Canine Heart Failure Diet Tips

Canine heart failure can be devastating for a dog owner as it may eventually lead to death for the dog. This disease can be fairly common in certain breeds, but can occur for any dog at any age. By the time symptoms begin to appear and a diagnosis is made, the expected outlook is not often good.

Treatment options are limited, and most of the recommendations will center around giving your dog the most comfortable quality of life that you can. Dietary changes may help to strengthen your dog's heart, as well as the rest of the body. By limiting certain types of food and encouraging a more healthy diet, heart health can improve and expected lifespan may even be lengthened.

Reducing Salt

Canine heart failure can cause retention of water and salt in the body. It's because of this that most professionals recommend a significant reduction in salt or sodium chloride in the diet. Once you begin to check labels, you'll notice that a majority of supermarket and commercially branded pet foods are quite high in salt. There are low sodium dog foods on the market, but be careful of the base ingredients listed. You want to carefully choose foods which are made from real chicken or meat products and not grain, corn or meat byproducts.

These ingredients can lead to significant health problems, including obesity and heart disease. If necessary, you can devise a homemade, low-salt food diet for your dog, and always avoid feeding high-salt snack foods to your dog. You'll also want to make sure not to cut salt completely out of your dog's diet. A healthy balance must always be maintained, as too much or too little of any ingredients can lead to other side effects.

Sufficient Protein

Sufficient intake of protein can help a dog with canine heart failure to avoid heart stress and loss of muscle mass necessary to keep the heart healthy. In this case, it is especially important to be sure you're feeding high quality protein, such as raw or lightly cooked foods, or foods that include ingredients derived from animal sources. High heat cooking destroys elements in food that are very important to your dog's health. Taurine and l-carnitine have been directly linked to heart health and are present in raw foods and red meats. Taurine and l-carnitine supplements may also benefit.

Fat and Obesity

Obesity can lead to canine heart failure and a plethora of other diseases and fatal conditions. Dogs require some fat within the diet to properly utilize energy, however most commercial dog foods are riddled with ingredients that help to contribute to the problem of obesity in dogs.

It's essential to maintain a healthy weight for a dog with canine heart failure. Additional weight can burden the heart and push it to work harder than necessary, creating undue stress on an already weak organ. Homemade diets can help in this area as well. Fresh foods, such as vegetables, meat and eggs are all good sources of natural protein and other important minerals, offering healthy fats and less sodium. Avoid processed meats, cheeses and remove the skin from any poultry that you serve.