Top 10 Best Dog Food For Congestive Heart Failure

Top 10 Best Dog Food For Congestive Heart Failure

Does the term “congestive heart failure” frighten you? Well, if you are a loving pet parent (of course you are), it should because it can be fatal to your pooch.

Congestive heart failure is a term used with reference to dogs that have cardiovascular system problems characterized by blood taking abnormally long in the lungs, resulting in breathing difficulties.

If you notice your dog is having breathing difficulties or coughing more often, you better have it checked by a vet immediately.

To address the problem, your vet is likely to recommend exercise, the right diet plan, and a healthy lifestyle for your dog.

As you can see, the food that a dog with congestive heart failure eats is central in reducing the severity of the problem. So, how do you select the best?

To help you identify the perfect food option, we went and picked the best dog food for congestive heart failure, and reviewed them.

Keep reading to learn more about the problem and choose the perfect dog food for this condition.

Can you reverse heart failure in dogs?

Unfortunately, at present, we can’t reverse heart failure in dogs. However, there are treatments that can prolong your dog’s life for up to three years. Low salt diets, careful exercise, and ongoing medications all help significantly. Surgery may also be necessary in some cases.

What are the signs of heart failure in dogs?

The most common signs and symptoms of heart failure in dogs include coughing, getting out of breath easily, a decrease in energy, and getting tired easily. Symptoms of advanced heart failure include a swollen stomach, passing out, blue or grey gums or tongue, and weight loss.

Is heart failure the same as heart disease?

Congestive heart failure is a condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood adequately around the body. It is not a disease, but it is most often the result of heart disease, which can be genetic or age-related. They have similar symptoms but are slightly different things.

Is there a link between heart failure and kidney failure?

Heart and kidney failure are closely linked. They often go hand in hand, and one can even cause the other. Heart failure causes pressure to build in the main vein connected to the kidneys, which can decrease the supply of blood to them and lead to kidney disease. Kidney disease can also affect the heart. Both require similar nutritional changes, and that’s why a lot of dog foods for kidney failure also work for heart problems.

Is congestive heart failure expensive to treat in dogs?

If your dog has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, they will be prescribed a special diet and likely more than one type of medication which they will have to take for the rest of their lives. It will not be cheap, but it could prolong your dog’s life by years.

Does grain-free food cause heart failure in dogs?

In 2018, the FDA published a report that concluded links between certain brands of grain-free dog foods and heart disease. Be sure to check the list and adjust your dog’s diet if necessary.

What foods can help heart failure in dogs?

Foods that are low in salt and high in vitamins B, E, taurine, carnitine, and coenzyme Q10 help to reduce some of the effects and symptoms of heart failure in dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help to reduce the risk of cardiac events in animals with chronic heart conditions.

The Best Dog Food for Congestive Heart Failure

Royal Canin Vet Diet Early Cardiac

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Early Cardiac Dry Dog Food

Another prescription item, Royal Canin‘s early cardiac dry food is designed for adult dogs of all sizes in the early stages of heart disease or failure. It is nutritionally complete and balanced as well as low in sodium and contains key Omega-3 fatty acids from DHA and EPA, plus taurine and L-carnitine.

The food is chicken flavor and highly palatable and digestible, which is great for fussy eaters and sensitive stomachs. The preservation process is done naturally using tocopherols to preserve taste, and nutrients, and boost the immune system.

It comes in 7.7 lb and 17.6 lb bags and has almost no negative reviews. The brand has over 50 years of experience in making outstanding pet health products, and this food is no exception.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Heart Care

Hill's Prescription Diet hd Heart Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

This chicken flavor dry food by Hill’s Prescription Diet is specially formulated by nutritionists and vets to support canine heart health in adult dogs of all sizes. The low sodium content helps to maintain normal blood pressure and minimize fluid retention.

It also has clinically proven nutrients and antioxidants like taurine and L-carnitine that support heart health and a strong immune system. It also has appropriate protein and phosphorus levels to help protect vital kidney function.

The product is available to buy in 8 kg and 12 kg bags and reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Although, some buyers say it’s not great for fussy eaters. It also contains soy, which some dogs are allergic to.

Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Dehydrated

The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Whole Grain Dog Food – Complete Meal or Dog Food Topper – Beef 10 lb (makes 40 lbs)

The Honest Kitchen‘s dehydrated whole-grain food comes in several flavors and combinations including chicken, beef, turkey and fish, and chicken and duck. So, just because your dog is on a special diet – doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Simply add water to the food and enjoy! Or, combine it with kibble, stuff it in a treat dispenser toy, or add it to homemade treats.

The brand prides itself on being the first pet brand to use all-natural, human-grade ingredients including free-range meat and organic grains, fruits, and veg, as well as making their food in a human-grade facility in the USA. All of their food is free from GMOs, fillers, and common allergens like wheat and soy.

It’s also suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, including puppies and pregnant dogs. The low sodium, high-nutrient content is what makes it perfect for dogs with CHF. It’s also low-calorie and great for weight-watching.

It’s an Amazon’s Choice product and best-seller and comes in several buying options including a pack of twelve 1.75 oz bags to one 10 lb bag. Reviews can’t recommend it highly enough.

Rayne Clinical Nutrition Restrict-CKD

Park Veterinary Centre. CANINE RAYNE RESTRICT CKD - 12 x 369gm

Rayne’s clinical nutrition food is a wet food that utilizes a simple, natural formula of highly digestible, recognizable, tasty ingredients like sweet potato and turkey. It’s suitable for dogs suffering from heart, renal, or liver failure.

It is rich in natural antioxidants, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals, and additional probiotics to support digestive health. Not only that, but it is also free from all common allergens and is low in sodium, protein, and phosphorus, which are essential for heart failure.

All of the brand’s products are developed by experts and reviews love the product, with many buyers saying how well it works with dogs with allergies. It’s available to buy in packs of 12 13 oz cans and is suitable for adult dogs of all sizes.

The only downside to this product is that you cannot buy it through any online retailers – it can only be bought through their website.

Natural Balance L.I.D Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Dry Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon & Sweet Potato Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food 4-lb. Bag

Natural Balance‘s salmon & sweet potato dry formula is low in sodium and high in key heart health nutrients, such as Omega-3, taurine, and vitamin E. It comes in several size options ranging from a 4 lb bag to a 26 lb bag and real salmon as the first ingredient on the list.

The food also has the brand’s ‘Buy With Confidence’ guarantee, ensuring quality, safety, and nutrition in every bite. Several reviews remark on the food’s high quality.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Formula

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Advanced Care Feline Formula Adult Dry Cat Food - 8 lb. Bag

Purina’s kidney function formula dry food is specially made to support the kidneys. However, it is suitable for dogs with heart issues because heart and kidney failure have a close link and require similar dietary changes. The brand collaborates with nutritionists, researchers, and vets for all of its products, and its kidney function formula is low in sodium, phosphorus, and protein.

The product also comes in 6 lb, 18 lb, and 34 lb bags and is suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Reviews are positive but a few buyers say it’s not ideal for picky eaters.

Wellness Complete Health Adult Dry Dog Food

Wellness 8908 Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

This dry food by Wellness provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs. Although it’s not specially made with heart failure in mind, it has added nutrients to support all aspects of canine health – including the heart. It is available to buy in three different flavors; chicken, white fish, and lamb, and comes in 5 lb, 15 lb, and 30 lb bags.

Real meat is the number one ingredient in all three formulas. They also contain wholesome grains, plus Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and taurine. They’re free from artificial additives, meat by-products, common allergens, and filler ingredients, too.

The food also supports eye, joint, skin, and coat health, and boosts immune and energy levels. It’s made in the USA and the brand has a number of alternative products that follow similar recipes, with specific nutrient densities for puppies, elderly dogs, and adult dogs of different breeds and sizes. It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product and reviews call it great value for money.

Forza10 Actiwet Renal Wet Dog Food

Forza10 Wet Dog Food Kidney RENAL ACTIWET, 3.5oz, Kidney Dog Food Wet, Renal Dog Food Lamb Flavor, Dog Renal Support Canned Dog Food (32 Pack)

Forza10’s wet dog food is another food devised by vets for renal failure. However, it is more than suitable for cardiac problems. It’s low in protein, sodium, and phosphorus, and it’s full of therapeutic plants like dandelion root and clover. It also contains high-quality, fresh, pasture-raised New Zealand lamb.

The food comes backed by over 30 scientific research studies and is available to buy in packs of 12 or 32 3.5 oz tubs. It’s also free from fillers, additives, antibiotics, and GMOs, and gets to work quickly. The food is an Amazon’s Choice product and several reviews say it works wonders with fussy eaters.

SquarePet Dog Food Low Phosphorus Formula

SquarePet VFS Active Joints Hip & Joint Formula Dry Dog Food

This dry food by SquarePet is specifically for dogs with special dietary needs due to organ failure. It is low in sodium, protein, and phosphorus, and chock full of essential amino acids like taurine and L-carnitine. It also contains high-quality USA-raised cage-free turkey and whole eggs.

The food is rich in vitamins E and C to support the immune system and Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Although it’s great for heart health, it will support all of your dog’s vital organs.

The company is relatively new but all of its products undergo thorough research and testing. This product is available to buy in bags of 4.4 lbs and 22 lbs and reviews are limited but positive.

HealthyPets CardioMax Heart Support Supplement For Dogs

CardioMAX Heart Support Supplement for Dogs - L-Taurine, L-Carnitine, EPA and DHA, Coenzyme Q10 - Aids Circulatory Strength, Cardiovascular Support, Heart Muscle Function - Made in USA - 60 Soft Chews

These soft-chew supplements by HealthyPets can’t replace daily meals. However, they canadd to and enrich them with essential vitamins and minerals for heart health, like L-carnitine and coenzyme 10, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

They also support brain function and blood health. The product has the seal of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council, comes in tubs of 60 chews, and reviews highly recommend it.

What Are Dog Foods For Congestive Heart Failure

As mentioned above, dietary changes are a large part of treatment for congestive heart failure. High-sodium diets with CHF can increase the fluid build-up in the body, so it’s important that your dogs eat a low-sodium diet to prevent this.

A diet that is low in protein but high in fiber and nutritionally complete is also important to maintain a healthy weight, nourish the body, and reduce strain on the heart.

Studies also show that vitamin B, E, taurine, and carnitine, as well as coenzyme Q10, can help to reduce some of the effects and symptoms of CHF. According to 2010 research, omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may also help to stabilize heart muscles and reduce the risk of cardiac events in animals with chronic heart conditions. Your vet may recommend supplements to ensure your dog gets these nutrients.

How To Choose The Right CHF Dog Food

When choosing CHF food for your dog, you want to look for foods that are age and size-appropriate.

Foods made using natural, tasty, digestible, and healthy ingredientsare essential, as is avoiding foods with cheap, unhealthy filler ingredients such as artificial additives and wheat. Be sure to look out for allergen-free food if your dog has allergies or sensitivities and always read customer reviews before buying food online.

Look for products from trusted brands and recipes formulated and tested by vets or approved/recommended by official bodies. You can also check labels and product listings for organic and ethically sourced ingredients if that’s important to you.

How To Change Your Dog’s Diet

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you may want to transition their diet gradually. Start by filling their bowl with 3/4 of the old food and 1/4 with the new food. After a couple of days, make it half and half, then after a couple more days, make it 3/4 new food, 1/4 old food. Finally, make it so it’s 100% new food.

If your dog’s stomach has a poor reaction at any point during the transition, go back a step and wait a couple more days.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood. If a dog has CHF, his body isn’t going to function as well as it should. It is not a disease, but most often the result of heart disease.


CHF can be genetic or age-related, but poor diet and exercise, illness, stress, and physical trauma can exacerbate it. There are several causes of CHF in dogs, but the most common ones are a leaky mitral valve and dilated cardiomyopathy. It’s also more likely to affect older dogs and larger breeds like Great Danes and Saint Bernards.

There are two types of heart failure; acute and chronic, meaning that it either happens suddenly (acute) or over time (chronic). There are also four stages of congestive heart failure; A, B, C, and D; which range from a high risk of developing heart failure to advanced heart failure.


The symptoms of heart failure in dogs include coughing, increased heart rate, trouble breathing or losing breath easily, trouble settling down at night, a lesser desire to exercise and play, and tiring out easily.

Advanced symptoms include a swollen belly, fainting, gums and tongue turning blue/grey, and weight loss.


Dogs with symptoms of heart failure should be examined by a vet as soon as possible because it is as serious as it sounds. Vets may listen to your dog’s heartbeat and perform several tests and scans, including a chest X-ray and blood testing.


Although you can’t always prevent congestive heart failure, studies have shown that there is a link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs.

Treatment & prognosis

  • Unfortunately, congestive heart failure is a progressive condition. There is no cure at present, but there are treatments that can prolong your dog’s length and quality of life for as long as possible. Most dogs diagnosed with CHF live for around 3 years.
  • The type of treatment your vet prescribes will depend on what type and stage of heart failure your dog has. All require lifestyle changes including a low salt diet and limited exercise, to reduce strain on the heart and fluid build-up in the body. As well as ongoing medications like diuretics and inhibitors. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary. You should monitor your dog’s symptoms and attend regular vet visits as well.

Final Thoughts

If you regularly worry about your underweight fur friend, you have to bring it to your vet for a proper diagnosis. If you wish a healthy weight for it, you can pick an outstanding food product from this review.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.