In dogs, the liver plays a vital role in maintaining their health, as it filters out toxins from their bodies. If your pooch has liver disease, you may not need to change the diet.
Our list of the best dog food for liver disease, along with a guide on what qualities to look for, will help you make the right choice for your dog.
About Liver Disease In Dogs
The liver disposes of harmful substances from the body. When it malfunctions, it can cause a rapid spread of health problems. If left untreated, liver diseases can cause inflammation and scar tissue instead of healthy liver cells.
Dog owners can prevent liver diseases from worsening if they detect them early. If left undetected, they can cause a serious brain condition called hepatic encephalopathy.
You can help your dog’s liver by taking regular blood tests, taking medication, and feeding him the proper diet.
Signs Of Dog’s Liver Disease
Symptoms of liver disease are quite similar to those of other diseases. Consult your vet if you notice any of the following signs:
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite or loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and whites of eyes)
- Increased thirst
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Behavioral changes
- Walking like he or she is drunk
- Excessive drooling
- Lack of energy or depression (staring at the wall or pressing the head against a wall)
- Dark-colored urine
- Pale gums
- Buildup of fluid in the abdomen that could be mistaken for sudden weight gain
OUR TOP 5 PICKS FOR BEST DOG FOOD FOR LIVER DISEASE
Do You Need To Change Your Dog’s Diet?
In her opinion, Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVM of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, a change in liver enzyme levels on bloodwork does not necessarily indicate that a dietary change is necessary. A change in diet can be needed for your pup for only two reasons.
1. Severe Liver Disease And Protein Intolerance
When liver disease has progressed to liver failure, the organ is no longer able to filter harmful substances from the body and prevent them from being absorbed.
The progression of liver disease can lead to hepatic encephalopathy, which alters the function or structure of the brain.
Ammonia is excreted through the urine when your dog’s liver breaks down amino acids to separate nitrogen from them. If your dog suffers from liver failure, ammonia and other toxins will remain in the bloodstream and may cause neurological damage.
The diet of your dog can help in this situation. By reducing the total amount of protein the dog consumes, it also reduces the level of toxins the liver would normally remove.
You can discuss the ideal protein levels with your veterinarian based on the dog’s tolerance.
2. Excess Copper In The Liver
There is a genetic condition found in some breeds of dogs, such as Bedlington terriers, that causes liver cells to accumulate excessive copper, which can lead to severe liver failure or death.
A low-copper diet may be the best dog food for dogs with chronic hepatitis, another copper-associated disease. It can affect puppies from middle-aged to older, with females being more susceptible.
Best Dog Food For Liver Disease
1. AvoDerm Vegetarian Recipe
Soybean meal is the main source of protein in AvoDerm’s vegetarian canned recipe for adult dogs.
As with eggs, soy contains high-quality proteins that provide nutrients while causing less damage to a failing liver, according to Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
There are no high levels of protein in this canned dog food. Rice provides easy-to-digest carbohydrates, while carrots, blueberries, and cranberries provide antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Together with canola oil, avocado meal and avocado oil are added to the mix. The omega fatty acids in these ingredients promote healthy skin and coats in dogs.
It has received numerous rave reviews from pet parents, many of whom purchased it for their dogs’ medical needs.
In most cases, these issues are caused by renal or kidney issues, allergies, liver, and digestive system problems. Many people buy this product as an alternative to prescription food or as part of a rotation with prescription food.
It is a lifesaver for the owner of a dog with liver issues, as her pup can no longer eat meat. The dog no longer suffers seizures due to liver failure.
The most common complaint is that the cans are not full, or that the pate is a bit dry. A few spoonfuls of warm water will soften the pate.
- Vegetarian – soybean meal is the main protein source
- Low to moderate protein levels
- Made of highly digestible ingredients
- Support’s dog’s digestion
- High in antioxidants from superfoods like blueberries, cranberries
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from avocado, canola oil, and flaxseed
- Highly palatable
- Reports of some cans not being full
- Can don’t have the easy-open tab
2. Weruva Green Eggs & Chicken
This grain-free canned food is made with chicken and dried egg, so it’s perfect for dogs with liver disease who are able to tolerate some meat in their diet.
It has boneless, skinless white chicken breasts and no organ meat, and it has 8% protein, which is still within the low-moderate range for wet foods.
There are a lot of omega fatty acids in sunflower seed oil that dogs need for healthy skin, coat, and brain function, as well as properties that can reduce inflammation in their livers.
This gourmet stew contains no antibiotics or hormones, and is free of artificial ingredients like colors, flavors, and preservatives.
The dog owners say that their pups love this chicken and egg recipe. As one of the symptoms of liver disease is loss of appetite, it is important to provide them with tasty food as they get excited when the can is opened. They enjoy the meaty chunks and slurp up the gravy.
Dog owners love the recognizable ingredients and commented that it smells and looks like human food.
- High-quality plant and animal protein sources: chicken, eggs, and peas
- No organ meat
- Natural ingredients
- Low to moderate protein levels
- No artificial additives; carrageenan-free
- Highly palatable
- Reports of some dented cans
3. Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care
It is specially formulated by vets to support a dog’s liver health by regenerating and repairing it.
A vet’s prescription is required to purchase this liver for dog food since it contains a low amount of protein, copper, and fat.
It contains soybean meal as the main protein source and eggs as an additional protein source. It is free of chicken meal.
The majority of pet parents avoid giving dogs foods containing soy, but soy is a better alternative to red meats, organ meats, and fish when your dog has liver disease or liver failure. It does not contain the high levels of certain amino acids that will put more strain on a liver that has already failed or has severe damage.
A boost of chicken fat and fish oil give this liver care food a boost of flavor and omega fatty acids, which dogs need for many aspects of their health.
Added antioxidants and vitamins E and C promote liver cell regeneration and reduce cell oxidation.
L-carnitine is included to enhance fat conversion and to maintain normal fat metabolism in the liver. This pate also contains L-arginine – an amino acid that increases immunity and reduces inflammation.
It has helped several dogs with elevated liver enzymes who were suffering from liver diseases, according to reviews for Liver Care wet food.
In dogs who were previously suffering from rapid energy loss, switching to this prescription food has been reported to have increased their enthusiasm for walks and activity levels.
The majority of negative comments came from buyers whose dogs never touched this dog food. The rest complained about the consistency of the pate.
A few buyers added a bit of water to the pate and mashed it with a fork to moisten it. Nevertheless, all the buyers whose dogs ate the food were quite pleased.
A second complaint from some pet parents is that L/D is not easily available. It is a prescription food and will not be as widely available as regular Hill’s Science Diet products. However, it appears that the company is having some supply problems.
- Formulated specifically for dogs with liver disease
- The liver cells are able to regenerate and recover when protein, copper, sodium, and fat levels are low
- In terms of protein, soy and eggs are the best sources
- Fish oil and chicken fat are high-quality fat sources
- Protects the immune system and cells with antioxidants, zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin C
- Maintaining liver fat metabolism with L-carnitine
- Reducing inflammation with L-arginine
- Owners of dogs with liver disease have provided excellent feedback
- Dry, grainy consistency
- Not as easy to find compared to other dog foods
- No easy-open tab
4. SquarePet Square Egg Meat Free Formula
The SquarePet Square Egg Meat Free Formula is a grain-free food suitable for dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages.
In this egg recipe, there are moderate levels of protein without compounds that overwork the liver, making it an excellent choice for dogs with liver diseases that do not require a very low protein diet.
The mighty egg is one of the best protein sources for dogs with liver disease because it provides high-quality protein without overloading the liver with compounds like purines.
Our dogs love organ meat, which is packed with purines. Whey protein is also a protein source that is easily digestible and bioavailable.
A combination of quinoa, brown rice, and tapioca is used in this recipe, which is highly digestible and high in dietary fiber. Superfoods such as coconut, cranberries, blueberries, kale, and carrots provide vitamins and antioxidants that promote cellular health and boost the immune system.
It can be used as a complete meal on its own without adding fresh food, or as a base mix if you wish to add fresh food to your pup’s diet. The best dog food in this article can be used in a rotational diet, prescription diet, or plant-based diet.
It may not be as popular as other commercial dog foods, but those who purchased it were quite satisfied with the results.
Square Egg was purchased by a buyer for her dog with urinary issues. She was pleasantly surprised that her dog loved egg-based meal. She credits Square Egg with providing her dog with a glossy coat.
Some dog owners have commented that since switching to egg-based dog food, their pups’ coats have looked so healthy and lustrous. Allergic dogs and those with kidney and urinary problems may benefit from egg-based dog food.
It is important for dogs with renal and urinary issues to eat a low-purine diet like this, much like dogs with liver disease.
Dogs seem to enjoy the taste of these kibbles, which are small and easy to chew. They are not as crunchy as regular kibble and are ideal for seniors.
Except for one Amazon customer whose dog didn’t like the egg recipe, this food has received no negative reviews.
- Bioavailable protein sources: whole egg and whey protein
- Moderate protein levels
- Highly digestible
- High palatability
- Antioxidants from superfoods like coconut, blueberries, cranberries, kale, carrots
- Wholesome grains quinoa, brown rice
- Prebiotics for digestive system support
- Easy to chew kibbles
- Not recommended if your dog’s protein intake requirement is very low
5. Halo Holistic Chicken-Free Garden Of Vegan
The Halo Holistic Chicken-Free Garden of Vegan dry food provides complete and balanced nutrition for all breeds and sizes of adult dogs.
This is one of two vegan recipes from the brand. The meatless, egg-free recipe is ideal for dogs on a vegetarian diet. It contains all the essential vitamins.
This recipe contains green peas and chickpeas, which provide the majority of the protein. Its low fat content also prevents the liver from being overworked.
The packaging does not specify its copper content in mg/kg, but it has copper proteinate and copper sulfate at the bottom of the list of mineral supplements. The absence of meat and organs also lowers copper levels.
Its high fiber and carb content comes from wholesome grains such as pearled barley and oat groats that are sustainably sourced.
Aside from sweet potatoes, dried kelp, apples, carrots, cranberries, and blueberries, it also contains antioxidant-rich superfoods. These fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients that support a healthy immune system.
Oils from sunflower, canola, and flaxseed provide the essential fatty acids needed for skin, coat, and cognitive function.
It has been called a lifesaver by owners of dogs with liver problems, significantly improving their pups’ liver enzyme levels. Other reported improvements include reduced vomiting, healthy coats and skin, as well as increased energy.
The majority of them discovered this recipe after their dogs rejected other brands of vegetarian dog food, while the rest were looking for a more affordable alternative to prescription diets. The dogs seem to like the vegan kibbles quite a bit.
In addition to being used as a base for the dog’s liver food, pet parents also use this dry food. The most popular toppings are low-sodium dairy products like ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics that can improve your dog’s overall health. Damaged livers need all the help they can get.
The majority of naysayers claimed that their dogs did not like the product, that it is quite expensive, and that it cannot be resealed.
- Meat-free proteins: green peas and chickpeas
- Lower protein content at 20%
- Wholesome grains
- Antioxidants from superfoods for immune system support
- L-carnitine: beneficial to dogs with fatty liver disease, and for better fat metabolism
- Great feedback from pet parents of dogs with liver problems
- Bags are not resealable
- Too much fiber for some dogs
6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic dry dog food is a prescription food for dogs with liver problems.
To purchase this product, a vet’s authorization is required. This product contains a high concentration of protein, copper, and sodium to reduce the strain on the liver. It is fortified with nutrients to support the liver function of your dog.
This dog food for liver problems contains soy protein isolate as its main protein source. This food is much lower in copper and purines than red meat, organs, and fish, and will not overwork the liver.
Dogs with poor appetites may benefit from a prescription diet that has a high energy density, which reduces the amount of food they need to eat. Loss of appetite is a telltale sign of liver disease. Designed to entice dogs with poor appetites, it is highly palatable.
This Hepatic formula is enriched with antioxidants to promote good cellular health as well as support the immune system.
Pet owners with canine liver disease and copper-related conditions highly recommend this veterinary diet.
It has improved the liver enzymes of their dogs, and their dogs are now more active and just generally happier since switching to this formula.
The dogs seem to like this dry liver support food, even though it is vegetable-based. The pups find it quite tasty, which is important for foods designed to improve health.
It was mentioned that some small breed dog owners found the kibbles to be too large for their pups. Others had picky dogs who did not like the soy-based food. The rest said the food is quite costly and is often on backorder.
- Vet formulated specifically to address liver problems
- Low protein and copper level
- High palatability
- L-carnitine for better fat metabolism
- Great feedback from owners of dogs with liver problems
- Kibble size may be too big for small breed dogs
- Not always available
7. Addiction Country Chicken & Apricot Dinner
A grain-free raw dehydrated dog food, Addiction Country Chicken & Apricot Dinner is formulated for adult dogs of all breeds and sizes.
At 22% protein, this chicken recipe is quite low in protein, making it ideal for dogs who can tolerate low or moderate protein levels.
A chicken and apricot dinner is the perfect alternative for dogs that were previously on a raw diet. The air-drying process prevents harmful bacteria from growing while retaining the high nutritional quality of the food.
It has a lower copper and purine level than other animal proteins, including red meat, offal, and fish, which can be given to some dogs with liver problems.
This dehydrated recipe is filled with vitamins and antioxidants such as carrots, flaxseed, apples, apricots, papayas, and others. As well as supporting the regeneration of cells necessary for good liver health, these antioxidants give dogs with liver disease a boost to their immune system.
In order to prepare this dehydrated dog food, simply mix 1 part food with 1 part warm water and mix. No need to wait. Stir and serve. You can also adjust the consistency according to your preference by adding or reducing the water.
The rehydrated food is a hit with dogs with various food sensitivities. They gobble up the rehydrated food and lick their bowls clean. Pet owners love that it is so simple to prepare.
They can provide their pups with the rich nutrition of a raw diet while avoiding the risk of harmful bacteria.
A few buyers expected chunkier food but found that the rehydrated food looked more like oatmeal.
- Low to moderate protein levels at 22%
- Raw chicken is the main protein source
- Free from chicken meal, organ meat
- Healthy fat source: coconut oil
- Antioxidants from superfoods and vitamin E for good cellular health
- Combines raw nutrition with the convenience of kibble
- Not all dogs like the consistency of the rehydrated food
8. Nutramax Denamarin Tablets Liver Supplement
As with worming tablets, Nutramax Denamarin Tablets Liver Supplement for Dogs contain dosages based on the dog’s weight.
Make sure to purchase the dosage that corresponds with your dog’s weight when purchasing Denamarin for cats and dogs.
As reported by Nutramax, this supplement promotes liver health by increasing levels of glutathione, a potent antioxidant. Glutathione helps facilitate liver detoxification and promotes the regeneration of liver cells.
By helping maintain a healthy oxidative balance, Silibyn, a bioavailable form of milk thistle, supports liver function. The SAMe (S-Adenosylmethionine) in the supplements not only supports liver health but also promotes healthy brain function by acting as a neuroprotector.
Denamarin appears to help stabilize the liver enzyme levels of dogs with liver problems. Some dogs have shown significant improvements in their bloodwork within a few months or even weeks with Denamarin.
To help your dog’s liver recover, you can use this supplement along with medication and one of the best dog food products for liver problems.
The instructions state that the tablets should not be split or crumbled, so some dog owners may find it difficult to give theipups tablets.s. If your dog prefers chews, Nutramax also offers Denamarin Chewable Tablet Liver Supplement for Dogs.
- Aids dog’s liver repair
- Contains Silibyn – promotes liver detoxification
- Has helped numerous dogs with liver diseases improve their liver enzyme levels
- Noticeably healthy and shiny coats on dogs
- Supports brain health – beneficial to dogs suffering from brain disease-related conditions
- Can be hard to administer to some dogs
9. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Chicken Recipe
Farmers Dog Chicken Recipe is a fresh-cooked dog food that’s specially formulated by vets and veterinary nutritionists to meet your dog’s specific nutritional needs.
They will need information about your dog’s age, breed, activity level, ideal weight, food sensitivities, and any special dietary needs.
The first five ingredients of their standard recipe may include chicken liver, but don’t be alarmed if your pooch can’t consume those ingredients.
Taking your dog’s ideal weight into consideration, they can formulate recipes that address weight loss, a common symptom of liver disease.
A grain-free recipe contains only natural ingredients sourced from reputable food suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors.
Fresh dog food is also pre-portioned according to your pup’s nutritional and caloric needs, so you don’t have to worry about measuring and weighing the food.
If your dog requires grains, you can add oats, brown rice, or other wholesome grains to the fresh food made by The Farmer’s Dog.
They currently offer chicken, beef, pork, and turkey recipes. It is unclear at this time whether they make vegetarian meals on request.
- Customizable to suit your dog’s nutritional needs
- Made of high-quality, human-grade natural ingredients
- USDA chicken
- Pre-portioned for convenience
- Vet and nutritionist formulated fresh-cooked food
- Meal subscriptions can be changed as needed
- No-grain inclusive options
What To Look For In The Best Dog Food For Liver Disease?
You’ll be able to narrow down your search for the right food after getting advice from your vet about what your pup needs to address her liver disease.
In spite of the lowered protein levels, feeding your dog with liver disease may still require some trial and error.
The following qualities will help you determine whether your dog needs a diet overhaul if his liver condition is not copper-related or at a mild level.
The Right Protein Sources
A dog with liver disease may need to filter out more toxins from some protein sources, or they may produce more ammonia. Red meat, organ meats, and fish contain some amino acids that are harmful to them.
It is ideal for dog food to have high-quality protein sources like eggs, plant-based ones like soy, or chicken. Chicken meal may not be the best source in this instance since it contains more concentrated levels of protein than fresh chicken.
As a result of differences in amino acid composition and tissue origin, many people do better on plant-based proteins, egg- and dairy-based proteins, says Dr. Heinze. Dairy products like ricotta, goat cheese, or yogurt can be used as healthy treats for your dog.
The Right Protein Levels
Depending on the severity and cause of the liver disease, and the medications your dog is taking, your vet can determine the right protein percentage for your dog’s liver disease diet.
Copper toxicity can be reduced with a low-copper diet and medication if copper toxicity is the main problem. Dog food that is prescribed for chronic liver disease is low in copper and low in protein. These diets are among the best for various liver problems in dogs.
It should be noted that not all dogs who need low copper diets also require low protein diets. In this case, your vet may recommend a homemade fresh diet for dog liver disease, which allows you to control the appropriate levels of copper and protein for your pup.
A non-prescription dog food product with protein sources lower in copper and phosphorus is also available. Avoid red meat as well. For better liver function, opt for foods containing eggs, soy, or chicken. These foods can be used in conjunction with medications and supplements to help your dog’s liver function.
Moderate Or Lower Sodium Levels
Sodium can overwork the liver, so it is recommended to limit the sodium levels of your dog’s meals as well.
Free Of Artificial Additives
Dog foods with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives are best. Remember that an unhealthy liver cannot rid the body of toxins. Feeding foods high in additives can put more strain on the liver.
It is recommended that dogs with liver disease consume more water. You can add more moisture to your dog’s diet by feeding fresh or wet food to improve her liver function.
The liver does not have to work as hard when digesting wet food. Because wet food is high in moisture, it can be topped on dry food or substituted for some meals.
Serve a low-sodium homemade broth between meals or pour it over your pup’s food to increase his water intake.
The right food for dogs with any medical condition must take into account a variety of factors. The proper diet for your pup can set him on the right track to healthier liver cells, but unlike some health issues, liver disease requires a proper veterinary diagnosis.
Your vet will likely run tests to determine the right balance of nutrients that your pup needs, regardless of which type of liver problem your dog has. Although prescription liver support food covers both low protein and low copper requirements, there is no single food that is ideal for every dog with liver disease.
The food your dog, depending on her liver enzyme levels and the severity of the disease, along with her protein and copper tolerance levels, may not need to be changed in mild to moderate liver damage cases.
No matter what your veterinarian recommended, our list should help you find the best dog food for liver disease, whether it’s chicken, eggs, or vegetarian homemade food.