Most Common Signs of Canine Heart Disease

Like most medical issues, early diagnosis of heart disease is crucial. Unfortunately, heart disease is quite common in dogs, affecting as much as 10 percent of all canines.

The good news is that the condition is rather easy to spot if you know what to look for. Here are some of the most common signs of canine heart disease to help you keep your pet protected.

Lack of Socialization

Dog Hiding Out And Not Sociable

Many dogs attempt to isolate themselves when they are injured or sick. If your usually sociable pup suddenly starts shying away from all human contact, they may have heart disease (or another health condition).

It's best to take your pet to the vet for a checkup if the isolation continues for more than a day or so. Everyone needs alone time every once in a while, but continued isolation may be a sign of something more serious.


Dog With Swelling In Chest

Also known as edema, heart disease may cause swelling in​​​​ your dog's chest or stomach. It may also affect your dog's legs. If you notice any swelling, please contact a vet immediately for assistance.


Dog With Anxiety

If your dog suddenly seems restless or anxious, unable to sit still or focus, something is probably off.

If you can't find any clear cause for your pup's concern, take him to the vet for an evaluation.


Dog With A Fainting Spell

When a dog has a fainting spell, it's usually a cause for concern. It's possible that she's experiencing heart problems and fainted due to a lack of blood circulation.

You should note that a dog who collapses from overexertion should also be examined; the dog may not necessarily lose consciousness, even with heart disease.

It's also possible that the fainting or exhaustion could be a one-time event, but it certainly needs to be checked out by a qualified professional.

Weight Changes

With heart disease, most dogs experience weight loss, though that's not always the case. Some dogs may actually experience weight gain. It's also not uncommon for dogs to develop a pot-bellied appearance.

In any case, if your dog's weight changes significantly, it's always a good idea to ask the vet for a checkup.

Appetite Concerns

Empty Dog Bowl

Lack of appetite usually goes hand-in-hand with weight loss. If your dog suddenly seems disinterested in food or eats much less than usual, schedule a checkup with your vet - even if she hasn't lost weight yet.

The appetite changes may be caused by heart disease or another serious medical condition that should be evaluated.

Breathing Difficulties

Dog With Breathing Issues

Most dog owners will immediately take their pup to the vet if he's experiencing noticeable difficulties breathing, but please remember that the signs aren't always clear.

Breathing difficulties may sound like mild wheezing or breathing a little faster than usual.

These signs may be perfectly normal during vigorous activity, but if your dog is wheezing all the time or very often, you should take him to the vet immediately for a checkup.


Your dog may cough when he has a cold or gets something stuck in his throat; those are normal occurrences. However, a chronic cough is usually a sign of something more serious.

If you've noticed your pup coughing a lot, a vet visit is in order.

Canine Heart Disease Treatment

Canine That Had Heart Disease Treatment

If your dog is diagnosed with heart disease, please remember that there are medicines available to help.

Many vets recommend chewable pills like Vetmedin as a treatment option for canine heart disease patients.

This type of medicine can improve your pet's quality of life and life expectancy so you can look forward to many more years together.

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