Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Senior Dog Care | Heart Disease in Dogs and Chiari Malformation / Syringomyelia

Senior Dog Care and Natural Supplements

Best supplements for old dogs
Supplements for senior dogs

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Angel Nutter

Dexter, Dexter, Dexter. He’s the bright spot in my day. Sometimes I am amazed that Dexter is now in his double digits. My ten-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not only a senior dog, but he also has Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia and heart disease.

However, ever since Dexter’s arrival in 2009, I have been very proactive in his care. Dexter eats a homemade raw pet food diet, gets plenty of appropriate exercise, I bond and entertain him daily, and I have always supplemented his diet with natural dog supplements and herbs for dogs.

Heart Disease in Dogs and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Medications for MVD
Heart disease in Cavaliers

From the beginning, I have done my best to keep Dexter’s heart in tip-top shape. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are at a high risk for congestive heart failure. Because of this, I have provided Dexter with a heart-healthy dog food (raw, DIY) along with rotating proper dog supplements and herbs throughout his life. You can read more about heart problems in dogs in my post with Dexter’s canine cardiologist.

Because Cavaliers have a high risk of developing heart disease, Dexter has had yearly cardiac auscultations from his veterinary cardiologist. At age six, he developed a heart murmur. This spring, at his yearly cardio visit, he will have an echocardiogram to evaluate his heart size, heart function, and blood flow. At this moment, he is not on any heart medicine for dogs.

Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Senior dog supplements
CM/SM in Cavaliers

Cavaliers are an amazing breed, but they are hit with a double whammy. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels along with Griffon Bruxellois, Chihuahuas, and other breeds with a “doll-like” head shape are at risk for Chiari Malformation, a skull malformation pushing the brain and spinal fluid downward. This malformation can cause fluid-filled pockets along the spinal cord, causing pain and neurological issues. There is no cure, only various treatments to aid in comfort and less-painful episodes. You can learn more about CM/SM throughout my various posts.

Yes, it is a horrible disease, and the pain and abilities of a dog can vary greatly. Unfortunately, Dexter was diagnosed with both Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia in 2012. I’m happy to report, with the proper pharmaceutical medications, canine physical therapy, acupuncture, laser treatments, and following Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory principles for his foods and herbs has helped Dexter lead a full and mostly pain-free life.

Detox Dogs and Dog Medication Side Effects

Since Dexter is on regular medications for his Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia, I take him into his veterinarian quarterly for a physical, full blood panel including checking his thyroid, and a urinalysis. This is so we can monitor how Dexter’s body is handling his medications. We want to stay ahead of any possible side effects from the medication and take action sooner rather than later.

Milk Thistle for Dogs

Natural supplements for dogs
NHV Natural Pet Products

One way I support Dexter’s vital organs is to provide him with milk thistle. Milk thistle works hard to detoxify the liver and kidneys, removing harmful toxins such as pharmaceuticals. Continual medications begin to build up in the system, particularly in the liver and kidneys. Milk thistle is specially important to help support the liver as it helps the liver regenerate. Milk thistle also contains high antioxidants that can help promote cellular regeneration. Milk Thistle has also proven to be a great supplement to support pets going through radiation therapy, as it helps to protect kidneys that may have been damaged. For those undergoing chemotherapy, it is thought that the silymarium can enhance the activity of certain chemo drugs.

NHV Natural Pet Products Review

As part of the way I treat my pets naturally, I rely on some of the best pet product manufacturers on the market. I first was introduced to NHV Pet Products in 2018 while researching organic herbal remedies for my senior cat.

NHV Natural Pet Products provides vet-formulated herbal solutions designed to promote health and stimulate healing. All their products and supplements are made with 100% natural ingredients and are formulated by a master herbalist and a holistic veterinarian with more than 20 years’ experience developing plant-based remedies. They are free of additives and preservatives, and made with the finest organically grown or ethically harvested herbs. Their products are also tested by a third-party lab.

I had great success with NHV’s Joint Problems Kit 2 with Nutter, so I thought I would rotate some of their products for Dexter. After speaking with the great people at NHV, we decided I would add their Milk Thistle, Hearty-Heart, and Old Timer to Dexter’s regimen.

NHV Milk Thistle Ingredients: 100% organic milk thistle seed extract, purified water, and glycerin.

A note about the use of glycerin. It’s always important to do your research when purchasing products for your pets. Glycerin is a product that should be scrutinized prior to purchasing. Glycerin can come from natural or synthetic sources. I feel it is important to understand what kind of glycerin is used if I am potentially going to feed it to or use it with Dexter. Too much glycerin can also cause a dog to have an upset tummy. NHV’s glycerin is non-GMO vegetable glycerin. They also use a very small amount in their products, therefore I felt comfortable using their products.

Heart Healthy Herbs for Dogs

Milk thistle for dogs
All natural herbs for pets

We thought NHV’s Hearty Heart would be a great addition to Dexter’s herbal supplements. Hearty Heart is an effective, gentle, and natural herbal remedy which will help to support heart health and promote healthy heart function. The supplement can help to relieve some symptoms associated with heart conditions such as coughing and difficulty breathing. When diagnosed with a heart condition, it is usually something a pet will have for life, so Hearty Heart has been specially formulated to be safe for daily use. The herbs in Hearty Heart provide support for the heart, the valves, and their pulmonary system. It can also improve blood flow, ease coughing, improve breathing, and aid with appetite.

Not only is Hearty Heart a great supplement for supporting pets with heart conditions but it is also effective to use as a preventative for pets such as Cavaliers that may be at a higher risk of developing a heart condition.

NHV Hearty-Heart Ingredients: Hawthorn (berries), Balsam Poplar (buds), Hops (flower), Valerian (root), Wood Betony (herb), Lobelia (herb), Motherwort (herb), Pulsatilla (root), purified water, and glycerin.

Senior Dog Care and Herbal Supplements

Last in Dexter’s lineup is NHV’s Old Timer. Don’t tell Dexter I’m providing him herbs for his aging body; he may disagree that he’s getting older. My silly monkey’s mind is still as spunky as the day I brought him home.

Old Timer helps with soothing painful joints. It eases inflammation and rejuvenates energy levels. Because of Dexter’s Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia, I am continually trying to reduce inflammation that aggravates his condition. This natural remedy contains six different powerful herbs.

Guggul targets the joints to help ease painful arthritis symptoms. Asian Ginseng helps to balance the body’s immune system ,which includes the spleen and lymph nodes. It is also thought to stimulate memory and learning. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This powerful herb also improves circulation in major arteries, which would benefit pets suffering from heart problems, easing pain and discomfort, and stimulates the body’s immune system. Astragalus helps protect the body against oxidative damage. Alfalfa is a highly effective herb containing nourishing vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and has a high protein content. And cayenne contains a compound called capsaicin, which helps with pain relief.

NHV Old Timer Ingredients: Guggul (gum-resin), Asian Ginseng (root), Ginger (root), Astragalus (root), Alfalfa (leaf), Cayenne (fruit), purified, water and glycerin.

Administering NHV Herbal Tinctures

Best holistic herbs for dogs
Supplements for senior dogs

Twice a day I place Dexter’s herbals into his raw food. He’s pretty easy at taking supplements, so it hasn’t been an issue for me. If your pet won’t eat his food with the supplement, after he has eaten, you can administer the tincture directly into his mouth with the dropper provided. Or you can place tasty food toppers on his food and supplement to encourage eating.

Final Thoughts

I am completely happy with the quality of NHV’s products and can fully recommend their use. I think it’s important to help Dexter live life to the fullest and healthiest, and I will continue to take proactive steps with his healthcare.

I encourage you to do the same and visit NHV Natural Pet Products’s website. They offer a wide range of natural pet products and are absolutely amazing to work with. Tell them Dexter sent you!


What do you think? Tell me in the comments.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Senior Dog Care. Learn about 3 natural supplements to help your aging dog. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #seniordogs #cavaliers #heartdiseaseindogs #seniorcavaliers #dogsupplements #herbsfordogs

19 thoughts on “Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Senior Dog Care | Heart Disease in Dogs and Chiari Malformation / Syringomyelia

  1. This breed of dog is my mom’s favorite in fact when considering taking a dog we wanted this but I am happy to be able to do it consciously thanks to the info you place on this breed every time.

  2. What a beautiful dog! I love Cavaliers. My aunt and uncle used to have one but the poor thing was deaf and blind towards the end. This is very useful information that I hope many pet owners can benefit from.

  3. Wow, I did not know that medical care for dogs was so advanced. Good for Dexter that he has been able to have a great life in spite of his diagnoses. He is fortunate to have such a loving mommy!

  4. One of the doctors I work with has a cavalier and we’ve actually talked a lot about their issues. It’s so important to spread this information so other parents know. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

  5. Oh my goodness – I didn’t know dogs could get Chiari Malformations too. I have a friend with one.
    And my good friend has a gorgeous Cavalier and does think about the heart problem potentials.

  6. OMG Dexter is gorgeous!! Who would have thought he was an ‘old timer’!!! Still looks like a pup to me! Do you do anything for anxious dogs? My big boy is such a worrier when he is out on walks! He is scared of other dogs reaction to him!

  7. I never knew dogs could use Milk Thistle? Wow that is amazing I know the healing properties in humans glad dogs can use it too!

  8. This is so nice that you care about your doggies. I know some people don`t care at all about their pets and that really makes me sad. Why have any pets if you won`t take good care of them? Your doggie is adorable.

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