Canine liver disease is dangerous! This is so since the liver is an important organ for your furry friend. It helps with digestion and blood clotting. Not to mention that it removes toxins from the system. If there are problems in this area, then you need to give your dog food for liver disease.
When the liver fails or becomes diseased, it can make your four-legged pal very sick.
She can lose weight, grow weaker, lose appetite, vomit, and even have diarrhea.
But the good news is that you can treat and manage the condition with a high-quality prescription diet from your vet. There are several commercial nutrition you can consider.
Here is our roundup of the best vet recommended diets for treating and managing liver diseases.
Quick Comparison the Best Dog Foods for Liver Disease are:
|Hill’s Prescription Liver Care
|Royal Canin Canine Hepatic Dry Dog Food||
|Wilderness Blue Buffalo||
|The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Organic Dog Food||
|Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Dry||
Is Bone Broth Good For Dogs With Liver Problems?
Most dog owners have discovered the benefits of bone broth. If not helping your dog’s coat health, this bone broth will improve your dog’s digestive system health.
Even with such a wealth of benefits, is bone broth good for dogs with poor liver function?
Bone broth is delicious nutrient-dense dog food for liver problems that you can give your furry friend with dog liver disease. You can use bone broth to improve the taste of any dry dog food for liver disease. You can also use bone broth to increase your dog’s food protein content.
However, avoid giving dogs with chronic liver problems too much bone broth. The reason being bone broth comes loaded with extra proteins that your dog’s liver may find hard to metabolize.
Improper metabolism of proteins in your dog’s liver leads to increased ammonia levels in the blood.
The ammonia mixes with lots of toxins in your dog’s blood affecting the central nervous system.
This condition is known as hepatic encephalopathy with symptoms like spacing out, seizures, and loss of appetite.
As a precaution, enquire from the vet whether bone broth is a proper diet for your dog with poor liver function.
What Is The Best Dog Food To Feed A Dog With Liver Problems?
Besides using other treatment plans like medication or surgery, dietary modification goes a long way in helping your dog with liver problems.
And before jumping onto this option, it’s always good you seek guidance from the vet or canine nutritionist.
Dog food for liver disease, key considerations:
It’s not right to limit the quantity of protein in your dog’s bowl. Rather, it’s recommended to give your canine companion dog food for liver problems containing digestible, high-quality animal-based proteins.
Animal-based proteins are easy to digest and contain key amino acids that promote the regeneration of the dog’s liver.
Also, ensure that dog food for liver diseases has high-quality, low ammonium meat proteins—for example, chicken and turkey.
Look for dog food for liver problems with complex carbs like cooked oatmeal, brown rice, and barley. These complex carbs contain fiber that promotes smooth digestion and absorbs ammonia from the system.
Low copper diet for dogs with liver problems
Copper is one mineral that can cause severe liver problems. It is always advisable to look for dog food for liver disease with a low concentration of copper—for example, chicken eggs, white fish, cheese, turkey.
How Can I Help My Dog With Liver Problems?
Your dog with liver problems needs optimal care for it to live a long healthy, and hearty life. As a dog parent, what is your core role in keeping your dog’s liver healthy?
The first thing is giving your dog a proper diet. Whether it is homemade dog food for liver disease or that commercial diet your vet prescribed. All you should ensure is that your dog consumes a high-quality diet.
High-quality dog food for liver disease will support liver repair and regeneration.
A proper diet will also prevent further damage to the liver. Also, high-quality dog food for liver disease will prevent the accumulation of toxins in the blood.
- Supplements and treats will help.
Ask advice from a vet or nutritionist on some of the best supplements or best treats suitable for your dog with liver problems.
Besides supplements and high-quality dog food for liver diseases, choose healthy treats that support your dog’s health without adding extra calories.
Also, supplements like ashwagandha, milk thistle, and fish oil are good for your dog recovering from this disease.
- Provide plenty of water
Water consumption is good for your dog’s liver and general digestive enzymes. Ensure your dog drinks clean water daily. Avoid tap water, as it may contain pesticides, fluorides, and herbicides, which the ailing liver may find hard to eliminate.
- Working with your vet is important.
Visit the vet frequently so that your dog can be checked on his progress after being on medication. The vet can also perform some blood tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the medication.
Your vet will let you know what to do to help your dog recover from acute or chronic liver disease.
The vet can also evaluate whether your dog needs a prescription dog food for liver disease with ingredients that prevent further liver damage.
How Can I Lower My Dog’s Liver Enzymes Naturally?
One symptom of liver disease is elevated liver enzymes. And through a diagnostic laboratory test, the vet can point out the elevated enzymes of concern in your dog’s body.
Some of these enzymes that are predominant in dogs with liver problems are -:
- Gamma glutamyltransferase
- Alkaline phosphatase- may be elevated in both liver and non-liver-related diseases.
- Alanine aminotransferase
If not using medication and prescription dog food for liver disease, one can naturally lower the liver enzymes in dogs with liver problems.
However, your vet’s or canine nutritionist’s advice will be of great importance.
Vets and canine nutritionists advise using antioxidants to decelerate these liver enzymes’ production.
These antioxidants include Vitamin C Vitamin E found in fresh vegetables and fruits. You can also use silymarin (milk thistle) and s-adenosylmethionine to lower the concentration of liver enzymes in your dog’s system.
Besides lowering liver enzymes, these supplements will promote the general wellbeing of your pet.
Is Chicken Liver Good For Dogs?
Chicken liver is one of the best dog food for liver disease. Chicken has lots of vitamins and amino acids that can benefit your dog.
Key benefits includes–
- Vitamin A – suitable for improving dog’s eyesight
- Vitamin B- helps in the function of the dog’s body cells
- Vitamin D – supports the immune system
Chicken liver is also a high-quality protein source that can be served as a treat to your dog. Alternatively, you can put the well-prepared liver in your dog’s routine dog food for liver disease.
This liver will improve the palatability of this dog food for liver problems which is important for dogs with liver problems as they often have a poor appetite.
However, caution is needed. Too much liver may be toxic to your dog. Chicken liver has a high concentration of copper, not suitable for dogs with liver disease.
A key concern is for a dog breed like the Belington terrier, which finds it difficult to excrete copper in its body.
Other dog breeds at risk of copper toxicity include Dobermans, Skye terriers, and Labrador retrievers.
Lastly, the chicken liver has the highest fat content than beef liver. Thus too much of it may cause obesity.
What Is A Hepatic Diet?
According to Royal Canin, a hepatic diet is a palatable, easy-to-digest dog food with low levels of copper. The dog food for liver problems contains nutrients that support the overall health of the liver and promote the regeneration of liver cells.
Such a diet contains–
- Low copper– The high copper content in the diet is one of the leading causes of liver damage. And that’s why most dogs with progressed liver problems are managed with a low copper dog food for liver disease.
- Antioxidants– If you analyze the content many dog foods for liver problems have, you will find lots of antioxidants. These antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging liver cells.
- Soluble fiber– complex carbs and vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber- this soluble fiber decreases the amount of ammonia in the blood. Fiber is also important for your dog’s digestive system health.
- Highly digestible protein– High-quality and easy-to-digest proteins are key components in a hepatic diet.
- These proteins provide essential amino acids for the regeneration of the liver.
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet – Best Overall
This is a protein-rich diet that contains all the meat your dog loves and the necessary nutrients needed for managing and preventing liver diseases.
- Deboned chicken
- Chicken meal
- Pea protein
- Tapioca starch
This dog food for liver disease is designed to mimic the natural diet of the wild with deboned chicken as the first ingredient, which is a great source of lean meat.
The recipe features potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes. Great sources of healthy complex carbs that provide energy more effectively.
Carrots, cranberries, and blueberries provide plenty of antioxidants that not only fight free radicals but also support a healthy immune system.
In addition to preventing and managing liver diseases, this diet is also great for promoting healthy joints, thanks to the chondroitin and glucosamine rich ingredients.
But the thing is, the low-calorie count in this food might not be convenient for some dog breeds to maintain their overall energy needs.
- Debone chicken is a great source of lean meat
- Healthy complex carb supply energy more effectively
- Plenty of anti-oxidants boost the immune system to fight liver diseases
- Does a great job of promoting healthy bones
- Great choice of pooches with allergies
- Its calorie count may be too low for some breeds
If you are looking for a recipe that is equipped with all the necessary nutrients your dog needs to fight and prevent liver disease, look no further than Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet.
2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Vet Recommended
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula is the best vet recommended dog food for liver disease. It is formulated to boost your dog’s liver function.
- Brewer’s rice
- Brown rice
- Soy protein isolate
- Chicken fat
This nutrition has a low level of copper and good amounts of zinc, which is great because they help to reduce hepatic copper concentration.
The food has quick energy sources, including brewer’s rice, brown rice, soy protein isolate, and corn, which ensure your pup has sufficient energy.
The primary source of fat in the diet is chicken fat, which is good because it is free of the usual allergen found in ordinary chicken protein.
The digestible vegetable proteins and antioxidant blend in this diet support healthy liver function and immune system.
But here is the thing, the chunks may be too big for medium and small pooches.
- Low copper levels reduce the hepatic copper concentration
- Digestible vegetable proteins boost liver health
- Antioxidants support a healthy immune system
- Palatable diet is great for picky eaters
- Chunks may be too big for small pups
If you are looking for a specially formulated prescription diet that is well-equipped for supporting healthy liver function, then this is your go-to food.
3. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Dog Food – Best Dehydrated Recipe
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe features hearty protein sources and organic grains that are aimed to improve liver function and overall health.
- Dehydrated turkey
- Dehydrated carrots
- Organic flaxseed
- Dehydrated potatoes
- Organic oats
The brand uses a unique dehydration technique that ensures all the ingredients retain more of the natural phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
The first ingredient is dehydrated turkey (lean white meat) that is formulated to help the body of your pup build muscle. It is also a highly digestible protein.
Also, dehydrated turkey may provide an alternative option for your pup, if she has food allergies or food sensitivities.
Another good aspect of this diet is taurine, which does not only boost the immune system but also supports healthy eye and heart function.
But the texture, taste, and appearance of this dog food for liver disease may not be the same as the original food.
- Has all the natural phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals
- Contains highly digestible protein
- The ideal diet for allergic and sensitive pups
- Taurine in the diet boost immune, heart, and eye function
- No GMO ingredients, preservatives, or additives
- May not retain the same texture, taste, and appearance after rehydration
- Picky eaters may have issues with the food
This is a great recipe for all pups, including allergic and sensitive ones. Not to mention that it is very versatile and super easy to prepare.
4. Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food – Best Freeze-Dried Raw Diet
This diet fills your pup with pure, uncompromised nutrition of raw food with cage-free chicken as the first ingredient.
- Chicken meal
- Chicken fat
The Instinct Original recipe is formulated with seventy percent real animal and wholesome ingredients, fruits, vegetables, and nutritious oils.
Chicken as the first ingredient provides your pup with a lean protein source for energy, while the chicken fat supports a healthy immune system for fighting liver diseases.
Ingredients rich in vitamin E provide your pooch with a fat-soluble vitamin that is usually stored in the liver and fatty tissue. It boosts red blood cell production to fight liver diseases.
The food has incredible levels of natural probiotics, antioxidants, and natural omegas to boost immune health to support liver and digestive function.
But the thing is, some ingredients in the food might be allergic to sensitive dogs.
- Real animal ingredients without preservatives or artificial colors
- Lean protein sources provide plenty of energy without the high-calorie count
- Fat-soluble vitamin E helps fight liver diseases
- Probiotics support healthy digestive function
- Antioxidants improve immune and liver function
- Some ingredients of this dog food for liver disease may trigger allergies in sensitive pups
This recipe has the power of raw ingredients that will provide your pup with all the nutrients she needs for fighting liver diseases.
5. Hill’s Prescription Diet I/d Liver Care Dog Food – Best Canned Diet
If you are looking for a recipe that supports liver health, the Hill’s Prescription I/d is the best-canned diet to buy.
- Chicken fat
- Soybean meal
- Soybean oil
Your pup’s liver is responsible for so much. It absorbs and stores nutrients as well as removes toxins from her blood.
The Prescription Diet I/d is formulated to help your pooch avoid nutrient deficiencies, which is great because it reduces the liver’s workload.
Water, being the first ingredient, does not only help your dog stay hydrated, but it also puts less strain on your liver, kidney, and urinary tract.
This recipe is incredible at maintaining optimal fat metabolism in your dog’s liver and contains exceptional levels of L-arginine and L-carnitine.
But the thing is, the quality control of the recipe may not be consistent from one can to another.
- Averts nutrient deficiencies to reduce liver workload
- Plenty of water keeps your dog hydrated
- Maintains the liver normal fat metabolism
- Low copper levels minimize hepatic copper concentration
- Clinically proven antioxidant blend boosts immune health
- Quality control might not be consistent from one can to another
The Hill’s Prescription Diet I/d is revolutionary nutrition for your pup’s full-body health. It boosts the immune system to support healthy liver, kidney, and urinary tract functions.
6. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Dry
If you are looking for a product that is rich in vitamins and minerals, you can choose this dog food for liver disease.
This food promises to give your little furry friend a great tasting because it’s made of grain-free, high protein, and freeze-dried raw coated kibble.
Feed your pet this recipe. And, he can get a naturally nutrient-rich diet. You can feed the food for even smaller mouths because of the addition of the perfect kibble size.
This option is balanced levels of proteins, calories, and fats. That makes it great for the lifestyle of toy breed dogs.
It’s added with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. So, your pet can get a soft and shiny coat. In addition, you can find added vitamins and minerals in this recipe.
There is no existence of grain, gluten, wheat, corn, soy, fillers, flavors, artificial colors, and preservatives.
These ingredients can help to cleanse the liver. Also, the food is low in copper and sodium.
7. Hungry Bark – Premium Dry Dog Food
Hungry bark – premium dry dog food is vet-recommended dog food for liver diseases rich in premium protein sources that support liver healing.
Farm-raised lamb and turkey are the key protein sources in this dog food for liver problems. These protein sources are gentle on the liver and easy to digest. Moreover, this recipe has nutrient-rich superfoods like sweet potato, blueberries, spinach. These superfoods provide antioxidants and essential vitamins that promote healthy liver regeneration.
The added probiotics ensure your dog has smooth digestion and enhanced nutrient absorption. Also, DL-Methionine and zinc are added to this kibble to protect your dog’s liver from further degeneration. This dog food for liver disease lacks grains, artificial flavors, and meat by-products that can be tough on your dog’s liver.
This recipe highlight is the quality of ingredients and various flavors available. The only concern here is that this dog food for liver disease is quite expensive compared to other recipes of the same category.
- Perfect dog food for all ages and breeds
- Features nutrient-rich superfood to support your dog’s well being
- No grains or filler that may affect your dog
8. Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care Dog Food
Appearing once more is the brand Hill’s Science with this dry dog food for liver disease.
This vet-prescribed dog food for liver disease is formulated to protect and promote your dog’s liver function. First, this dry dog food for liver problems has a high-quality protein source from chicken and egg products that don’t overwork your dog’s ailing liver.
This scientifically formulated dog food for liver problems contains clinically proven antioxidants that support the immune system. These antioxidants will also reduce cell and tissue breakdown in your dog’s liver.
The added L-carnitine and L-arginine ensure proper fat metabolism promoting a healthy weight and improved liver function.
Also, this low-protein dog food for liver problems has good zinc levels and low copper quantity important in maintaining your dog’s liver health.
Besides being the best dog food for liver disease, this recipe reduces the formation of bladder stones like struvite and calcium oxalates.
Verdict: this dry food has quality ingredients that will promote your dog’s liver health. However, palatability seems to be an issue.
- Formulated by vets and nutritionists
- Feature quality proteins that reduce the liver workload
- Feature low levels of copper
- Made in the USA
- Some pets won’t eat this recipe unless mixed with wet dog food.
Things to Consider when Buying Dog Food for Liver Diseases
Not every recipe that is advertised out there will help treat and manage liver diseases in your pal’s body. But here are a few considerations that will help you find genuine nutrition. If you think your dog may have a problem, you need a test to assess your dog’s blood sugar and if he has liver, kidney, or pancreatic disease.
Prescription dog food for liver disease
The best commercial foods usually come highly recommended by dog parents.
So, it is very easy for you to consider buying a given food brand based on the recommendation of another dog parent.
But we strongly discourage such a decision. It should click in your mind that managing liver diseases in dogs isn’t as easy as skin and coat care.
And that’s why a prescription and recommendation from your pal’s veterinarian is very important.
Prescription dog foods are specially formulated to deal with liver diseases. You can buy them through your dog’s vet or directly online or from the manufacturer.
Protein Should Be Restricted
If you choose to buy your dog’s nutrition directly online or from the manufacturer, then make sure the diet has restricted protein levels.
Raw meat can contain bacteria, which might likely cause harm. Your pal’s liver is responsible for eliminating bacteria.
So, if she has liver disease, she is at high risk of infection. Not to mention that red meat has aromatic amino acids that are not ideal for a pup with liver problems.
What you should consider is a nutrition that is rich in proteins obtained from lean meat, such as chicken.
Research also suggests that pup with liver issues tend to live longer when protein is sourced from chicken or other lean meat sources.
A dog with liver issues should be fed a fresh, wholesome diet that contains easily digestible nutrients that nourish the liver cells.
The diet should be able to support detoxification and promote optimal overall well-being.
You can also consider diets with vegetable proteins because they are highly digestible and very effective at promoting healthy liver function in dogs with liver diseases.
The formula itself should be palatable with a good texture and taste, especially for picky eaters.
Your furry friend with liver disease also needs simple carbohydrates that are highly digestible for energy.
But avoid diets with high-GI carbs. Brown rice and potatoes are great options.
Low Copper Diets
A nutrition low in copper is most beneficial for managing early copper accumulation in your pup if she is affected with primary metabolic defects in hepatic copper metabolism.
Feeding a low copper diet decreases hepatic copper content. Diets with a large amount of copper, such as beans, legumes, cereals, and nuts should be avoided.
Read the Labels
You probably read food labels every single day when you buy your food. So, it shouldn’t be a bother to do the same for your furry friend.
The first important label to pay close attention to is the ingredients list. The most important item on the list is the first ingredient, which is usually the protein source.
We recommend lean meat for a dog struggling with liver problems, such as chicken or turkey.
The next label you need to have a look at is the guaranteed analysis.
From this section, you can know the percentages of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, moisture, calcium, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids among other important nutrients.
Homemade Dog Food for Liver Disease
If you want to make foods for your dog yourself, remember that you should feed him at least 50% of the meat. Also, the number of carbs and grains should be kept under 50%.
In order to determine the number of foods to feed your dog, you need to determine his body weight. Then, feed your pet accordingly.
According to Dr.Jean Dodds, we should give our pets a diet with a 50/50 mix of sweet potatoes and white potatoes.
Make a mixture of fish and potato as the ratio 1:2. Cooked chopped carrots should be also added to your pet’s diet.
Moreover, you can add scrambled eggs, green beans, and yellow squash to his diet.
Additional Foods for Dogs with Liver Disease
For all dog foods you feed your pet, you should add additional types of food to his diet. Here are some great options to consider:
- Dairy products, including yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and goat cheese.
- High-quality proteins from turkey and chicken. Avoid the fish, eggs, and bones in the diet.
- White rice, oatmeal, canned plain pumpkin, and barley. They offer essential fiber.
- Fish oil (a great source of omega 3 fatty acids)
- Coconut oil
- Fruits, including figs, papayas, blueberries, and seedless watermelon.
Here are a few essential ingredients to choose for dogs with liver diseases:
For dogs with liver disease, you need to monitor their protein intake. Look for high-quality proteins.
Some of the protein may be sourced from non-meat sources. The proteins you give your dog should come with enough amino acid for his digestion.
In addition, you can also consider plant-based proteins. Most importantly, remember to give your pet less protein in order to control the symptoms of liver disease.
Some animal proteins are available in high levels of copper. Therefore, you have to be careful when choosing the best dog foods for liver disease. It’s best to avoid these proteins.
Especially, it’s vital to avoid liver and organ meat. Some other meats with high levels of copper include lamb, duck, pork, and salmon.
However, there are also protein sources that are low in copper such as chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, whitefish, and cheese.
Fat in dog food for liver disease
If there is a high level of fat in your dog’s diet, he may suffer from liver disease. So, it’s best to give these dogs a diet with 50% fat content.
This factor is important for your pet digestion. So, it’s essential to add fiber to his diet. At the same time, remove ammonia.
Carbohydrates may be found in cooked oatmeal, pasta, and white rice.
Additives and Supplements
You should give dogs with liver disease a low-salt diet. This is to prevent the fluid in the abdomen from building up.
There are some great supplements to consider such as vitamin B complex, vitamin E, C, K, Zinc, and Adenosylmethionine.
Select the best dog food for liver disease for your pooch
This marks the end of our roundup, but we have a winner, the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet. But the others are not bad either. You can select any of the following:
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Vet Recommended
- The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Dog Food – Best Dehydrated Recipe
- Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food – Best Freeze-Dried Raw Diet
- Hill’s Prescription Diet I/d Liver Care Dog Food – Best Canned Diet
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Dry
A diet that gives your pup the taste of the wild, while supporting healthy liver function.
It is a grain-free diet that sources its carbohydrates from potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes. It supplies the energy your dog needs without the risk of obesity.
This diet is antioxidant enriched (carrots, cranberries, and blueberries), which boosts the immune system and supports healthy liver function.
Additionally, this nutrition is also formulated for healthy muscle development, strong teeth and bones, and healthy skin and coat.
Your dog with liver diseases can thrive on wet or dry dog food. Whichever you decide to use, quality and digestibility should be of high standards.
Giving your dog a protein-restricted diet is not one of the best ways to manage dogs’ liver problems. Instead, opt for high-quality, low copper animal protein sources that are gentle on the liver.
Lastly, don’t start your dog on any prescription diet to manage liver problems without your vet’s input.
Cover image Pexels
- Quick Comparison the Best Dog Foods for Liver Disease are:
- Is Bone Broth Good For Dogs With Liver Problems?
- What Is The Best Dog Food To Feed A Dog With Liver Problems?
- How Can I Help My Dog With Liver Problems?
- How Can I Lower My Dog’s Liver Enzymes Naturally?
- Is Chicken Liver Good For Dogs?
- What Is A Hepatic Diet?
- 1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Nature’s Evolutionary Diet – Best Overall
- 2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Vet Recommended
- 3. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Dog Food – Best Dehydrated Recipe
- 4. Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food – Best Freeze-Dried Raw Diet
- 5. Hill’s Prescription Diet I/d Liver Care Dog Food – Best Canned Diet
- 6. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Dry
- 7. Hungry Bark – Premium Dry Dog Food
- 8. Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care Dog Food
- Things to Consider when Buying Dog Food for Liver Diseases
- Homemade Dog Food for Liver Disease
- Additional Foods for Dogs with Liver Disease
- Select the best dog food for liver disease for your pooch