Arrhythmia in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

Arrhythmia in dogs is not uncommon. Many dogs can live delighted, healthy lives but unfortunately, that is not always the case. An arrhythmia in your dog could be a sign of an underlying condition. Our Rocky Mountain Veterinary Cardiology vets will provide you with information on arrhythmia, what to look out for and what treatment can be done.

About Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia in dogs is an abnormality in the heart's rhythm, which can include the speed, strength, or regularity of heartbeats. It generally is caused by unusual electrical activity in dogs’ heart muscles, which can come from congenital issues from birth or from something that has occurred in your dog's life.

Some breeds appear to be predisposed to sinus arrhythmia, most notably brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs, Lhasa apsos, Pekingese, pugs, shar-peis, Shih Tzus, and boxers.

If your dog shows signs of having an unusual heartbeat, then you must contact your Rocky Mountain Veterinary Cardiology vets to diagnose any health conditions your dog might have and begin treatment right away to avoid long last side effects. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for arrhythmia in dogs.


  • Birth
  • Age
  • Injuries
  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Congenital heart abnormalities (present from birth)
  • Heart disease
  • Diseases that affect the vagus nerves
  • Cerebral disorders
  • Conditions that cause pressure within the skull


  • Weakness
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Long pauses between heartbeats


Dogs of any breed or age can develop arrhythmias but some types are more common in specific breeds.

  • Ventricular Arrhythmias
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Sick Sinus Syndrome (Sinus Node Disease)
  • Heart Block
  • Myocarditis


Treatment will differ depending on the type of arrhythmia and the breed of your dog. Some possible treatment options are:

Complete physical exam - Your vet will listen to your dog’s heart using a stethoscope.

Electrocardiogram. Sometimes, there is a need to record the electrocardiograms and monitor them for 24 hours. The 24-hour monitoring period is necessary to determine the frequency and severity of the rhythm disturbance.

In the management of heart arrhythmia in dogs is very important for you dogs over all health and treatment should continue and include determining the correct dose of medications if needed.

If you are concern about your dog having an arrhythmia please contact your Boulder vets right away for a consultation.