Preventing Heart Disease in Dogs With a Low-Sodium Diet

Heart disease in dogs is common, and can occur to dogs of any size or breed. A low-sodium diet can help, because dogs with heart disease often retain water and salt, which can contribute to high blood pressue and congestive heart failure.

When A Low-Sodium Diet Is Necessary

Most veterinarians won't suggest a low-sodium diet until your dog's condition has caused fluid retention in the lungs and abdomen. If you want to prevent canine heart disease, however, you should lower the sodium content of your dog's diet before he becomes sick.

Risk Factors for Canine Heart Disease

Overweight and older dogs are at the highest risk for canine heart disease. Encourage your overweight dog to lose weight by putting him on a diet and increasing his exercise. Low-impact exercises such as swimming are excellent for overweight dogs.

Even if your dog isn't overweight, a healthy level of activity can help prevent canine heart disease.

Choosing A Low-Sodium Dog Food

Your veterinarian can provide you with a low-sodium prepared dog food. Or, you can follow a recipe such as the one below, remembering to add as little salt as possible:

  • 1/4 lb ground beef or white poultry
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 tsp flaxseed oil
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1000 mg calcium carbonate (Tums)