It is estimated that 7.8 million dogs in the United States have some form of heart disease. This means that 10 percent of dogs in U.S. households are in trouble and have heart problems.
Cardiovascular diseases in dogs are common in all types of dog breeds; but are most common in smaller dogs or those that are overweight. Depending on the type of disease, signs and symptoms of heart disease in dogs may be subtle or severe and lead to difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, welling in the abdomen, weight loss, trouble sleeping and coughing. A veterinarian will be able to detect heart disease in dogs; and it is recommended to take the dog to an animal doctor, if feared.
As a preventative measure, it's best to get dogs on a strict diet and find a fitness routine that works for the specific dog breed. Letting dogs outside the fenced-in yard will give dogs access to a secure play area. While exercise and diet are good for dogs to increase longevity, it does not prevent all types of heart disease.