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Exercise for Pets with Heart Disease

As in people, exercise is important for both the physical and mental health of your pet. A healthy pet should always be given adequate exercise and outdoor activity. For animals with heart disease who are not showing any symptoms (such as cough, difficulty breathing or fainting) exercise often does not have to be limited. Keep in mind, however, that your pet should not be pushed any further than he or she is willing to go—exercise to exhaustion should be avoided. In pets with more advanced heart disease it is very important to limit strenuous activity. For animals with mild congestive heart failure, repetitive activities and exercise (such as ball chasing or fetching) should be avoided. Additionally, pets with severe congestive heart failure (such as those requiring hospitalization) should be strictly limited to cage rest only.

The HeartSmart website was made possible by funding from the Barkley Fund. If you have found this site helpful, please consider supporting the fund.