Enacard for dogs



Active ingredient



Heart/Blood Pressure

What is Enacard?

Enacard is a brand name of the drug enalapril, and is marketed by Boehringer Ingleheim. It is a category of drug called an ACE inhibitor, and is used to reduce blood pressure and reduce the workload on the heart in cases of heart failure.

What does Enacard do?

Enacard, which contains enalapril, is a medication designed to support dogs with heart-related conditions, specifically congestive heart failure and high blood pressure (hypertension).

It is an ACE inhibitor, which means it stops an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme from functioning. This results in dilated (widened) blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure, stops liquid being forced out of the blood vessels, and means the heart doesn’t have to push as hard. 

What is Enacard for?

Enacard is primarily used in cases of congestive heart failure in dogs. It reduces the pressure the heart is pumping against, helping it to pump more effectively. 

It also reduces the water being squeezed out of the blood vessels due to the high blood pressure, which therefore reduces the symptoms of heart failure like coughing and difficulty breathing.

It is sometimes used in cases of high blood pressure as it causes blood vessels to widen, reducing the pressure in the vessels.

What are the possible side effects with Enacard?

Enacard is generally well-tolerated in dogs, but like any medication, it can be associated with potential side effects. It’s crucial to be aware of these possible reactions. They include:

  • Change in some blood markers (urea and creatinine): Enacard may cause an increase in urea (also known as BUN) and creatinine, which are related to kidney health. While there seems to be no significance to this (i.e, pets don’t necessarily develop kidney disease), it’s worth monitoring.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness: Although reported as a side effect, studies have shown no significant difference between Enacard and a placebo in causing dizziness.
  • Weakness, lethargy, or fainting: Enacard reduces blood pressure. If reduced too far, this could lead to symptoms like weakness, lethargy, or, rarely, fainting. If this happens, your dog’s tablets may need to be reduced. However, studies have shown there was no significant difference in hypotension between pets treated with Enacard and those receiving a placebo.
  • Increased drinking and urination: Enacard’s diuretic effect may lead to increased drinking and urination. This is a ‘normal’ side effect of the medicine, but you should still monitor it and report it to your vet if you notice any issues. To prevent accidents, make sure your pet has more frequent toilet breaks!

Remember, not all pets will experience these side effects, and the benefits of using Enacard often outweigh the risks. However, if you notice any concerning symptoms or changes in your pet’s behaviour or health while they are taking Enacard, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately. They can provide guidance and adjust the treatment plan if necessary to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being.

Which pets is Enacard not suitable for?

  • Enacard should only be used in dogs, it is not licensed for cats. However, vets can use medications off-label based on experience.
  • Enacard should not be used in dogs who are pregnant, as safety in breeding dogs has not been evaluated.
  • Enacard may not be suitable in dogs who won’t take tablets. However, the tablets are chewable and intended to be palatable. They should also be given with food which may make it them easier to give.
  • Enacard shouldn’t be used in dogs who are allergic to either of the ingredients.
  • Potassium-sparing diuretics should not be used alongside Enacard. Make sure your vet is aware of all medication your dog is currently on.

How to give Enacard safely

  1. Follow vet instructions: Always use Enacard exactly as your vet has prescribed. This includes the right dose and frequency. Never adjust the dose on your own, even if your dog seems to be feeling better or worse. If you aren’t sure of the dose prescribed, please call your vet to confirm.
  2. Check with your vet if giving anything else: Your vet should be aware of other drugs your pet is on, but it’s always worth double-checking in case there’s been a miscommunication somewhere. If your dog is on supplements or non-prescription treatments you should also tell your vet when they prescribe Enacard, as they may not be suitable to be given together.
  3. Storage and Handling: Store Enacard according to the instructions on the label, usually in a cool and dry place. Make sure it’s out of reach of children and other pets.
  4. Report any accidental overdose to your vet immediately: If you have mistakenly given too much Enacard, report it to your vet as soon as you realise the error. They may recommend blood tests, intravenous fluids, or monitoring, depending on the severity of the overdose.

How much monitoring does Enacard need?

  • High monitoring need


    Dogs on Enacard are usually checked every 3 months or so, and may need blood tests, although this will depend on the individual dog.

It’s sensible to monitor dogs on Enacard closely so the dose can be adjusted if necessary. In general, dogs on Enacard will need to see the vet a minimum of four times a year, but it’s likely to be more frequent when they’re first prescribed enalapril and as their heart condition deteriorates. Your vet may also want to take regular blood tests to check your dog’s kidney function.

What does Enacard cost?

  • pound

    ££ – Moderately expensive

    Enacard costs £20-60 per month

A 20kg dog on Enacard will usually cost about £1 per day. Larger dogs cost more. In general, not many places sell Enacard, which can make it more expensive to get hold of. As with all prescription-only medicines, you can only buy Enacard with a veterinary prescription, either from your vet or you can ask for a ‘written prescription’ which will allow you to buy Enacard online.

Enacard FAQs

How long does it take for Enacard to work on a dog?

Enacard is absorbed and in your dog’s blood stream within 2 hours, so it can be a fairly fast-acting drug. Although most is excreted, some enalapril can then stay in your dog’s system for over 24 hours. When (or whether) a dog responds depends on their own unique disease and combination of medications, but a response would normally be seen within a few days of steady therapy.

Can Enacard cure my dog’s heart condition, or is it just managing symptoms?

Enacard won’t cure your dog’s heart condition, but it can slow the progression of heart failure and reduce symptoms to give them a reasonable quality of life.

Is Enacard safe for long-term use?

Enacard has been tested for a year in normal (non-ill) dogs and was considered safe. Since Enacard is generally used once symptoms of heart failure are present, it’s unlikely that dogs have a long lifespan left and – in most dogs – the benefits outweigh the risks. However, if you have concerns about your vet’s prescription of Enacard to your dog you can always ask them about it.

Can I give Enacard to my pregnant or nursing dog?

It’s not recommended to give Enacard to pregnant dogs as safety has not been established. Enacard lowers blood pressure, which could be problematic for the pregnancy. However, a vet will weigh up the risks to the pregnancy along with the benefits before they prescribe Enacard. If you believe your dog could be pregnant, you should inform your vet when they prescribe the drug.

Enacard is less likely to be problematic in lactation but again there should be a risk-benefit analysis from a qualified veterinarian before prescribing this drug to nursing dogs.

Does enalapril cause loss of appetite in dogs?

Other pet parents commonly say that Enalapril caused a temporary loss of appetite in their dogs. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to support this. If your dog does experience side effects, it’s important you report them to your vet, who should report to the company – with enough evidence, the medication information can be changed to reflect what real pet owners are seeing.

What are the alternatives to Enacard?

Enacard is no longer marketed in the UK, and there are no other veterinary enalapril preparations. If your dog needs enalapril, your vet may have to provide you with a prescription for a human version. Alternatively, they might prescribe another ACE inhibitor such as:

  • Benazepril (Arixil, Banacep, Benazecare, BenazeVet, Benefortin, Fortekor, Kelapril, Benazepet, Nelio, Prilben), some of which come as flavoured tablets for easier administration

Or another drug with similar effects such as:

Enacard Datasheet

All drugs have a manufacturer’s datasheet, which gives information about the drug’s use and possible side effects. There is usually one with your Enacard tablets, but if you have lost it you can click on the button below to be taken on an online version.

Please note the attached datasheet is for the 1mg tablets – the other datasheets are identical except for the description of tablets, which obviously varies, and any dosing information.

Dog on Enacard? Try this!

If your dog is on Enacard for a health condition, you might want to learn more about what they’re taking and why it will help. Our e-learning courses teach you everything you need to know to manage their condition effectively, spot deterioration promptly, and advocate for their needs when deciding on management options. The following courses might help you if your dog is on Enacard:

Please note that the information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. Although it has been written by a vet, we cannot consider the individual nature of your pet’s problems so it does not constitute veterinary advice. If you have questions about your pet’s medication or their health you should contact a vet, who will be able to help.