Heart conditions

Our dogs can suffer from several conditions that affect their hearts and these might share similar symptoms, like tiring easily and coughing, despite their various causes. Some of the most common problems that affect a dog’s heart include:

  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Murmur
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congestive Heart Failure

A dog’s heart is the most important organ in its body and is constantly working to pump blood that contains oxygen and important nutrients through the blood vessels. Being able to recognise the symptoms of a heart condition can allow you to help your dog get the care it needs.


Symptoms for heart problems are often the same but might not appear immediately and slowly emerge, especially if it’s a progressive disease.

These may include:

  • An ongoing cough
  • Fainting or collapse
  • Not wanting to exercise
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • A swollen belly
  • Rapid breathing


Age is a common reason for dogs to develop a heart condition due to normal wear and tear that occurs. Other factors like genetics, breed, body condition, infection, and underlying diseases can contribute to the development of heart disease, while other dogs are born with a heart defect.

Prevention and treatment

While some of these conditions are not preventable, there are some steps to take to help alleviate the strain placed on the heart, to prevent any further complications arising from the existing problem.

Keeping a dog at a healthy weight, feeding them good quality food and providing regular and appropriate exercise can all help keep your dog’s body and heart healthy, letting them lead a healthy lifestyle.

Treatment will depend on the condition and its severity, therefore treatment is wide-ranging and broad. Some conditions won’t need any intervention and a puppy will simply grow out of it, while others need to be corrected surgically or controlled by lifestyle management.

Being able to recognise a condition’s symptoms and making sure you attend routine veterinary appointments will allow for early diagnosis and treatment to avoid further complications like heart failure.

Contact your vet or speak to a Joii vet, free of charge to every Animal Friends customer with any dog insurance policy, if you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour.

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Animal Friends Insurance is a multi-award winning FCA-regulated pet insurer, founded in 1998 to provide industry-leading pet insurance and first-class animal care to create a better life for every animal.
As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
Our policyholders have helped donate over £7.8 million to more than 700 animal charities worldwide and by educating and inspiring others to act on current events and responsible pet ownership, Animal Friends is driving positive change for animal welfare and conservation.