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Detecting High Blood Pressure in Dogs and How to Treat It

dog getting detected for high blood pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition in humans but can also affect dogs. Although less frequently diagnosed in dogs, it is essential to be aware of this condition, as it can have severe consequences on your dog’s overall health. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for high blood pressure in dogs.

Causes of High Blood Pressure in Dogs

There are two types of hypertension in dogs: primary and secondary.

  1. Primary hypertension: This form is rare in dogs and occurs without any underlying medical condition causing it.
  2. Secondary hypertension: Most cases of hypertension in dogs are secondary, meaning they are caused by another underlying health issue such as kidney disease, hormonal imbalances, or heart problems.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Dogs

Often, high blood pressure in dogs presents no visible symptoms, making it challenging to detect. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

  1. Nosebleeds
  2. Bloodshot eyes or sudden blindness
  3. Seizures or disorientation
  4. Weakness or lethargy
  5. Increased heart rate or panting

It is essential to consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms, as they can indicate other health issues as well.

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure in Dogs

Diagnosis of high blood pressure in dogs is generally made through a physical examination and blood pressure measurement. The process involves:

  1. Physical examination: Your vet will perform a thorough physical examination to look for any abnormalities or signs of an underlying medical condition that could be causing hypertension.
  2. Blood pressure measurement: Using a specialised instrument, your vet will measure your dog’s blood pressure. This measurement is typically taken from the dog’s limb or tail. It may take several readings to establish an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment Options for High Blood Pressure in Dogs

Treatment for hypertension in dogs will vary depending on the cause of the condition. Generally, treatment involves:

  1. Addressing the underlying condition: Treating the underlying health issue causing the high blood pressure is crucial in managing hypertension. This may involve medication, dietary changes, or other interventions depending on the specific condition.
  2. Medication: In some cases, your vet may prescribe medication to help lower your dog’s blood pressure. Common medications include ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, or diuretics.
  3. Lifestyle and dietary changes: Your vet may recommend changes to your dog’s diet, such as reducing salt intake, to help manage blood pressure. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can also play a significant role in managing hypertension.
  4. Regular monitoring: Ongoing monitoring of your dog’s blood pressure is essential to ensure that the treatment plan is working and make any necessary adjustments.


Detecting high blood pressure in dogs can be challenging due to the lack of visible symptoms. However, it is crucial to be aware of this condition and its potential consequences on your dog’s overall health. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for early detection and intervention. If your dog is diagnosed with high blood pressure, work closely with your veterinarian to manage the condition and maintain your dog’s quality of life.

Dr. Sara Lam

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