How I Controlled My Dog's Congestive Heart Failure For 3 Years


My Boston Terrier, Gunner, was always a bursting ball of energy. But, when he was six, I noticed something off about him and took him to a local vet. The vet there told me nothing was wrong and sent us home. A week later, Gunner still was not himself. He was breathing heavily, coughing and honestly seemed like he was going to die.

Based on what the Doctor heard from Gunner's chest, she said that it sounded like he had fluid on his lungs and could possibly have congestive heart failure. Candidly, I asked her how long she thinks he has before end of life. She quoted me about six months which made my heart cry! She gave Gunner a shot in the back of his neck to take the fluid off his lungs and in an hour or so, Gunner pissed a bunch and was seeming like his normal self again. Yay!


To receive an official diagnosis for heart disease, Dr. Murphy suggested an echocardiogram to have Gunner properly treated, which ran for about $900. Due to the results of the positive heart failure results, Dr. Murphy prescribed medication to help control the disease, which brings me to this story about my experience with my dog's congestive heart failure.

Between our appointment with Dr. Murphy and the receiving the results of the echocardiogram, I scoured the internet for information about the disease, but NO pet owners had written about their experiences that helped me in any way.

I felt helpless. I found myself watching videos of people who had filmed their dogs with the same symptoms as Gunner, and they too were begging for help and after that first vet who told me nothing was wrong, I gained some trust issues for veterinary professionals.

After about a year of being on the cycle of medication prescribed to Gunner, he started to have fluid on his lungs again and we were back at the vet for another visit. This time, Dr. Murphy shared with me the maximum dosage of furosemide that Gunner can have, which ended up being the piece of information that kept our dog with congestive heart failure alive for three more years!

First of all, Gunner was prescribed a few different meds to keep him comfortable:

  • Vetmedin (for a strong heart)

  • Benzapril (for heart failure) 

  • Furosemide (for fluid retention)

The meds cost about $200 a month to start and close to $100 a week during the third year of Gunner living with his disease. It was a HUGE financial commitment, but I was happy to do it for this special creature who had loved me for so many years.


The reason the cost for the meds became so expensive towards the end of his life is because I personally completely altered the frequency and dosage of the drug furosemide. Oops! #SorryNotSorry

While caring for Gunner, I started to notice that he had good days and bad days. On good days, his lungs sounded clear, and on his bad days, his lungs sounded crackly and he seemed more lethargic. On Gunner's bad days, I moved his furosemide dosages closer together, sometimes as close as 1 hour, and if necessary I increased dosages themselves depending on how congested Gunner sounded. Whenever the meds were increased, the frequency that Gunner needed to go outside increased too. He drank a shit ton of water, so I had to always make sure that I had a lot of water readily available.

Although the vet told me that Gunner could have 70mg of furosemide at a time, toward the end of his life, on Gunner's bad days, I gave him up to 200mg, and he was fine.

The key to making your dog with congestive heart failure live the longest is to find the regiment and dosage of furosemide that best controls YOUR pup's disease.  Make sure that you have plenty of water available and your dog MUST be going outside to pee every 30-45 minutes, if not more often. If you cannot commit to this, unfortunately you won't be able to control the disease for very long.


I sometimes got up at night with Gunner three to four times, but I wanted to because I wanted his disease controlled. It was a terrible full-time job and sucked me dry of my money, but the extra few years that I had with Gunner made it worth every penny.

The point of this blog story is to share my experience so that other desperate doggy moms and dads of pups with congestive heart failure can find a success story. I hope that you too can find a regiment that controls your pup's disease, so that you all can live happily together for as many years as possible.

We love our pets -- they are our babies and we will do anything for them. In my case, I tweaked the dosage of some meds that made my dog pee a lot, so that he could live longer and more comfortably. And since Gunner lived for THREE MORE YEARS than we expected, I believe the little meds tweaking worked.

Everything in this blog story shares my personal experience and I do not recommend that you alter your pets medication without consulting with a professional. What I did was risky for the safety of my pet.


Side Note: When I got Gunner he was pure-bred and heart certified, so his heart disease diagnosis came as a total shock. But did you know that one of the leading causes of heart failure is diet?

For Years, I fed Gunner Beneful, which later appeared on dog food list of the worst food you can feed your dog.

I attribute this diet to the cause of Gunner's heart disease. During Gunner's ownership I did not have pet insurance and after having a sick dog, I will never make that mistake again.

If you're looking for Pet Insurance, I recommend Healthy Paws for up to 90% back on your claims. Click the following link for Chill Murray's referral code to protect your pet today:
#HealthyPaws #BostonTerrier #CongestiveHeartFailure #CHF #BostonTerrierHeartDisease #HeartDisease #PetInsurance


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