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Signs Your Dog May Be Having a Heart Attack

Heart attack in Dogs also called myocardial infarction, is when the blood flow to the heart is blocked. Without adequate blood flow, tissues lose needed oxygen and nutrients and die.

This can lead to a buildup of fluid in the chest and abdomen. There are two main types of heart conditions: one affecting the heart valve and the other the heart muscle. Dogs with either type can be successfully managed through nutrition, exercise and, if necessary, medication.

If you suspect your dog has symptoms of cardiovascular distress, please contact your vet right away. A dog heart attack, while unusual, is quite serious. Trust your judgment if you think your furry loved one is having an emergency.

Common Signs of Heart Attack in Dogs


One of the most representative signs of this type of pathologies is the persistent cough that canines present and that usually gets worse at night or at times when the animal tries to rest. This distinctive sign manifests itself in dogs since cats with heart problems do not cough.

Fainting or Collapse

When heart function decreases, vital organs such as the brain can become deprived of nutrients, especially oxygen. Blood flow to the brain can be compromised in dogs with heart disease, leading to fainting (syncope) or collapse. Syncope and collapse in dogs with heart disease is usually triggered by exercise, although sometimes coughing can trigger an episode.

Changes in Behavior

If you notice behavior changes in your dog, such as tiring more easily, being less playful, reluctance to exercise, reluctance to accept affection, being withdrawn, or an appearance of depression, these are all signs of heart disease.

Shortness of Breath

We often identify this by counting the number of breaths per minute a dog takes when relaxed and resting. As heart disease progresses, the number will gradually increase. Typically, it should be between 15-30 breaths per minute – so more than this or a change to what is normal for your dog is a flag to have investigated.

Excessive Fatigue

Another sign of heart disease in pets is excessive fatigue that makes them reluctant to exercise. You will notice that they are reluctant to play or run, are exhausted to the minimum effort or are very easily agitated.

Weight Loss or Gain

Weight loss is definitely a symptom of heart disease, though weight gain can be as well. More likely than weight gain is a bloated or distended abdomen, giving your dog a potbellied appearance.


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