The Best Diet for Dogs with Enlarged Hearts

Do you have a beloved pup with an enlarged heart? We understand the worry you might have about their diet and nutrition. Fortunately, this article provides the best practices for providing the best care for your pup’s heart health. You’ll find all the information needed to help keep your pup healthy and happy.

Quick facts: Best Diet For Dog With Enlarged Heart

  • ✅ Obesity can put a strain on a dog’s heart, leading to congestive heart failure. (American Kennel Club)
  • ✅ A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids helps reduce inflammation and improve heart health in dogs. (PetMD)
  • ✅ Low-sodium diets have been found to be beneficial for dogs with heart failure. (Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine)
  • ✅ Low-fat diets with easily digestible proteins can help reduce the workload on a dog’s heart. (Pet Health Network)
  • ✅ Supplements such as CoQ10 and taurine may be beneficial in dogs with heart disease. (VCA Hospitals)
  • Overview of Enlarged Heart in Dogs

    Enlarged heart in dogs is a common medical issue and can have serious implications if left untreated. It is caused by an abnormal enlargement of the heart walls and can lead to weakness, difficulty breathing, and other serious health issues.

    To ensure that a pet with an enlarged heart is healthy and comfortable, it is essential to understand the condition and develop a diet that meets their needs. In the following section, we will discuss the specifics of enlarged heart in dogs, as well as provide tips on the best type of diet for them:

    Causes of Enlarged Heart in Dogs

    Enlarged heart, or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), is a condition that affects many breeds of dogs. It occurs when the muscles of the heart are weakened and unable to pump blood as efficiently as they should. As a result, the heart enlarges and pumping becomes less efficient.

    Common causes of DCM in dogs include:

    • Nutritional deficiencies
    • Viruses (such as parvovirus or distemper virus)
    • Trauma
    • Infections
    • Genetics
    • Toxins

    In some cases, DCM may be triggered by taking certain medications such as glucocorticoids or by underlying diseases such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism. In addition, some breeds have an increased risk of developing DCM due to their genetics. These breeds include Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Boxers and Irish Wolfhounds.

    The most important factor in treating and managing enlarged heart in dogs is identifying an appropriate diet for them; a diet that can support their weakened heart muscle and help reduce the effects of their condition.

    Symptoms of Enlarged Heart in Dogs

    Enlarged heart in dogs (also known as dilated cardiomyopathy) is a condition caused by an enlarged left ventricle of the heart. This condition causes a decrease in the ability of the heart to pump blood effectively, leading to decreased oxygen flow throughout the body. Symptoms may include coughing, extreme fatigue, fluid retention, and decreased appetite or weight loss. Additionally, some dogs may experience labored or increased rate of breathing and exercise intolerance due to an enlarged heart.

    Once diagnosis is made through a physical exam and diagnostic tests by a veterinarian such as chest radiographs, echocardiogram, ECG, and blood tests; treatment can begin with lifestyle changes as well dietary modifications. It is advised that owners provide their pet with low-sodium diet rich in fatty acids like Omega 3 fatty acids which may help reduce inflammation associated with an enlarged heart.

    Other treatments may include medications such as ACE inhibitors, diuretics and cardiac glycosides to support and improve renal function of affected pets. Surgery is rarely needed unless other treatments fail to resolve the issue or when structural changes present in the heart like narrowing of mitral valve occur which require repair or replacement.

    Nutritional Needs

    When it comes to caring for a pet with an enlarged heart, nutrition is a key factor. A balanced diet is essential to maintain a healthy weight, provide the necessary nutrients for daily activities and support the organ function.

    In this article, we will discuss the nutritional needs of dogs with an enlarged heart and the best diet for them.

    Protein Requirements

    Protein is an important nutrient for dogs with Enlarged Heart Syndrome (EHS). Protein is the main building block of muscle, and it can help maintain a healthy weight, provide energy, and build immunity. For dogs with this condition, it’s important to select sources of high-quality protein that are easy to digest.

    Meats like chicken, turkey, and fish are good choices. Tofu, eggs, dairy products and legumes are also good sources of protein which can easily be incorporated into your pet’s diet.

    It’s also important to limit the amount of protein in your pet’s diet—too much can strain the heart even more. Aim for a daily amount somewhere between 20-30% of your pet’s total calorie intake. A veterinarian or nutritionist should be consulted when selecting the best food for your pup.

    Fat Requirements

    Fat is an important nutrient necessary for optimal heart health in dogs with enlarged hearts. To maximize the benefit that fat provides to the heart, it should be included in the diet in an appropriate ratio with carbohydrates. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, can help improve heart health by aiding in blood vessel flexibility and reducing inflammation.

    When selecting foods for a dog with an enlarged heart, look for food that contains limited fats and is high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon oil, flaxseed oil or anchovy oil. The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids should be 1:4 for a healthy diet. Additionally, keep total fat intake between 8 and 10% of calories and do not overfeed your dog treats or snacks as these can increase fat intake beyond recommended levels.

    Carbohydrate Requirements

    Carbohydrates are an essential component of a healthy diet for dogs with enlarged hearts. The type, quantity, and quality of carbohydrates should be considered when planning a diet for these dogs. An appropriate level of carbohydrates in the diet is important to provide enough energy for the dog’s daily activities. Certain health conditions may require a diet lower in carbohydrates, however, this should be done under the supervision of a veterinarian and balanced by other nutrients as recommended by your vet.

    High-fiber carbohydrates such as brown rice and oats help maintain gut health while providing slow-release energy and helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Low-glycemic index carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and quinoa also provide slow-release energy without raising blood sugar too quickly. Vegatables (except for onion) also contain complex carbs that help meet your pet’s nutritional needs.

    Dietary Considerations

    A balanced diet is essential for the health of any dog, but even more important for dogs living with an enlarged heart. It is important to be mindful of what ingredients are included in the food, as some may not be suitable for dogs with an enlarged heart.

    Let’s look at some dietary considerations that should be taken into account when feeding these dogs:

    Low Sodium Diet

    A low sodium diet is an important consideration for dogs with an enlarged heart. Sodium is an electrolyte, which helps regulate fluid balance in the body. An excessive amount of sodium can increase the amount of fluid in or around the heart, leading to further enlargement and further discomfort. Reducing this intake helps reduce the symptoms associated with an enlarged heart.

    It can be beneficial to provide a low sodium diet composed of fresh, real ingredients that are free from added salt and preservatives. This type of diet has fewer carbohydrates and more natural sources of vitamins and minerals—which can provide substantial benefits for dogs with cardiomyopathy.

    High quality proteins, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables make up the bulk of a balanced low sodium diet for your dog:

    • High quality proteins
    • Healthy fats
    • Fresh fruits
    • Fresh vegetables

    Low Fat Diet

    Low fat diets for dogs with enlarged hearts are designed to reduce the strain on their heart. Heart muscle weakness and decreased pumping strength, resulting from an enlarged heart, can be improved when dietary fat is restricted. A low-fat diet may also help to reduce inflammation and congestion in the liver and other organs since fat generally requires more oxygen to metabolize.

    Foods that are meant to be low in fat should be fed in smaller amounts, as they are often calorie-dense with all of those extra carbohydrates making up for the lack of fats and proteins. Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, sardine, anchovy or herring should form a part of the diet since these fatty acids are essential for supporting proper cardiovascular health.

    It is important to ensure that even though fats are being restricted in your dog’s diet, it should still receive adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals through a nutritionally balanced diet that is formulated for animals with cardiac issues.

    High Fiber Diet

    A high-fiber diet is recommended for dogs with enlarged hearts. Fiber helps regulate digestion, and can also help prevent excessive weight gain. Fiber sources that are safe and beneficial for dogs include legumes, fruits and vegetables and whole grains such as oats or brown rice. When adding fiber to the diet, always include a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers, as the two types have different roles in digestion.

    For those at risk for CHF (congestive heart failure), fibre slows down digestion time which imparts a more gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream thus reducing stress on the heart. Also, because fibre has a “bulk” effect, it helps keep your dog feeling full longer which can reduce total food intake; this reduces caloric intake which further reduces stress on an enlarged heart due to obesity or cachexia.

    Additionally, certain forms of fiber may:

    • Decrease cholesterol levels
    • Help with blood pressure control


    When it comes to diet for dogs with enlarged hearts, supplements play an important role. Supplementation can help your dog maintain its weight and keep its electrolyte levels balanced. It can also provide additional nutrients that your dog may be missing due to the disease.

    Let’s explore the different types of supplements that you can give your pet:

    Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining general healthy body function. For Dogs with enlarged hearts, omega-3 fatty acids are especially important because they can reduce inflammation and help the heart pump more efficiently. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels in an enlarged heart dog.

    Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

    • Fish oils
    • Flaxseed oil
    • Krill oil

    It is recommended to check with your vet before supplementing your pet’s diet with omega-3s, as different doses may be needed depending on your pet’s size, health history and current condition. Adding quality fish foods to a dog’s diet can also be beneficial in providing additional omega-3s.

    Vitamin E

    Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s essential for a healthy immune system and supporting everyday bodily functions. It helps protect the cells in the body from oxidative damage and is necessary for general wellbeing. Dogs with enlarged hearts typically have reduced levels of Vitamin E in their systems, which can lead to impaired heart function.

    To ensure dogs with enlarged hearts receive adequate amounts of Vitamin E, supplements should be added to their diets. When selecting Vitamin E supplements, look for natural sources like palm oil or wheat germ oil over synthetic forms like dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate – natural sources are easier for your dog’s body to absorb and process.

    Vitamin E can also be found in certain foods like:

    • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale;
    • Nuts, including almonds; and
    • Fish like salmon or mackerel.


    Magnesium is an essential mineral that is necessary for optimal organ health and function. It plays a crucial role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and energy production. Therefore, it’s no surprise that magnesium supplementation is recommended for dogs with enlarged hearts.

    Magnesium can help lower blood pressure and reduce the workload on the heart during a cardiac event such as a fainting episode or arrhythmia. Magnesium can also help reduce swelling in the heart muscle itself, thereby improving overall cardiac function.

    When supplementing magnesium for an enlarged heart, it’s important to select a formulation of magnesium specifically designed for canine use as some forms of magnesium may cause digestive upset or kidney toxicity if used incorrectly. Additionally, always follow your veterinarian’s dosing instructions when supplementing any nutrient or medication to ensure your dog stays safe and healthy!

    Food Choices

    When a dog is diagnosed with an enlarged heart, it’s important to consider the type of food they consume. A special diet tailored to the individual needs of the dog should be created. This diet should be high in fiber and low in sodium, while being low in fat, cholesterol and phosphorus.

    Let’s look at what type of food is best for dogs with enlarged hearts:

    Wet Food

    Wet food should be the primary source of moisture for dogs with an enlarged heart. Wet food is usually comprised of a combination of meat products, fish, poultry and other animal proteins, along with added fat and carbohydrates. This type of food often comes in cans or pouches and can contain more calories per gram than dry kibble. The higher moisture content helps keep dogs hydrated when they may not drink enough on their own due to reduced appetite or mobility issues. Wet food can also help mask medicines that may have an unpleasant taste if administered separately.

    As with any diet change, it’s important to consider the age, activity level and overall health of the individual pet when choosing wet food products.

    Dry Food

    Dry food, also known as kibble, is the most common type of dog food. It’s easy to store, comes in a wide variety of flavours and textures, and is generally well-tolerated by dogs. For dogs with enlarged hearts, dry food may be a great choice because it’s lighter in calories while still containing many essential vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet.

    When selecting a dry food for your pup with an enlarged heart, look for one that meets nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Also try to opt for recipes that contain fewer calories since these can help prevent weight gain which can put extra strain on their heart muscle. Examples of high quality dry foods include those made from real meat as the first ingredient and contain no corn, wheat or soy ingredients. Aim for formulas that are free from artificial preservatives and made with whole grains like brown rice or oats.

    Homemade Food

    If you have a pup with an enlarged heart, homemade food is an excellent option. This option allows you to customize meals to your pup’s specific needs and dietary restrictions. Homemade recipes can often be higher in protein and lower in salt than commercially prepared dog food. However, when considering a homemade diet for dogs with enlarged hearts, it’s best to consult with your vet for advice on the best recipes and ingredients for your pet’s particular situation.

    To ensure the meal is balanced and nutritionally adequate, quality proteins such as lean meats (like chicken or turkey), fresh vegetables (such as carrots or sweet potatoes), whole grains, fibre sources like oats or barley and essential fatty acids from sources such as salmon oil should be included. If you do opt for this route, be sure to monitor your pup’s weight regularly since homemade diets are not calorie controlled like packaged dog food.

    Prescription Diet

    A prescription diet for dogs with enlarged hearts is a specialized diet formulated by a veterinarian to provide the necessary nutrition for a pet with a cardiac condition. In many cases, prescription diets are specifically tailored to reduce sodium levels, which can contribute to hypertension that leads to cardiac problems.

    The best veterinary diets are high in protein and fiber while low in sodium, fat, and calories. Formula options may include wet or dry food, or sometimes even both. Prescription pet foods must pass rigorous testing and adhere to very specific standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

    Feeding your dog with an enlarged heart should be done under the direct supervision of your veterinarian who will monitor your pet’s progress on the particular diet prescribed.

    FAQs about: Best Diet For Dog With Enlarged Heart

    Q1: What is the best diet for a dog with an enlarged heart?

    A1: The best diet for a dog with an enlarged heart is a low sodium, low fat diet. Feeding a high quality diet with limited ingredients is recommended. Your vet will be able to provide more specific dietary recommendations depending on your dog’s individual needs.

    Q2: How much exercise should a dog with an enlarged heart get?

    A2: Exercise should be limited for a dog with an enlarged heart. Your vet will be able to provide more specific recommendations on the type and amount of exercise that is appropriate for your dog.

    Q3: Are there any supplements I should give to my dog with an enlarged heart?

    A3: Supplements are not usually necessary for a dog with an enlarged heart. However, it is important to consult with your vet about any supplements that may be beneficial for your dog’s individual needs.

    Similar Posts