CBD for dogs with heart disease

How CBD Can Help With Heart Disease In Dogs

Written by: Dr. Athena Gaffud

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Time to read 11 min

Heart disease in dogs is a serious condition that can affect our beloved pets. From the most common heart diseases in dogs to the symptoms and how it can impact their daily lives, understanding this condition is crucial for their well-being. In this article, we will explore how heart disease is diagnosed in dogs, what treatments are available, and even if there are any home remedies that help.

 

We will delve into the potential benefits of CBD oil, grass-fed beef organ meats, and other natural supplements like Ashwagandha, Turmeric Curcumin, and Ginger in managing heart disease in dogs. Let's explore how we can best support our furry friends' heart health.

What Is Heart Disease in Dogs?

Heart disease in dogs refers to a range of conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels, potentially impacting the overall health and well-being of our canine companions.

Three common types of heart diseases that impact dogs include congestive heart failure, dilated cardiomyopathy, and valvular heart disease.

  1. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart can't pump blood effectively, leading to fluid build-up in the lungs or abdomen.

  2. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart muscle becomes weak and enlarged, affecting its ability to pump blood.

  3. Valvular heart disease involves faulty heart valves, disrupting blood flow.

Recognizing symptoms like coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance, and abnormal heart rhythms is vital. Different dog breeds have varying predispositions to heart disease, making early detection and intervention crucial for their overall well-being.

What Are the Most Common Heart Diseases in Dogs?

a vet checking a dog

The most common heart diseases in dogs include congestive heart failure and dilated cardiomyopathy.

  • Congestive heart failure in dogs is often characterized by symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, and fatigue. Breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, and Dachshunds are more predisposed to this condition.

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is prevalent in larger breeds like Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, and Irish Wolfhounds, leading to an enlarged and weakened heart muscle.

  • For congenital heart defects , “The most common heart diseases in dogs are aortic stenosis (35%), followed by pulmonic stenosis (20%) and ventricular septal defect (12%),” according to the study of Tidholm, A. (1997).

How Does Heart Disease Affect Dogs?

Heart diseases have a profound impact on the overall health and well-being of dogs, affecting their cardiac function, energy levels, and quality of life. Understanding how heart disease manifests in dogs is crucial for early detection and appropriate management.


When dogs suffer from heart disease, the compromised heart function leads to a variety of symptoms including coughing, difficulty breathing, and fluid retention. These symptoms are often accompanied by a notable decrease in energy levels, making even simple activities challenging for the affected dog. The strain on the heart can impact the overall health of the dog, increasing the risk of other complications.

How Is Heart Disease Diagnosed in Dogs?

a vet checking a dog

Diagnosing heart disease in dogs involves a comprehensive evaluation by veterinary professionals to assess cardiac function, identify underlying conditions, and determine the most appropriate treatment plan.


With the use of a stethoscope, auscultation is an important method for diagnosing cardiac disease in dogs as Heart disease in dogs is usually diagnosed by a cardiac murmur, which can be further confirmed through electrocardiography, radiography, and advanced diagnostic procedures like cardiac catheterization and echocardiography according to the study by Darke, P., (1989).


Imaging tests such as echocardiograms are essential in assessing the heart's structure and function, providing valuable insights into potential abnormalities. Blood work helps evaluate various biomarkers indicating heart health, while electrocardiograms measure the heart's electrical activity, identifying irregularities in heartbeat patterns.


Veterinary cardiologists, specialized in heart conditions, play a crucial role in interpreting these test results and guiding treatment decisions. Advanced diagnostic techniques, such as cardiac MRI or cardiac CT scans, offer detailed information about the heart's condition, aiding in defining the stages and severity of heart disease in dogs. The Canine Health Foundation's ongoing research contributes to the refinement of diagnostic protocols and treatment strategies for canine cardiac issues.

What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Heart Disease in Dogs?

Diagnostic tests play a crucial role in identifying and confirming heart disease in dogs. Common tests include echocardiograms, X-rays, and blood panels, which provide valuable insights into cardiac function and potential abnormalities.


Echocardiograms, also known as cardiac ultrasounds, are particularly informative as they allow veterinarians to visualize the heart's structure, size, and function in detail. This imaging technique helps in detecting issues such as valve abnormalities, thickening of heart walls, or fluid buildup around the heart.


X-rays, on the other hand, offer a different perspective by revealing the size and shape of the heart as well as any signs of congestive heart failure.


Blood panels are essential for assessing heart function by measuring various parameters like electrolyte levels and markers of heart muscle damage.

What Are the Stages of Heart Disease in Dogs?

Heart disease in dogs progresses through various stages, each characterized by specific symptoms, complications, and treatment approaches.


Initially, in the early stages of heart disease, dogs exhibit subtle signs such as decreased exercise tolerance or coughing. As the condition progresses, more pronounced symptoms like rapid breathing, lethargy, and abdominal distension become apparent.


Diagnostic tests, including echocardiography and x-rays, play a crucial role in confirming the diagnosis and assessing the extent of heart damage. Treatment options vary depending on the stage and severity of the disease, ranging from medications to surgical interventions like pacemaker implantation.

What Are the Treatments for Heart Disease in Dogs?

a dog in surgical table

Treatment options for heart disease in dogs encompass a range of medications, lifestyle modifications, and, in some cases, surgical interventions to manage symptoms, improve cardiac function, and enhance overall quality of life. Tailored treatment plans are essential for addressing the specific needs of each canine patient.


Traditional medications such as ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and beta-blockers play a crucial role in managing heart disease by reducing strain on the heart and controlling fluid retention. Plus pharmacological therapies, dietary adjustments, like low-sodium diets, help alleviate symptoms and support cardiac health. For some dogs with advanced heart disease, surgical procedures such as pacemaker implantation or corrective surgeries are considered to improve heart function.

What Medications Are Used to Treat Heart Disease in Dogs?

Medications play a crucial role in managing heart disease in dogs, with drugs targeting specific cardiac issues such as congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and hypertension.


  • ACE inhibitors : These drugs work by dilating blood vessels, reducing the workload on the heart, and improving overall cardiac function.

  • Diuretics : Help the body eliminate excess fluid, alleviating symptoms like coughing and difficulty breathing.

  • Anti-arrhythmic drugs : Manage irregular heart rhythms and stabilize the heart's electrical activity.

While these medications are effective, they may have potential side effects such as increased thirst, lethargy, or electrolyte imbalances.

What Are the Surgical Options for Treating Heart Disease in Dogs?

Surgical interventions are recommended for certain cases of heart disease in dogs, offering advanced treatment options to address structural abnormalities, correct defects, or improve cardiac function. Surgical procedures require specialized expertise and careful post-operative care to ensure the best outcomes for canine patients.


Heart disease in dogs has a variety of surgical treatments available. Some of these procedures are listed below.

  • pacemaker implantation

  • valve repair

  • bypass procedures

Each of these is tailored to the specific condition. These interventions are crucial in managing the disease and enhancing the quality of life for affected pets.


Like any procedure, there are inherent risks that pet owners must weigh against the potential benefits. Follow-up care is essential to monitor the efficacy of the treatment and address any post-operative complications promptly, ensuring the long-term well-being of the canine companions.

Are There Any Home Remedies for Heart Disease in Dogs?

 

Aside from conventional treatments, certain home remedies and natural supplements complement the management of heart disease in dogs, offering potential benefits for cardiac health, symptom relief, and overall well-being. Integrating these alternative approaches with veterinary care provides holistic support for canine heart health.

One popular home remedy that has gained attention for its potential benefits in supporting heart health in dogs is CBD oil.

Research suggests that CBD oil helps reduce inflammation, support cardiovascular function, and ease stress and anxiety in pets.

CBD oil demonstrated anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties in dogs' immune cells using an ex vivo inflammatory model,” (Gugliandolo, E., et al., 2021).

Incorporating nutrients from sources like grass-fed beef organ meats like Primal-Vitality Beef Organ Complex provides essential vitamins and minerals that support heart function. 

 

The 2019 study of Schneider, K., et al., concluded that “Beef variety meat items contain significant amounts of vitamin K, which has been implicated in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases”.

Herbal remedies such as hawthorn, ginger, Incorporating nutrients from sources like grass-fed beef organ meats like and turmeric are also known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which contribute to heart health by reducing oxidative stress and promoting circulation.

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, cytokines release, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory properties,” (Trubilla, K., et al., 2017).

These natural supplements can be a valuable addition to a dog's diet to help maintain a healthy heart.

How Can CBD Oil Help with Heart Disease in Dogs?

CBD oil has gained attention for its potential benefits in supporting heart health in dogs, offering anti-inflammatory and anxiety-reducing properties that aids in managing cardiac conditions. Selecting high-quality CBD products from reputable sources like CBD Full-Spectrum Happy-Furever Oil is essential to ensure safety and efficacy for canine patients.


The calming effects of CBD also alleviate stress and anxiety, which can be beneficial for supporting cardiac health (Hunt, A., et al., 2023). Read “Addressing Canine Anxiety: The Finest CBD Solutions for Your Dog”.


When considering the use of CBD for heart disease in dogs, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage based on the individual animal's needs. Ensuring the purity and potency of the product is vital to achieving the desired therapeutic effects without any harmful side effects.

What Other Natural Supplements Can Help with Heart Disease in Dogs?

Various natural supplements, such as ashwagandha, turmeric curcumin, and ginger, may offer complementary support for heart disease in dogs. These herbal remedies are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, potential benefits for heart health, and overall wellness trends in canine care.


These supplements have gained attention for their ability to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and improve circulation, which are crucial factors in managing heart disease in dogs.

  1. Ashwagandha, known for its adaptogenic properties, can help reduce anxiety levels in dogs, which is often linked to heart conditions (Majeed, M., et al, 2023).

  2. Turmeric curcumin, with its powerful antioxidant effects, may assist in protecting the heart tissues from damage and supporting overall cardiac function (Kim, Y., et al., 2012).

  3. Ginger, in addition to providing digestive support, also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit dogs with heart disease (Roudsari, N., et al., 2021).


Dogs will enjoy these health benefits when they are included in their diet or treats like Super Health Vitality™ Chews.

What Foods Can Help Improve Heart Health in Dogs?

Certain foods can play a significant role in supporting heart health in dogs, providing essential nutrients, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids that promote cardiovascular well-being. Including heart-healthy ingredients in a dog's diet can contribute to overall wellness and potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.


One key ingredient that stands out for its heart-protective qualities is fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids that aid in reducing inflammation and supporting cardiac function. Lean proteins, such as chicken and turkey, are also excellent choices as they provide essential amino acids for muscle health and overall energy levels. Read “Here Are 5 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Needs Organ Meats”.


Incorporating fiber-rich whole grains like brown rice and quinoa helps regulate blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight, which are both crucial factors for heart health in dogs. Read “Is Rice Good for Dogs?


Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like blueberries and spinach can aid in reducing oxidative stress and fighting toxicity in the body. Read “Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?”.

How Can Grass-Fed Beef Organ Meats Help with Heart Disease in Dogs?

Grass-fed beef organ meats offer a nutrient-dense and natural source of essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can support heart health in dogs. Incorporating these organ meats into a canine diet may provide valuable nutrients and potential benefits for cardiovascular well-being.


These nutrient-packed organ meats, such as liver, kidney, and heart, contain a wide array of nutrients that are essential for energy production, immune function, and overall vitality in dogs. For example, they are rich in coenzyme Q10, a powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in cardiovascular health and energy metabolism.


Grass-fed beef organ meats are known for their high-quality protein content, which is important for muscle development, maintenance, and repair. Including these nutrient-rich meats in your dog's diet can help support their well-being and contribute to a shiny coat, healthy skin, and optimal energy levels. To know more, read “Learn About The Benefits Of Organ Meats For Dogs”.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can CBD help with heart disease in dogs?

CBD has shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve heart health in dogs.

Can CBD be used as a treatment for heart disease in dogs?

While more research is needed, CBD has shown potential in managing symptoms of heart disease such as high blood pressure, inflammation, and anxiety.

What are the most common heart diseases in dogs?

Some of the most common heart diseases in dogs include dilated cardiomyopathy, heartworm disease, and valvular disease.

What are the symptoms of heart disease in dogs?

Symptoms of heart disease in dogs can include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and weight loss. If you notice these symptoms, it is important to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Are there any natural remedies that can help with heart disease in dogs?

Yes, in addition to CBD, grass-fed beef organ meat, ashwagandha, turmeric curcumin, and ginger have all shown to have potential benefits for heart health in dogs. However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian before incorporating any new supplements into your dog's diet.

Is CBD safe for dogs with heart disease?

CBD is generally considered safe for dogs, but it is important to consult with a veterinarian before giving it to a dog with heart disease, as it may interact with other medications. Additionally, it is important to use high-quality CBD products specifically formulated for pets.

Dr. Athena Gaffud, DVM

Author: Dr. Athena Gaffud

Dr. Athena is a seasoned, board-certified veterinarian with comprehensive expertise in general practice, veterinary medicine, laboratory operations, and veterinary writing. She is passionate about animals and holistic health. 

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