Enalapril for Dogs: Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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Enalapril is a commonly used medication in veterinary medicine. It is also known as their brand names, including Vasotec and Enacard.

In this article, we are going to answer some frequently asked questions about enalapril for your canine companion.

What is Enalapril?

Enalapril for dogs is a drug that inhibits the function of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which is transforming angiotensin I to angiotensin II. 

Before we move on to the usage of enalapril for dogs, it is important to understand more about angiotensin II. Welcome to veterinary physiology! 

Blood in blood vessel - I Love Veterinary

Let’s talk about the renin-angiotensin system. The structure in the kidney called the juxtaglomerular apparatus releases renin (enzyme) when there is a decrease in blood pressure. The liver produces a protein called angiotensinogen, which is then catalyzed by renin in the blood and converted into angiotensin I. 

Once angiotensin I reaches the lungs through the circulation of the blood, it encounters the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), turning angiotensin I into the hormone angiotensin II. One of the main functions of angiotensin II is to narrow the blood vessels to increase the force of blood flow (vasoconstriction) and maintain normal blood pressure. 

Now that you know the function and how angiotensin II is created, we can talk about the uses of enalapril for dogs.

Injured dog - I Love Veterinary

What are the Uses of Enalapril for Dogs? 

Angiotensin II plays a significant role in the case of bleeding due to an injury as it preserves the blood flow to the organs, and it increases blood pressure.

On the other hand, if your pooch’s blood pressure drops as a result of congestive heart failure (CHF) is because the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body. The amount of blood remains the same; there is no blood loss. Angiotensin II will give more work to the affected heart as it will raise the force of blood flow.

Your veterinarian may prescribe enalapril or another ACE inhibitor, along with other medications such as furosemide (loop diuretic), to treat congestive heart failure. Some benefits of enalapril as long term management for CHF include:

  • It gives less work to the heart by preventing angiotensin II from being produced, and it widens the blood vessels (vasodilation) to keep normal blood flow and pressure
  • Furosemide flushes salt out of your dog’s body to help remove fluid build-up due to CHF and can cause lower blood pressure. Enalapril acts to inhibit the activation of angiotensin II and can support the effect of an appropriate dose diuretics. 

If your veterinarian has prescribed Enalapril for your pet, you can buy it here:
Enalapril 2.5mg Tablet 100 Count Bottle for Pets
from: Vet Approved Rx
Enalapril 5mg Tablet 100 Count Bottle for Pets
Enalapril 10mg Tablet 100 Count Bottle for Pets
Enalapril 20mg Tablet 100 Count Bottle for Pets

Enalapril is also used to treat:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension) depending on the underlying cause and dog’s needs. 
  • Glomerulonephritis, which is the inflammation of the glomeruli, a network of blood vessels in the kidney that helps with the filtration of blood. Enalapril dilates a structure in the kidney that carries blood away from the glomeruli and reduces its filtration rate and prevents protein (proteinuria) and blood leaking in the urine. 
visual sketch of kidneys

Side Effects of Enalapril for Dogs 

As with any medication, enalapril has side effects that we should be aware of. Some adverse reactions to enalapril that you may see in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Allergic reactions (difficulty breathing, itchiness, hives)
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Dizziness
  • Increase in the level of potassium (hyperkalemia)

Your veterinarian will closely monitor the usage of enalapril by doing blood tests and checking your dog’s blood pressure. Contact your veterinarian if you see any concerning side effects as your vet may have to adjust the dosage or change medication. 

Enalapril must not be given to pregnant or lactating bitches because it can cause congenital disorders. 

Enalapril for dogs - I Love Veterinary

Enalapril Drug Interactions 

Make sure that your vet is informed of every drug that your pet is taking and any medical condition. 

Enalapril may react with the following medications:

  • Diuretics and vasodilators with enalapril may cause low blood pressure. If your pet has CHF, the dose of diuretics should be adjusted and lowered according to your pet’s requirement. 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and potassium supplementation increase the chance of hyperkalemia.
diagram of NSAids

Dosage of Enalapril for Dogs 

Make sure to follow the instructions given by your vet to avoid overdose and to ensure the adequate performance of the drug. Your vet will take into account many factors before prescribing the medication, such as the severity and cause of the illness and weight of the dog. Here is some general information about doses:

  • The dosage of enalapril for dogs to treat CHF ranges from 0.5 mg to 1 mg every 12 to 24 hours.
  • The dosage of enalapril for dogs with hypertension can vary from 0.25 mg up to 3 mg every 12 to 24 hours.
  • For glomerulonephritis or protein-losing nephropathy, the dosage can range between 0.25 mg to 1 mg every 12 to 14 hours.

If you miss a dose, do not give two doses at once or close to the other dose. 

How is Enalapril given to Dogs?

Enalapril comes in oral form, with tablets of 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg. You can only buy enalapril with a prescription from your veterinarian.

Dog drinking from the water bowl - I Love Veterinary


Note that your pet should have access to plenty of water as this medication can get very thirsty, and this medication can be given with or without food. It is essential to talk with your vet if you have any concerns regarding this medication.

Enalapril is safe to use for dogs when adhering to your veterinarian’s advice. 

Did you know that there are specific human medications that are poisonous to pets? Check out this infographic for more information.

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Arais is a writer and virtual assistant for pet business owners and veterinarians. She is a graduated animal care assistant and has done work experience in veterinary clinics. She is going to start a degree in Veterinary Nursing In Ireland this year! When she is not writing, creating content or petting her three rescued cats, she's volunteering in an animal sanctuary and fostering kittens!