Heart Disease in Dogs

One important aspect of pet care is keeping an eye out for diseases that can threaten the health of your pet in order to catch any symptoms early on. Heart disease is one such condition that millions of dogs suffer from each year. It can cause serious problems for dogs if left unaddressed, but the good news is that heart disease in dogs can often be treated with the right approach.

Making sure you are aware of heart disease in dogs can help to save the life of your dog if he or she ever experiences heart issues.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in dogs, followed by cancer and kidney disease. Heart disease can be treated, but it is often not curable. If you are aware of the signs and symptoms of heart disease in dogs, you can help to save your dog from suffering from this serious condition.

Heart disease is a serious condition that requires immediate attention if caught early enough. Many dogs do not show any symptoms until their heart stops beating. Early detection allows for treatment or surgery, which may extend your dog’s life expectancy and quality of life significantly.

Heart failure occurs when blood flow through the heart becomes inadequate to meet its needs for oxygenated blood flow throughout the body; therefore it does not have enough energy to support normal functions such as exercising or walking up stairs without becoming tired easily

Signs of Heart Disease

Heart disease is a serious condition that can affect dogs and cats of all ages, but the signs of heart disease are often subtle. For this reason, it’s important that you know what to look for if your pet is showing any symptoms.

The most common symptoms of heart disease in dogs include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Coughing or gagging after exercise or excitement (in older dogs)
  • Tiring easily during walks or play sessions

Types of Heart Disease

There are several types of heart disease that can affect your dog. The most common is dilated cardiomyopathy, which causes the left ventricle to become enlarged and thin. This makes it difficult for blood to leave the heart, resulting in an increase in pressure on other parts of the organ as well as on other organs in your dog’s body.


In order to diagnose heart disease in your dog, a veterinarian will perform a physical examination and conduct blood and urine tests. Some of the signs that your dog may be suffering from heart disease include:

  • An abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Weakness, fatigue or exercise intolerance
  • Exercise intolerance due to shortness of breath (dyspnea)

If you think that your dog might have heart disease, be sure to bring along any medications or supplements that he’s currently taking—including dogs with anemia who are taking iron supplements. If your dog is pregnant and has been diagnosed with heart disease or is at risk for it because of her age or family history, discuss whether she should continue the pregnancy with her veterinarian.

Treatment for Heart Disease

  • Medication: If your dog is at risk for heart disease, you will likely be prescribed medication to help manage the condition.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is required to remove buildup in the arteries and prevent further damage.
  • Diet: If your dog’s heart disease requires medication or surgery, it may be a good idea to talk with your vet about changing his diet as well.
  • Prevention: Heart disease is often preventable through exercise and proper diet!


When it comes to your dog, the best way to help ensure his or her overall health is by making sure he or she stays active and maintains a healthy diet. It’s important that you recognize any changes in your dog’s behavior, which could be signs of heart disease in dogs.