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11 Best Dog Foods For Congestive Heart Failure

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dietary changes are important for dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF), including a low-sodium diet that is low in protein but high in fiber and nutritionally complete.
  • Supplements like vitamin B, E, taurine, carnitine, coenzyme Q10, and omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce symptoms and effects of CHF.
  • When choosing dog food for CHF, look for age and size-appropriate options made with natural, digestible, and healthy ingredients, while avoiding cheap fillers and artificial additives.
  • Transitioning your dog's diet gradually can help if they have a sensitive stomach, starting with a mix of new and old food and gradually increasing the amount of new food over time.
  • CHF is a condition that affects the heart's ability to pump blood and is often a result of heart disease. Treatment for CHF involves lifestyle changes, medication, and regular vet visits.
Written by Laura
Laura is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Gold medalist veterinary student from UVAS Lahore writes captivating articles and is passionate about animal care.
Published on
Friday 11 March 2022
Last updated on
Monday 6 November 2023
recommended dog food for congestive heart failure
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If your dog has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, part of their treatment plan will likely include dietary changes.

Of course, you want to get the best food for your dog. So, to help you out, we’ve devised a list of the 10 best dog foods for congestive heart failure.

11 Best Dog Foods For Congestive Heart Failure

Based on the above criteria, here is our list of the top eleven best dog foods for heart health.

1. Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care

This chicken flavor dry food by Hill’s Prescription Diet is specially formulated by nutritionists and vets to support canine heart health in adult dogs of all sizes. The low sodium content helps to maintain normal blood pressure and minimize fluid retention.

It also has clinically proven nutrients and antioxidants like taurine and L-carnitine that support heart health and a strong immune system. It also has appropriate protein and phosphorus levels to help protect vital kidney function.

The product is available to buy in 8 kg and 12 kg bags and reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Although, some buyers say it’s not great for fussy eaters. It also contains soy, which some dogs are allergic to.

Pros

  • Formulated to support heart health
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Has taurine and L-carnitine

Cons

  • It has corn
  • It is pricy

2. Royal Canin Vet Diet Early Cardiac

Another prescription item, Royal Canin‘s early cardiac dry food is designed for adult dogs of all sizes in the early stages of heart disease or failure. It is nutritionally complete and balanced as well as low in sodium and contains key Omega-3 fatty acids from DHA and EPA, plus taurine and L-carnitine.

The food is chicken flavor and highly palatable and digestible, which is great for fussy eaters and sensitive stomachs. The preservation process is done naturally using tocopherols to preserve taste, and nutrients, and boost the immune system.

It comes in 7.7 lb and 17.6 lb bags and has almost no negative reviews. The brand has over 50 years of experience in making outstanding pet health products, and this food is no exception.

Pros

  • Highly palatable
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Boosts the immune system

Cons

  • It is expensive

3. Rayne Clinical Nutrition Restrict-CKD

Rayne’s clinical nutrition food is a wet food that utilizes a simple, natural formula of highly digestible, recognizable, tasty ingredients like sweet potato and turkey. It’s suitable for dogs suffering from heart, renal, or liver failure.

It is rich in natural antioxidants, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals, and additional probiotics to support digestive health. Not only that, but it is also free from all common allergens and is low in sodium, protein, and phosphorus, which are essential for heart failure.

All of the brand’s products are developed by experts and reviews love the product, with many buyers saying how well it works with dogs with allergies. It’s available to buy in packs of 12 13 oz cans and is suitable for adult dogs of all sizes.

The only downside to this product is that you cannot buy it through any online retailers – it can only be bought through their website.

Pros

  • Suitable for dogs with heart and liver problems
  • Low in sodium
  • Suitable for adult dogs in all sizes

Cons

  • Can only be bought through their website

4. Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated

The Honest Kitchen‘s dehydrated whole-grain food comes in several flavors and combinations including chicken, beef, turkey and fish, and chicken and duck. So, just because your dog is on a special diet – doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Simply add water to the food and enjoy! Or, combine it with kibble, stuff it in a treat dispenser toy, or add it to homemade treats.

The brand prides itself on being the first pet brand to use all-natural, human-grade ingredients including free-range meat and organic grains, fruits, and veg, as well as making their food in a human-grade facility in the USA. All of their food is free from GMOs, fillers, and common allergens like wheat and soy.

It’s also suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, including puppies and pregnant dogs. The low sodium, high-nutrient content is what makes it perfect for dogs with CHF. It’s also low-calorie and great for weight-watching.

It’s an Amazon’s Choice product and best-seller and comes in several buying options including a pack of twelve 1.75 oz bags to one 10 lb bag. Reviews can’t recommend it highly enough.

Pros

  • Made with human-grade ingredients
  • Low in sodium
  • Low calorie for weight management

Cons

  • Great price increase
  • It does not have an enticing smell

5. Natural Balance L.I.D Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Dry Food

Natural Balance‘s salmon & sweet potato dry formula is low in sodium and high in key heart health nutrients, such as Omega-3, taurine, and vitamin E. It comes in several size options ranging from a 4 lb bag to a 26 lb bag and real salmon as the first ingredient on the list.

The food also has the brand’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ guarantee, ensuring quality, safety, and nutrition in every bite. Several reviews remark on the food’s high quality.

Pros

  • Low in sodium
  • Rich in essential fatty acids
  • With taurine and vitamin E

Cons

  • Inconsistent kibble size
  • Some dogs had loose stool

6. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Formula

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Purina’s kidney function formula dry food is specially made to support the kidneys. However, it is suitable for dogs with heart issues because heart and kidney failure have a close link and require similar dietary changes. The brand collaborates with nutritionists, researchers, and vets for all of its products, and its kidney function formula is low in sodium, phosphorus, and protein.

The product also comes in 6 lb, 18 lb, and 34 lb bags and is suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Reviews are positive but a few buyers say it’s not ideal for picky eaters.

Pros

  • Promotes healthy kidneys and heart
  • Low in protein, phosphorus, and sodium
  • Suitable for all breeds and sizes

Cons

  • Not ideal for picky eaters
  • It has small-sized kibbles

7. Forza10 Actiwet Renal Wet Dog Food

Forza10’s wet dog food is another food devised by vets for renal failure. However, it is more than suitable for cardiac problems. It’s low in protein, sodium, and phosphorus, and it’s full of therapeutic plants like dandelion root and clover. It also contains high-quality, fresh, pasture-raised New Zealand lamb.

The food comes backed by over 30 scientific research studies and is available to buy in packs of 12 or 32 3.5 oz tubs. It’s also free from fillers, additives, antibiotics, and GMOs, and gets to work quickly. The food is an Amazon’s Choice product and several reviews say it works wonders with fussy eaters.

Pros

  • GMO-free
  • Low in protein
  • Free from additives and fillers

Cons

  • It has a strong smell

8. Wellness Complete Health Adult Dry Dog Food

This dry food by Wellness provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs. Although it’s not specially made with heart failure in mind, it has added nutrients to support all aspects of canine health – including the heart. It is available to buy in three different flavors; chicken, white fish, and lamb, and comes in 5 lb, 15 lb, and 30 lb bags.

Real meat is the number one ingredient in all three formulas. They also contain wholesome grains, plus Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and taurine. They’re free from artificial additives, meat by-products, common allergens, and filler ingredients, too.

The food also supports eye, joint, skin, and coat health, and boosts immune and energy levels. It’s made in the USA and the brand has a number of alternative products that follow similar recipes, with specific nutrient densities for puppies, elderly dogs, and adult dogs of different breeds and sizes. It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product and reviews call it great value for money.

Pros

  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Has taurine
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

Cons

  • Causes loose stool in some dogs
  • Customers didn’t like the packaging

9. SquarePet Dog Food Low Phosphorus Formula

This dry food by SquarePet is specifically for dogs with special dietary needs due to organ failure. It is low in sodium, protein, and phosphorus, and chock full of essential amino acids like taurine and L-carnitine. It also contains high-quality USA-raised cage-free turkey and whole eggs.

The food is rich in vitamins E and C to support the immune system and Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Although it’s great for heart health, it will support all of your dog’s vital organs.

The company is relatively new but all of its products undergo thorough research and testing. This product is available to buy in bags of 4.4 lbs and 22 lbs and reviews are limited but positive.

Pros

  • Rich in essential amino acids
  • With L-carnitine and taurine
  • Has vitamin C and E

Cons

  • Not available in wet food

10. HealthyPets CardioMax Heart Support Supplement For Dogs

These soft-chew supplements by HealthyPets can’t replace daily meals. However, they can add to and enrich them with essential vitamins and minerals for heart health, like L-carnitine and coenzyme 10, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

They also support brain function and blood health. The product has the seal of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council, comes in tubs of 60 chews, and reviews highly recommend it.

Pros

  • It has DHA for cognitive function
  • Rich in omega-3
  • Has L-carnitine

Cons

  • Low levels of taurine

11. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo is a high-protein diet that comes from salmon and chicken. It is recommended by pet dieticians for dog breeds with early stages of CHF. It is easy to digest which makes it a great option for dogs with stomach sensitivities.

This dog food also promotes the healthy development of cells, which includes the cardiac and respiratory systems. Even picky dogs will love the taste of this dog food. It is rich in balanced calcium and sodium to help reduce water retention. It is important to prevent urinary tract infections and to promote strong bones.

Pros

  • Highly palatable
  • Free from artificial preservatives and flavors
  • Rich in healthy fatty acids
  • Packed with probiotics for healthy digestion

Cons

  • Not suitable for large dog breeds
  • Strong fishy smell because of the flavor

What Are Dog Foods For Congestive Heart Failure

As mentioned above, dietary changes are a large part of treatment for congestive heart failure. High-sodium diets with CHF can increase the fluid build-up in the body, so it’s important that your dogs eat a low-sodium diet to prevent this.

A diet that is low in protein but high in fiber and nutritionally complete is also important to maintain a healthy weight, nourish the body, and reduce strain on the heart.

Studies also show that vitamin B, E, taurine, and carnitine, as well as coenzyme Q10, can help to reduce some of the effects and symptoms of CHF. According to 2010 research, omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may also help to stabilize heart muscles and reduce the risk of cardiac events in animals with chronic heart conditions. Your vet may recommend supplements to ensure your dog gets these nutrients.

How To Choose The Right CHF Dog Food

When choosing CHF food for your dog, you want to look for foods that are age and size-appropriate.

Foods made using natural, tasty, digestible, and healthy ingredients are essential, as is avoiding foods with cheap, unhealthy filler ingredients such as artificial additives and wheat. Be sure to look out for allergen-free food if your dog has allergies or sensitivities and always read customer reviews before buying food online.

Look for products from trusted brands and recipes formulated and tested by vets or approved/recommended by official bodies. You can also check labels and product listings for organic and ethically sourced ingredients if that’s important to you.

How To Change Your Dog’s Diet

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you may want to transition their diet gradually. Start by filling their bowl with 3/4 of the old food and 1/4 with the new food. After a couple of days, make it half and half, then after a couple more days, make it 3/4 new food, 1/4 old food. Finally, make it so it’s 100% new food.

If your dog’s stomach has a poor reaction at any point during the transition, go back a step and wait a couple more days.

Prevention of dog congestive heart failure
Studies have shown that there is a link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood. If a dog has CHF, his body isn’t going to function as well as it should. It is not a disease, but most often the result of heart disease.

Causes

CHF can be genetic or age-related, but poor diet and exercise, illness, stress, and physical trauma can exacerbate it. There are several causes of CHF in dogs, but the most common ones are a leaky mitral valve and dilated cardiomyopathy. It’s also more likely to affect older dogs and larger breeds like Great Danes and Saint Bernards

There are two types of heart failure; acute and chronic, meaning that it either happens suddenly (acute) or over time (chronic). There are also four stages of congestive heart failure; A, B, C, and D; which range from a high risk of developing heart failure to advanced heart failure.

Symptoms

The symptoms of heart failure in dogs include coughing, increased heart rate, trouble breathing or losing breath easily, trouble settling down at night, a lesser desire to exercise and play, and tiring out easily.

Advanced symptoms include a swollen belly, fainting, gums and tongue turning blue/grey, and weight loss.

effects of congestive heart failure to dogs
If a dog has CHF, his body isn’t going to function as well as it should

Diagnosis

Dogs with symptoms of heart failure should be examined by a vet as soon as possible because it is as serious as it sounds. Vets may listen to your dog’s heartbeat and perform several tests and scans, including a chest X-ray and blood testing.

Treatment & prognosis

Unfortunately, congestive heart failure is a progressive condition. There is no cure at present, but there are treatments that can prolong your dog’s length and quality of life for as long as possible. Most dogs diagnosed with CHF live for around 3 years.

The type of treatment your vet prescribes will depend on what type and stage of heart failure your dog has. All require lifestyle changes including a low salt diet and limited exercise, to reduce strain on the heart and fluid build-up in the body. As well as ongoing medications like diuretics and inhibitors. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary. You should monitor your dog’s symptoms and attend regular vet visits as well.

Prevention

Although you can’t always prevent congestive heart failure, studies have shown that there is a link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs.

Dog Foods For CHF: FAQ

Feel free to check out our Frequently Asked Questions section for more information.

What foods can help heart failure in dogs?

Foods that are low in salt and high in vitamins B, E, taurine, carnitine, and coenzyme Q10 help to reduce some of the effects and symptoms of heart failure in dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help to reduce the risk of cardiac events in animals with chronic heart conditions. 

Does grain-free food cause heart failure in dogs?

In 2018, the FDA published a report that concluded links between certain brands of grain-free dog foods and heart disease. Be sure to check the list and adjust your dog’s diet if necessary.

Is congestive heart failure expensive to treat in dogs?

If your dog has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, they will be prescribed a special diet and likely more than one type of medication which they will have to take for the rest of their lives. It will not be cheap, but it could prolong your dog’s life by years.

Is there a link between heart failure and kidney failure?

Heart and kidney failure are closely linked. They often go hand in hand, and one can even cause the other. Heart failure causes pressure to build in the main vein connected to the kidneys, which can decrease the supply of blood to them and lead to kidney disease. Kidney disease can also affect the heart. Both require similar nutritional changes, and that’s why a lot of dog foods for kidney failure also work for heart problems.

Is heart failure the same as heart disease?

Congestive heart failure is a condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood adequately around the body. It is not a disease, but it is most often the result of heart disease, which can be genetic or age-related. They have similar symptoms but are slightly different things.

What are the signs of heart failure in dogs?

The most common signs and symptoms of heart failure in dogs include coughing, getting out of breath easily, a decrease in energy, and getting tired easily. Symptoms of advanced heart failure include a swollen stomach, passing out, blue or grey gums or tongue, and weight loss.

Can you reverse heart failure in dogs?

Unfortunately, at present, we can’t reverse heart failure in dogs. However, there are treatments that can prolong your dog’s life for up to three years. Low salt diets, careful exercise, and ongoing medications all help significantly. Surgery may also be necessary in some cases.

Those are our top ten best dog foods for congestive heart failure. If your dog has been diagnosed with CHF, our hearts go out to you. Please use our list as a genuine guide to the best products to help your beloved pet.

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