention can help slow disease progression, keeping your dog happy and healthy for longer.
It may be useful to keep a note of anything different about your dog that you have noticed since your last visit to the vet, as it can be easy to forget when you are in the appointment. Some things you may wish to keep track of include: