How to Care for a Dog with Congestive Heart Failure

How to Care for a Dog with Congestive Heart Failure

Like humans, dogs also suffer from heart problems. They usually appear in older animals, that is, after six years. Unlike man, however, dogs rarely infarct. This is because the anatomy of the canine heart is more efficient and has a larger number of vessels. Also, they live much less than we do and therefore do not undergo the entire process of chronic plaque buildup in the arteries which occurs over time.

However, the main cause of congestive heart failure in elderly dogs is quite common in men: mitral insufficiency. Like humans, these animals have the mitral valve and, over the years, it can degenerate and become insufficient. This means that its functioning is compromised and it lets out a small amount of blood that it should not, causing re-flux in the heart. This disorder will cause a small increase in the cardiac camera and, consequently, produce symptoms.

signs of heart attack in dogs

How to Care for a Dog with Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure?

There are some symptoms associated with congestive heart failure in dogs. These include:

1. A Cough

This is a common symptom of many diseases, one of them being dog heart attacks.

2Difficulty in Breathing

Changing the breathing pattern should be a warning sign. Heart problems can cause shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and shortness of breath in dogs.

3.  Behaviour Change

Fatigue easily, unwilling to play, reluctance to exercise or a depressed appearance may be signed compatible with animals with heart disease.

4. Lack of Appetite

Loss of appetite is common in many diseases. If combined with some of the other symptoms in this list, it may be a pointer towards heart attack in dogs. Dogs with a heart attack may also lose their appetite due to the discomfort of their illness. This can be fought with juicy foods such as those in cans, which are more attractive to the palate of the dog, but always under the supervision of a veterinarian.

5. Weight Loss or Gain

If a dog has a heart attack, it will lose weight. This is a very  common symptom of heart attack in dogs. A false weight gain can happen when the dog's abdomen is swollen by a fluid due to heart failure. With this, the dog can have a bloating appearance.

6.  Fainting

In cases of fainting or loss of consciousness, even if temporary, the search for veterinary help should be immediate. It can be a sign of many different serious diseases. One of such being the heart attack.

7. Weakness

Weakness, when combined with other symptoms, can be a symptom of dog heart attack. It is also advisable to seek veterinary care, rather than assuming it to be a general sign of aging.

8. Restlessness

If your dog becomes restless, especially at night, and has difficulty lying down and sleeping, he may also have a heart attack.

9. Edema

Edema is the swelling of the tissues of the body. As far as heart failure is concerned, your dog may have swelling in the abdomen and extremities, in addition to accumulating fluid in the lungs making it difficult to breathe.

10. Lsolation

 If your dog begins to isolate or is keeping away from other pets and you, this may be a sign that it needs urgent help.

11.  Increased Heart Rate

The heart rate of the dog may increase to over 100 beats per minute in large breeds, For small breeds it may be 140 beats per minute.

12.  An Inclination of The Head

This is a pointer that your dog is going through pain and should be urgently investigated.

13. The Mucous Membranes Become Blue

This is a phenomenon called cyanosis, which occurs in the context of oxygen deficiency in the blood. The blue color can affect the gum, tongue, and the white parts of the eyes.

14. The Dog Died Suddenly Blue Tongue

When you notice a blue tongue, it may be the final stage of a dog heart attack. If the symptoms associated with congestive heart failure in dogs highlighted above are ignored, this may result in sudden death of the dog, and upon investigation of the tongue, a blue coloration would be found on it.

Video of about Dog Heart Disease by Dr. Karen Becker 

Risk Group

Like humans, dogs tend to predispose to cardiovascular disease, and statistics confirm it. More often, infarction is diagnosed in the following groups of animals:

1.    Large Breeds

Newfoundland, St. Bernard, Caucasian sheepdogs, and other large animals suffer from a heart attack when they do not exercise properly. The excessive activity also negatively affects the work of the heart.

2.    Older Breeds

Heart attacks often occur in older animals as well. This is due to the worse condition of the blood vessels, the heart and the body as a whole. In these, the frequent development of heart attack is associated with excessive emotions. They are more susceptible than other dogs. Thus stress can occur in the psychic sphere due to highly acute sound. During the fright, the dog's heart becomes stronger, which ultimately leads to its rapid wear.

As dog owners and breeders say - these animals have a heart full of love. They live next to a person, adapt to his rhythm and can give their life without hesitation. It is not surprising that heart attacks develop in them just like in humans.

Causes of Dog Heart Attack

The causes of dog heart attack include acute circulatory disorders that occur as a result of prolonged artery spasms. Some heart diseases can further lead to seizures. Also causing a heart attack can be a serious illness such as hepatitis.

In young dogs, attacks can be caused by congenital or heavy physical activity, both regular and sudden.

What are the Early Warning Signs of a Dog Stroke?

When the problem is at the heart, early diagnosis and treatment can make a difference in your dog's health and quality of life. It's important to be alert to early warning signs so that you can get him to the vet as early as possible.  

The body of an animal with heart problems does not receive all the blood it needs to perform its normal activity. Since the blood carries the nutrients and oxygen, essential for life, the muscles and organs of the animal with diseased hearts waiting for this recharge will be forced to reduce its functioning.

A dog that becomes excessively fatigued during exercise, games or outdoor walks may have a heart problem. The heart of the animal with heart failure struggles to pump blood with oxygen, which does not reach the muscles in the amount needed. This translates into breathing problems and air inhalations faster and faster: the dog tries to capture the oxygen that his body demands.

A feeling of fatigue or a cough are other signs an indication that there may be a heart disease in the dog, and in the most serious cases, even, fainting is possible.

Canine Stroke Treatment

First, the owner needs to know what to do if the animal develops the early signs of a stroke. In the first place, it is recommended to give Kardamin-3 drops or Corvalol-10-15 drops to the dog. This should be poured into the mouth, and the dosage should be calculated according to the body weight of the dog. If the animal has difficulty breathing, then you can let it sniff the fleece with a few drops of flavor oil or salt.

At this stage, any wrong actions can only make the dog's condition worse. Therefore, it is recommended that the animal is delivered to the veterinarian's office as soon as possible. It is preferable that the dog is hospitalized, which will ensure complete treatment.

The therapeutic effect includes the use of drugs such as:

  • Anti-aging drugs, for example, nitroglycerin - these drugs increase oxygen uptake by heart cells.
  • Funds supporting cardiac muscle activity - adrenaline, caffeine, etc .
  • Antithrombotic drugs - heparin sodium, heparin, Fraksiparin, etc.

Also, the vet prescribes complexes of vitamins and minerals that support the functioning of the body of a sick animal. The treatment should also include mandatory correction of nutrition. The plan has some restrictions and the addition of certain products:

  • All foods containing a large amount of fat should be removed from the dog's diet.
  • Choose  food containing all the necessary elements, with the natural diet; the veterinarian should recommend additional supplements.
  • In the animal's menu, there should be no sweet and baked food.
dog heart attack symptoms

How to Take the Pulse of a Dog at Home

The body of a dog that suffers from a heart stroke tries to work at a faster rate than usual to compensate for the lower blood supply to the body. This explains why the heart of a dog with this disease pumps blood at a faster rate so that the heartbeat accelerates.

Measuring your dog's pulse at home can help detect early heart failure. To do this, you have to make the dog lie on its side, without forcing it, so that it feels relaxed. Then the palm is placed on the middle of the dog's thigh or the left side of the chest since in this area; it is easier to perceive the dog's pulse.

The number of beats of the dog must be counted along 15 seconds, and the number of beats perceived multiplied by four to obtain the number of beats of the dog per minute. It is convenient to repeat the operation to make sure that the count has been done correctly.

The number of usual beats for a dog weighing less than 13 kilos ranges between 60 and 140 per minute as earlier highlighted. For an animal above that weight, the number of beats reduces to  60 and 100 beats per minute. The veterinarian will be the best person to report in each case.

Can a Dog Recover from a Stroke?

Once the animal has a veterinary diagnosis concerning a stroke, it is normal for the specialist to apply the treatment, such as vasodilators or diuretics as earlier highlighted. It is advisable to strictly follow the administration of these medicines, as well as the guidelines indicated by the veterinarian.

Periodic reviews of the dog with a heart attack is key, especially until you can adjust the treatment that keeps the animal stable. A dog that suffers from a heart attack and has adequate treatment considerably increases both its hope for recovery and quality of life.


Caring for your pet's health is critical to ensuring appropriate quality of life, so learning to detect the signs of heart attack in dogs will be critical in this case.

Heart attacks tend to be one of the main causes of death of pets, and what makes this type of problem so fatal is that, in general, the dog heart attack symptoms are not identified in time. Therefore, at the moment the obvious signs of the disease appear, it is already at a very advanced stage. To this end, the tips above would act as a sure aid towards early detection, management, and treatment.

Disclaimer Note:

All information contained in this website is intended for informational purposes only, as I am not a veterinarian. Furthermore, the content of the website should not be understood as an appeal to ignore the instructions or advice that may be issued by your veterinary doctor.

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