10 Best dog food for liver disease – reviews and Nutrition tips

Written by: Peter Laskay
Reviewed by: Amber LaRock
Last updated on:

This is my detailed guide on what is the best dog food for liver disease in 2021.

The liver is clearly one of the most important internal organs to look out for. So if your vet determines that your dog has liver disease, you need to take immediate action. Dietary change is critical.

A good liver diet should include digestible proteins, moderated amounts of healthy fats, lots of dietary fiber, and healthy micronutrients. You should also pay attention to low copper content.

Together with my expert friends we found, that Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care is the best dog food for liver conditions. It is a prescription diet developed by veterinarians and animal nutritionists specifically for these problems.

Of course, you should also consult your veterinarian before making a final decision.

What Are the best Dog Foods For Liver Disease?

  1. Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Liver CareOverall Best Dog Food For Liver Disease
  2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic FormulaRunner Up Prescription Option
  3. Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care CannedBest Wet Option
  4. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey RecipeBest Commercial Option
  5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy WeightBest for Large Breeds
  6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited IngredientBest for Small Breeds
  7. Diamond Naturals Light FormulaBest Budget Option
  8. Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog FoodBest Premium Option
  9. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy FormulaBest for puppies
  10. Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice FormulaBest for Seniors

best dog foods for liver disease

Dog FoodName And FeaturesPet Worshiper RatingWhere To Buy?
Overall Best For Liver Disease
Hill's Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care
Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care
  • Formulated by vets and nutritionists
  • Contains helpful amino acids
  • Low copper content
  • High digestibility
9.8
Check on Amazon
Runner Up Prescription
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula
  • Formulated by vets and nutritionists
  • Suitable for liver care
  • Contains helpful amino acids
  • High digestibility
9.5
Check on Amazon
Best Wet Option
Hill's Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care Canned
Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care Canned
  • High moisture content
  • Formulated by vets and nutritionists
  • Contains helpful amino acids
  • Low copper content
9.6
Check on Amazon
Best Commercial Option
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe
  • Made with organic and natural ingredients
  • High-quality protein source
  • Moderate calories and protein content
  • Minimally processed
9.7
Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy
Best for Large Breeds
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight
  • Formulated for large breeds
  • High-quality protein source
  • High fiber content
  • Added micronutrients promote the immune system
9.4
Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy
Best For Small Breeds
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient
  • Formulated for small breeds
  • High-quality protein source
  • Limited ingredients
  • Hight omega-3 content
9.5
Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy
Best Budget Option
Diamond Naturals Light Formula
Diamond Naturals Light Formula
  • Affordable
  • High-quality protein source
  • Grains with high fiber content
  • Suitable for weight management
9.5
Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy
Best Premium Option
Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food
Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food
  • Premium carnivorous diet
  • High-quality protein sources
  • Air-dried
  • Contains New Zealand green mussel
9.6
Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy
Best for puppies
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula
  • Formulated for puppies
  • High-quality protein sources
  • Affordable
  • Great fiber sources
9.4
Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy
Best for Seniors
Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula
Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula
  • Formulated for seniors
  • High-quality protein sources
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Great fiber sources
9.5
Check on AmazonCheck on Chewy

Liver disease dog foods – Full reviews

In case of liver problems, do not leave anything to chance. You need to choose the best possible diet for your dog. Below you will find the best recipes. I have found that these dog foods can properly treat liver disease in dogs. You must always consult your veterinarian about the proper nutrition for your pup.

1. Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Liver Care – Overall Best Dog Food For Liver Disease


There are quite a few suitable commercial recipes on the market. But in many cases, you will need a prescription product if you want to help your dog with liver disease. This formula at Hill’s was developed by veterinarians and pet nutritionists. Ingredients include the best animal and plant sources to help with liver care.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken, Chicken Fat, Egg Product, Soybean Meal

  • Protein content: 14.5%

  • Fat content: 19%

  • Omega-3 content: N/A

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet

  • Life stage: Adults

This dry dog ​​food contains high digestible protein sources (Chicken and Egg Product) that do not burden the liver. Plus, they have a high biological value, so you don’t have to worry about your dog not getting the essential nutrients.

The food contains many added amino acids that protect the liver and improve liver metabolism. Examples are L-Methionine, L-Carnitine, and L-Arginine. The low copper content is also positive, as the accumulation of this metal harms dogs with liver disease.

The primary source of fat in this product is Chicken Fat. This makes it very tasty and desirable for dogs. But we also find Flaxseed among the ingredients, which is guaranteed to balance the omega fatty acid profile. This is because Omega-3 content has a lot of positive effects on dogs.

The recipe is also available in a wet canned form if your dog prefers it.

Pros

  • Best for liver care
  • Formulated by vets and nutritionists
  • Contains helpful amino acids
  • Low copper content
  • High digestibility

Cons

  • You need to consult your vet before purchasing

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.8


2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula – Runner Up Prescription Option


Whatever the specific problem, Royal Canin will have a suitable recipe for it. This is no different with this Hepatic Formula, which is tasty and well digestible and contains nutrients that support liver function.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn, Brown Rice, Soy Protein Isolate, Chicken Fat

  • Protein content: 14%

  • Fat content: 14%

  • Omega-3 content: N/A

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet

  • Life stage: Adults

Examination of the ingredients shows why this product is ideal for liver disease.

The protein content is moderated and given by soy protein. It doesn’t have as good a biological value as egg white(or chicken). But it is an isolate that immediately delivers amino acids into the bloodstream. This method removes the load from your dog’s liver.

L-arginine is missing from this recipe, so it is not the best for specific liver problems (biliary associated). However, it contains DL-Methionine and L-Carnitine, which help with liver metabolism.

Dried beet pulp has a high fiber content. This, on the one hand, improves intestinal function and, on the other hand, traps harmful substances in the intestine.

High antioxidant content increases the immune system’s defenses. Similar to the omega-3 fatty acids provided by fish oil, among others.

As I mentioned, the low copper content is ideal for a liver diet. Royal Canin Hepatic Formula contains only 6 mg/kg of copper, so this condition is met to the maximum.

This food is wet but also available in a wet canned form.

Pros

  • Suitable for liver care
  • Formulated by vets and nutritionists
  • Contains helpful amino acids
  • Low copper content
  • High digestibility

Cons

  • You need to consult your vet before purchasing
  • No added L-Arginine

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.5


3. Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care Canned – Best Wet Option


You can choose wet dog food for several reasons. On the one hand, to overcome your dog’s pickiness somehow, and on the other hand, in case of some dental problem. The bottom line is that this recipe is an excellent wet alternative for liver disease.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Water, Rice, Chicken Fat, Soybean Meal, Soybean Oil

  • Protein content: 4.5%

  • Fat content: 5.5%

  • Omega-3 content: N/A

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: Pea-Free, Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adults

This liver care product from Hill’s is a little different from the dry version. This is because the primary source of protein is eggs, and there is no chicken among the ingredients.

Still, you don’t have to be afraid: a 4.5% protein content will be enough for your pooch.

Ingredients include several amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that have a positive effect on overall health and liver function.

In addition to Chicken Fat and Soybean Oil, we also find Fish Oil as a source of fat. This somewhat balances the omega-3 fatty acid content, which has a positive effect on the liver condition.

Pros

  • Suitable for liver care
  • Formulated by vets and nutritionists
  • Contains helpful amino acids
  • Low copper content
  • High digestibility

Cons

  • You need to consult your vet before purchasing
  • No chicken meat

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.6


4. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe – Best Commercial Option


I chose this recipe for my list because the natural and organic ingredients have a good effect on the overall health of the dogs. Thus, such dog food can also be helpful in the treatment of liver problems. The Honest Kitchen is a human-grade dehydrated food that your dog is guaranteed to enjoy.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Organic Oats, Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed, Carrots

  • Protein content: 22%

  • Fat content: 15%

  • Omega-3 content: N/A

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: Low-Protein, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Human-Grade, Pea-Free, Non-GMO, Chicken-Free, Natural
  • Life stage: Adults

The primary source of protein in the recipe is turkey, which is well-digestible and nutritious meat.

In addition, the total protein content of the product is only 22%, which is not too high to burden your dog’s liver.

Organic Oats are a nutritious and energy-rich carbohydrate source with high fiber content. Dietary fiber has a positive effect on the health of dogs with liver status.

The added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids support the immune system and stimulate liver function.

Pros

  • Made with organic and natural ingredients
  • High-quality protein source
  • Moderate calories and protein content
  • Minimally processed
  • High digestibility

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Contains garlic

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.7


5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight – Best for Large Breeds


This Blue Buffalo product can be a great option if your dog is struggling with liver problems. The ingredients are suitable for planning the proper diet. It’s also free of grains, by-products, preservatives, and artificial flavors.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Peas, Tapioca Starch

  • Protein content: 28%

  • Fat content: 9%

  • Omega-3 content: 0.5%

  • Breeds: Great for large and giant breeds

  • Dietary information: High-Protein, Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Weight Control
  • Life stage: Adults

The protein content of this food is slightly higher than expected. In turn, a chicken is a meat that is not only nutritious but easily digestible. Digestibility is critical for dogs with liver disease. (Also contains phosphorus and vitamin B6, selenium, and niacin).

The high fiber content helps to remove ammonia and nitrogen waste. So you can see that high protein content is not necessarily an exclusionary reason. Of course, it is best to consult your veterinarian before purchasing a prescription.

I really like LifeSource Bits because it contains all the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This not only provides the proper nutrients for your dog but also protects his immune system.

Pros

  • Formulated for large breeds
  • High-quality protein source
  • Moderate calories and fat content
  • High fiber content
  • Added micronutrients promote the immune system

Cons

  • Protein content is a little bit high (consult your vet)

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.4


6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient – Best for Small Breeds


For small breeds, it is essential to choose a food whose kibble size is appropriate for tiny jaws and teeth. This Blue product meets these requirements. In addition, it has limited ingredients, which makes digestion very easy.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Pea Starch

  • Protein content: 22%

  • Fat content: 15%

  • Omega-3 content: 0.75%

  • Breeds: Great for small and toy breeds

  • Dietary information: Sensitive Digestion, Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life stage: Adults

The recipe starts with real lamb, which is a good source of protein. The total amount of protein is not very high, so does not burden the liver.

Carbohydrate sources are grain-free and contain plenty of good dietary fiber.

Omega-3 fatty acids are provided by Fish Oil and Flaxseed. These fatty acids support skin, coat, and overall health.

The product also contains LifeSource Bits, known as the Blue Buffalo trademark, a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These micronutrients promote liver function.

Because of the above benefits, I find this Blue Basics formula to be a good choice.

Pros

  • Formulated for small breeds
  • High-quality protein source
  • Limited ingredients
  • Hight omega-3 content
  • Added micronutrients promote the immune system

Cons

  • Contains Pea Protein

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.5


7. Diamond Naturals Light Formula – Best Budget Option


You may be on a tighter budget. However, you should not choose a low-quality product. This formula from Diamond Naturals, an affordable alternative for dogs with liver disease, offers a solution. In addition to easily digestible protein and carbohydrate sources, this dog food contains plenty of added micronutrients.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice

  • Protein content: 18%

  • Fat content: 6%

  • Omega-3 content: 0.25%

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: Weight Control, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
  • Life stage: Adults

Lamb Meal is nutritious meat that adds the necessary amino acids and joint protection compounds to your pup’s diet.

Carbohydrates are provided by high-quality grains, which are high in fiber to help treat liver disease.

The recipe is low in fat. This avoids possible obesity and also has a more favorable ratio of omega fatty acids to liver function. Although the omega-3 content could be higher.

The added fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals promote overall health and help with liver function.

And probiotics make the digestive system more efficient, which is also beneficial for dogs with different conditions.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • High-quality protein source
  • Grains with high fiber content
  • Suitable for weight management
  • Features added fruits, veggies, vitamins, and minerals

Cons

  • Omega-3 content could be higher

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.5


8. Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food – Best Premium Option


Ziwi Peak is hugely popular in the pet food market. This is no wonder, as their products contain animal and plant resources from New Zealand, guaranteed to be free of hormones and other chemicals. The protein content of this recipe is a bit high, but due to the naturalness of the ingredients, and low copper content, it can be an excellent choice for dogs with liver disease.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, New Zealand Green Mussel, Chicken Bone

  • Protein content: 38%

  • Fat content: 30%

  • Omega-3 content: N/A

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: Limited Ingredient Diet, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Non-GMO, High-Protein, GMO-Free, Natural
  • Life stage: Adults

This diet was developed for real carnivores. According to the description, it consists of 96% animal protein sources, but this can also be seen in the order of the ingredients.

The food is prepared by an air-drying method, which is ideal because it retains all the nutrients during processing.

Among the ingredients, we can find New Zealand green mussel, which is rich in healthy nutrients such as glucosamine and chondroitin. This is excellent news for the joints.

The source of protein is not just meat. There are also internal organs that are rich in vitamins and minerals. But the manufacturer also added various vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to the recipe.

Before purchasing, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as high protein content can be a problem for some dogs.

Pros

  • Premium carnivorous diet
  • High-quality protein sources
  • Air-dried
  • Contains New Zealand green mussel
  • Features added vitamins, and minerals

Cons

  • Pricey
  • High protein content is not suitable for some dogs

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.6


9. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula – Best for puppies


Liver problems are relatively rare in puppies. However, if your beloved little friend has liver disease, you can safely consider this recipe. It has been developed to nourish the body of growing canines properly. At the same time, the quality of the ingredients is impeccable, so they do not put extra strain on the liver.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Pea Protein

  • Protein content: 28%

  • Fat content: 17%

  • Omega-3 content: 0.3%

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: Limited Ingredient Diet, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Non-GMO, High-Protein, GMO-Free, Natural
  • Life stage: Puppy

The product contains protein sources such as Water Buffalo and Lamb Meal. These are nutritious red meats that are digestible and do not cause sensitivity.

Other sources of protein are eggs and pea protein. The latter is not very beneficial, but fortunately, there is little of it in the recipe.

The ingredients include several fiber sources, giving the product a total fiber content of 5%, which is ideal for liver-sparing diets.

The manufacturer has added plenty of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to the formula.

But we also find prebiotics, so with Taste of the Wild, you can even support your puppy’s digestive system.

Pros

  • Formulated for puppies
  • High-quality protein sources
  • Affordable
  • Great fiber sources
  • Features added vitamins, and minerals

Cons

  • Contains pea protein

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.4


10. Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula – Best for Seniors


Elderly dogs are prone to kidney-related diseases. That is why a proper diet is essential to them. In addition, in their case, care must be taken to avoid obesity and protect the joints. The Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind senior formula meets these requirements.

Key features:

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Poultry By-Product Meal, Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal

  • Protein content: 29%

  • Fat content: 14%

  • Omega-3 content: 0.45%

  • Breeds: Great for all sizes of breeds

  • Dietary information: High-Protein, Weight Control
  • Life stage: Senior

In addition to Chicken, the other primary source of protein is Poultry By-Product Meal. This ingredient contains beneficial glucosamine and chondroitin, which improve mobility and protect the condition of joints.

Carbohydrate sources include nutritious grains, but their fiber content contributes to the removal of nitrogenous waste. In this way, they are helping the liver work.

Plenty of vitamins (A, B, E, D, etc.) and minerals (Zinc, Iron, Manganese) improve the health of the immune system and the whole body.

Be sure to consider this product if you have an aging canine.

Pros

  • Formulated for seniors
  • High-quality protein sources
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Great fiber sources
  • Features added vitamins, and minerals

Cons

  • Contains corn

Pet Worshiper Rating: 9.5


best dog food for liver disease 1

More about liver disease in dogs

The liver performs several functions in the body. On the one hand, after breaking down, it eliminates toxins and various wastes. The other main task is to secrete the bile, which is extremely important for digestion.

When the liver cannot perform these important functions, it can lead to plenty of serious problems. These problems may include:

The diseases described above all affect the liver. And what are their symptoms, and how do they develop? Here are answers to these critical questions:

Common symptoms of liver disease in dogs

Most liver diseases have no visible symptoms in the initial stages. This is because the liver can perform its function properly even with reduced capacity.

According to some observations, sure signs can be seen after losing 80% of liver function. But in the later stages, you may notice the following symptoms in your dog:

  • Jaundice: This is practically the first and most noticeable sign. Jaundice most commonly appears on the whites of the eyes. But it can also occur on the ears, gums, or skin. Otherwise, the yellow color is caused by a substance called bilirubin, which builds up in the body when the liver is not working properly.
  • Neurological changes: The liver filters the anomie in the body, among other things. When this does not happen due to liver disease, it causes various neurological problems. This degenerative condition of the brain is called hepatic encephalopathy. It’s a serious condition which can cause seizures, depression, head pressure, and blindness.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Such signs may indicate liver disease. Possible examples are diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, increased urination, weight loss, and abdominal swelling. The latter is also called ascites anyway. Large amounts of fluid accumulate in the stomach. It requires veterinary intervention.

Other symptoms:

  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Bleeding problems
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Orange urine
  • Increased fluid consumption
  • Light grey stool
  • Excessive itchiness

What causes liver disease in dogs?

And what is the specific cause of liver disease in dogs? That’s hard to say. However, in most cases, this condition is accompanied by some inflammation.

Inflammation is caused by various other diseases such as cancer, viruses, fungi, or parasites. The following reasons may be considered:

  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Fungi
  • Bacterial infection
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Toxins
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Inheritance
  • Immune disorders

If you notice any of the above symptoms on your dog, contact your vet immediately. A professional veterinarian can determine the exact disease and severity with a variety of tests. You can then discuss medication, treatment, and your dog’s diet. Do not start dietary changes alone without consulting your veterinarian.

best dog food for liver disease

Diet requirements for dogs with liver disease

Below I take a look at the most critical nutrients. Be sure to consider the following suggestions and consult your veterinarian before deciding on significant dietary changes.

High-quality Protein sources

Many people think that proteins are harmful to dogs with liver disease.

Well, that’s not the whole truth. For dogs with end-stage chronic liver disease, high protein content, more specifically ammonia in proteins, is really not good.

In all other cases, you should consider protein as an essential nutrient.

The key is to look for dog food that contains high-quality animal protein sources. The ammonia content of these protein sources is also acceptable.

Moderate amount of healthy Fats

Fats are very important because they provide energy and are involved in many processes in the dogs’ bodies.

Nevertheless, if your dog has a liver problem, stick to dog food that has a lower amount of fats.

The liver processes fats, so an enormous amount would, unfortunately, mean more work and stress for this internal organ.

The best sources of fat are animal fats, fish oil, and flaxseed. These ingredients contain many beneficial omega fatty acids, the positive effects of which have been proven by numerous studies.

Among other things, they promote the healthy functioning of dogs’ skin, coat, and brain.

Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are essential in every dog’s diet, but especially in liver disease. These carbohydrates contain soluble fibers that reduce ammonia and nitrogenous wastes in the body. One of the best sources of such complex carbohydrates is oatmeal.


So the key to your dog’s diet is to include low ammonia-producing high-quality animal proteins, low amounts of healthy fats, and total carbohydrates containing soluble fiber. If you pay attention to these factors, your dog with liver disease may be more nutritious.

As you can see, proper nutrition is one of the most important things for maintaining health. This not only provides the necessary nutrients for your dog’s body but also relieves stress on the liver and promotes regeneration.

Of course, you must recognize the disease in time. Early diagnosis helps prevent toxins from damaging other organs and parts of the body.

Types of diets for liver disease

In all cases, seek the assistance of a licensed expert to resolve the issue. In collaboration with your veterinarian, the following diets may be considered for your dog in case of liver damage.

Prescribed Dry Dog Food

If your dog’s liver condition is severe, your veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet. These products have been specifically developed for this type of disease. So only buy them if you have consulted an expert.

Homemade Dog Food

Homemade dog food is a perfect alternative for liver disease. You have complete control over the ingredients, which is really positive. However, you may want to seek the advice of an expert before preparing it.

Commercial food

Commercial dog food can also be a good option. Of course, you need to be fully aware of the list of ingredients. You can also add homemade or prescribed dog food to these formulas. This step makes it easier to get accurate dietary rations.

Combination

As I mentioned, every dog ​​is different. Depending on your pooch’s individual needs, you may need to combine the diets discussed above for the right effect. In all cases, talk to your veterinarian about dietary changes.

Other foods that can help dogs with liver disease

The above information is sufficient to provide your dog with a proper meal. However, here are some more foods that will help with liver disease.

  • Dairy products: yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, or goat cheese – They have a shallow ammonia content. Of course, you have to pay attention, as many dogs cannot digest dairy products properly.
  • Animal-based protein: chicken, turkey, lamb – These are the most ideal sources of protein. Look for dog food that has these meats as its primary ingredients.
  • Complex carbs: oatmeal, white rice, barley, and pumpkin – Their high dietary fiber content helps a lot in liver conditions.
  • Fish oil: contains omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids have a virtually positive effect on overall health.
  • Fresh fruits: papayas, figs, seedless watermelon, and blueberries

Further nutrition tips

The tips below may help your dog further.

Low Copper Content

High copper content can worsen the condition of dogs with liver disease.

Therefore, it is worth avoiding high copper meats. Examples include duck, salmon, and pork.

On the other hand, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, cheese, and whitefish are low copper and high-quality sources.

Monitor protein intake

Do not reduce your dog’s protein intake, although you should monitor it. Your dog will need the highest quality meat possible. Thus, digestibility will also improve, with many other positive effects.

Balance with Supplements

Sodium levels should generally be reduced in your dog’s liver disease diet. This means that you need to increase the intake of certain nutrients. Examples are vitamin E, vitamin B complex, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin K, and SAMe supplement.

Increase Feeding Frequency

In case of liver problems, two meals a day may prove to be insufficient for your dog. It is worth increasing the frequency of feeding. Choose several smaller meals instead of two meals a day. In many cases, this can be beneficial for your dog’s digestion and liver function.

Breeds that are more prone to liver disease

Although basically all dogs can have liver disease, certain breeds are more prone to this.

Some dogs often have copper storage diseases. This means that their liver has a more challenging time getting rid of excess copper. Examples of these breeds are Bedlington terriers, Labrador Retrievers, and Dalmatians.

Canine Chronic Hepatitis is associated with persistent slow liver damage. The most susceptible breeds for this condition are Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Bedlington Terriers, Springer Spaniels, Chihuahuas, and Maltese.

Congenital Polycystic Liver disease has a detrimental effect on liver performance. Some breeds are prone to this condition. Examples are Bull Terriers, Beagles, and West Highland White Terriers.

The liver of dogs with Glycogen Storage Disease stores too much glycogen because it does not produce enough enzymes to metabolize. The breeds that tend to do this are Maltese dogs, German Shepherds, and Curly Coated Retrievers.

Shetland Sheepdogs are prone to Gallbladder Mucocele, and Shar Peis is prone to Hepatic Amyloidosis.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to worry if you have any of the dogs mentioned above. However, there is no harm in paying attention to any symptoms. A proper diet relieves the liver and has a good effect on its functioning.

best dog food for liver disease

Frequently asked questions about nutrition for dogs with liver disease

How can I improve my dog’s liver function?

First and foremost, your vet needs to examine your dog. He then establishes the proper diet, which helps a lot in managing the condition. Right nutrients play a key role in liver health. Some supplements can also help in liver recovery. An example is SAM-E or milk thistle.

How long do dogs live with liver disease?

The most important thing is to make a correct and accurate diagnosis in time. Nowadays, liver diseases can be treated effectively. Dogs can live with these types of conditions for years.

How can dogs get liver diseases?

The most common viral liver disease in dogs is canine hepatitis. There are also bacterial infections that lead to liver disease. An example is Leptospirosis.

Is liver disease painful for dogs?

This can depend on many things, such as causes and symptoms. The most common symptoms are malaise, vomiting, nausea, weight loss, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In some cases, dogs may also feel pain.

Is a grain-free diet good for dogs with liver disease

Grains alone do not affect the liver disease. So if your dog isn’t sensitive to them, you don’t have to eliminate them from the diet. 

Can a dog’s liver repair itself?

Liver disease, and especially liver damage, can be very severe and dangerous. A stress-free lifestyle and a proper diet can help you recover. A good diet contains the necessary nutrients and does not burden the liver. With such a diet, the liver may be able to repair itself.

Can liver diseases be fatal to dogs?

Yes, just like humans, it is a life-threatening condition in dogs. As soon as you notice any signs and symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Some symptoms are difficult to detect. On the other hand, jaundice, easy bruising or bleeding, and swelling in the legs and abdomen due to fluid are common symptoms of liver failure.

Can liver failure develop from liver disease?

Yes, all liver failure starts with the disease. Therefore, the correct diagnosis and treatment must be created in time.

Final Verdict: What’s the best dog food for liver disease?

The liver is a vital internal organ, so protecting its health is of paramount importance. I found the products of Hill’s and Royal Canin to be the most convincing in terms of liver nutrition and liver protection.

My veterinarian acquaintances and I found that Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care is the most favorable option.

This product contains slightly more fat than my next choice. Therefore, if increased fat is a particular problem, choose the other option. This is because there are conditions when the gallbladder and its associated biliary system are damaged.

In this condition, special attention should be paid to fat intake. If this is also the case for your dog, consider the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula.

My list includes kidney support and commercial dog food. While these may be great supplements, or in some cases, alternatives, be sure to check with your veterinarian about them. If your dog’s condition is severe, switch to a liver-supporting diet as soon as possible.



Photo of author
Author:
Hey, my name is Peter, and I am the owner of this site. I have loved animals since I was a kid. I am constantly training myself; I recently obtained an accredited certificate in pet nutrition. But I am constantly learning about training, grooming for dogs and cats. I am currently a happy owner of two dogs, six cats, and two red-eared sliders. My goal is to provide my visitors with the most authentic information possible on any pet-related topic.
Amber LaRock
Reviewed By An Expert:

My name is Amber, and I am a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the majority of my career working in emergency medicine but recently transitioned to creating accurate pet care information online. There is nothing more important to me than helping pet owners understand their furry friend’s health, and giving you the tools you need to offer your pet the best future possible!