Dedicated to raising funds and awareness
for dogs and cats diagnosed
with heart disease.


General Information

Veterinary cardiologists are divided on how important low-sodium diets are in the management of heart disease. There is no question that the best diet is the one that your pet eats well; heart disease burns a lot of energy, and weight/muscle loss is a frequent problem that can contribute to premature death. Cats are especially sensitive to dietary changes/inappetance. When cats (or dogs) stop eating, they often become very dehydrated, especially if they are on diuretics (water pills). This can result in kidney dysfunction. Cats may even develop liver damage secondary to anorexia. Nevertheless, most veterinary cardiologists believe that a low sodium diet can be helpful (if it is eaten well) in chronic, refractory cases of heart failure. Some general guidelines:

  • Make sure your pet is eating well; not eating may be a sign of heart failure or medication side effects
  • Generally speaking, we do not recommend changing the diet prior to or during the early stages of heart failure
  • Avoid treats or table scraps that are very high in sodium; a sudden increase in the amount of sodium in the diet can precipitate (cause) an episode of congestive heart failure
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) can promote weight and muscle maintenance
  • In chronic, refractory heart failure, a low-sodium diet (if eaten well) may be prescribed to help control congestion – this is best performed under close guidance by a veterinarian

Low Sodium, Veterinary Diet Cardiac Foods available:

Note: you will probably need a prescription from your vet in order to purchase these foods. ALWAYS talk with your veterinarian before adjusting your pet’s diet!

You can also cook homemade low-sodium food for your pet

It is a wonderful way to show your love; however, it is time consuming and can be costly (especially if your pet is large!) Here are some recipes given to me by my veterinarian.

Always use caution when introducing new foods to your pet – new foods should be introduced very carefully. Slowly mix the new food into her current food over the course of at least 1 week.

Heart Healthy Treats

Be very careful what you feed your pet! Many common treats and foods have very high sodium content, which is not good for animals with heart disease.

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