Tools of the trade: My Pet’s Heart2Heart app

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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

heart health app for dogs

by Dr Katie Lowe, Border Veterinary Surgery, Goondiwindi, QLD

This is a free app from Boehringer Ingelheim. This is not an app to identify heart failure; it’s for monitoring dogs that have been diagnosed with heart failure. It’s just a simple way for pet owners to measure the resting respiratory rate of their dog.

What’s good about it

The owner enters the details of the dog into the app so it can log the respiration rate. A heart appears on the screen of the phone and the time is set from 15 to 60 seconds. The owner taps the heart every time the dog takes a breath. I recommend they tap each time the chest rises. At the end of the time, the app will calculate the number of breaths per minute.

This helps monitor dogs with heart disease that could potentially be going into heart failure. If the dog is in heart failure, it helps us ascertain how the medications are working. The measurements should be taken when the dog is in deep sleep and won’t be roused. Depending on the dog’s condition, the client takes the measurements once a week or more frequently if instructed by the vet.

When I used this app with my own dog, I found it accurate provided the dog was deep asleep. Accuracy is improved if you take a couple of readings to ensure you haven’t double-tapped the screen.

What’s not so good

Even though the process of recording the respiratory rate is quite easy for clients, the older generation may struggle with the layout of the app. There’s no easy way to forward the information to the vet. You have to rely on owners bringing their phone to the clinic.

Where did you get it

Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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