My female beagle, 10 years old, about 32 lbs. has a heart murmur (is on meds for it) so I have to be careful with salt and fat. It was suggested that I put her on Hill’s Science Diet prescription HD formula for cardiac health which is low in salt, but I don’t like the ingredients in it. It was also suggested that we try looking at some of the senior diets because they may be low in salt, but so far I am not coming up with anything. I really don’t want to have to prepare food myself if at all possible. I’m discovering just how little information is out there when you are looking for specific needs in a dog’s diet. Any suggestions? Thanks!
I’m a long time lurker who has a similar issue with my dog. Due to an arrhythmia, mitral valve problem, enlarged heart & pancreatitis issues my dog must be on low sodium, low fat food. At first I had him eating one of the hills prescription diets, but it became too expensive coupled with all his meds (he’s a bit guy who eats a lot). So I began searching for a new food. Here’s what I found:
Wellness dog food: I emailed them recently so this is current
Chicken .14% Sodium 12% fat
Lamb .23% sodium 12% fat
Healthy Weight .11% sodium 6% fat
Senior .11% sodium 10% fat
Simple Grain-Free Salmon 0.29% Sodium 12% fat
Simple Grain-Free Turkey 0.24% Sodium 12% fat
Simple Lamb & Oatmeal 0.20% Sodium 12% fat
Simple Duck & Oatmeal 0.08% Sodium 11 % fat
Core Original 0.53% Sodium 16% fat
Core Ocean 0.69% Sodium 16% fat
Core Reduced Fat 0.50% Sodium 10% fat
Core Small Breed 0.23% Sodium 16% fat
Core Puppy 0.37% Sodium 18% fat
Core Large Breed 0.22 % Sodium 12% fat
Core Wild Game 0.22% Sodium 16% fat
California Natural/Innova/Evo all info about fat & sodium can be found on their website
Some of the foods that I do have info on some california naturals
Grain free chicken .34% sodium 12% fat
Grain free kangaroo .26% sodium 11% fat
Chicken & brown rice weigh man. .2% sodium 7% fat
Lamb & brown rice weight man. .24% sodium 7% fat
Chicken & brown rice Senior .19% sodium 8% fat
Tufts University also has a list of dog foods
The food we settled on was Natures Logic Sardine Meal 10% fat and .33% sodium. Their other food while low in sodium are higher in fat.
I’m sure there are many, many more that fit are low fat, low sodium my advice would be to visit their websites and if sodium isn’t listed call or email them. Hope that helps.
I don’t know exactly how much sodium, but another one to look at might be Victor’s Senior/Healthy Weight. It’s 27/11, protein/fat.
Hi Gina S,
I was searching for something completely unrelated when I saw your post and had to comment.
People are often looking for Sodium levels when dealing with certain health issues and this information isn’t generally readily available.
It’s obvious you spent a lot of time researching this information. Thank you so much for sharing the fruits of your labor with others!
Thanks, Gina–very helpful!
I also want to add Wellness’s new Small Breed Senior to the mix. It’s formulated to have a lower sodium percentage. I’m feeding it in our regimen. I’m also using other Wellness Small Breed formulas. I have 3 senior Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. All 3 have some level of murmur. My 2 girls are not getting any meds, just supplemented with coq10. My male (my newest addition) has MVD and gets enalipril twice a day.
Arabella, my Cavalier, was fine at her most recent wellness visit, which was just a couple of months ago. I had her palate checked under general anaesthesia quite a while ago because I was concerned she might need a resection due to her constant snoring, but she was fine and thankfully, didn’t need one.
Recently, I’ve noticed her breathing seems noisier and she sounds congested. All I can think is that she has CHF, but I know that can’t possibly be when she was fine with no heart murmur or anything two months ago. Who knows, it could very well be environmental / seasonal, as her nose is sometimes runny also.
I always look for foods with taurine in it for her and think I’ll start watching the sodium, too.
My question for you is, do your Cavaliers have any symptoms like I’ve described our others?
Hi, Betsy. It very well may be seasonal….Laverne has started with some itching and anal glands again, even though her stool is normal!? She was just at the vets this past Thurs. because I noticed a bump on one of her front legs. The vet expressed her glands and said they were bad, ugh. Vet said it’s probably staph and could even be caused by shampoo being left on and not drying properly or fully (this was said because of where the infection is located). She gave me some muricin salve to rub on the bump. But I may call and get an oral antibiotic for her, as well. Don’t usually like them but want to be sure this doesn’t turn into something even more difficult. Laverne is mine that has allergies, of course, and who snores a lot. She also does reverse sneezing at times. She has a murmur, about 3-4/6, (came on about 2 years ago) but doesn’t cough . Her nose runs sometimes (again allergies). She is eating Wellness Small Breed Simple for kibble and Wellness Stews or Weruva or Simply Nourish for canned topper. I have been giving the Firm Up, but was wondering if she has become intolerant of it? It could be lots of things. I do also give them coq10 3 times a week (30 mg). Right now I decided to not change anything in her diet except removing the Firm Up for awhile, and switching probiotics up. Hazel was checked as well and the vet could barely hear her murmur and rated it a 1/2…..she’s had a murmur since birth with no meds. She has no symptoms of anything and doesn’t snore at all. Rupert, who is on enalapril twice a day and has heart disease (MVD) and a grade 5/6 murmur is doing great. He snores occasionally but not that bad and does not cough at all. He has no other symptoms. I would say this is probably seasonal, but if I were you, I would have your vet or Cardiologist (if you have one) check things out thoroughly. I don’t want to scare you, but I think these things can come on suddenly. According to Rupert’s breeder his came on suddenly, but not really sure…maybe just wasn’t caught before now. I also decided to not really try to reduce the sodium (just making sure it’s not on the too high range). Like I said before, the only heart supplement I have been using regularly is coq10. You could also try adding other things, like fish oil, hawthorne, l-carnitine, coq10 and of course taurine, if you’re not doing so already. There are some all inclusive supplements like Bio-Cardio by Thorne, Vetri-Science Cardio Strength. Also Standard Process Cardio is one my vet likes (but they always prescribe Standard Process). I’ve used the all inclusive ones in the past, but recently have been trying to keep things as simple as I can. I’ve probably not answered your question but hope I’ve helped some.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by Mom2Cavs.
Betsy, sometimes Laverne does seem to breathe heavier than the other two. She’s not overweight at all according to the vet, but I think she could lose a pound and be even better. Now, she only breathes like this when we are walking a lot, not normally in the house or anything. And I Laverne isn’t congested at all. I still say this might be seasonal. Btw, how old is yours?
Thank you so much, Jan! Bella will be three on August 9th.
I really appreciate your insight.
It’s interesting that you mention Laverne’s reverse sneezing, because we’ve had a couple of episodes of that within the last few weeks as well. Bella only has done that one other time before. Bella doesn’t cough either and it sounds like her allergy symptoms are a lot like Laverne’s. I’m wondering if I’m confusing congestion with heavy breathing, her snoring has definitely been worse lately.
Interestingly to me, I stopped giving them the Springtime Fresh Factors and Spirulina wafers several weeks ago. Sam was getting so picky and I was just trying to feed him something he would eat – somehow he could always manage to leave the spirulina in the bottom of his bowl. I didn’t really think the Springtime stuff was doing anything and maybe now, I realize that it must’ve been helping Bella. I’ll start that back up right away. She’s much noisier than usual and her eyes are weepy also.
They checked her heart very thoroughly before putting her under general anesthesia, but I agree and understand that a murmur can also seem to come “out of nowhere.” Fortunately, my vet is aware of my concern about cardiac issues and I would definitely start with her if I became worried. Luckily, I have lots of vet specialists in my area so if I were to need to see a cardiologist, I know I would have access to some.
So far, I’ve just tried to feed good food with good ingredients and I’ve always looked for added taurine for Bella. Fortunately, with two young healthy dogs, I haven’t needed to add many supplements to “treat” a health condition so the normal nutritional extras have just been the regular things; ie: coconut oil; ACV, etc. A long time ago, I talked to my TCVM vet about cardiac supplements for Bella (he carries Thorne and Standard Process), but he said he wouldn’t use the big gun cardiac stuff unless it was necessary. I did ask about CoQ10 and I seemed to recall he liked that. I looked at the Mercola Ubiquinol and wanted to start that back then, but I had problems with the pump bottle that the krill oil came in that was just like it, so I shied away from ordering it. I have to hold off on ordering it until I get a big Discover bill from this month paid off first. : )~ Plus, I want to see if the Fresh Factors will help without changing anything else first.
Sorry, Laverne’s having problems! I don’t usually have issues with allergies in the summer myself, but this year I have. I’ve cleared my throat constantly for over a month now. Last week I felt so worn out, I ended up scheduling a day off this past Friday. I wonder if maybe Laverne’s allergies are taking the fight out of her immune system right now and it’s resulting in some of the other things she has going on? I wouldn’t think the Firm Up was “hurting” would you? I wonder if the apple pectin could be too high in sugars or something.
Bella has always done very well on Wellness foods. The difference that I can literally see in her eyes (there’s less tearing and the whites of her eyes become clearer) is amazing. I think I will go ahead and get some more of that for her. (There’s always an excuse to buy more food, isn’t there. ; ) I wrote to Wellness and told them last time she ate their food about her eyes, but they didn’t want to take too much credit for it. This time, I’m going to take a before and after picture for them!
Thanks for the update on your crew! They’re very lucky pups to be in your hands. : )
I think your pups are lucky, too. 🙂 Laverne is doing fine and the spot seems to be clearing up. I think you’re right about her allergies taking a toll on her immune system. I have Fresh Factors on hand and started them a few days ago. I wanted a whole food vitamin so began them. I also have spirulina wafers and might add them in later (one thing at a time). I’m back to adding in the fiber because I feel it’s needed for her glands. Personally, I’m not sure this is food related allergy (maybe inhalant). I plan on taking her back to the vet in a few weeks for a relook. Let me know how Bella continues to do. I hope she feels better soon, too. She’s just a youngster, lol, all mine are seniors with Laverne being the oldest I have now with Lucy gone to the bridge.
Thanks Jan! I’ll keep you posted. Please do the same. I’ll look forward to hearing how Laverne is doing.
After just a bit more than a day back on the Fresh Factors, Bella is already sounding less congested! She slept on my bed last night and I never once heard her snore! : )
Try contacting Tails.com on 0203 322 4448 that is set up by a dog nutritionist that makes kibble up to your specific needs for your pet. Reasonable costs too. Good luck. Jan
I just joined Dog Food Advisor because I have been looking for other low sodium dog kibble that is ‘palatable’ to my miniature schnauzer. She was diagnosed in April 2016 with congenital heart disease/mitral valve etc. I realize your posting was over 2 years ago, but the information you posted regarding sodium content may be misleading. For example, Wellness Complete Care Small Breed Senior Deboned Turkey and Peas lists their sodium content at not more than 30%. I thought ‘great, I found the perfect food’. However, one must take that information a few steps further to determine the sodium content in milligrams per 100kcal. With this specific Wellness dog kibble, it is actually 85.73 mg NA (sodium), and that is HIGH for my dog. I have another Science Diet food at 36% sodium, but that worked out to be a sodium of about 99 mg/100kcal. No risk or mild sodium restrictions include 0.35% to 0.5% equivalent to 100mg/l00kCal; Moderate sodium restriction include 0.1% to 0.35% equivalent to about 80mg/100kCal; Severe sodium restriction is anything less than 0.1% or about 50mg/100kCal. The following is the FORMULA: get the sodium percentage from the bag. If it’s not there, many good dog food manufacturers post it on their website for the specific dog food you are considering. They will also post the Metabolizable Energy (kCal/kg, as fed). Wellness posted a Metabolizable Energy of 3499 Kcal/kg and 0.30% sodium. Take 0.30 and divide by 3499 and then multiply by 1,000,000 to obtain the sodium content in milligrams per 100 kcal. I’m just thankful I didn’t feed my dog anymore than a couple cups of this very bad for her health kibble!
- This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Laurie F.
Oops, post script! My posting was in reply to Gina not Jan! Sorry about than 🙂
Laurie F, did you end up finding a quality dog food for CHF with low sodium? I have two rescues with CHF, one also has pulmonary edema.
I think the following link is posted here or somewhere on Dog Food Advisor… did you have a chance to review it? http://www.vermontveterinarycardiology.com/Medvet%20–%20Cincinnati%20%20Heart%20Friendly%20Low%20Sodium%20Dog%20Diets.pdf
Riley (female miniature schnauzer 11+ y/o now) has always been a bit of a finicky eater BEFORE CHF, so I have jumped around a bit with various lower sodium dog kibble that she will eat. Right now, she’s eating Wellness Adult Deboned Chicken Brown Rice/Peas (53mg sodium.) I also entice her appetite by adding a little bit of lean (broiled or baked) ground turkey or boiled chicken breast that I (minimally) shred up into a moistened kibble. Riley also likes Hill’s Ideal Balance chicken. I usually buy a quality food from Chewy and whatever I order for Riley. Tutzie also must eat, and Thank God, Tutz will eat anything. BUT, if I do order a food that Riley will not touch, Chewy will take it backBoth dogs have ideal weight. I have found that Senior dog foods do not always mean they are low in sodium. Even though my dogs are ‘senior’, I am not necessarily going to buy Senior foods. For me, I really need to buy good kibble that’s lower in sodium that Riley will actually eat. She lost a good 1/2 to 3/4 pound after she was diagnosed and it was hell getting that weight back on for the first 3 months. I have a friend of a friend (who referred me to my current Cardiologist) whose rescue was diagnosed at age 12 with CHF. Her dog is now over 16 and still going on not only her normal walks, but also hikes with her. (her dog is also a terribly finicky eater who gets an occasional hamburger!)
I assume your dogs are on Vetmedin and in particular Lasix (or Salix) for the edema? What are the ages and size of your dogs? What have you been feeding them? Is one or both a finicky eater?
Hi Laurie F.,
Thank you for the link. I see Fromm is listed, but the sodium contents still seem higher than some others. Currently, all of my dogs but one eat Fromm (including one CHF dog). My other dog, who is a recent permanent foster, is the other CHF dog and she’s on really crappy food. She got a 3 month prognosis a month ago when she came into rescue, so we just picked up cheap Moist and Meaty. I know, it’s awful. I feel guilty about it, and despite the vet saying she didn’t have long, I’d still like to give her better food. We also saw a different vet (within the rescue) this past weekend because I wanted to get her meds adjusted, and this vet said the same thing about her health. Said she’s super sweet and friendly, but a hot mess. 🙁
My two dogs with CHF: the new foster is a chi/corgi mix, approximately 11lbs and between 12-15years old. It’s really hard to tell because of her health and her teeth are WRETCHED. I mean, just downright awful. This weekend her Lasix was upped to 5mg, she’s on Enalapril already, and I had the vet add Vetmedin. I also got another round of clindomyacin, and we’ll make that recurring monthly to help keep down any gum infection. She’s also now on incurin because she’s a leaker. It’s not a big deal because we diaper her inside, but it can make a mess on our lanai if she’s not diapered right away after piddling.
My other CHF dog is a 9-10yro Chinese Crested (hairless). He is the one w/pulmonary edema, and he’s currently on the same medications as the chi mix, and he’s been on them since I began fostering him 1.5yrs ago (I failed and adopted). He overall does great, just has the occasional breathing episode. Usually they’re slight, but every now and then there is one that is so bad that he can’t even stand up from the oxygen deprivation. It’s awful to see, and his vet is actually surprised he keeps on living. When he gets like that, there’s nothing we can do but sit with him and stroke his head hair. If we tried to put him in a car at that time, it’d likely kill him. It’d be nice if I had an oxygen tank at the house for those times. 🙁
Sidenote: I give my dogs zero treats. My crested thinks his medication is a treat, and he happily devours the pills twice a day without us having to stuff them in a treat haha. He also eats poop sometimes, so his taste buds must be wonky.
High sodium diet: anything above 0.5%
My original posting included the following: “No risk or mild sodium restrictions include 0.35% to 0.5% equivalent to 100mg/l00kCal; Moderate sodium restriction include 0.1% to 0.35% equivalent to about 80mg/100kCal; Severe sodium restriction is anything less than 0.1% or about 50mg/100kCal.” I find it annoying that they include a bunch of dog foods that seem to be high in sodium content (at least for us), but one has to divvy it down to the risk factor. I am holding to kibble that is 53mg sodium, and kibble that is NO MORE than low 60’s mg sodium. I tried Royal Canin that is actually a prescription kibble @ 50mg. Riley tried eating it once, and after that it was a NO GO! I think she thought I was punishing her! I ended up donating the very pricey bag of food.
I applaud you for caring for the CHF rescue dogs and bringing them into a loving home! I agree with you that I’d also feel very guilty feeding a dog crappy food. Don’t do it! Since she has rotting, maybe painful teeth, there is plenty of low(er) sodium, healthy canned food for her to eat and excellent lower sodium (very soft baked) dog treats. The vet could have suggested Hills Cardio canned food, but it sounds like he’s kinda written her off. You mentioned that you had the Vet put her on Vetmedin? Wasn’t she prescribed that medication when she was originally diagnosed with CHF? I doubt Riley would be here today without Vetmedin from the getgo. Out of respect for my regular vet and a slightly lower cost, I have him do a full blood run every 3 months so I and the Cardiologist can monitor other bodily functions. But that’s about it for her regular vet. If you are upping the Lasix mg (or Salix mg) for her, there is always the possibility her Potassium level may drop, necessitating a daily potassium supplement. Riley takes 12.5 Salix, one in the a.m. and 1 1/2 in the p.m. Only one time early on last year did I have to give her a 1/4 tsp of RenaKare potassium gel (very inexpensive) daily for a brief period of time. Are you also giving the Chinese Crested a higher dosage of Salix since he’s having some issues with fluid build-up? Does he cough? I have only had one incident of ‘fainting’ and Riley letting out high pitched yelps/screams (couldn’t get enough oxygen) and that was the original emergency visit at 1:00 am last April. She had a whole bunch of fluid in her chest. It wasn’t until months later that I asked the Cardio doc why she was ‘screaming’ at the time of the event/collapse. He could only say that he presumed what was happening was really frightening to her in that split second and that the screaming was her fear reaction. No recurrences of fluid build up based on least 3 x-rays over the past year. I noted early on that she did have some increased respiratory in rest mode so Cardio doc increased her Salix to 1 1/2 tab in the evening. She pees like a race horse, but I’d like to think she’s getting rid of that lousy excess fluid in the process. I also understand that a high protein diet (along with the lower sodium food/diet) is attributable to controlling fluid build-up. I repeat, I’ve only been able to get her to eat kibble that is 53mg and another one that is in the low 60’s mg. She also gets high protein chicken (breast and or broiled/baked ground turkey) little portions that I mush into her moistened kibble. Keep in mind, that once I have cooked up a couple of pounds of my ground turkey ‘recipe’, I toss it in the freezer until I need it. I am not living in the kitchen daily to bake or cook! And yes, as a change of pace a few times per month, she gets some low fat/lean minced bits of broiled ground round and some rice mushed into moistened kibble. A quarter pound patty lasts a couple of days for both dogs’ dinners.
Lastly, you might consider giving both or one of them Vetri Cardio Canine by VetriScience. There are 60 bite-sized chews to a bag. One ‘chew’ is for larger wieght dogs, so I cut one ‘chew’ in half and give Riley and Tutzie their respective piece. I’d have 120 chews if I wasn’t treating non-CHF Tutzie… It’s a heart supplement that was highly recommended to me by another CHF dog owner… the gal whose CHF dog is now 16++. You can view it on Chewy.com. If you do buy it, don’t buy the capsules, buy the chews.
Does the rescue group afford xrays/echo cardiograms (probably not ultra-sounds) for the rescue dogs? I know there are some rescue groups that have unreal medical equipment at their disposal. I adore my vet of 25+++ years. However, I will admit that I had concerns about him treating my dog for cardiomyopathy, degenerative valve disease, or congenital heart failure. It’s just not his speciality and he knows that.
You’re so good at all this, you have the luckiest dogs in the world! I just wish the dog food bags would read for dummies so I could have an easier time and not have to involve anything mathematical. I’m awful at it… my husband is the engineer, so I’ll have to turn that over to him. I’m going to have him review the sodium contents and variables because he’s usually the one stopping for food.
It sounds like the Fromm we’re feeding may be okay for my Crested, and I’ll have to get a canned version for the foster girl. Or maybe soak hers in water and see if she’ll eat it that way. She has quite the underbite and the wretched teeth, so the soft food gets stuck all in her teeth and mouth. When we were giving her canned food we would wipe it off her as best we could, but she would still proceed to rub her face all over the living room rug. We also can’t get in her mouth to wipe it out from in there. We’re due to have a baby in three days, so we are trying our darndest to keep stuff like that off the rug. The joys of doggies, haha! At least it builds immunity in kids, my 10yo son never gets sick.
Anyway, the vet that the foster girl initially saw was one that the rescue uses. As far as I know, he didn’t give food suggestions, and I know he did not prescribe Vetmedin since none came with her. I got her several weeks after she came into the rescue. I ended up taking her to another vet, also part of the rescue but a different vet’s office and location, and specifically asked for the Vetmedin. I also asked for the incurin and recurring clindomyacin to help her mouth from possible inflammation. That vet ended up giving her a shot of the lasix and enalapril to boost it up in her system, and upped the lasix. She’s peeing a lot more, and coughing a lot less, so I think things are helping! They did do xrays of the little foster when we were at the vet this past weekend, but they didn’t show us and I wouldn’t know what I was looking at anyway. Her prognosis was still not good, but she wants to see her back in two weeks to do bloodwork and make sure the difference in meds aren’t inadvertently interfering with anything.
I’ll have to look up the Vetri Cardio Canine you mentioned, as it sounds like good stuff.
So on top of just trying to be a good doggy mom for my little medical babes, and the fact that we have a baby due in three days, my Crested is now not feeling well. I took him to his vet on Tuesday, and the poor little guy had to suffer through getting his temp taken, a fecal, a blood draw, an x-ray (thankfully one scan gets all of him), a dosage of fluid injected under the skin, and then a shot for anti nausea/diarrhea. The good news from all that is that his heart and lungs are looking wonderful compared to a year ago, and the vet was happy that the meds are doing their job on him and his lasix doesn’t need increasing. Bad news was that they couldn’t really find anything going on. His bloodwork was mostly good except a few things creeping the wrong way due to him being a little dehydrated, and the vet wasn’t concerned so long as he stays hydrated.
He seemed to feel better Tuesday night, and now we’re back to him moping around, refusing even canned food, watermelon, etc., and today he threw up the little bit of watermelon he did eat about 10 hours ago. He did take a small poop yesterday, and I was hoping that would make him feel better. It looks like he’ll be going back if he’s not better by the morning, and he’ll likely be getting a Barium test to see if there’s a blockage somewhere. More not fun stuff because he HATES x-rays. I have to go in the back with them when he gets them because he will freak out and half kill himself from setting himself into a breathing episode, then he gets placed on oxygen. I nearly cried on Tuesday because I can’t stand next to the x-ray machine being pregnant, and he was so scared and crying so loud. I stood off to the side where I hoped he could see me and talked to him. I hate it. Fingers crossed he starts feeling better today. 🙁
I really appreciate all your knowledge and for taking the time to fill me in on everything since you’re way more experienced at this than I am. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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