As a continuation of our articles about health issues that can affect your cockapoo, we decided to look into the large and complex subject of canine heart disease a bit deeper. We have had questions from some of our followers about heart disease in their dog and what they should know to catch any heart problems in their cockapoos early. As usual, it is important to note that we are not veterinarians, and any concerns you have should be brought to a qualified canine health expert.

That said, we have done our best to provide the basics of what every cockapoo owner should know here. We did some research on what heart problems can affect your dog and what signs to look for in case your cockapoo experiences any issues that could be related to their heart. We will also try to give some tips for prevention, although some heart health issues can be genetic.

What is generally called heart disease can actually engulf a few different things. One cannot tell a pet owner that their dog has heart disease without explaining what the type of issue it is, and what the cause and treatment may be.

Heart Murmurs: The first heart issue to explore is not a disease of the heart necessarily, but can sometimes occur with heart disease. This is Canine Heart Murmurs. A heart murmur can range in severity from barely audible through a stethoscope to extremely loud and easy to hear with little pressure, or even able to be felt through the vibration of the chest. Murmurs are caused by an interruption of the blood flow through the artery and can be from many causes. They sometimes can occur with heart failure, and in that case would be accompanied by symptoms like exercise intolerance, coughing, or lethargy. Just as with humans, a dog can be born with a heart murmur, but with careful monitoring and care, it may not have a huge impact on their life. In other cases, a heart murmur may be the result of a heart issue effecting the valves of the heart, as we will explore below.

Valvular Heart Disease: Canine Valvular Heart Disease can affect poodles as well as other small breeds, so there is a chance that cockapoos could get this disease in later life. Valvular heart disease is commonly know as mitral valve disease or atrioventricular valvular insufficiency. This form of heart disease usually happens in senior dogs, although it is possible at any age. VHD affects about 75% of dogs over 16 in North America, and is the most common heart disease in North America at this time. It seems to affect fewer dogs in the United Kingdom, but is still a concern. It is more common in male dogs, and will cause a leak in the heart valves, which is likely to cause a heart murmur, not previously diagnosed.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy: The next most common heart disease is Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy. This affects the heart muscle, and basically weakens its ability to pump blood effectively, which can lead to heart failure in a dog. In many cases, the heart will become enlarged and this makes it even harder for it to get the blood all the way through the body. While dilated cardiomyapathy is more likely to affect large breed dogs, it has been seen to be somewhat common in cocker spaniels, which puts the cockapoo at risk for developing this disease.

Other problems that can affect your cockapoo’s heart are congenital heart failure and heart-worm. As most pet owners know, heart-worm is easily prevented by monthly heart-worm pills or as part of the flea and tick prevention that you use. This is received from your dogs vet and they will also give a heart-worm test yearly. Heart-worm is deadly if left untreated, but can be treated and eventually removed. We will have a more in depth article about heart-worm in the near future, as well as further exploration of each of these issues independently.

Canine congenital heart failure, on the other hand, is usually the result of a dog’s long fight with heart disease, when the heart is no longer able to sufficiently support the body any longer. This would most likely occur only after every other option and treatment had been exhausted.

Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention: In many cases of heart disease, without proper treatment, it could eventually lead to heart failure. This does not mean that any heart problem is an immediate death sentence for your cockapoo! With early diagnosis, there are diets that have been tried, and a variety of medicines that your veterinarian can prescribe to help treat the symptoms and increase your dog’s longevity, even after a diagnoses of heart disease. As always, you will want to have regular check ups with your pup’s vet, and feed them a healthy diet. Some people suggest supplements to increase heart health, but we here at Cockapoo Crazy have not had experience with this situation, so we can’t make any specific suggestions. Consult your veterinarian before making any significant changes.

Signs and symptoms that you need to look for are weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, difficulty breathing, changes in weight, restlessness, swollen abdomen, depression, and any changes in behavior that you find significant. Remember that some dogs will adjust to the changes in their body without readily apparent symptoms, which could make it harder to detect. Coughing is one of the biggest signs for most people, so in the case of your dog having a cough for more than three days, you will want to get him checked out right away, especially if he is an older dog!

The best things that you can do to ensure your cockapoo remains healthy are simple: feed him a healthy diet of high quality ingredients (avoiding fillers like corn, and other less healthy ingredients), keep him as close to his ideal weight as possible, make sure you give him regular exercise, and always keep up with your scheduled veterinarian appointments. Bring up and concerns that you have regarding symptoms you may be worried about every time you go in, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. These actions should go a long way toward prevention of heart disease in your cockapoo.


Do you speak “dog”?

Imagine that you decided to adopt a deaf dog. Or maybe you have a deaf friend or family member, who you have learned to communicate with in other ways. How would you go about communicating with your dog if you or the dog were deaf? Dogs can’t do sign language, of course. Having no spoken communication can seem like a daunting idea. How would you train your dog? How would it know what you wanted from it?

Dogs have different forms of communicating, as you may have learned fairly quickly when you became a dog owner. They don’t have the ability to speak, although barking can sometimes feel like a way that your dog is trying to communicate with you. But in actuality, barking is a fairly small part of dog communication.

Dogs use body language as the majority of their communication. They try to gauge our moods by our demeanor, voice level and pitch, and even our smell. Some of the signals dogs put out are simple to read…snarling and showing teeth is a sure sign of aggression, for instance! Still, some may be new to you. We will talk about some of the more common signals to help you understand some of your dog’s behavior.

If you watch your dog in different situations, you may catch a glimpse of body language communications that you never realized were even there before. Dogs use many of these in times of stress, nervousness, and when getting together with dog friends, whether new or old. If your dog is meeting a new dog and feels threatened or nervous, you may see him sniffing the ground with extreme interest, making a large arc away from the new dog, freezing in place, and even averting his gaze. These are several things that dogs do to make other dogs feel more comfortable in meeting them, as well as to make themselves feel more comfortable.

When your dog is stressed out from excitement, you may see an excess of yawning or a timid licking of the lips. These are both things that a dog does to calm himself when he is overly excited. Sometimes this will help your dog to wait without jumping or running off.

If your dog feels that you are angry about something because you have yelled or raised your voice, you will likely see things like your dog freezing in place, averting his eyes (which often makes owners perceive that the dog feels guilty), lying flat on his belly or pawing the ground. These are meant to calm the anger that you are feeling and put you in a better mood towards the dog!

When an owner is rushing a dog or pulling on the leash, you may see the dog move extremely slowly, or drop to the ground and freeze. These again are ways to calm down the person, or a dog that is acting threatening. In some cases, a dog will also get in between two other dogs or people that they feel are ready to fight. This is their way of diffusing the bad feelings, and averting the fight.

If a dog is being introduced to a new pet or person, like a dog playmate, he may feel excited, but realize that the other dog isn’t ready to meet. In these cases, you may see a dog that does the play bow, but stands very still until the other dog reacts, crawling on the ground with a very fast wagging tail, or laying on the ground with his back or side to the other dog. These are forms of dog politeness, giving each other time to get to know each other from afar, before barreling up and possibly starting a fight.

These are the majority of the body language communication stances, so what do they mean to the dog owner? If you try to recognize these signs in your dog, you may be able to help calm him by mirroring some of these. It can work with new dogs as well as your own. Have you ever met a dog that seems nervous of you, and just sat with your back to them or averted your eyes? In most cases, when this is done, a dog that seems like it’s ready to jump at you will calm down and sometimes even come up to you and sniff. The more time you spend trying to master these techniques, the more comfortable you’ll feel using them.

Dogs are happy when they understand that their human companion has a way to communicate with them. You can use techniques like yawning to help your dog reduce stress if he becomes scared. And if you realize that your dog is upset it will help you to understand him better and make you even better at being his pet parent.

However you take this information, it is a way to better understand your pooch in his communication style. You may not feel the need to use them, but maybe you will recognize them easier now and it will help you talk to your dog in a different way. We hope you enjoyed these tidbits of info.