Congestive heart failure in dogs may begin with a sudden collapse during exercise. One of the most classic signs prior to your dog’s collapse is persistent coughing and difficulty breathing.
Dogs will become fatigued more quickly. They may begin panting as soon as they begin to play and playtime doesn’t last as long as it used to. Dogs may also cough when they are sleeping or at rest. Dogs that have pale gums or general weight loss may also be suffering from congestive heart failure.
Oxygen to Stabilize: Initial treatment for serious heart conditions in dogs involves providing supplemental oxygen. The goal is to provide enough oxygen to the respiratory system to keep the dog comfortable while fluid build-up in the lungs is reduced. Dogs may be placed in an oxygen cage, oxygen hood, or treated with flow by oxygen. The type of oxygen delivery will depend on the severity of the dog’s symptoms (Mazzaferro, 2005).
Medication: Once the dog is stable, diuretics are used to decrease the fluid in the lungs so that the lungs will be able to function properly. Drugs are also given to stabilize the dog's blood pressure. Ace inhibitor drugs are generally used going forward along with continuing diuretics to help the heart pump effectively and to prevent fluid buildup in the lungs (Mazzaferro, 2005).
Medication may need to be increased steadily throughout your pet’s remaining life, as the congestive heart failure will continue to worsen. Medications only treat the symptoms but do not address underlying conditions. Supplements may need to be provided to correct levels of potassium and other essential vitamins and minerals which may otherwise be lost because of increased urination.
Lifestyle Changes: Your veterinarian will limit the amount of salt in your dog's diet. You can find special diets made specifically for dogs and cats with heart disease. For most congestive heart failure in dogs, exercise should be restricted. Exercise may worsen the condition or even cause death.
There are a surprising number of herbs that have tremendous positive effects on congestive heart failure in dogs. It’s best to choose a product that contains the most powerful of these herbs in the most effective combination rather than trying to determine your own formulation.
Dandelion Root is a gentle diuretic and can be used as an alternative to traditional diuretics. Furthermore, dandelion is rich in potassium. Since potassium is often lost during urination by dogs in treatment for heart conditions, a natural source of potassium that is also a diuretic can be very handy. You can sprinkle dried dandelion directly onto your dog's food (Bassingthwaighte, 2019).
Hawthorn berries are well-known for heart health, having been used since the 1800s for circulatory and respiratory diseases. Recent scientific studies have backed up the powerful effects of this herb. Hawthorne improves heart function generally and can make a weak heart beat stronger. It may be as effective as the medication Digitalis, but it is much more easily tolerated and there are no dangers of side effects or cumulative problems when using Hawthorne. (Bassingthwaighte, 2019)
Fish oil has also been found to improve heart health dramatically in both people and dogs. Fish oil can be a bit difficult to handle as it goes rancid quickly, but you can choose to feed your dog oily whole fish like sardines or mackerel.
Motherwort can improve metabolism in the heart, reduce heart rate, and reduce clotting. It also has gentle sedative effects that will calm anxious dogs and help with anxiety related heart issues.
Vitamin C can stabilize blood vessel walls helping the body to produce collagen, elastin, and connective tissues.
Coleus Forskohlii, from the beautiful and popular coleus plant, has surprising uses in heart health. It can dilate blood vessels and make the heart pump more forcefully. It will also lower blood pressure overall.
Ginkgo Biloba enhances blood flow overall and increases the oxygenation of tissues. It may also reduce the possibility of clots forming in the blood. This is a useful herb for a range of heart conditions including congestive heart failure in dogs.
Yarrow is typically used for treating fevers and as a wound healing aid, but it can also lower blood pressure and tone blood vessels.
Spicy Cayenne pepper can reduce internal bleeding and improve circulation. This can make it very effective for dogs who may also have internal bleeding associated with their congestive heart failure.
The root of Ginger can lower cholesterol and prevent clots as well. It can also help prevent heart attack or stroke as well as improving congestive heart failure.
How to Choose the Right Herbal Remedy for Your Dog
There are a lot of herbal ingredients that can offer relief to a heart condition in dogs. Since there are so many useful ingredients, no single product will contain all of them. Therefore, look for a product that uses some of the most effective ingredients in a high-quality form. Ingredients should work together to achieve the most effective treatment for your dog.
Primalix Heart Hardy Is a 100% natural cardio tonic to return dogs and cats to normal heart function. The ingredients in the supplement work directly on the circulatory system and heart muscle to improve the strength of the heart and normalize blood pressure.
This elegant combination of Hawthorn berries, Coleus forskohlii, Motherwort, Ginkgo biloba, and Ginger root was distilled from ancient Ayurvedic teachings and adapted for veterinary-naturopathic healing. It is available only from Natural Wonder Products. The effect is a mild diuretic to reduce the retention of fluid, substantial increase in the strength of heart muscles so blood pumps more normally, reduced blood pressure and anxiety to make your dog more comfortable and increase the health of blood vessels, and reduced chance of clotting to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Ingredients are USDA Certified Organic whole plant and are free of drugs or side effects. This natural remedy can be used alongside a veterinary prescribed regimen or used preventatively. You may likely find that your dog won't need as many veterinary prescribed medications when on this holistic regimen. Our long-term customer experience shows that congestive heart failure in dogs is much less likely to occur when on Primalix Heart Hardy, even in dogs genetically prone to heart problems. On sale now.
Mazzaferro, E. DVM (2005, October 1) Emergency management of congestive heart failure. Veterinary Medicine.
Bassingthwaighte, E. DVM (2019) Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs: Holistic Treatment Options. Retrieved from