Part of owning a dog is knowing and understanding the dangers that affect canines and how best to protect your pet from health problems. Unfortunately, some dogs develop certain issues despite their owner’s best preventative measures. Heartworms is one such condition, and if left untreated, it can be fatal to your pooch. Once your dog has been bitten by a mosquito with a heartworm, he or she will be heartworm positive forever. Fortunately, however, a special diet can help heartworm positive dogs to maintain healthy lives. The following are some facts about the appropriate diet for puppies or dogs with this condition:
A heartworm positive dog who has suffered no detrimental effects to his or her heart can maintain a diet similar to the one followed prior to the diagnosis. However, most veterinarians recommend that dogs who are in heartworm treatment or who have suffered mild to serious heart damage follow a specific eating plan.
Dietary restrictions will depend on the extent to which your dog’s heart is affected. If only slight damage has occurred, it will not be necessary to restrict his or her sodium. However, if the heart is compromised, low-sodium or no sodium dog food should be chosen to avoid heart fluid buildup. Dog food brands enriched with magnesium and potassium are also recommended for heartworm positive dogs, as this will help them to maintain a regular heartbeat and support good circulation in their general cardiovascular systems.
In addition, dog food that is high in protein is sometimes recommended for dogs infected with heartworms, both before and after treatment. This is because low-protein diets can create heart stress and reduce heart muscle mass and strength. As always, it is important to choose a high-quality brand, regardless of the type of food recommended by your veterinarian. This is because brands of lesser quality contain excessive amounts of byproducts, which can be hard on your dog’s kidneys, and subsequently his or her heart.