Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
Be on guard for your dog's heart
Next article

Be on guard for your dog's heart

Health and Longevity Course for Dogs             Chapter 11

The health of your dog's heart is crucial for adding years to your dog’s life and that's why I've decided to dedicate this 11th chapter of the Health and Longevity Course for Dogs to the heart.

If you've not gone through the previous chapters of the course, and especially Chapters 8, 9 and 10, please make sure that you read them as soon as possible. They contain knowledge that will add years to your dog's lifespan, based on what I've seen with other dogs.

Dog’s front legs and torso aren't attached by a joint

That’s right, the front legs are attached to the rest of the body by muscles and fascia. Many people mistakenly believe dog’s forelegs are attached to the rest of the body by a joint, as it is in people.

This design would be fine for the lifespan and lifestyle of a wild canine, but our dogs now live longer. As they age, the main muscle groups that suspend the front legs often get tired, injured and spastic. Older dogs also have a tendency to transfer their body weight onto the forelegs as their hind legs and back get weaker.

Naturally, the muscles get strained and tight, causing an uneven pull on the thoracic spine, the middle and upper part of the spine, which in turn causes energy flow congestion. As you already know from previous chapters, this congestion often affects the underlying organs.

Thoracic spine misalignment leads to paraspinal muscle tightness. These are the muscles that run parallel to the spine. When these muscles get tight, the blood, nerve and energy flow to the vital organs and parts of the body decreases, which makes them more vulnerable and prone to disease.

See more information on energy flow congestion.

What organs and body parts are supplied by the thoracic spine?
  • The heart
  • The lungs
  • The esophagus
  • The diaphragm
  • The liver 
  • The spleen
You and your dog are similar

As you can see, the health of your dog's thoracic spine is crucial to their overall health. If you are asking if the same applies to your back, the answer is yes. Most of the things that you've learned in the Health and Longevity Course for Dogs can be applied to your health. The old yogis knew why spine flexibility is important to overall health. Not paying attention to spine mobility is like maintaining a house, but neglecting the roof.

A different kind of heartbreak

There is no need to emphasize how important the heart is for your dog's health. It's dependent on essential nutrients and supplements. As soon as there is a nutrient deficiency, the hardworking heart tissues and structure will be affected.

Some time ago, I wrote an article on the topic of why straight-legged dogs such as boxers and Dobermans have a higher rate of heart disease. Straight forelegs and a very narrow interscapular space create flow congestion, which compromises the heart. Read the full article here.

The heart association point is at the fifth thoracic intervertebral and the pericardium is connected to the sixth thoracic intervertebral space. When you feel your dog’s heart beating, you will see the location of the heart is directly below the fifth and sixth vertebra. 

The main causes of dysfunction in these segments are poor breeding, a variety of injuries caused by slips, falls and slides, excessive swimming (read the full article here), too much digging and hind end weakness, to name a few.

That is not to say your dog should not swim or dig at all. However, if he or she is passionate, or perhaps even obsessed with these activities you need to ensure your dog does not overdo it. Overuse of some muscles leads to weakness in others. In fact, even in people, most back problems stem from some kind of weakness. 

What does hind end strength have to do with the heart?

If you have lived with an older dog and observe the aging process, you may have noticed that as dogs age, they gradually start transferring their weight from the back to the front. This shift can create muscle tightness and injuries in the lumbar spine, hip joints and adjacent muscles. You can see most senior dogs have difficulties getting up and jumping up on the couch or bed. As they lose their hind leg strength, it doesn't take long for them to start overusing their forelegs and pulling themselves up more with their forelegs. This leads to thoracic spine tightness, which can have a profound effect on your dog’s heart.

What happens when the heart does not receive enough energy flow?

It's unlikely you'll find the following information in a veterinary cardiology textbook, but this is what I've observed. When the region of the first and sixth thoracic vertebrae is inflamed, injured and tight, over time this can manifest in heart disease from leaky valves, to dilation and weakness of the heart muscle, called dilated cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia and even tumors. 

If I see severe sensitivity and inflammation in the heart-associated region of the spine, I always suggest further diagnostics, such as blood work, an ultrasound and radiographs.

The most important point for your dog's heart

The body is a complex interconnected system and the health of the heart greatly depends on energy flow from the thoracic spine, but weakness in other areas of the body can have a cascade effect that can affect the heart. In the past several chapters, I've been focusing mainly on energy flow in the body for you to have a good understanding that this principle plays a major part in disease prevention.  

Of course, other chapters of our health and longevity course, such as regular detox Chapter 3, essential minerals Chapter 5, non-synthetic vitamins, probiotics and high-quality omega oils are equally important elements for your dog’s health.

How to address imbalances that affect your dog's heart

It's my experience that every little bit of knowledge can make a huge difference. If you see your dog’s thoracic spine is sensitive to the touch or the back looks ‘swayback,’ you need to contact a rehabilitation practitioner and work with an animal chiropractor, osteopath, massage therapist or physical therapist.

People sometimes ask me what discipline I prefer, but I feel it's not as much about the discipline, but the level of skills and experience of the practitioner. 

One more important thing! 

Before I finish Chapter 11, I must remind you about one more important part of disease prevention and that is keeping your dog's teeth in the best possible shape. Processed food and natural food cause tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth that can lead to gum inflammation and infection and one of the most common heart problems is bacterial valvular disease that originates from poor dental health. Keep this in mind and read this article on how to keep your dog's teeth healthy.

If you are following the Holistic Health and Longevity Course for Dogs, I trust you are starting to get the idea that you can become your dog's best friend when it comes to health and longevity.

It gives me tremendous pleasure to take you along on this simple and effective path of healing. I hope you will share this info with others. 

Next: The Lungs

Did you know this is only one article from our free Holistic Health & Longevity Course? Check out the entire course...

To read the entire Holistic Health and Longevity Course for Dogs click the links below. 

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

Health & Longevity Course Chapters

To read the entire Holistic Health and Longevity Course for Dogs click the links below:

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.

By clicking "Continue" or continuing to use our site, you acknowledge that you accept our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. We also use cookies to provide you with the best possible experience on our website. You can find out more about the cookies we use and learn how to manage them here. Feel free to check out our policies anytime for more information.




Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping