The symptoms of heart diseases vary in relation to the particular disease. However, many symptoms appear in the advanced stages of the prevailing heart disease when the body isn’t able to compensate for the heart defect through the body’s defenses. Furthermore the severity of the symptoms can vary from dog to dog. Some dogs show just a little of the symptoms while other dogs show already at a very early stage, a much stronger variety of symptoms.



Possible symptoms of dogs’ heart diseases can be:


Physical symptoms:

  1. lots of coughing, especially while excited or exhausted (heart cough, characteristic for a left-ventricular heart failure)
  2. rattling sounds while breathing (hint for a pulmonary edema) 
  3. continuous diarrhea or pulpy feces
  4. lethargy and faintness
  5. difficulties in breathing and shortness of breathing (especially when it's warm and/or sultry outside)
  6. increased panting, quick breathing (high breathing rate culminating in shortness of breath)
  7. blue mucous membranes/tongue (cyanosis)
  8. civil commotion/nervousness
  9. lack of persistence; inefficiency (lower capacity) 
  10. lack of appetite, food criticism or adjusting of food intake
  11. occasional or partly increased fainting spells (syncope)
  12. slowed (bradycardia) or accelerated (tachycardia) heart rate
  13. cardiac arrhythmia
  14. swelling (caused by accumulation of fluid) of the legs or the area under the bust
  15. accumulation of fluid in the lung (pulmunary edema, characteristic for a left-ventricular heart failure; Attention: stadium of heart failure!)
  16. dropsy (ascites, characteristic for a right-ventricular heart failure); characterized by a strong circumferencial growth of the stomach in a very short time (Attention: stadium of heart failure!)



Mental symptoms:

  1. night restless
  2. anxiety
  3. continuous general nervousness
  4. claustrophobia
  5. anxiety of vast expanse (f.e. meadows or fields)
  6. fear of entering a place linked with ground change
  7. significantly decreasing joy of playing


From our own experiences we know that even the symptoms of a highly heart disease don’t have to be present clearly, how some people might suspect. Some symptoms you might misinterpret as an individual characteristic of the dog, other conspicuousness might get overvalued. Of course some of those symptoms might apply to other diseases as well.


Just with a full heart ultrasound you can check the health of your dog’s heart doubtlessly!