Dog Enlarged Heart When to Euthanize

When it comes to caring for your dog, one of the things you need to think about is the possibility that your pet will start to experience serious health problems. It’s a sad truth that all pet owners need to face at some point. But one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever have to make as a dog owner is deciding when to euthanize a dog with an enlarged heart.

Dog enlarged heart when to euthanasia

Euthanasia should be considered when a dog has stopped eating, appears lethargic, has severe breathing difficulties, or in cases where the dog is suffering an extreme amount of pain.

Can a canine enlarged heart go back to normal?

The first thing that you need to do when your dog has an enlarged heart is to take him to the vet immediately.

Your vet will conduct various diagnostic tests to determine what’s causing it. If it turns out that your dog’s enlarged heart is caused by temporary factors, such as pregnancy or an infection, then your vet will recommend some medications on how to best treat it.

If your dog’s enlarged heart is due to a chronic condition or caused by genetic reasons, then there’s really nothing much you can do about it aside from treating the symptoms associated with it and making sure that your dog is comfortable and enjoys his remaining time with you as much as possible.

What can be done for a dog with an enlarged heart?

The first step in treatment is to relieve the immediate symptoms of congestive heart failure. The dog may be given furosemide (Lasix), a diuretic, to help reduce fluid buildup in the lungs, and pimobendan, a medication that improves muscle contraction of the heart.

Your vet may recommend that you place your dog on a prescription low-salt diet in order to reduce the stress on the heart and help decrease the fluid build-up in the lungs associated with CHF.

If a dog has an enlarged heart, they will be experiencing a great deal of shortness of breath and fatigue. This means that you should keep your dog’s activity level to a minimum.

How long can a dog live with an enlarged heart?

Once the heart enlargement is advanced, the outcome is often less favorable. Dogs with heart failure can be expected to live anywhere from 6 months to 2 years after the onset of heart disease. Many dogs will die at home without a major crisis, while others will be more seriously ill and require euthanasia.

What are the warning signs of an enlarged heart?

Symptoms of an enlarged heart:

  • Weakness during physical exertion, especially where the dog may previously have been fit and active
  • Gum changing from pink to greyish-blue, suggesting poor blood circulation
  • Fainting or collapse
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal swelling caused by a build-up of blood in the stomach
  • Chronic cough, more frequent during the night or after getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • Obvious discomfort in the chest
  • Breathing difficulties

Best supplements for dogs with enlarged heart

Dogs suffering from this condition need to be treated and it is essential that you start treatment early enough so that you don’t miss any chances of success. The veterinarian will then prescribe medications and/or lifestyle changes that are necessary for the health of your dog’s heart.

If you are looking to naturally improve your dog’s heart health, these suggestions can help:

The first step in ensuring good health in dogs is to feed them a lower sodium diet. This will also help reduce the risk of any related health problems such as hypertension or high blood pressure.

Essential fatty acids should be included in your dog’s diet as these are known to have positive effects on heart health.

Dandelion leaf: You can use the dandelion leaf to help rid it of any excess fluid that may be building up around its lungs. This will also help bring down the amount of fluid around the heart itself, which will reduce pressure on it.

Nettle tea is a herb that can help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol, which in turn helps prevent enlarged hearts. If you are not sure how to go about making this type of tea, you can consult an herbalist who will tell you exactly how to prepare it.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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