Known formally as dog hypertension or systemic hypertension in dogs, high blood pressure is a common canine problem, believed to affect one in ten pups at some point in their lives. In some cases, it will be a lifelong condition, manageable with medication, lifestyle changes, and dietary tweaks. In others, the condition can be treated, managed, and then effectively ‘cured’.
But just how dangerous is high blood pressure in dogs, and how often do you need to take your pooch to the vet when they have it?
Why don’t we take a closer look?
- What is High Blood Pressure in Dogs?
- High Blood Pressure in Dogs: Symptoms
- How to Take Blood Pressure on a Dog
- What Causes High Blood Pressure in Dogs?
- Petcube Emergency Fund
What is High Blood Pressure in Dogs?
Quite simply, high blood pressure is when a dog has blood pressure that is higher than the “normal” level. It can be a problem all its own, or a symptom of another medical condition. Because of that, it is recommended to take your dog to the vet, to get checked over, as soon as you get an inkling that your pup might have high or low blood pressure.
Normal dog blood pressure is 110/60 to 160/90.
High blood pressure will be classed as anything above 160/90.
According to research, there are two types of high blood pressure in dogs: primary and secondary. The latter (secondary) is when the condition is a symptom of another medical condition, such as kidney problems.
Primary hypertension in dogs is when the issue has not been caused by another underlying medical condition. This hypertension type is uncommon in dogs.
High Blood Pressure in Dogs: Symptoms
Without a blood pressure testing apparatus at home, it can be quite difficult to spot the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure in dogs. It is sometimes only when the pup has had high blood pressure for a prolonged period that more pressing symptoms occur. These can include:
- Dilated pupils;
- Difficulty breathing or raspy/labored breathing;
- Red spots (blood) in urine;
- Unusual patterns of behavior (you will know your doggo best & an interactive dog camera will help you with that);
- Fits or seizures;
As the condition gets worse, the symptoms can get worse. Blood can start to seep from around your poor pup’s eyes, and their heart will start to suffer, potentially leading to congestive heart failure.
Some dogs will experience strokes with very high blood pressure or prolonged periods of high blood pressure. When this occurs, the following symptoms can arise:
- Inability to move around, walk, or run;
- Not being able to stand up on their own;
- Bumping into things;
- Sight problems and/or odd-looking eye movements;
- Unusual and/or aggressive behavior;
- Other mental impairments.
How to Take Blood Pressure on a Dog
The best way to get your doggo’s blood pressure checked is to take them to a vet. The process is the same as with a human: using a blood pressure cuff that inflates.
It is not recommended to use an at-home blood pressure testing device designed for humans. The results will not always be accurate, and the cuff may not have been designed as a dog blood pressure cuff. Incorrect measurements could result in a delay in getting your pooch the treatment they need.
What Causes High Blood Pressure in Dogs?
Several underlying medical conditions can cause dogs to have high blood pressure. One of the most common is kidney problems, specifically chronic kidney disease.
The following conditions can also cause hypertension in dogs:
- Diabetes mellitus;
- Other endocrine disorders;
The treatment of high blood pressure in dogs will depend on a wide variety of factors, including the type (primary or secondary), the breed of your dog, the age of your dog, exercise levels, other medical conditions, and more.
Primary Hypertension Treatment in Dogs
Primary hypertension or high blood pressure that is not caused by another medical condition will be treated with medication designed to reduce or stabilize blood pressure. This can sometimes be lifelong medication, and it will need to be routinely monitored.
Primary hypertension is not completely understood, but there does appear to be a hereditary link. It is also quite rare, accounting for less than twenty percent of all hypertension cases in dogs.
Secondary Hypertension Treatment in Dogs
Secondary hypertension will require the primary cause(s) to be treated first. In some instances, treating the primary cause or condition will mean the secondary high blood pressure resolving itself – but this isn’t always the case.
Dog Food for High Blood Pressure Treatment
Reducing the amount of sodium in a dog’s diet, particularly if the diet was high in sodium before, can sometimes improve high blood pressure, and prevent it. It is not recommended to change your dog’s diet without first seeking advice from your vet. Sudden changes can be detrimental to your dog’s health, especially if they are suffering from other medical conditions, too.
Unless specifically advised by your vet, do not substitute high blood pressure medication with lifestyle changes, such as changes or tweaks to your dog’s diet. It could be the case that, despite changing their diet, your dog will still require long or short-term medication to treat the problem.
Petcube Emergency Fund
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Read more: What To Expect From An Online Vet Visit
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Can you prevent hypertension in dogs?
If you ensure that your dog is fit and healthy and has regular checkups at the vet, you will not only reduce the chances of your pet developing hypertension and other problems, but you’ll have the opportunity to catch it nice and early if it does arise.
You cannot prevent high blood pressure in dogs completely, but you can take active steps to keep one step ahead of it as best you can. Proper management and treatment for other medical conditions alongside a healthy diet and plenty of exercise will go a long way to keeping your cherished companion fit and well.
How to lower a dog’s blood pressure naturally?
If your pooch requires medication to control their blood pressure, it is not recommended to look towards holistic remedies as an alternative. There are many suggested homeopathic remedies for high blood pressure in dogs online, but if they do not work and your pet is not on medication, the condition will be getting worse.
Can a human blood pressure monitor be used on a dog?
It is not recommended to use a human blood pressure monitor to measure the blood pressure of a dog unless you have been told to do so by your vet. You may use it incorrectly, take the wrong measurements, or use something that isn’t suitable for canine use.
What is the life expectancy of a dog with high blood pressure?
A dog with high blood pressure can go on to live a long and healthy life, provided the cause is diagnosed and treated, and active steps are taken to reduce blood pressure. If the condition is ignored or goes undiagnosed, however, the life expectancy of your pet will decrease dramatically.
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