How to Help a Dog with Congestive Heart Failure in Canton, GA

Heart failure in dogs is more common in some breeds than others. Any dog could fall victim to congestive heart failure during their lifetime. This can sound like a tough disease to treat, but there are some ways that you can help your dog to have a good quality of life with this disease.

This is a progressive condition, but there are treatments that can help support better heart function and give your dog some extra years of happy times and good quality of life. You will want to explore your options as soon as your dog has been diagnosed since most dogs fare very poorly without any medical intervention. This is a condition that requires that you take it seriously both for your benefit and for your dog’s benefit.

dog congestive heart failure in canton, ga


What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?

There are some different reasons that your dog might have developed this condition. The most common cause is a degenerative or leaky heart valve, which is common in small breed dogs as they age. Certain breeds are also predisposed to heart disease such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dobermans, Boxers, and other Giant Breeds.

The other cause, but not as common, are congenital heart defects and are often detected at puppy visits. There recently has also been a link between Grain-Free Dog Foods and certain types of heart disease (Dilatory Cardiomyopathy) and while we don’t know the exact cause, we don’t recommend grain-free diets in dogs.

Heartworm disease is also a cause of CHF so making sure dogs are tested and on year-round heartworm prevention is important as well.

What Are the Signs of Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs?

Dogs with this condition will often cough frequently and might do so when they are laying down more than when they are standing up. The cough will be repetitive and sound dry and short. These dogs often tire easily as well, and they might seem to get short of breath very quickly.

Dogs that pace around before bedtime or get up and down a lot all night long might also have congestive heart failure. In end-stage disease, your dog might have a swollen belly from a build-up of fluids in the body and they could even faint or pass out due to a lack of blood circulation.

How to Help a Dog with Congestive Heart Failure

Your veterinarian will have to assist you with your care plan for treating this condition. It is best managed when caught early, but that doesn’t mean that your older dog can’t benefit from care to help them to feel better as you both deal with their condition.


This is the key to most treatment protocols and your vet will put your dog on medications that will help your dog’s heart rate to be more regular as well as medications that will help keep fluid off their lungs. This can greatly improve the life expectancy of a dog with this condition as well as make their life much more comfortable daily.


In some cases, your vet might feel comfortable inserting a pacemaker into your dog’s body to help them to manage their irregular heartbeat. This can be a very effective way of managing congenital issues that are noticed early in the life of a younger dog. This might not be a good solution for an older dog since the surgery is often too invasive for older dogs to survive.

Low-Salt Diet

This can also be a great way to help with fluid build-up in your dog’s body. Many dogs with this condition will suffer from a swollen belly as well as swollen extremities and water on their lungs. This kind of diet can help manage this symptom of the condition and give them the ability to sleep and exercise again in comfort.

Exercise Management

While your dog should not be totally sedentary with this condition, they will need to experience moderate exercise. You will not want them to be running hard, leaping, and fetching intensely, or doing anything that will elevate their heart rate significantly. These dogs need to go on gentle walks each day and be careful not to get too excited.


Some dogs with this condition benefit greatly from taking vitamin B supplements. They can also experience improvement with amino acid supplementation and vitamin E. These supplements are often affordable and can give your dog more energy as well as help them to digest food correctly and sleep better despite their condition. Simple supplements can often make a big difference in your dog’s overall comfort and well-being at any stage of this disease.

Being Careful About Treats

Many dogs with this condition shouldn’t be fed human food or lots of dog treats. They often struggle to digest food properly and you will want to adhere to a set diet for their needs. You might also need to make sure that your dog is not eating too much and gaining weight which can further tax your dog’s heart during normal daily activities.

Congestive Heart Failure Can be Treated

Treating congestive heart failure can be easier than you might think. Many dogs who are diagnosed with this condition experience good success with these treatment protocols on their side. Getting your dog to the veterinarian and getting a diagnosis is critical to treating congestive heart failure effectively. Your vet can help you to care for your pet and make their condition much more comfortable and their overall health much better.

If you think that your dog has congestive heart failure, your vet can confirm this diagnosis and help you build a treatment plan. Your dog’s unique needs will guide this plan and you will often see a big improvement when you get your dog onto the right congestive heart failure treatment plan.

Call (770) 479-7141 or book an appointment online to talk with a veterinarian at Riverstone Animal Hospital about your dog’s care.