Congestive heart failure refers to the heart’s inability to pump enough blood to the body. There are two common causes of congestive heart failure: mitral valve insufficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy. If your dog suffers from either one of these conditions, there is no need to worry – you can treat them naturally for this ailment.
So, what are some homeopathic remedies for congestive heart failure in dogs? There are now more natural remedies for treating dogs with congestive heart failure, including acupressure or acupuncture, cannabidiol (CBD), herbs and multivitamins, and placing your dog on a strict diet.
These remedies are slowly becoming more mainstream as more studies are being completed on the benefits of homeopathic remedies.
There are some more natural ways to treat your dog if they have congestive heart failure, but it may not mean you won’t have to use prescription medication at some point in the treatment plan.
One of the best ways to prevent congestive heart failure is through proactive measures. Continue reading to learn more about how you can help keep your dog’s heart healthy.
Homeopathic Remedies for Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs
Many veterinarians will treat congestive heart failure with prescription medicines. Prescription medicine can help your dog’s congestive heart failure but could also put more stress on other parts of your dog’s body and potentially cause more damage.
There are more natural, homeopathic options available for treating congestive heart failure in dogs.
Homeopathic remedies include:
- Acupressure or acupuncture
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
Acupressure or acupuncture can have benefits that help your dog. These techniques are based on traditional Chinese medicine and has helped both humans and animals for over 3,000 years.
The research on the benefits for congestive heart failure is still not conclusive enough, but there have been cases where acupressure or acupuncture has helped.
There are acupressure techniques that help enhance blood flow throughout certain areas of the body. Acupuncture can help with circulation and be used to treat heart failure. It can also help ease your pet’s inflammation and pain.
CBD has been gaining popularity over the recent years for its medical uses. CBD is a compound of cannabis without the THC (the part of the cannabis that gets people high).
More and more people have started talking about CBD oils to help relieve inflammation and pain, as well as reduce anxiety.
There are many medical benefits of CBD, which is why pet owners and veterinarians are starting to used CBD in their treatment plans. CBD can help dogs with their inflammation, pain, anxiety, seizures, and spasms. More research is taking place to study the effects of CBD for animals.
If you are able to catch congestive heart failure early, there are some herbs that could you’re your dog. These herbs include: dandelion, hawthorn, and motherwort. Dandelions are full of antioxidants, which can help prevent certain diseases.
Dandelions can also help with inflammation and lower blood pressure. Traditionally, Hawthorn Berries have been used to strengthen the heart. Hawthorn can help lower blood pressure and have been studied in terms of congestive heart failure. Motherwort has also been used to help heart conditions.
Multivitamins are a great way to help keep your dog healthy, but be sure to talk to your veterinarian before giving your dogs vitamins.
Commercial dog food listed as complete and balanced should already have all the vitamins your dog needs, but there are times when there is a medical issue or a deficiency that will make giving your dog a vitamin very beneficial.
Your veterinarian may recommend specific fruits or vegetables over a multivitamin. There are many multivitamins made specifically for dogs. There are even some vitamins that can help if your dog is in the early stages of congestive heart failure.
Vitamin C can help reduce inflammation, which could aid with your dog’s heart. B Vitamins may also help your dog since they vitamins regulate energy and metabolism.
A strict diet can help your dog battle through congestive heart failure since many times a dog with the disease will lose weight due to symptoms of the disease, or will have a lack of appetite.
A strict, homemade diet made with foods your dog enjoys will help keep up strength and health.
Dogs with congestive heart failure should also restrict sodium to help limit fluid retention, add B-vitamins and vitamin C to help combat some of the nutrients that typically are lost with a dog who has heart failure, and add amino acids which may help strengthen the heart.
But, overall, feeding your dog foods you know they will eat is the most important. You need your dog to keep on weight.
Even with some of the homeopathic remedies, prescription medication will likely need to be used at some point in the treatment since congestive heart failure cannot be cured, it can only be managed.
The natural options may help your dog and lessen their symptoms but it may not be enough in the long run. The homeopathic remedies might allow the prescription dosages to given at a lower dosage.
This will help lessen the side effects and stress on your dog’s body. If you end up using the prescription medications at any point in your dog’s treatment of congestive heart failure, make sure to supplement with multivitamins and keep up with the natural remedies if you feel like it is helping your dog.
The important thing is to keep your options open and to talk to your veterinarian about all the options available, and to candidly discuss side effects of all the remedies.
What Causes Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs?
There are many different components that can lead a dog to congestive heart failure. Many of the causes of congestive heart failure come down to added stress on the heart. Sometimes a dog’s heart failure may be attributed to multiple causes.
Causes of congestive heart failure:
- Defects in the heart walls
- Heartworm disease
- High blood pressure
- Fluid in the sac surrounding the heart
Certain dogs are more prone to congestive heart failure. If you have a breed prone to heart issues, make sure you’re paying attention to the symptoms and taking proactive steps in keeping your dog’s heart healthy.
Some common breeds prone to heart issues include: Pomeranians, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Great Dane, German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, Boxer, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, St. Bernard, and more.
If you have a dog prone to heart issues, your veterinarian should also be paying close attention to your dog’s heart during vet checkups.
A dog who is overweight or obese can put additional strain on its heart. Heart disease and high blood pressure can be linked to weight gain and obesity. High blood pressure can also lead to congestive heart failure.
High blood pressure, also referred to as systemic hypertension, can cause many issues with a dog, including heart, kidney, eyes, and nervous system.
The heart can grow weaker as the dog ages. The daily wear and tear can weaken the heart and make it more susceptible to congestive heart failure. While this symptom isn’t necessarily preventable, if your dog maintains a healthy lifestyle, you may be able to defer when your dog’s heart becomes an issue.
There are many proactive ways to keep your dog’s heart healthy that will help your dog live a long and happy life.
Defects in heart walls, tumors and fluid in the sac surrounding the heart put additional stress on your dog’s heart. These could contribute to congestive heart failure in dogs.
If your dog contracts heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitos, it puts a huge strain on your dog’s heart. The effects of this disease include: inflamed blood vessels, restricted blood flow, pulmonary embolism, and heart failure.
Even with treatment for heartworm disease, your dog’s heart will never be the same.
Just like in humans, a pregnancy puts a lot of additional demands and stress on your heart and cardiovascular system. It is important to keep a close eye on a pregnant puppy to ensure she is progressing through her pregnancy in a healthy way.
How to Monitor Your Dog’s Heart Health
Early detection of congestive heart failure can help your dog get the care they need earlier.
You can keep an eye on your dog’s heart health by watching for symptoms. The easiest symptom to recognize for congestive heart failure is if your dog is consistently coughing and appears to have difficulty breathing.
If you experience any of the following symptoms with your dog, call your veterinarian immediately.
Signs of congestive heart failure:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty exercising
- Rapid weight loss
- Pale gums
- Swollen abdomen
When the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, fluid will build up in either the lungs or the abdomen. When fluid builds up in the lungs, you will notice a cough.
The cough may start of faint and get stronger as more fluid builds up. If the fluid builds up in the abdomen, your dog will have a swollen abdomen. As more fluid builds up here, it will affect his breathing as it puts pressure on his lungs.
Pay close attention to your dog’s breathing and how they respond to normal exercising. As fluid builds up, it will put additional pressure on your dog’s lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Your dog may have fast short breaths or appear to not be able to catch their breath.
This is a sign to call your veterinarian immediately. Also keep an eye on if your dog’s behavior changes during routine exercise. The behavior change may come slowly as the fluid builds up and puts pressure on your dog.
It doesn’t matter where the fluid builds up, it will affect your dog’s breathing and tolerance to routine exercise.
When your dog has congestive heart failure, your dog will be more fatigued. This is due to the extra strain on your dog’s heart, lungs and body in general. As dogs age, they do get more fatigued, but pay attention to whether additional symptoms of congestive heart failure are also present.
A dog with congestive heart failure is also prone to fainting. This is typically due to a lack of blood flow to the brain because the dog’s heart is not properly pumping blood throughout the body.
You may also notice seizures. While fainting could be caused by other conditions, it is definitely something where you’ll want to call your veterinarian immediately to see what the cause is.
A dog with congestive heart failure may also exhibit rapid weight loss. This is usually attributed to cardiac cachexia. This is when both muscle and fat store are depleted due to the lack of blood flow.
Your dog may also experience lack of appetite with congestive heart failure as well as poor absorption of food. Keep an eye on your dog’s relationship with food as this can be a key indicator for many health issues.
Your dog’s gums may also appear pale or blue/purple if they have congestive heart failure. This is due to lack of blood flow through your dog’s body. Your dog’s gums should be pink in color.
Ways to Keep Your Dog Heart Healthy
There are a lot of proactive things you can be doing to help keep your dog’s heart healthy. You can help prolong your dog’s life and potentially prevent congestive heart failure by following the steps below.
What to do to keep your dog’s heart healthy:
- Balanced diet
- Regular veterinary exams
- Dental care
- Prevent heartworm disease
- Be cognizant of your dog’s breed
- Watch for signs of heart disease
Feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet. Just like it’s important for humans to eat a healthy, balanced diet, dogs also need a good diet.
This is the foundation to having a healthy dog. A dog’s diet affects their skin, coat, organ function, joints, and everything in between. A balanced diet also helps your dog maintain a healthy bodyweight. If your dog is overweight or obese, this puts extra stress on your dog’s heart.
Make sure to look at the ingredients in your dog food and pick one that is balanced and has high quality products. Keep treats to a minimum.
Exercise can also help keep your dog’s weight in the healthy range. But just because a dog’s weight looks healthy, it doesn’t mean that your dog is healthy.
Cardio exercise helps keep the dog’s heart healthy. This exercise can include walking, running, hiking, and swimming.
Since dogs age faster than humans – roughly 4 to 8 years for every 1 human year – it is important to have regular veterinary exams. This will help ensure your dog is healthy and help find any health issues early on.
Many pet owners schedule annual exams but since dogs age so quickly, bi-annual exams are recommended. A lot can happen in one year of a dog’s life.
You may not think dental care has a lot to do with congestive heart failure, but it does. Plaque and tartar buildup in your dog can lead to an infection in the mouth. This enters the bloodstream and can attribute to congestive heart failure.
Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly and give them bones that help ward off plaque and tartar. And keep an eye out for bad breath, sore gums, excessive drooling, and bleeding. If you see any of those symptoms, contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.
Make sure you are giving your dog preventative heartworm medication. If your dog contracts heartworm disease, this could weaken your dog’s heart, making your dog more prone to additional heart issues, including congestive heart failure.
Even after treatment, your dog’s heart may never be the same. It’s easiest to prevent this disease through medications.
Some breeds are more prone to have heart issues. Be sure to know what health conditions your dog’s breed is prone to having so you can keep a close eye on any symptoms that happen early on. Understanding your breed also helps you take proactive measures to prevent health conditions.
Pomeranians are one of the breeds prone to congestive heart failure. It is the most common cause of death for the breed. Research your dog’s breed and take proactive preventative measures to keep your dog healthy and help them live a long and happy life.
Keep a close eye on signs of heart disease. Everyday activities can take a toll on your dog’s body. Heart disease can develop slowly from old age, an injury, or illness. Keep an eye on symptoms of heart disease and contact your veterinarian immediately if you see any of the symptoms.
Symptoms include: dry cough after exercise, cough that worsens at night, shortness of breath, rapid weight loss, fatigue, fainting, pale gums, and swollen abdomen.
Most cases of heart disease in dogs is due to age or is preventable and not genetic. While not all cases are preventable, if you keep an eye on your dog and follow the above steps, you can help your dog live a long and healthy life.
Even if your dog is more prone to congestive heart failure, following the above steps can help prolong your dog’s life.