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Canine Heart Health: A Comprehensive Guide | Pupford

January 22nd, 2024

Filed under Dog Health, Health + Wellness

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I’m sure you can agree that our dogs are cherished members of the family - and we want all of our family to be as healthy as possible. Dogs, just like us, rely on a healthy heart to lead fulfilling and active lives.

In this in-depth guide, we will cover all you need to know about heart health in dogs, understand the signs of cardiovascular issues, and delve into practical measures to promote a healthy heart.

Table of Contents:

  1. Understanding the Canine Cardiovascular System
  2. Promoting Canine Heart Health

Understanding the Canine Cardiovascular System

The canine cardiovascular system comprises the heart, blood vessels, and blood. It is responsible for pumping oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, supporting organ function, and maintaining overall health.

Signs of a Healthy Heart

Here are some signs that your dog has a healthy heart:

  • A regular and steady heartbeat
  • Energetic behavior and an active lifestyle
  • Pink gums, indicating proper oxygenation
  • Consistent and normal breathing patterns

Recognizing Signs of Cardiovascular Issues

Recognizing potential signs of heart problems in your dog is crucial for early intervention.

Here are some common indicators of cardiovascular issues.:

  • Coughing: Persistent coughing, especially during rest or sleep, could be a sign of heart disease in dogs.
  • Lethargy: Unexplained fatigue or a sudden decrease in energy levels may be indicative of a compromised cardiovascular system.
  • Breathing Difficulties: Rapid or labored breathing, especially without physical exertion, could signal respiratory distress associated with heart problems.
  • Reduced Appetite and Weight Loss: A decreased interest in food, coupled with weight loss, may point to underlying health issues, including heart disease.

If you notice any behavioral changes in your dog, we always recommend following up with your veterinarian.

Promoting Canine Heart Health

Now that we’ve explored the foundation of canine cardiovascular health, let’s delve into practical measures to promote a strong and healthy heart.


A well-rounded diet is vital for supporting your dog’s cardiovascular system. Key nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and essential vitamins contribute to heart health by reducing inflammation, supporting optimal blood flow, and providing overall cardiovascular support.

While high-quality dog food is designed to meet their nutritional needs, incorporating heart-boosting ingredients can optimize their heart health. Here are 10 fruits and vegetables that support a healthy heart.

Blueberries: Packed with antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, blueberries help neutralize free radicals and promote heart health. Learn more about blueberries and ways to incorporate blueberries into your dog’s diet

Shop the Pupford Blueberry Training Treats!
  • Strawberries: Rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, strawberries contribute to a heart-healthy diet by supporting the cardiovascular system and aiding in digestion.
  • Spinach: An excellent source of iron, vitamins A and C, and folate, spinach supports heart health and helps maintain proper blood circulation.
  • Sweet Potatoes: High in fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are heart-healthy and contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Take a deeper dive into the benefits of sweet potatoes.
Shop the Pupford Sweet Potato Jerky!
  • Carrots: Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, promoting heart health and providing essential vitamins and minerals for overall well-being.
  • Broccoli: Loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, broccoli aids in maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Apples: Apples, particularly their skin, contain fiber and antioxidants, contributing to heart health and supporting digestive function.
  • Cranberries: Known for their antioxidant properties, cranberries can be beneficial for heart health and urinary tract health.
  • Kale: A powerhouse of nutrients, kale provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to overall heart health.
  • Pumpkin: Rich in fiber and beta-carotene, pumpkin supports heart health and aids in digestive regularity.

Consider incorporating these fruits and vegetables into your dog’s diet in moderation. You can them as treats, mix them in with their regular food, or even create homemade dog-friendly recipes. Always be mindful of portion size and consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s specific dietary requirements.

Regular Exercise

While a heart-healthy diet is essential, regular exercise is equally paramount for maintaining optimal cardiovascular health in dogs.

Just like humans, dogs benefit significantly from physical activity, and incorporating regular exercise into their routine contributes to a robust heart, improved circulation, and overall well-being. Learn how to tell if your is getting enough exercise!

Here are 4 examples of ways to provide your dog with daily exercise:

  • Walks: Tailor the duration and pace to your dog’s fitness level. Be sure to take into account the terrain and weather conditions.
  • Running and Jogging: This is ideal for high-energy breeds, be sure to provide gradual conditioning to prevent strain. If you have a young dog, take into consideration age-appropriate exercise.
  • Swimming: Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise, especially beneficial for dogs with joint issues.
  • Agility Training: Set up an agility course in your backyard to stimulate both body and mind.

Interested in learning more about agility and dog sports? Check out our Intro To Dog Sports blog post

Dog jumping through hoop while practicing agility

Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your dog’s overall health. Routine examinations can detect potential issues early on, allowing for timely intervention.

a photo of a yellow lab being examined by a vet

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart disease in dogs. Ensure a balanced diet and appropriate portion sizes to maintain a healthy weight.

Check out our blog post on obesity in dogs to learn more.

Heart-Healthy Supplements

Consult with your veterinarian about incorporating heart-healthy supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids or Coenzyme Q10 in your dog’s diet.

🐶 Shop our Super Pup supplement - It supports a healthy heart, joints, GI tract, and more!

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential for maintaining cardiovascular health. Ensure your dog has access to clean and fresh water at all times.

a photo of a dalmatian drinking water

Stress Management

Minimize stressors in your dog’s environment. Chronic stress can contribute to heart issues.

Learn how to identify if your dog is stressed in our Sign Of Stress blog post.

Canine Heart Health Recap

Our dogs deserve our utmost care when it comes to their health. By understanding the importance of heart health, being able to recognize signs of potential issues, and implementing practical measures to promote a strong heart, we can contribute to our dogs leading long, happy, and healthy lives.


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