Heart Failure in Dogs | Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of Heart Failure in Dogs

Effects of Heart Failure – From the Dog’s Point of View

Respiratory distress is the most consistent and recognizable symptom of heart failure. As the dog’s condition progresses, it will have increasing difficulty breathing; this is called “dyspnea.” Affected animals may breathe shallowly and rapidly, which is known as “tachypnea,” or being “tachypnic.” Dogs in heart failure often have breathing problems even when they are asleep or resting, as their body tries to get enough oxygen into its blood supply to support its vital organs and tissues. Like other animals, dogs that are having trouble breathing are extremely uncomfortable and usually in a great deal of distress. They may be restless and fidgety, or tired and lethargic. Heart failure also frequently causes pain.

Symptoms of Heart Failure – What the Owner Sees

The onset of heart disease is often accompanied by subtle behavioral changes in the affected animal. Depending on why its heart is failing, the dog may develop signs of disease very suddenly or very slowly. Early on, most of the symptoms of heart failure are fairly nonspecific, but they certainly can be recognized by attentive owners. They include:

  • Difficulty breathing; shortness of breath (even at rest and during sleep)
  • Reduced activity level; exercise intolerance
  • Tiring easily
  • Panting more than usual; gasping for breath
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Intermittent cough (worse with exercise, exertion or excitement; frequently happens at night, several hours after the dog falls asleep; may cough up a bubbly red fluid from pulmonary edema/fluid build-up)
  • Fluid retention in the abdomen and chest; “pot-bellied” appearance (ascites)
  • Swelling of the lower legs (dependent edema)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale, cool tongue, gums, lips
  • Rapid, irregular, thready pulse
  • Fainting
  • Collapse

Most owners of dogs in heart failure report that their pets seem to be uncomfortable, act restless and aren’t behaving normally. As the dog’s condition progresses, its respiratory difficulties will worsen. It will become fatigued, and its mucous membranes will turn pale or even become blue. Ultimately, the dog will become recumbent and unable to rise. A weak, rapid heart rate and coughing is also common.

Dogs at Increased Risk

Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds and other large- and giant-breed dogs are predisposed to developing dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and usually eventually fails. Older small and toy breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Dachshunds, have an increased chance of developing heart failure from a disease or defect in one or more of their heart valves.

Source: PetWave

MATCHING TOPICS OF INTEREST

Renal Dysplasia in Dogs

Renal Dysplasia in Dogs: Learn about Renal Dysplasia, including how it can affect your dog,...

Kidney & Urinary Health

Dog Kidney & Urinary Tract Disorders Center: Here you'll find in-depth information on kidney and...

Polycythemia in Dogs

Polycythemia in Dogs: Learn about Polycythemia, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Colitis in Dogs

Colitis in Dogs: Learn about Colitis, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Dogs

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Dogs: Learn about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, including how it can affect your dog,...

PETWAVE: POPULAR TOPICS

Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Nutrition | Cat Nutrition

Advertise on petwave.com - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of Petwave.com on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Email Friend about Petwave.com Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2014 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.