Heart disease is a pretty common problem for humans, but many people are unaware that it’s also quite common in our canines. More than 10% of pets examined by veterinarians have some form of cardiovascular disease.
If your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease, it can be a scary and stressful time for you as a pet owner. But with today’s advanced knowledge of nutrition and canine medicine, your dog has a better chance than ever to continue living a fulfilling life with heart disease. One of the biggest factors will be your dog’s food intake.
Providing your pooch with proper nutrition can keep them fighting against heart disease at full capacity. We took the time to search for and compare the best dog foods for canines with heart disease to help relieve some of the stress you’re surely feeling. The following reviews will share everything we learned while testing these foods so that you can be certain you’re giving your dog the best nutrition possible without trying them all yourself.
Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.
Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|ACANA Wholesome Grains Small Breed Dog Food
|Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Sodium Chicken Recipe
|Best for Puppies
|Hill’s Prescription Diet h/d Heart Care Dog Food
|Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Dog Food
The 10 Best Dog Foods for Heart Disease
1. ACANA Wholesome Grains Small Breed Recipe Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
|Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oat Groats
If you’re looking for the best dog food for heart disease, check out ACANA’s Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food. What makes ACANA so excellent? For starters, it has free-run chicken as the primary ingredient, which offers a fair amount of healthy protein for your dog. This food is also balanced to help your pup maintain a healthy weight, which can go a long way in keeping the heart healthy.
Best of all, picky eaters seemed to love this food! Pet parents were fans, too. In fact, there really weren’t many complaints about it, though one person’s pups developed diarrhea after eating this, so if your canine has a sensitive stomach, keep an eye out!
2. Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Sodium Canned Dog Food – Best Value
|Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Guar Gum
When you want the best dog food for heart disease for the money, Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Sodium Chicken Recipe is a good option. It doesn’t have a ton of protein, but it does have less sodium than many other dog foods, and keeping an eye on your pup’s sodium intake can be beneficial to heart health.
One dog parent whose dog was on medication for heart failure said adding this food to a dry food was the only way to get their pup to eat, so it seems as if it’s delicious! However, guar gum is made from guar beans, and beans can be unhealthy for heart problems like dilated cardiomyopathy, so check if this food is safe for your dog before purchasing!
3. Hill’s Prescription Diet h/d Heart Care Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
|Water, Beef By-Products, Chicken
Rather have premium dog food for your favorite canine? Then Hill’s Prescription Diet h/d Heart Care fits the bill. While it doesn’t have a ton of protein, this food is specifically designed to support heart health. Water is the first ingredient, which helps dogs on diuretics regain needed moisture and keeps blood pressure and fluid retention minimized. Hill’s also helps your dog recover lost nutrients from being on diuretics while being low in sodium.
This food is on the pricier side, though, and it requires a prescription from your vet to order.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food – Best for Puppies
|Chicken, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Oats
If your puppy has been diagnosed with heart disease, you want the best puppy food available, and Hill’s provides just that. While not designed specifically for heart health, this food has been formulated with ingredients that will support the health of your pup’s heart.
Hill’s puppy food also seems to be a good choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs (at least according to pet parents). The biggest complaint was that picky eaters weren’t fans and wouldn’t touch it. A handful of pups also developed diarrhea after consuming this food, though this problem didn’t occur often.
5. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Early Cardiac Dry Dog Food
|Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Chicken Meal
If your dog is suffering from heart disease, a dog food explicitly formulated to deal with cardiovascular issues might be key, which is why we like Royal Canin’s Cardiac food. This dog food is balanced to support heart health in dogs and contains excellent heart-healthy supplements. Long-chain omega fatty acids can be found, which support the functions of the heart, as well as taurine, arginine, and carnitine, all of which optimize the health of your pup’s heart.
Most dogs were huge fans of this food (though a few were not), and dog parents seemed to like it for the most part, too. However, those with smaller dogs said the bits of kibble were too large for their pups to eat. A few dogs also developed diarrhea from this food.
6. Purina ONE +Plus Adult Joint Health Formula Dry Dog Food
|Chicken, Rice Flour, Chicken By-product Meal
A dog food for joint health might seem an odd addition to this list, but Purina ONE’s joint health dog food is also formulated to support heart health. Real chicken is listed as the first ingredient, so your pup will get a considerable boost of protein to help their heart work as it should. Plus, this food is chock full of good things, such as omega fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, all of which support the heart.
This food was a hit with pups everywhere (and one that proved gentle on most canines’ stomachs). There were some complaints about the food being more crumbs than food; some people were also highly put off by the smell (although their dogs were not).
7. Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Adult Dry Dog Food
|Chicken, Dehydrated Chicken, Whole Spelt
Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain dog food is extremely high in protein, which will help keep your pet’s heart in proper working order. It also has many heart-healthy ingredients, like omega fatty acids and antioxidants from the pomegranate and berries. Best of all, this food has no whole peas, legumes, by-products, or meals, so if your pup has dilated cardiomyopathy, you don’t have to be concerned about feeding them this.
Dog parents who fed Farmina to their pets saw a difference in their pets’ energy levels and the quality of their coats. This food didn’t agree with all canines, though. A couple of pups were allergic and became incredibly itchy after eating it, while another developed acid reflux.
8. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Canned Dog Food
|Water, Meat By-Products, Chicken
Does your favorite pup prefer wet food to dry? Do they have mitral valve disease? Then Purina Pro Plan’s Cardiocare food might be the right fit for them! This Cardiocare formula is specifically designed for canines with mitral valve disease and claims to improve mitral valve regurgitation in at least 30% of the dogs who eat this food. It also says it helps reduce enlargement of the left atrial in those with mitral valve disease.
Dogs loved the taste of this, but most dog parents hated the smell of the food. Cardiocare also requires vet authorization to purchase and is a little on the pricey side.
9. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated Dog Food
|Dehydrated Beef, Organic Oats, Organic Barley
You may not have considered giving your dog dehydrated food before, but you might want to look at this dehydrated food from Honest Kitchen. It’s easy to feed to your pup—just add warm water, and the food rehydrates to four times its weight! This dog food doesn’t just save you room in your pantry; it also has whole, healthy ingredients, such as apples, ranch-raised beef, and carrots, to provide your pup with all the nutrition they need. Potassium is there to keep your dog’s heart rhythm as it should be, while the addition of taurine helps strengthen the walls of your pup’s heart.
Picky eaters, in particular, were fans of this food! However, several dogs developed diarrhea after eating this food, and a few became extra gassy.
10. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets CardioCare High Protein
|Oat Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Rice
Finally, we have the dry food version of Purina Pro’s Cardiocare! Like the wet food version, this food is specifically designed for canines with mitral valve disease (though it can be helpful for other types of heart disease). The unique blend of amino acids, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and vitamins work to lessen oxidative stress and maintain the structure of the heart.
Pet parents were pleased with how small the kibble was, as they said it made it simpler for their dogs to eat (no matter the dog’s size). However, it wasn’t the best food for picky eaters, as several dogs wouldn’t even try it. A few canines also threw up after eating it.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Dog Food for Heart Disease
Now you’ve seen our top dog food choices for canines with heart disease, but you might be wondering how we choose these five foods over all the others.
For us, it all starts with an understanding of heart disease in dogs. What exactly is heart disease and what are its effects for our pooches?
Then, it comes down to the type of nutrients that will give our dogs the best fighting chance against heart diseases of any type. We look for the food that’s packed with the most beneficial and health-boosting nutrients that are specifically formulated to provide the nutrients that a dog with heart disease needs.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to leave you in the dark. If this all sounds like information that you need to know as the owner of a dog with heart disease, that’s because it is. And to make it easy for you to digest, we’ve included it all in this short buyer’s guide.
What is Canine Heart Disease?
We’ve all heard of heart disease, but what exactly is it?
Actually, heart disease is a pretty wide-ranging term. Pretty much any abnormality of the heart can be called heart disease. These abnormalities can be physical, functional, congenital, acquired, etc. They can even be short or long in duration. Basically, anything wrong with your heart can fall under the umbrella of heart disease.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure doesn’t always happen in dogs with heart disease. However, dogs with heart disease are at a much higher risk of heart failure as this is the final stage of severe heart disease.
Like it sounds, heart failure is when the heart fails. It can be caused by a number of processes including fluid buildup, decreased blood flow, or extremely low blood pressure.
Many dogs with heart disease will never experience heart failure, but only dogs with heart disease are at risk since it is caused by severe heart disease.
Signs Your Dog Might Have Heart Disease
It can be terrifying to find out that your beloved best friend has heart disease. But if you catch it early on, your chances of mitigating the disease and helping your dog to live a long, healthy, happy life are much better.
Of course, if you want to catch heart disease early, you’re going to need to know what to look for. The following five symptoms are often the first early indicators that your dog may have heart disease. Keep an eye out for these symptoms and if you see your dog exhibiting any of them, it might be time to get some professional help.
1. Difficulty Breathing
Having a hard time breathing is often one of the first symptoms that dogs with heart disease will display. This might present itself as hard, labored breathing that seems to require a lot of force, or you might see them breathing rapidly.
If you only see your dog breathing hard occasionally or after physical exertion, then there’s probably nothing to worry about. A dog that has difficulty breathing due to heart disease will usually have trouble breathing all or most of the time.
You might notice your dog’s posture change in an attempt to make it easier to breathe. They may stretch their necks out and spread their legs wide apart. Since most dogs with heart disease find it more difficult to breathe lying down, you’ll likely notice your dog sitting or standing for long periods instead.
If you notice that your dog seems to tire out much quicker than they used to, it could be a sign of heart disease. This might be accompanied by more sleeping and resting than usual.
You might find that dogs who were excited for playtime or exercise before don’t seem to be interested any longer. This is likely due to the excessive fatigue caused by heart disease.
Many dogs cough for reasons completely unrelated to heart disease. But if your dog has a cough that persists for several days and doesn’t want to dissipate, then it could be due to heart disease.
When the heart can’t pump efficiently, fluid can buildup in the lungs causing your dog to cough in an attempt to expel the extra fluid.
In some forms of heart disease, the heart actually swells and enlarges. This can cause it to press on your dog’s airways, which can result in continuous coughing.
As a general rule, if your dog has a cough that continues for days or weeks, you should take them to the vet. It could very likely be a sign of something much more serious.
4. Changes in Behavior
When your dog’s behavior changes, your first thought likely isn’t heart disease. But this disease can have many effects on your dog, including major behavioral changes.
Some of the most common changes in behavior that you’re likely to see due to heart disease are changes in eating habits, a loss of desire to play, no longer wanting to participate in activities they enjoy, or seeking isolation.
While these types of behavioral changes aren’t enough to diagnose heart disease from, they’re certainly enough to warrant a trip to the vet for further study.
5. Collapsing or Fainting
All of the organs and systems in your dog’s body rely on blood to function. When heart activity decreases because of heart disease, those organs aren’t getting enough blood, which deprives them of vital nutrients such as oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can easily lead to fainting or collapse.
The brain also receives reduced blood flow in dogs with heart disease. This alone can result in collapse.
For most dogs with heart disease, fainting and collapsing will be triggered by physical activity. If you notice your dog faints when you play with them or take them on a walk, then it’s time to visit the vet.
When to Seek a Professional Opinion
We’ve discussed quite a few of the signs that might clue you into your dog’s growing heart troubles. However, only a trained and qualified veterinarian can diagnose heart disease.
Take note of all of the signs and symptoms your dog is displaying. This is all valuable information that can help your vet to correctly diagnose your dog’s health concerns.
But that’s not where the vet’s role ends. Your veterinarian can also help you to formulate the ideal diet for your dog to keep them healthy and provide the nutrients they need to fight off heart disease and live a long life.
While the foods we picked are some of the best all-around choices for most dogs with heart disease, every case is unique. Your dog may have special needs above and beyond those of other dogs. So, it’s best to get the individualized, specific care that your canine needs from your vet.
Choosing the Best Dog Food for Heart Disease
So, what do the best dog foods for canines with heart disease contain?
These foods are packed with the vital nutrients that will give your dog a fighting chance against heart disease. This includes nutrients like:
Antioxidants protect against cellular damage. Any compound can be an antioxidant, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, and more. Some of the most common antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These health-boosting nutrients are great for reducing inflammation and bolstering the immune system.
Dogs require 22 amino acids to make the proteins that their bodies need for healthy functionality. Naturally, your dog can’t fight off any infectious diseases if its body is struggling just to keep up with its amino acid needs. That’s why the best foods for dogs with heart disease include plenty of protein from diverse, whole-food sources to ensure that your dog is getting all of the amino acids it needs. This allows their body to focus on fighting diseases and getting healthy instead of focusing on finding deficient amino acids.
Supplements are concentrated forms of nutrients that are normally consumed through food. But some nutrients are difficult to get in the amounts our dogs need from natural sources alone. This is particularly true when your dog has heart disease and needs high levels of very specific nutrients.
For this reason, we prefer foods that are fortified with vital supplements like taurine and l-carnitine. These supplements can help many dogs with different heart concerns, and they’re an extra line of defense for a dog that’s fighting against disease.
You Might Need a Prescription
There’s one thing to keep in mind that you may not have considered. For some of these foods, you’ll actually need a prescription from your vet. This means that your veterinarian will need to provide authorization before you can even get these foods for your dog. While that may seem like overkill, it’s a great way to ensure that only dogs who need the specialized nutrients in such foods will get them.
If you’re seeking the best dog food for heart disease, try ACANA Wholesome Grains Recipe Dry Dog Food, as it’s high in protein and helps your dog maintain their weight, keeping the heart healthier. For the best dog food for heart disease for the money, check out Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Sodium Chicken Recipe Canned Dog Food since it’s affordable and low in sodium. When you want a premium option for your pup, look at Hill’s Prescription Diet h/d Heart Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food, specifically designed for heart health.
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