Managing Congestive Heart Failure With Low Sodium Dog Food

Low sodium dog food is one of the most important dietary requirements for canines with congestive heart failure as nutrition plays an important role in managing cardiac disease.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure in Canines?

Congestive heart failure in canines is when there is a fluid build-up in the lungs and the areas around it, including other organs, due to inefficient heart function. The four chambers in a dog's heart increase in size, sometimes making the walls of the heart stretch-out and become thinner. An enlarged heart, over time, will not be able to pump sufficient blood throughout the dog's body because of the damage the heart's valves have suffered with age.

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

Large and small breeds of dogs typically present with congestive heart failure more than other sizes of dogs because their size makes them more prone to heart murmurs and weakening of the heart at an older age.

One of the first signs of congestive heart failure is a cough from a dog that sounds unproductive or like the dog is gagging when it becomes excited or has exerted itself physically. A dog may then become easily tired, lack energy, or even have fainting spells. Sometimes the dog's heartbeat can be seen in the jugular veins of the neck.

A dog with congestive heart failure will also have a loss of appetite, but have a build-up of fluid in their abdomen and liver.

A veterinarian will be able to properly assess and diagnose a canine's symptoms and recommend effective treatment.

Decrease the Amount of Sodium in a Dog's Diet

When a dog has congestive heart failure, the heart causes the dog's body to hold on the extra sodium the body does not need. The excess of sodium then causes a build-up of fluid in the dog's body, causing the heart to work harder.

Low sodium foods are sold on the market in pet stores and supermarkets. One thing dogs should not be fed are table scrap as these are usually loaded with excessive amounts of sodium. A dog may snub the new low sodium foods because they are not what he is accustomed to. Low-sodium salt or garlic powder may be added in small amounts to the new food initially to enhance the flavor of the food until the dog is used to the new diet.

Low Sodium Recipes for Dogs

The Internet provides several sites with food that can be made at home for dogs that are low in sodium and easy to make. Many of the ingredients these recipes call for include items that can be found at the market: skinless chicken, lamb, low-fat cottage cheese, Omega-3 or fish oil, low or no-sodium broth, brown rice, peas, pumpkin, oats, eggs and other types of vegetables.

Congestive heart failure is a hard thing for pet owners to witness in their dogs. However, early detection, treatment, and a low sodium diet can help a dog feel more comfortable and healthy.