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Dogs/Heart attacks in dogs?

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Question
Hello!

This is NOT a medical emergency, just a concern I have. My mother has two older (9 and 10 years) dogs that are very morbidly obese. They weigh close to 75 pounds, should be closer to 50. When they sit, they have fat rolls that come down over their hips and shoulders, and you cannot feel ribs, unless you're pressing so hard the dog yelps. One cannot stand for more than 10 minutes before her legs start shaking.

She recently adopted a 3 month puppy. She is super-high energy (part collie), and has crazies every night. The two older dogs wrestle and chase with her... which concerns me. They play HARD for about an hour, and wind up with the dogs panting very hard, shaking and quivering. I tried looking up signs of heart attacks in dogs to tell my mother to watch for, but I'm finding so much contradicting information. I've tried to get her to help her dogs loose weight, but it's been a very long, tiring, hard argument that I've not won. Is there any way to let these two seniors play with a puppy safely in regards to their health?

Answer
The worse thing anyone can do is let his dog get grossly overweight as it is just begging for bad health and huge vet bills to happen. One of the most common things this causes in dogs is diabetes. Among other things, the owner would most likely have to give the dog daily insulin shots. Diabetic dogs often come down with Cushing's Disease (which can lead to blindness) as those two things seem to go hand-in-hand for some reason, and neither of those conditions is anything any dog owner would want to have to go through.

Just keep working on your mother, and give her a list of all the bad things that may well happen to her dogs because she feeds them too much. In order for them to lose weight, she needs to cut back on whatever is their normal ration of food and eliminate all treats (or give treats of kibble from what should be their normal daily amount of food. The other thing would be to increase their exercise, but the new puppy is already helping with that one<G>

Personally, I think a heart attack would be the least of the worries of what might happen to her dogs because of their weight issues. If one of these dogs should have a heart attack, it would probably go down very quickly. I think what you are seeing is very overweight and extremely out-of-condition dogs reacting to suddenly doing exercise that they are not used to doing. The exercise is GREAT, but your mother should try to limit the time more by maybe putting the puppy away for awhile and then bringing it out again so that the play sessions are shorter, but more often. She should not let it go on to the point where the adults are about ready to drop from the exertion.

I am not a veterinarian, so am not familiar with the symptoms of a heart attack, but I did find this on the internet:

Symptoms of Dog Heart Attack Include:
Difficulty breathing which includes panting
Tilting of the head
Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
Pain and discomfort
Seizures or sudden collapse
Stiffness of the forelimbs
Sudden death

Good luck with your mother and her dogs.  

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Karen Brittan

Expertise

I have been showing miniature schnauzers in conformation, obedience, and earthdog for forty years, and am a professional dog groomer. I am not a veterinarian and cannot answer questions of a veterinary nature. However, I can give my opinion or share some experiences on some health issues. Everyone should remember that this is a volunteer service, and few of us are up late into the night. Medical emergencies require a veterinary visit, or at least a telephone call... not an internet question which might not be viewed and answered until hours later. If your dog is sick or injured, it should be seen by a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Experience

I have taught obedience classes and have taught people how to groom for many years.

Learn more about me and my dogs: http://britmorschnauzers.com

Organizations
Member of: American Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Obedience Training Club; Elk River Kennel Club; Minnesota Professional Pet Groomers Association; Greater Twin Cities Earthdog Club.

Education/Credentials
Fifty-one years of living with, observing, and training dogs, along with numerous seminars during that time.

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