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, also known as 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 (enalapril) 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. Here’s a simplified overview of potential side effects:

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.

Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure): 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 Water Consumption and Urination: Enacard’s diuretic effect may lead to increased water intake and more frequent urination.

Remember, not all pets will experience these side effects, and the benefits of using Enacard often outweigh the risks, especially in pets with serious health conditions. 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 or cat 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.

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.

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, 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.

Courses related to 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.