Many people don't realize their dogs can get heart disease just like humans do or that there is such as a thing as a dog heart attack. This post will explain all you need to know about heart disease and congenital heart failure in dogs as well as CBD heart benefits that may make a life-saving difference for your pet. W Congestive heart failure in dogs: what is this serious condition, how is it treated and is there any way to prevent it? Here’s what you need to know. Your beloved pet can have heart problems just like you. Know the signs of congestive heart failure in dogs so you can get your companion the help she needs.
How CBD Can Help with Heart Disease in Dogs
Many people don’t realize their dogs can get heart disease just like humans do or that there is such as a thing as a dog heart attack. This post will explain all you need to know about heart disease and congenital heart failure in dogs as well as CBD heart benefits that may make a life-saving difference for your pet.
What is Heart Disease in Dogs?
There are several conditions that fall under the category of heart disease. Coronary artery diseases that humans are more likely to get from their diet, is not a huge problem for dogs, though they can get it.
There are unfortunately plenty of other heart diseases for them to potentially get. All of these diseases are very serious, leading to diminished quality of life and the potential for heart attacks and strokes in dogs.
Most Common Types of Heart Disease in Dogs
Canine Valvular Heart Disease
Canine Valvular heart disease is a thickening and breakdown of the valves of the heart. There are valves that are between the chambers of the heart as well as leaving the ventricles. When these valves get thick and breakdown they can not close properly causing a back-flow of blood.
Heartworm disease comes from a dog being bitten by a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae. These nasty parasites (are there any parasites that aren’t nasty), multiply in the dog’s vascular system, impeding the workings of the heart and larger blood vessels.
They can grow fast and live a long time, eventually completely clogging the dog’s vascular system if not treated. Treated heartworm disease can still leave permanent damage if the disease progressed far enough.
Myocardial disease is caused from the heart muscle overworking which causes thickening of the wall of the heart. This leads to a smaller chamber inside the heart for blood.
Mitral Valve Disease
Mitral Valve Disease involves the development of a weak valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle, and it usually more common in small dogs.
Canine Cardiac Arrhythmias
Canine Cardiac Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats that come about because of a problem with the electrical impulses controlling heartbeat.
Canine Pericardial disease involves the buildup of fluid in the sac that surrounds the heart and restricts its normal beating.
Congenital Heart Defects
There are a host of congenital heart defects as well, meaning they are inherited and being at birth though the symptoms may not appear until later.
Congestive Heart Failure
Heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure, where the heart either becomes too thick and rigid to fill properly, too weak and unsubstantial to pump properly, or the valves become so dysfunctional that they cause severe lack of blood flow.
Symptoms of Heart Disease in Dogs
Most heart diseases in dogs will cause some of the same symptoms:
- difficult breathing
- shortness of breath
- reduction or increase in appetite
- weight loss or gain
- swollen abdomen
- unwillingness to exercise
- dry coughing after exercise
- dry coughing at night
Causes of Heart Disease in Dogs?
Sometimes dogs just inherited the tendency to get heart disease. If a breeder discovers one of their dogs has an inheritable heart disease, they are supposed to stop breeding them. But dogs not bred deliberately have no such protections and even those protections for bred dogs may not be foolproof.
Heartworms cause a specific kind of heart disease and the dog gets it from being bitten by a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae.
Obesity and/or a poor diet can cause heart disease in dogs, much like it does in humans. However, obesity in dogs causing heart disease is not very common.
Certain dog breeds are more likely to develop specific heart diseases. It is important to discuss risk factors for heart disease with your licensed veterinarian.
Dogs are also just more likely to develop a heart disease as they get older. It’s not guaranteed, but the risk naturally increases. You should be on the lookout for symptoms of heart disease at this point and proactive about protecting the dog’s heart.
Preventing Heart Disease in Dogs
Educate yourself on your dog’s breed and risk factors for heart disease. There may be particular recommendations for preventing the heart disease they are prone to.
Maintain recommended vet visits to catch heart disease early.
Do not fall prey to the fat dog is a cute dog temptation, no matter how tempting it is. Excess weight can hinder your dog’s quality of life and lead to heart disease.
Be mindful of diet. Dog foods can contain too much fat. Peas, lentils, legumes, and potatoes can be found in dog foods and they can cause Myocardial disease. Grain-free dog foods may also present problems.
As you might tell from the foods already mentioned, human food should be withheld or greatly limited. You could speak to your vet about your dog’s diet in relation to their individual heart health.
Choose a heartworm prevention medication or natural prevention method to keep your dog from getting heartworms.
Outlook for a Dog with Heart Disease
We’ll start with the worst-case scenarios first.
Heart disease in dogs can lead to:
- heart attacks
- muscle wasting
- severe weight loss
- difficulty breathing
- no desire or ability to play or exercise
- trouble sleeping
- leg swelling
- limited mobility from lack of energy or severe muscle wasting
- nutritional deficiencies
- poor quality of life
The positive side is that your dog can live a long and happy life with heart disease, if you catch it early and are proactive with their health.
Routine checkups and preventative measures are the safest way to protect your dog from heart disease and to catch it early.
Second to that, you want to get them to the vet at the earliest signs of a problem.
Some signs you should take your dog to the vet (aside from routine checkups):
- if a dog has a cough that lasts longer than three days
- any sign of shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- a change in behavior
- a decrease in excitement about exercise and play
- shortened play times
- restlessness at night
- a potbelly
- decreased appetite
Diagnosing Heart Disease in Dogs
The diagnostic process may include:
- listening to symptoms
- visual inspection of dog’s behavior and appearance
- listening to their heart
- cardiac catheterization
- blood tests
- urine tests
Treatment Options for Heart Disease in Dogs
Diet is important for improving symptoms and outcome for a dog with heart disease and heart failure. You will need to discuss this with your licensed veterinarian because there is no one diet that helps with heart problems.
Different conditions and stages have different diet requirements. Your dog may need to reduce sodium intake, gain muscle, lose weight, correct nutrient deficiencies, add nutrients that strengthen the heart, and more.
Heartworm treatments consist of killing or removing the heartworms.
It is common for heartworm treatments to cause:
- loss of appetite
- lack of thirst
- muscle tremors
- dilated pupils
One treatment method is surgery to remove all heartworms from the dog’s heart and blood stream.
Some heartworm treatments contain arsenic and cause inflammation. No one wants to give a dog an arsenic-based medication, which is one reason why vets so strongly urge heartworm protection.
When a dog’s heart disease has become congestive heart failure, veterinarians typically prescribe ACE-inhibitors, or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. These treat the symptoms and lengthen the life of the dog by relaxing the blood vessels.
ACE-inhibitors can cause serious side effects:
Long-term use of ACE-inhibitors and using ACE-inhibitors with other medications requires routine medical evaluation to ensure other health conditions do not occur, such as abnormally high levels of nitrogen in the blood or renal issues.
Dogs can be allergic to ACE-inhibitors. They also interact with a bunch of other medications and pregnant and lactating dogs can’t use them.
When fluid buildup is a factor, veterinarians sometimes prescribe diuretics to reduce the buildup.
Side effects of diuretics in high quantities include:
- excess thirst
- decreased urination
- low blood pressure
None of these are exactly bad drugs. They can be life-savers for your dog, if the side effects or other health concerns don’t make it impossible for them to take them.
Medicinal heartworm preventatives are controversial. Many people don’t like maintaining a constant or seasonal dose of a drug in their dog just to prevent a disease, particularly when the drug can have serious and life-threatening side effects.
Side effects of heartworm prevention medications include:
But heartworms can cause permanent damage to the dog’s vascular system and the treatments are at least as scary, if not often more so, than the preventatives.
If you decide medicinal heartworm preventatives are not right for your dog, discuss holistic alternatives with your vet, or seek a holistic vet. Unless your dog has virtually no chance of encountering a mosquito, some prevention is necessary.
How CBD Can Help with Heart Disease in Dogs
CBD oil is one of the most popular and natural ways to manage heart disease in dogs. It may also be used as a way to possibly ease the side effects of the traditional medications so that your dog can continue to use it.
CBD oil can help dogs with heart disease by:
- decreasing inflammation
- managing pain
- calming anxiety
- reducing the frequency and severity of seizures
- potentially protecting the heart itself from arrhythmias and infarctions
- protecting the brain from and repairing brain damage
- reducing nausea
- improving appetite
- helping them sleep
- replacing nutrients
Risks Associated with CBD Oil
CBD oil poses few concerns. There is no known instance of a CBD oil overdose. if you give a dog too much CBD oil, they may experience side effects such as sedation, loss of appetite, or diarrhea.
CBD oil does alter how the dog’s liver absorbs medications, so their vet should know that they are being given CBD oil so they can dose any other medications accordingly.
The science is new regarding CBD oil, so no one is as familiar with the effectiveness or the risks as they are with traditional medications.
It makes a safe and alternative treatment for heart disease should the dog not respond to traditional medications, not being able to take traditional medications, or need relief from the side effects of traditional medications in order to continue taking them.
It is wise to keep your dog’s vet abreast of your use of CBD oil to ensure it is doing for your dog what you’re purchasing it for.
Using CBD Oil
The first step is to find a CBD oil product for pets.
CBD oil comes in several forms for pets to suit your needs and their tastes:
- oil tinctures
- extract concentrates
Treats are the most fun and therefore the easiest to get in a dog. If your dog hates taking medicine, these may be the way to go. They come in both crunchy and chewy forms to suit each individual doggy’s taste buds.
Oil tinctures are also pretty easy as they are often flavored and come in a convenient liquid form that can be administered by drops or sprays. Your dog may take this fine directly by mouth or you may apply it to their food.
Some tinctures are not flavored. If your dog doesn’t like them, you can always add it to a food that can mask the distinctive hemp taste. Tinctures offer the greatest control for varying doses, particularly ones with droppers.
Extract concentrates are like oil tinctures except that they are just CBD oil and come out in thick little beads. You can measure the number of drops to get the dose you want. These also can be given directly by mouth or applied to food.
Capsules eliminate any taste concerns and are easy to give to dogs who are tolerant of the powder in the pills.
Dosing CBD Oil
Some CBD oil products, like capsules and treats will have a certain dose per capsule or treat stated on the product packaging. You can increase the dosage as needed by giving another capsule or treat.
Other CBD oil products tell you how much cannabidiol is in one measurement of the product, a drop, spray, or bead. You then measure out how many of these to give to reach the dose desired.
Research the suggested dose of CBD for the dog’s ailment, whether it is the heart condition itself, to sleep, to improve digestion, etc. Then start with the lowest recommended dose and work up in increments to whatever achieves results for your dog.
It’s important to increase gradually, otherwise you won’t be able to accurately judge the effectiveness of the dose. Cannabidiol begins working immediately, but the full effects may not appear for a few weeks.
It would be needless to increase the dose before this time, unless the dog’s ailment is so dire or they are in so much pain that they can’t wait.
You can gradually increase their dose in as short a time as two days or use CBD oil with another treatment until the full effects can be seen.
Do be aware that very small, large, young, old, or sick dogs require different dosages. Consult a vet or our cbd dosing guide for specific dosing for the individual dog.
Purchasing CBD Oil
Before purchasing CBD oil, you’ll need to know some things to look for.
Full-spectrum vs CBD isolate
When it comes to full spectrum vs CBD isolate, it’s important to note their differences and what might work best for your needs. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, and nutrients found in the hemp plant while CBD isolate is just cannabidiol. Most people actually prefer full-spectrum, attracted to the additional benefits, but some people say CBD isolate works best for their needs.
The choice of which one to start with is up to you, but if your dog has a digestive symptom, they may gain additional benefits from the nutrients in full-spectrum CBD oil.
Some CBD oil manufacturers are, tragically, not what they claim. The ones who are reputable prove this by providing third-party lab test results showing what is in their products and what is not. This way you know you’re buying what you think you’re buying.
You should check the website for the CBD oil product to see where the manufacturer says they acquired their CBD oil or hemp. Some grow it themselves while others get the CBD oil from someone else. Both are okay as long as they say it was grown in a country with safe growing regulations.
Some extraction methods are better than others, like the CO2 extraction method. Choose it. It’s the safest and purest.
Select a CBD oil product that contains as few ingredients as possible and only ones that are necessary and safe. You should very easily be able to find natural and organic CBD oil products as well.
Innovations from Innovet
Innovet creates scientifically-backed CBD oil products for dogs and cats to treat and provide relief for hard-to-treat ailments like heart disease in dogs. We understand that hard-to-treat means there are many niches to fill and many unique pet cases to address, so if your dog can’t be helped with the CBD oil products that are already on the market, let us know so we can see if we can help your dog.
Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. We Love You!
The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you’ve learned that you’d like to share with others.
**Review Disclaimer: In accordance with FDA/FTC regulations regarding product/advertising claims and to ensure full transparency to the public testimonials displayed on innovetpet.com are given verbatim as we do not have the ability to change any reviews made by customers. Testimonials appearing on this site are actually received online and are processed through YOTPO – the leading independent review auditor. These are individual experiences of real-life people who have administered our products to their pets. However, they are individual results and results do vary. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who will use our products and/or services. Innovetpet.com is not a forum for testimonials, however, we do provide testimonials as a means for customers to share their experiences with each other. Innovet Pet does not necessarily share the opinions, views, or commentary of any testimonials on this site specifically because such views are strictly the views of the reviewer.
Additionally, these testimonials are not intended to make or imply claims that these products can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Statements within these testimonials have not been clinically reviewed or evaluated by the FDA. Please consult your veterinarian about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The information on our website is intended to inform the public in the most honest and transparent way possible.
Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs: A Holistic Approach
Congestive heart failure in dogs is a terrible thing to have to deal with.
I’ve seen many dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF) over the years. And until recently the only options I had to treat them were prescription drugs – something I don’t like to do!
Thankfully, that has changed. But before I get into treatments, let’s take a little time to talk about the causes of CHF and the signs you’ll see if your dog develops this disease.
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs?
The heart is very, very important. Damaged heart valves and dilated cardiomyopathy are the two most common causes (or what seem to be causes) of CHF. Some breeds commonly have genetically defective valves and have a much higher incidence of CHF than other breeds. This includes King Charles Cavalier Spaniels.
But no matter the cause, the underlying issue in all cases of CHF is a degradation of the cardiovascular system’s ability to pump blood effectively.
It’s important to note here that the heart is an important part of the pumping system for blood. But it’s by no means the only part of the body that actively pumps blood.
All the arteries (from large to very small) actively pump blood in synchrony with the heart. There’s a wave of relaxation followed by a spiraling wave of contraction. This wave flows along every artery and syncs with each heartbeat. Supporting the health of all the blood vessels and the cardiovascular system as a whole is critical in preventing and treating CHF. The capillary bed is especially important. It’s an active part of the system that pumps blood around the body.
So there are other causes that aren’t directly related to problems with the heart valves, muscle or vascular system. These are definitely less common causes of congestive heart failure in dogs and include:
- Defects in the heart walls
- Fluid builds in the sac surrounding the heart
- Heartworm disease
- High blood pressure
- Endocarditis (an infection of the heart valves)
Knowing this, I sometimes wonder if these problems are often due to damage to the heart secondary to other issues. Specifically, issues that increase blood pressure or increase resistance to the flow of blood. Which comes first? The chicken or the egg?
For instance, if the elasticity of the capillary bed becomes compromised, the heart overworks to get blood throughout the body. Is it this stress over time that leads to the damage to the valves and the heart muscles?
Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
If your dog has damaged heart valves, your vet will be able to hear a murmur with her stethoscope. This sound happens when the blood squirts back through the defects in the valves when the muscle squeezes. Grading for murmurs rank from I to V depending on the severity.
What happens when the cardiovascular system isn’t able to pump blood effectively? Fluid will back up in one of two places in the body: either the lungs or the abdomen.
Coughing is another sign of congestive heart failure. This happens if fluid gathers in the lungs. It usually starts off as a very quiet, inoffensive occasional cough, which many people don’t think is significant. As the CHF gets worse, the cough gets more frequent, more obvious, and is usually productive. The chest becomes waterlogged, with wheezes and crackles that are evident when listening with a stethoscope.
If fluid gathers in the abdomen, your dog will develop a potbelly. In extreme cases this will cause so much pressure that he’ll have difficulty breathing. No matter where the fluid gathers, you’ll see decreased exercise tolerance.
Conventional Treatment For Congestive Heart Failure
Conventional vets typically treat CHF with prescription medicines. This may be diuretics, which cause the kidneys to excrete extra water to clear out the excess from the lungs or abdomen. The problem is that this puts extra pressure on the kidneys, potentially harming them.
They may also prescribe drugs that make the heart muscle pump more strongly. The problem here is that these drugs sometimes put extra pressure on the valves and can cause more damage. Vets may also prescribe vasodilators to reduce the blood pressure. They open the blood vessels to allow blood to flow more easily.
I avoid these medicines until they’re a dog needs them for palliative care.
But if your dog already has congestive heart failure, what natural options exist?
Holistic Options For CHF In Dogs
I’ve had some interesting success with complementary treatments. Please be aware that these results may not be typical, and that each case is unique. You may need to try different things and not all things will work in all cases.
1. Acupressure And Acupuncture
I had one old Standard Poodle who was at death’s door. I’d done an acupressure course, and we decided to give him some treatments. He had an honest to god miraculous response. His heart murmur improved by at least a grade, maybe two, and he got a new lease of life. He went on for another year or more. He did need to stay on medication, but we were able to significantly reduce the dose. This case tells me that acupuncture or acupressure can be a great help.
2. CBD Oil
Another old dog I tended to went onto a raw whole-plant cannabis extract. After a month on this his owners reduced his diuretics completely. His cough didn’t come back and he was very active and happy. And (much to my surprise) his heart murmur also got significantly less severe – which simply doesn’t happen! Trialing on CBD may be of benefit. There’s some research that supports its efficacy with treating cardiovascular issues.
There are also other herbs that can be of value, especially if you can catch the disease early. It’s best to have these prescribed by a skilled naturopath or herbalist.
is a gentle diuretic. can help the heart pump more strongly.
- Motherwort is a lovely cardiac tonic.
If your dog has CHF, no matter what you do, you’ll probably need prescription medications in the end. Be sure to supplement with multivitamins and minerals if you do need to give drugs.
Prevent Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
So what can you do to help prevent CHF?
The first thing is to feed your dog a top quality, vital, raw, whole food diet. Add in blueberries (or supplement with something like blueberries or açai that contains lots of anthocyanins).
Consider giving green tea as a regular supplement, but be sure to steep it in cold water. If you do this, you won’t extract the caffeine, but you will get all the lovely antioxidants. Use a tsp of organic green tea per cup of water, and give about a cup a day for every 40 lbs of dog, 3-4 days a week.
Appropriate cardiovascular exercise is very, very important. You need to get your dog aerobic in his exercise, without stressing the heart.
Have regular checkups and be sure to have your vet check your dog’s blood pressure, as this can be an early red flag!
Omega-3 fatty acids are critically important for cardiovascular health. Rather than giving fish oil, which can easily become rancid, feed whole fatty fish. Sardines or mackerel are a good choice.
Coenzyme Q10 is one of the best supplements there is for supporting a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Assume the recommended dose is for a 150 lb human and adjust for your dog’s weight.
CHF is a serious condition, but there are holistic options for treatment. And, even better than that, there are natural ways to help prevent it in the first place.
Signs of Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs
Are you wondering if your dog has heart problems? If you’re concerned about your dog symptoms and are wondering about the signs of congestive heart failure in dogs then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will go over the signs of congestive heart failure in dogs and the benefits of CBD Oil.
With the proper treatment plan and supplements for congestive heart failure you’ll be able to manage your dogs condition. It’s important to understand the diagnosis from your Vet and the signs of congestive heart failure in dogs.
What is Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs?
The Inability of the Heart to Pump Blood throughout the Body
When your dog is having heart failure and blood is not being pumped properly in their body then it gets pushed back to the lungs. When this happens fluid begins to increase in your dogs cavities like chest, abdomen or both. This will constrict your dogs heart and lungs by decreasing oxygen flow in the body.
Signs of Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs: Symptoms and Types
These are some of the signs in a dog with Congestive Heart Failure.
- Blue-tinged gums
- Fluid Accumlation
- Exercise intolerance
- Weight loss
Types of Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs
- These are the different types of CHF that might affect your dog’s diagnosis.
- Right-sided CHF (problem originates on the right side)
- Left-sided (problem originates on the left side)
- Biventricular (problem affects both sides)
Congestive Heart Failure Causes in Dogs
More often than not heart failures with dog are part of a genetic condition and can’t be prevented. However, old age, injury and infection can also cause or worsen heat failure in dogs. It’s also important to make sure you’re preventing obesity and providing heartworm prevention for your pet. This can help you prolong the chance of getting heart failure.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs
The diagnosis will need to be completed by your Vet. They will most likely examine your dog with a stethoscope looking for heart murmurs. This may lead to x-rays and imaging of your dog to understand the depth of the condition such as fluid accumulation in the abdomen or legs.
Treatment of congestive heart failure in dogs varies because the condition can be caused by different conditions. Each condition may have its own approach to treat, but for the most part if the heart failure is severe your dog will be hospitalized until they’re in a stable condition. In some cases you may be prescribed Tramadol and Lasix for cough and pain control.
CBD oil is also known to help with the pain management because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps decrease the inflammation throughout your dogs body helps them with breathing, and maintain a cough. At the same time CBD will help by calming your dog down during this tough time.
Prognosis of Congestive Heart Failure
Currently, there is no cure for congestive heart failure and the treatments available are to help manage your dogs cough, and pain to improve their quality of life. This condition does not directly threaten your dogs life, but also doesn’t make their life easy. Your best bet is to follow your Vets instructions and to use a supplement like CBD oil to help increase your dogs quality of life during this time.
CBD Oil for Dog Congestive Heart Failure
CBD Oil has anti-inflammatory compounds that can help sooth your dogs CHF. It can help take down inflammation which will reduce symptoms. CBD may be helpful in reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight. Improving these factors may reduce the risk of heart failure.
CBD Oil will be an effective natural treatment to help ease the CHF your dog is dealing with while also making your dog calm and relaxed.
The secret is that Cannabinoids produced in the dog’s body have an anti-inflammatory effect. Endocannabinoids seem to play an important role in regulating inflammation processes.
Buying CBD Oil for Pets
Buying CBD oil for your pet is an exciting step to help calm your dog or cat by reducing symptoms like anxiety, and seizures. Paws Elite CBD Oil is crafted with care, and our CBD oil tinctures provide CBD, CBC, CBG, and other beneficial compounds that produce a full spectrum extract full of quality for your cat or dog. Find your product here