Top Causes Of Heart Disease In Dogs

Dogs are considered to be the most lovable and playful animals. They make a perfect companion.

Faithfulness is one of the most striking traits of these animals, who consider their caretaker to be more valuable than their own life.

What Causes Heart Disease In Dogs

They are not just adorable creatures, but they have a great sensibility and are simple in their way of thinking. Dogs, just like humans, are also prone to various diseases.

Heart Disease

The heart for a dog is as essential as it is for humans. It pumps blood equally throughout the body and supplies precious oxygen to all organs.

However, there are various reasons that this process becomes stalled. Many dogs, each year, die of heart diseases. Dogs mainly face two kinds of heart diseases:

  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Acquired Heart Disease

Causes Of Common Heart Diseases In Dogs

There are innumerable reasons that dogs become subjected to this fatal disease:

Improper Nutrition

Inadequate nutritional diet becomes one of the greatest reasons for heart diseases in general, let alone in dogs. Pet food, based mainly on lentils, peas, potatoes, and legume plants as core ingredients has been reported to be an issue.

Food rich in the above- mentioned cause enlargement of the heart and slow down its pumping process. This ultimately leads to cardiac failure in dogs. It’s also suggested for dogs to have Taurine-rich food, with as many Omega-3 Fatty Acids (fish oil) as possible.

This amino acid and the fatty acid combination works wonders for the dog’s heart. A diet deficient in L-carnitine also diminishes the heart’s strength and obstructs its healthy process.

Old Age

Old age is not the kindest to the majority of us. Even dogs are not safe from its cruelty. It is a natural process for our organs to degenerate with time. Similarly, a dog’s body also goes through ‘wear and tear’ the older it gets.

Old age makes the vital organs, such as the heart, vulnerable. It loses its tenacity, and its process of supplying oxygenated blood to the body becomes sluggish. Ultimately, the heart exhausts itself, and that leads to heart failure.

Poor Body Condition

It is vital for a dog to be swift on its feet. It is as significant for a dog to be in phenomenal shape as it is for humans. Any overweight dog, or eats more than usual without shedding off excess weight is prone to heart diseases.

Lack Of Exercise

A dog needs a healthy lifestyle. To achieve that, it needs to have ample physical exercise. Frequent walks and playtime are essential for the perfect mental and physical wellbeing of the dog.

If a dog is prone to sitting idle, without the required exertion, it can be subjected to heart diseases.

Breeds More Vulnerable To Heart Issues

There are certain breeds of dogs that are considered the healthiest. However, various dog breeds are more vulnerable to heart diseases naturally. These unlucky breeds are:

  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Pomeranians
  • Schnauzers
  • Great Danes
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Chihuahua
  • Boston Terrier
  • English Bulldog

Underlying Dog Health Conditions Resulting In Heart Diseases

Pericardial Disease

The pericardium is a sac that surrounds the heart. Any deformity or disease to it can constrict the heart’s proper function, which results in heart ailment.

Heartworm Infection

The Heartworm Infection causes various fatal issues for the dog, including heart and lung failure. It is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis, commonly known as Heartworm. It is spread in the dog’s body via a mosquito bite. This may seem trivial, but it can have fatal effects on pets, dogs in particular.


Usually found in older dogs because of overuse of the vales, this condition proves fatal for the dog. Because the valves have been working for a long, they sometimes refuse to open or close in this case.

Causes Of Heart Disease In Dogs

This results in a ‘leaky’ valve and causes backflow of the blood into the compartment it came from. This process enlarges the heart, which pushes against the windpipe. Not only does it cause heart disease, but it also causes the flow of blood into the lungs.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis

Dogs are often diagnosed with PDA. This results when the blood vessel connecting the aorta and pulmonary artery fails to close properly after birth. Again, this hinders the normal process of the heart and ultimately causes malfunctioning in the whole body process.

Aortic Stenosis

This is an underlying condition that leads to heart issues, commonly found in large breed dogs. This condition occurs when the aorta is partially or fully blocked.

The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies oxygenated blood to the whole body. A blockage in this artery stops the required flow to the entire body.

Pulmonic Stenosis

Like the condition mentioned above, this is caused due to the blockage of the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery is responsible for carrying blood to the lungs for the oxygenation process. Blockage of this artery makes the heart work harder to pump the blood to the lungs, leading to overuse.

Ventricular Or Atrial Septal Defect

The ventricular or atrial septum is a partition between the right and left sides of the heart. It is an extremely significant heart feature, as it separates oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.

A hole in this wall completely destroys the purpose of the different compartments. This causes the intermixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood within the heart, leading to bigger issues like heart failure.

Heart Muscle Disease

Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is one of the most common yet deadly cardiac muscle diseases. It diminishes the heart’s ability to pump blood through the vascular system, enlarging the heart.


The heart is one of the most vital organs of a body. Any subjective damage to it can cause greater evils for a dog. It is essential to keep the heart happy and healthy as much as possible.

Mistreatment of any body organ, particularly the heart, leads to various problems. I am pretty sure no one wants to be in shooting range of these. Hence justified, health is wealth.