Q: My 15-year-old Schnoodle has a severe heart murmur. So far, the only way I’ve been able to feed him his medicine is by rolling it into egg yolk. Is this safe for my dog?

A: Egg yolk is high in fat and cholesterol, so it may not be the best idea for people managing heart diseases. The good news is that dogs handle fat and cholesterol very differently from people, and egg yolk is quite safe to give to them. This is because most canines with heart problems suffer from “valve disease”, whereas heart troubles in people tend to come in the form of clogged arteries. The mechanism of heart failure is very different. Furthermore, the amount of food required to get a pooch to take medication is generally quite small, so there is little chance of it doing serious damage.Supporting dogs with heart disease can be complex, and generally requires lifelong medications. Some owners find themselves hiding pills in cheese, or even pate or liverwurst, turning the medicine into a fun “treat” that their furkids can look forward to. Small meat balls can work well too. Feeding raw heart can also supply some of the essential nutrients for better heart function, so give that a try—many dogs really like it, so it may be effective to hide your pills in pieces of chopped heart. Natural supplements that can help include Coenzyme Q10, l-carnitine and taurine. Hawthorn berry can also assist with peripheral blood circulation.

For pet owners who are still having difficulties, some medications can be made in a liquid form, which may be easier to administer. Further to that, some compounding chemists can actually make a transdermal formula—a liquid that is simply rubbed onto the skin of the inner ear flap. Explore these options with your vet.