What is a heart murmur in dogs? A heart murmur is an abnormal sound that can be heard with a stethoscope. It is caused by turbulence in the flow of blood through the heart. Murmurs can be caused by several things, such as congenital heart defects, infections, or high blood pressure. Not all murmurs are serious. Many are mild and don’t cause any problems.
Heart murmurs in dogs are an ailment that can be managed with the right diet. There are many different dog foods on the market, so it can be difficult to know which one is best for your pet. In this article, we will discuss the nine best dog foods for heart murmur. We will also discuss the pros and cons of each formula.
If your dog has a heart murmur, it is important to feed them the best food for their condition. We will discuss the key nutritional components to watch out for when choosing which foods are best for a heart murmur. The foods we recommend are high in protein, and low in sodium, and include healthy grains, and omega-3 fatty acids.
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.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Royal Canin Early Cardiac Dry Food||
|Best Value||Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Dry Food||
|Premium Choice||Stella & Chewy’s Healthy Heart Support||
|Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food||
|Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog||
The 9 Best Dog Foods for Heart Murmur
1. Royal Canin Early Cardiac Dry Food — Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Brewers rice, chicken fat, chicken meal, fish meal|
Royal Canin Early Cardiac Dry Food is widely held to be the overall best dog food for heart murmur. It is a veterinary diet item, which means it has been specifically formulated by a team of veterinarians to address a specific health issue. It is required to have authorization from your veterinarian to purchase this item, similar to a prescription you would get from a doctor.
The food is moderately restricted in sodium content to help reduce the workload on the heart, which can be helpful to dogs with a heart murmur. It contains eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA), which are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy cardiovascular function. It also contains nutrients arginine, carnitine, and taurine to optimize a canine’s overall cardiac health. The food is preserved naturally with tocopherols that can be supportive to a dog’s immune function.
On the whole, this blend supports optimal nutrition for your pet which creates a solid foundation for health. The concerns related to various heart conditions, including a heart murmur, have been addressed in the particular formulation and balance of ingredients and certified by veterinarians. It has been extensively reviewed by pet owners and has received high marks from owners and professionals alike.
2. Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Dry Food — Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, rice flour, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal|
Purina One Natural SmartBlend offers a basic foundational health formulation that promotes overall wellness for your dog for the best overall cost. Based on a chicken and rice recipe this option balances overall nutrition and works to build both healthy muscles, including heart muscle. If your dog’s heart murmur does not require a special diet, this is a good option to make sure you are meeting all of your pet’s overall nutritional needs and requirements.
Chicken is a rich protein source that leads to strong muscles. Purina also supplements other meat products that ensure that all the building blocks of protein nutrition are present in every meal. Omega-6 supports a shiny coat and skin health. Glucosamine is good support for joint health and mobility which keeps your dog active and moving around with ease.
This formulation provides a core healthy diet that promotes whole-body health. Well-met nutritional needs are great preventive medicine for future concerns, as your dog remains active and energetic.
3. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Solutions Healthy Heart Support — Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken heart, sardines, salmon oil|
Stella & Chewy’s Health Heart Support is not a primary food, but rather a meal add-on that includes nutrients geared at supporting heart health in dogs. It is mixed into existing kibble, wet food, or a blend between the two. The heart-conscious option is made of high-quality, all-natural ingredients. It is grain-free with high protein content and veggies.
As grain-free diets are not being recommended for pets with health conditions, this is best when paired with another healthy grain-based dog food. You can serve it as a dry snack, mix it into other food, or add warm water to it to rehydrate the ingredients. It is free from lentils and potatoes. Made in Wisconsin.
A great source of nutrients to add to your dog’s meal, but not a whole-diet option and a high price point for long-term use.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, brown rice, whole grain oats, cracked pearled barley, chicken meal|
A heart murmur is a condition that is frequently congenital, so your puppy may be born with the condition. The good news for many puppies is that the condition often lessens or disappears over time. If your vet has detected a heart murmur in your puppy it is a good idea to start them on a heart-healthy diet to give them the best chance for long-term health outcomes.
Hill’s Science Diet for Puppies, Chicken, and Rice Kibble Blend, is a great option for looking after your puppy’s early heart health. The food contains DHAs from fish oil which is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids that are helpful for canine heart health. Antioxidants and vitamins C and E support overall immune health and whole system regulation. Overall, this formulation has been developed to support the needs of a growing puppy and to offer balanced nutrition so that they can thrive in the long term.
This is not a prescription food option so it is more accessible for purchase and has a lower price point.
5. Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care
|Main ingredients:||Beef by-product, chicken, rice|
Another food option for heart health is Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care. This brand has also been given good marks in reviews but is slightly less widely known than Royal Canin’s heart care food. Dog owners have called it a great diet option for keeping a dog’s whole system balanced and thriving.
Its low-sodium formulation helps dogs to maintain normal blood pressure to minimize overall fluid retention in their body. Nutrition and supplements include high levels of l-carnitine and taurine and added protein and phosphorus that help address canine heart health. The antioxidants in the blend support healthy immune function and protect a dog’s overall kidney function. This is especially useful if your dog is receiving diuretics for a related condition. It has been specifically formulated by vets to address heart health and is a great option to discuss with your vet to see if it would be appropriate for your dog.
Prescription dog foods often come with a high price tag and may not be affordable in all conditions. Hill’s Prescription Diet is high quality and generally well regarded, but may be an expensive option for long-term dietary needs.
6. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets CC Canned Food
|Main ingredients:||Water, Meat By-Products, Chicken, Rice, Powdered Cellulose|
The Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet CardioCare (CC) Canine Formula Chicken Flavor Canned Dog Food is our top choice wet food for dogs with heart murmurs. It is also a veterinary-approved option that requires a prescription for ordering. This is a great option for your pet and can be fed a part of a purely wet-food diet or in conjunction with the kibble for a diet balanced between wet and dry foods.
The advantage of wet food is that some dogs find it more tasty and appealing, or they need the extra hydration provided by wet food. It also is a good option for dogs with sensitive digestions or dental issues that require them to chew softer foods.
It shares many of the same signature ingredients for heart health as the kibble version. Purina’s special cardiac protection blend is made of amino and fatty acids as well as special minerals and vitamin E. Both vitamins E and A provide an antioxidant function in the food which boosts immune power leading to healthier holistic outcomes for your pet’s health.
7. Perfectus Plentiful Poultry & Ancient Grain Recipe
|Main ingredients:||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, sorghum, ground sorghum, chicken fat|
Perfectus Plentiful Poultry & Ancient Grain recipe is a great option for dogs faced with multiple health issues or food sensitivities. It is not grain free, which makes it a good choice for a heart murmur, but it uses traditional grains instead of typical dog food fillers. This can be helpful for some dogs with food allergies.
This brand uses no GMO ingredients. Its ingredient list is relatively straightforward, and the preservatives and antioxidants used are plant-based and all-natural. It includes prebiotics and probiotics to support optimal microbiome and digestive health. The amino acids, omega-6, and omega-6 fatty acids support heart health alongside whole body health.
8. SquarePet VFS Canine Active Joints Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, turkey meal, quinoa, brown rice, turkey necks|
Squarepet VFS Canine Active Joints dry food is good for owners concerned about the source of ingredients and the use of natural foods. This high-protein food is not made for heart conditions but supports many of the health and nutritional needs that lead to good heart health.
Made primarily from cage-free turkey necks, New Zealand green-lipped mussel, quinoa superfood, and brown rice, this meal blend focuses on high-quality ingredients. The L-Carnitine supports strong and healthy muscles and can be beneficial for heart health. Alongside antioxidants, vitamins C and E, turmeric is included in the ingredient list which helps with inflammation, oxidative stressors, and free radicals. Omega fatty acids support joint and heart health. It is also a low-phosphorus formulation that can be beneficial for some health conditions.
It is made in the US of premium foods and has a higher price point that reflects this. Online reviews from dog owners offer very enthusiastic praise after trying this formula.
9. Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Sodium Canned Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, water sufficient for processing, guar gum, agar-agar, minerals|
Dave’s Pet Food Restricted Sodium Canned Food is a great option for dogs with heart conditions to watch their sodium intake. As a wet food, it can be used alone or combined with kibble to give an added nutritional and flavor boost to meals.
This option is grain-free, as well as free of other possible allergens, such as gluten, peas, corn, and soy. Its high-protein formula centers around chicken which helps to build strong muscles including the heart. The low-sodium formulation is aligned with heart-healthy goals.
Reviews by dog owners note that the food is appealing in taste and when combined with heart-healthy kibble makes the entire meal more tasty and attractive to pets.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Heart Murmur
Whether your dog was born with a heart murmur or developed it later in life, it can be worrying when they are diagnosed. After talking to your vet they may prescribe medication and they also may make recommendations about your pet’s diet. Getting a heart-healthy diet that works for your dog lays the best foundation for lasting health outcomes. Many of the foods we recommended here need a vet’s approval for use, so you can ask if they would be a good fit for your pet’s needs.
There are four key things to watch out for when choosing food to address heart conditions:
Low to Moderate Sodium Content
This is one of the most important things to watch out for when choosing heart-healthy food. Sodium (salt) can cause fluid retention in the body which is one of the many issues facing dogs with congestive heart failure or other heart conditions. Removing sodium from the diet won’t prevent heart conditions but will help improve them once your dog is ill.
Choose foods that center around real meat and have a higher protein content. Owners that like to do a little extra research may also look into the ingredient sources of the foods, gravitating towards those that are all-natural, locally sourced, or minimally processed. Protein is the basic building block for healthy muscle and this includes healthy heart muscle. Protein also supplies amino acids such as taurine, carnitine, and arginine which all benefit cardiac health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA), stabilize heart muscle cells and can have anti-inflammatory properties. There is no recommended dose size for these nutrients but you can look for them in whole-food ingredient sources such as fish, fish oil, and other healthy oils and added supplements. Many foods clearly label if they contain Omega-3s in their formulas.
Skip Grain-Free Diets
Current research has shown an elevated concern as of late that dogs who eat a grain-free diet may be at higher risk for developing dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which is a serious complication. As grain-free food options become more popular on the market it can seem like they are always the healthiest option. This may not be the case for dogs with underlying heart issues and extra caution should be taken when weighing out how much grain to include in your dog’s diet.
The FDA also published a list of dog foods that have been flagged for possible problems around heart disease in dogs. You can find that information here.
In conclusion, feeding your dog a healthy diet is important for their overall health. By feeding your dog the right foods, you can help to address and support health problems, like a heart murmur. In addition, feeding your dog the right foods can help to keep them healthy and active. So, make sure to feed your dog the best food for their health and ensure that they live a long and happy life.
Our top choices in this article were all vet-approved, prescription options with Royal Canin’s Cardiac formula coming in first. Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care and Purina’s Pro Plan Veterinary diets were also close favorites because they all address heart conditions specifically in their formulations.
Hill’s also offers a good solution for puppies who were born with a heart murmur and want to make a good diet choice right out of the gate. Purina One Smartblend was a good budget option that addressed basic whole-body health.
Perfectus Plentiful Poultry & Ancient Grain, Squarepet VFS Canine Active Joints dry food, and Stella & Chewy’s Health Heart Support all highlight premium ingredients, all-natural recipes, and low allergen profiles. Dave’s Pet Food restricted sodium wet food makes its low-sodium content explicit and easy to understand.
A heart murmur can vary in severity from innocent to life-threatening but a healthy diet is something pet owners have some control over. Choosing the best food for your dog and your budget will give you confidence you have created the conditions for your pet to thrive.