Objective—To determine the dietary patterns and intake of nutrients of concern in dogs with cardiac disease.
Animals—82 dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or chronic valvular disease.
Procedure—Owners of dogs were contacted and given a standardized telephone questionnaire regarding diet and a 24-hour food recall to determine daily intake of calories, protein, fat, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
Results—Among the 82 dogs, 71% had no congestive heart failure (CHF), and 29% had CHF or a history of CHF. Sixty-one percent of dogs had concurrent diseases. Anorexia was or had been evident in 34% of dogs and was significantly more common in the CHF group and in dogs with DCM. Most dogs (92%) received some treats and table food, with a median percentage of daily calories from treats of 19% (range, 0% to 100%). Most owners (57%) that administered pills used human or pet foods for pill administration. Most dogs ate more than the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) minimum values for fat and protein. Daily sodium intake varied from 14 to 384 mg/100 kcal, compared with the AAFCO minimum of 17 mg/100 kcal. A median of 25% of total daily sodium came from treats and table food (range, 0% to 100%). Dogs with CHF ate significantly more sodium, compared with dogs with no CHF.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dietary intake for dogs with cardiac disease is highly variable and often not optimal. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223: 1301–1305)