best-dog-food-for-heart-murmur

5 Best Dog Foods for Heart Murmurs

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best foods for dogs with heart murmurs.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Heart Murmurs?

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Vet’s Advice

It can be worrying when your dog has been diagnosed with a heart murmur. Getting the nutrition right (in conjunction with any prescribed medications) can be beneficial, so here are some key things you should look out for when choosing a diet for your dog with a heart murmur.

A restricted sodium diet

Whilst reducing the amount of sodium chloride (salt) in your dog’s diet won’t prevent heart disease, it can help those dogs that are suffering from it. In congestive heart failure, the body retains sodium, chloride, and water, so reducing the salt levels will help with any fluid retention.

Good quality protein sources

Choosing a diet high in protein will help ensure a plentiful supply of amino acids such as taurine, carnitine, and arginine which are important in cardiac health. Whole meat or meat meals should appear high on the list of ingredients in the food you choose.

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) can help to stabilize heart muscle cells as well as acting as natural anti-inflammatories. No specific dose ranges have been recommended for dogs with congestive heart failure but look out for ingredients such as fish oils and linseed (flax seed) oil which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Avoid grain-free diets

There is a possible link between grain-free diets and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a serious heart condition in dogs. Care should be taken when feeding a grain-free diet to any dog, but particularly when there is already an underlying heart complaint.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Heart Murmur Dog Food Reviews

Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie with Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Water Buffalo
    2. Pork
    3. Chicken Meal
    4. Grain Sorghum
    5. Millet

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 422 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 18%
  • Fiber: 3%

Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie offers all of the high quality nutrition dogs in need of cardiac support could want in their diet. This food takes two novel proteins, venison and bison, as its primary proteins. These meats are both lean and flavorful. Best of all, because they are unusual protein sources, they are unlikely to trigger any allergic reactions in dogs.

Considered to be one of the best foods for dogs with heart murmurs, Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie is chock full of ingredients that are easy to digest and rich in antioxidants to boost healthy heart function. A diet based on whole grains, this food formulation supports fluid digestive processes.

Taste of the Wild Ancient Grains contains no corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Probiotics have been enriched to promote the development of healthy gut flora.

Pros

  • Owners are pleased to report their dogs’ stool quality was greatly improved when fed a consistent diet of Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie.
  • Dogs regularly fed this diet exhibited coats that were healthy, shiny, and soft.
  • Owners feel this diet is very reasonably priced. They are happy that they are able to feed their dogs such a high quality diet and for an affordable cost.
  • Most dogs love the taste of this food. They look forward to their every meal, lapping up each morsel with hearty enthusiasm.
  • Dogs suffering from skin problems as a result of allergies found relief when fed this diet on a steady basis.

Cons

  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this food and will not eat it. Taste of the Wild has many different formulations with other proteins as their foundation. One of these diets may be a better option for those dogs.
  • A few owners noted their dogs had excessive gas when fed this diet regularly. This may be the result of a sensitivity to an ingredient in the food or too rapid a dietary change.
  • In rare cases, a few dogs struggled with mild gastrointestinal distress when fed this food. This sometimes occurs when the transition period from the old diet to the new is too rapid. This will likely resolve itself in time.
  • In only a few instances, some owners noted their dogs had a yeasty smell after being fed this diet.
  • Some owners prefer to feed a diet that is grain-free. Taste of the Wild offers several dog food formulations that don’t contain whole grains. One of these may be a better fit.

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Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Ground Whole Grain Corn
    3. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum
    4. Chicken By-Product Meal
    5. Dried Plain Beet Pulp

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 380 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 4%

Iams ProActive Health is a high quality diet that meets all the hallmarks dogs with heart murmurs need from their nutrition. A diet that takes whole chicken as its main ingredient, Iams ProActive Health offers all of the amino acids dogs require to support optimal heart health.

High quality carbohydrates are included to ensure fluid digestive processes. Prebiotics have been supplemented to provide a good foundation for excellent intestinal flora.

Antioxidant-dense fruits and vegetables play a starring role in this diet, considered among the best foods for dogs with heart murmurs. This encourages a strong and healthy immune system to help fight against disease.

Pros

  • Dogs that regularly suffered from food-related allergies found relief from their symptoms when fed a steady diet of Iams Proactive Health.
  • Owners love that this food can easily be found in their local stores as well as purchased online for delivery.
  • Owners are pleased that their dogs were able to achieve and maintain healthy weights when regularly fed appropriate amounts of this diet on an ongoing basis.
  • This diet is available at a reasonable price point. Owners like that they have access to an excellent quality food at a cost that easily fits into their budget.
  • Dogs really enjoy the taste of this food. Even the pickiest eaters consume their meals with hearty gusto.

Cons

  • Some dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it. This is likely just a matter of personal preference and is not a reflection on the food itself.
  • Several owners indicated their dogs needed to eat large volumes of this diet to reach eating satisfaction.
  • In rare cases, some dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, loose stools, and diarrhea when fed this diet regularly. This may be the result of too quick a dietary change and will alleviate in time.
  • A few owners noted their dogs seemed to become excessively energetic when fed a steady diet of Iams ProActive Health.
  • A few dogs found the kibble pieces too difficult to break down well.

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Deboned Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Peas
    4. Tapioca Starch
    5. Menhaden Fish Meal (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids)

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 377 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Fiber: 7%

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free contains the optimal nutrition dogs with heart murmurs need to sustain excellent health. This food formulation is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin to encourage healthy joint function.

The main ingredient in this diet is whole chicken, a lean meat that is enhanced through the addition l-carnitine to provide support for the heart and muscles of the body. Blue Buffalo Wilderness includes the correct amounts of calcium and phosphorus to encourage strong bones.

Considered to be one of the best foods for dogs with heart murmurs, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free contains ideal amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well a vitamins, chelated minerals, and antioxidants. This powerhouse combination of nutrients ensures the development of a healthy immune system.

Pros

  • Owners are pleased that this diet is available in several different flavors, allowing them to offer their dogs more variety in their diet to maintain peak interest.
  • Several owners commented that they like that this diet is completely grain-free, feeling it is a good choice for dogs with food-related allergies.
  • Dogs that suffered from regular gas saw a reduction in this problem when fed a steady diet of Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free.
  • Owners feel this diet is very reasonably priced, particularly given its high quality nutrition.
  • Owners expressed that the transition from their old food to Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free proceeded seamlessly.

Cons

  • Some dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress when fed this food. This may be the result of too quick a transition from the old food to the new and will resolve in time.
  • A few dogs were disinterested in the flavor of this food and ate it only reluctantly. A switch to a different Blue Buffalo Wilderness offering may resolve this issue.
  • In rare cases, owners reported finding small dark-colored kibble pieces that their dogs disliked and would not eat.
  • Some owners disliked that this diet was grain-free, preferring to feed a food that includes nutritious whole grains to boost digestion in dogs.
  • Peas, pea protein, and pea fiber are all included in this diet, controversial ingredients of questionable nutritional value for dogs.

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Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Early Cardiac Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Brewers Rice
    2. Chicken Fat
    3. Chicken Meal
    4. Fish Meal
    5. Soy Protein Isolate

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 290 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 21.5%
  • Fat: 13.5%
  • Fiber: 5.7%

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Early Cardiac is a prescription diet that addresses the needs dogs with heart murmurs have. This food has been carefully crafted to contain ingredients that are easy to digest and that are exceptionally flavorful to encourage hearty eating.

To support healthy cardiac function, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Early Cardiac, one of the best foods for dogs with heart murmurs, contains additional servings of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support optimal heart functionality. The nutrients arginine, carnitine, and taurine have also been supplemented, all powerful ingredients to boost the heart.

The sodium content in this food is considered to be moderate to help prevent fluid retention.

Pros

  • Owners were happy to report that this dog food did not have an unpleasant smell to it.
  • After being fed a consistent diet of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Early Cardiac, dogs saw an increase in energy levels and a return of playful behavior.
  • Dogs enjoy the taste of this food, looking forward to their every meal.
  • Owners are pleased that this diet is lower in sodium than other brands, an important help for dogs with issues related to their heart, liver, and kidneys.
  • Some dogs enjoy this food so much that their owners are able to use it for their meals as well as for training treats.

Cons

  • A few owners expressed they found these kibble pieces a little large for small breed dogs to manage well.
  • Several owners noted their dogs’ breath smelled strongly of fish after eating this diet on a regular basis.
  • A few dogs were disinterested in this diet and would not eat it.
  • A few owners indicated they felt the sodium content in this diet was not as low as they would like to see in a food designed to treat dogs suffering from heart problems.
  • Owners dislike that soy isolate plays a starring role in this diet, a protein source that has been linked to recurring allergies in some dogs.

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Hill’s Prescription Diet h/d Heart Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Whole Grain Corn
    2. Pork Fat
    3. Soy Protein Isolate
    4. Chicken By-Product Meal
    5. Chicken Liver Flavor

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 410 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 14.5%
  • Fat: 16.5%
  • Fiber: 2.5%

Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care is a veterinary-prescribed diet that has been specifically designed to support cardiac health in dogs. This diet was carefully crafted by canine nutritionists and veterinary professionals to meet all the high points dogs with heart issues need from their food. For this reason, it is rated as one of the best foods for dogs with heart murmurs.

Among the problems Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care addresses is the stabilization of blood pressure and the alleviation of any fluid retention caused by an ill-functioning heart muscle. The food contains vital nutrients to assist with replenishing the dog’s body of anything lost as a result of the use of diuretics for heart treatment.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care contains low levels of sodium and is enriched with l-carnitine and taurine to boost cardiac function.

Pros

  • Owners like that this diet is low in sodium, an important help for dogs suffering from heart problems.
  • Several owners reported their dogs were coughing less when transitioned to a steady diet of Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care.
  • Dogs regularly fed this diet had coats that were soft, shiny, and healthy.
  • Dogs typically enjoy the flavor of this diet. They lick their bowls clean at every meal.
  • Owners like that this diet comes in both wet and dry versions, allowing them some variety in their dogs’ daily diet.

Cons

  • Owners dislike that this food is only available in one size. They would prefer a bag of food that is small enough for them to try to see if their dogs will eat it before committing to the purchase of a bigger bag.
  • Several owners expressed they felt this food was too expensive.
  • A few owners felt the kibble pieces in this diet were too large for small breed dogs to break down well.
  • Corn is among the main ingredients in this food, a plant-based protein that is a common allergen for many dogs.
  • This diet contains very little meat, the ideal protein source for dogs.

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How to Choose the Best Food for Dogs with Heart Murmurs

Heart murmurs are described as an unusual heart sound. They are most commonly discovered during a veterinary visit when the doctor listens to the dog’s heart through a stethoscope.

Heart murmurs are graded on a scale of one through six with one being the least serious and six of the greatest concern. Heart murmurs can be genetic but often are the result of some disease. They are classified as physiologic or pathologic. Murmurs considered to be pathologic are typically brought on by a pre-existing structural heart condition.

Diagnosing a heart murmur can be very difficult as some are challenging to detect through a stethoscope. While a grade one murmur is barely audible and most often reserved to a specific area of the chest, a grade six is extremely loud and resonates throughout the chest cavity. Grade six murmurs can also be felt by the human hand.

Physiologic heart murmurs are not likely to pose any risk to a dog’s ongoing health. They are often discovered in young puppies. As the puppies age, it is quite normal for the heart murmur to simply disappear altogether though this is not always the case.

Dogs affected with pathologic heart murmurs will often exhibit other symptoms which indicate an underlying issue with the heart. The most common signs dogs with pathologic heart murmurs will exhibit are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abbreviated growth
  • Respiratory distress
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fainting
  • Pale gums
  • Irregular heartbeat

If a veterinarian suspects a dog may have a pathologic heart murmur, other tests may be recommended to help determine the best path of treatment. These include x-rays, an electrocardiogram, and an ultrasound.

Physiologic heart murmurs typically require no treatment. However, pathologic heart murmurs may need to be managed through the use of cardiac support diets and medications.

Since diet can play a critical role in heart health, a change of nutrition is an excellent way to assist dogs suffering from heart murmurs, particularly of the pathologic variety. The best dog foods for heart murmurs often contain supplemented vitamins and minerals such as taurine to encourage healthy cardiac function.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Foods for Dogs with Heart Murmurs

Determining the correct amount of the best food for dogs with heart murmurs can be a difficult task. Thankfully, all foods come with suggested serving sizes printed on their packaging. These form an excellent guideline from which owners can work to ascertain the correct portion for their dog.

Owners should adjust the amount of food they feed their dog to reflect the dog’s own unique weight, activity level, and appetite. Free feeding should be strongly discouraged as it can easily lead to weight gain, putting unnecessary strain on the heart.

Adult dogs should receive a diet that is 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. By comparison, puppies require slightly higher amounts of both of these food categories with 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat considered to be ideal.

Dietary Requirements for Foods for Dogs with Heart Murmurs

There are many things owners can do to help dogs suffering with heart murmurs. Maintaining a healthy body weight is an important part of keeping the heart functioning at peak capacity. Often dogs with heart murmurs suffer from a poor appetite which can easily lead to lost muscle mass which translates to poor immunity, reduced life expectancy, and low energy reserves. A high quality, flavorful diet will help encourage dogs with low appetite to eat more heartily.

As with all dogs, dogs with heart murmurs do best on a diet that is based on a lean meat-based protein. Ideally, a whole meat is the preferred choice; however, meat meals also contain a dense amount of protein that is an excellent foundation for any of the best foods for dogs with heart murmurs.

Contrary to popular opinion, reduced amounts of protein are not preferable for dogs with heart murmurs. Though for most dogs, avoiding diets based on by-products or plant-based proteins is preferred, prescription diets do favor some of these items in their formulations. Since these may prove beneficial to compromised heart function, these foods can be a good choice for dogs with heart murmurs.

Artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and ingredients high in sodium should be avoided as they contain no beneficial nutrients. Excess sodium can cause fluid retention, placing additional strain on the heart.

Healthy fats are an important part of every diet suited to dogs. These are best derived from animal origins such as chicken fat or oily fish. These types of fats contain high amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which contribute to healthy joint function as well as good skin and coat quality.

Supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, prebiotics, and probiotics can also be a vital help for dogs with heart murmurs. These powerhouse ingredients encourage fluid digestive processes and joint health.

Carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should be highly digestible and rich in antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.

In addition to these items, dogs with heart murmurs can benefit from foods rich in the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Taurine
  • L-Carnitine
  • Co-Enzyme Q-10

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Foods for Heart Murmurs

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for heart murmurs:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Low in sodium to help prevent fluid retention and high blood pressure in dogs

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