Dog Heart Attack – How to Protect Your Dog From Heart Attack


The term ‘heart attack’ only applies to humans, right?

Wrong. Dogs suffer from heart attacks too. This is why it is important for the pet’s owner to understand just what causes this condition, how to recognize the signs, and ways that they can help prevent this illness from occurring. This way, they can possibly prevent their pet from experiencing this life threatening illness during their lifetime and increase their dog’s lifespan.

About the Dog’s Heart

The dog’s heart is similar to the human heart in that it has four chambers and is made of muscle which pumps blood around the dog. This pumping action allows blood to circulate throughout the dog and keeps the dog’s vital organs and body functioning at an optimum level. Without a heart that functions well the dog’s circulation is compromised. This may have an adverse effect on the animal’s health and in some instances can cause the dog to have a heart attack.

Heart Conditions in Dogs

Most heart attacks in dogs are caused by heart disease, a condition that affects the strength of the heart muscle and impairs the quality of the heart valves.

Heart disease in dogs typically comes in two forms:

Mitral Valve Disease – Also known as a heart murmur, this illness affects the valves of the dog’s heart and changes their consistency so that once smooth valves become lumpy and thickened. This change then reduces the performance of the valves causing them to leak, which in turn lessens the blood flow that circulates throughout the dog. In fact, in some instances the value flow is reduced so much that blood which has been pushed from the atrium of the heart flows back into the chamber that it has come from and this affects the dog’s circulation significantly.

This illness typically affects smaller to medium sized dog breeds, such as Fox Terriers, Poodles, Chihuahuas, and Cocker Spaniels. Some dog breeds are more susceptible to heart disease and heart attacks than other breeds and this is why it is important to have regular vet checks over the course of the dog’s life.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) – This form of heart disease affects the muscle of the heart and compromises the heart’s contractions which then reduce the dog’s circulation. This illness progressively gets worse as the dog ages and often affects medium to large dog breeds, such as Boxers, Great Danes, and German Shepherds.

Both forms of heart disease can cause heart attacks in dogs and heart failure if left untreated. In fact, statistically speaking, some 11% of dogs have heart disease. In the U.S this amounts to approximately 3.2 million beloved pets which have the illness. The incidence of valve disease is said to increase as the dog gets older with some 30-35% of dogs acquiring the illness once they are aged 13-years and over.

Signs of Dog Heart Attack

The signs of a heart attack in a dog are not easy to recognize, as the dog’s body often will make adjustments so that the dog can cope with the changes in its heart’s condition. This is what is referred to as the dog’s survival mechanism. The body, which is a survival fanatic, will instinctively alter behavior so that the dog conserves energy and reduces the impact on its heart.

Typical signs that can be noticed may include the following:

1. Coughing

2. Craning of the Neck

3. Breathing Difficulties

4. Depression

5. Excessive Panting

6. Lack of Energy

7. Loss of Consciousness

8. Poor Appetite

9. Swelling of Limbs

10. Weakness

A dog showing these signs should be taken to a vet clinic immediately for diagnoses and treatment.

Heart Attack Prevention

Many dog health professionals believe that heart disease and dog heart attack prevention is better than treatment, as once a dog has heart disease it cannot be cured. This is why it is recommended that the dog’s owner use natural products that increase blood flow and ensure that the dog’s heart and valves remain strong over the duration of its life (dog health professionals often recommend Petsprin). These products contain dog specific ingredients that are made from fermented soy – Natto – and are a safe alternative to aspirin. The Japanese have been using Natto for thousands of years as a wellbeing and longevity food for stronger health and vitality.

For additional information on dog heart disease and protecting a dog’s heart as well as dog health information and tips visit John Dugan writes about dog’s health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer at

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