Symptoms of Heart Attack in Dogs

Symptoms of Heart Attack in Dogs

Here’s a breakdown of heart attacks in dogs, how to recognize symptoms, and what to do:

Heart Attacks in Dogs: Important Notes

  • Rarity: True heart attacks (caused by blocked blood flow to the heart) are uncommon in dogs.
  • Other Heart Issues: Many other heart conditions can mimic heart attack symptoms, making veterinary diagnosis crucial.

Symptoms of Heart Problems (May or May Not Be a Heart Attack)

  • Blue Gums, Tongue, Eyes: Lack of oxygen causes this discoloration.
  • Breathing Difficulties: Shortness of breath, heavy breathing.
  • Lethargy: Dog becomes inactive, avoids play, lies down constantly.
  • Coordination Issues: Unsteady gait, movement difficulties.
  • Fainting: Due to dangerously low blood pressure.
  • Left Elbow Pain: Possible sign, but not always present.
  • Other Signs: Fever, vomiting, anxiety, swelling, weight loss, possible seizures.

Veterinary Diagnosis is Essential

  • Don’t Assume Heart Attack: Many conditions share similar signs.
  • Vet Tests: Bloodwork, ECG, echocardiogram, X-rays, and more are used to determine the exact problem.

Treatment of Heart Issues

  • First Aid (Suspected Heart Issue): Cordiamin or Corvalol drops (dosage based on dog’s size). Sniffing aromatic oil for breathing difficulty. Seek vet care immediately!
  • Vet Treatment Depends on Cause:
    • Oxygen support
    • Medications to improve heart function and prevent blood clots
    • Long-term care, including special diet and restricted activity

Key Takeaways

  • Symptoms of heart trouble are serious – see a vet right away.
  • Accurate diagnosis is key: Treatment depends entirely on the specific heart problem.
  • Long-term Management: After a heart event, your dog will need special care, tailored by your vet, to maximize their quality of life.

Symptoms of Heart Attack in Dogs:

Symptoms of a heart attack in a dog have a number of features. Failure of the heart muscle is manifested by a change in the color of the visible mucous membranes, disturbances in the act of inhalation and exhalation, as well as a decrease in the overall activity of the pet. The main signs of heart attacks are:

Blueness In The Gums, Eyes And Tongue:

Cyanosis of visible mucous membranes, resulting from an acute deficiency of essential oxygen in the bloodstream. Blueness is diagnosed in the gums, whites of the eyes, and tongue.

Shortness of Breath:

Problems with the act of inhalation and exhalation, development of shortness of breath, heavy rapid breathing.

Decreased Overall Activity Of The Pet:

The dog tries to lie down more, choosing a position on its side. The first signs of a heart attack are avoidance of physical activity and refusal to play. Short walks lead to the pet getting tired.

Disturbances In Functioning:

Disturbances in the functioning of the musculoskeletal system – coordination of movements is impaired, the pet moves uncertainly, and there is an unsteady gait.

Loss of Consciousness:

Among the symptoms of a heart attack in dogs is loss of consciousness, which occurs as a result of a sharp drop in pressure in the arteries, up to critical values.

Severe Pain In The Elbow Area On The Left:

In addition, when a dog develops a heart attack, it may experience severe pain in the elbow area on the left. Against the background of perceived pain, a suffering animal may show anxiety or even aggression towards its owner. The animal’s sleep becomes restless, and the pet shudders and often wakes up.

Rising Body Temperature:

The body temperature rose sharply and vomiting began. It may be associated not only with intoxication but also with changes in blood pressure. In addition to this symptom, weakness and lethargy appeared.

Swelling On The Paws:

Swelling on the paws is noticeable, and the volume of the abdomen is increased.

Weight Loss:

Most affected animals lose their appetite and lose weight, or are even subject to fainting. The dog’s general condition declines.


Symptoms of a seizure in dogs are usually general in nature and appear to a greater or lesser extent regardless of the age and size of the animal.

Diagnostics of Heart Attack in Dogs:

A heart attack in a dog can only be diagnosed by a professional with deep knowledge of cardiology. It is advisable that the veterinary clinic have a cardiologist who is well-versed in pathologies of the heart muscle.

When visiting a veterinarian, the patient is prescribed a number of tests. Important diagnostic measures are:

  • General clinical blood test;
  • Electrocardiographic examination and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart);
  • Pressure measurement;
  • X-ray examination of the chest organs;
  • Ultrasound diagnostics of organs located in the chest and abdominal cavity.

In veterinary medicine, hagiography has recently begun to be actively used, considering it the most informative when making an accurate diagnosis. Angiography is performed under general anesthesia, which is extremely undesirable for diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

Differential diagnosis is necessary to distinguish true myocardial infarction from other pathological conditions of the heart muscle that have similar clinical signs.

Treatment of Heart Attack in Dogs:

It is quite difficult to diagnose myocardial infarction in dogs based on clinical signs alone. If a heart attack is suspected, the owner can provide first aid and then contact a specialist.

You can give the animal the drug Cordiamin in the amount of 3 drops. Can be replaced with Corvalol (10-15 drops). The dosage depends on the age and weight of the animal.

If there is a problem with breathing, you can give the dog a cotton pad pre-soaked in aromatic oil to sniff. Other actions and medications can worsen the dog’s general condition.

The treatment regimen in a veterinary clinic consists of the following points:

  • Prescription of antianginal drugs – such drugs are necessary to increase oxygen uptake by cardiomyocytes;
  • The use of drugs to maintain the activity of the heart muscle;
  • Prescribing medications with a pronounced antithrombotic effect.

It is important to note that if a large myocardial infarction is diagnosed, the prognosis for the dog is unfavorable. Moreover, if therapeutic measures were taken in a timely manner, the animal could be helped and its condition stabilized.

True myocardial infarction must be treated comprehensively. One of the most important points of therapy is the prescription of specific dietary nutrition. Some foods need to be excluded from the diet, while others, on the contrary, need to be added.

All types of fatty foods, sweets, and baked goods are prohibited. It is recommended to add lactic acid products to your pet, and also try to select high-quality food with all the necessary vitamin and mineral complexes.

After a heart attack, the dog requires special care. The owner should give the pet more attention. Dogs that have participated in hunting or sports should no longer receive increased stress.

Animals actively used for breeding should not receive stress at first. Further breeding is possible only if the animal is in good health.

A dog after a heart attack should be regularly examined by a veterinarian for the development of complications in the body. Normal heart rates are from 70 to 100 beats for large breeds, and from 100 to 130 for medium and small breeds. Therefore, it is important to listen to your pet’s heartbeat from time to time by placing your head on the animal’s chest.


Regardless of what triggered the development of a heart attack, the disease has a number of symptoms. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to determine the development of a heart attack in a dog. In this regard, death quickly occurs.

Heart attack is a dangerous disease, so at the first signs of apathy in a pet, especially one prone to obesity or heart disease, it is necessary to contact a veterinary clinic for qualified help.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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