Can Dogs and Cats have Heart Attacks?

Although it is possible, it is extremely rare for most animals to have a heart attack. For humans, a heart attack occurs when a blood vessel that flows to the heart gets blocked. This is the result of disease of the blood vessels or arteries or clogging of the arteries. Most domestic animals do not develop this type of disease. Dogs and cats do experience other types of heart diseases. In extremely rare cases dogs can experience heart attacks, but not in the same way humans do.

Even if it is Rare, How do I know if my Dog is Having a Heart Attack?

If a dog ever has a heart attack, they happen with very little warning. Factors such as a tumor surrounding the heart or blood vessels leading to the heart, coronary artery disease, bacterial infection, and blood clots can all contribute to a dog having a heart attack. Although it is more common for a dog to suffer from heart failure, be on the lookout for these symptoms that could accompany a heart attack in a dog.

  • Lethargy
  • Head tilt
  • Confusion
  • Rigid Posture
  • Seizure
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Collapse.

If you think your dog is experiencing a heart attack, call your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital right away so they can direct you on what to do next. Remember to do your best to keep yourself and your pet calm.


Schedule an appointment with Dovelewis' cardiology clinic in Portland, Oregon



You can learn more information from these helpful sources we used as references.

O'Sullivan, DVM, L. (2020, July 31). Do animals ever have heart attacks or is it just humans? | CBC Radio. CBCnews. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from,other%20types%20of%20heart%20disease

OVRS Staff. (2020, September 18). 9-1-1: Is my dog having a dog heart attack? Oakland Veterinary Referral Services. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from

Taylor, A. P. (2021, May 9). Do other animals get heart attacks? LiveScience. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from


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