How to feed dogs with liver disease (2023)

OfUnfortunately, liver disease is common in dogs.. Your veterinarian will help you develop an evidence-based symptom relief plan that will likely include testing, medication, and diet.

This article will specifically discuss dietary changes you can make for your dog with liver disease.

What is Liver Disease in Dogs?

The liver is an important organ in a dog's body that acts as a cleansing system, removing toxins and waste and producing bile for better digestion.

When a dog's liver becomes compromised, the buildup of toxins and waste can affect other organs and cause other dangerous health problems.

The causes of liver disease in dogs can be injury, improper diet, aging, or genes. It can also be the result of an infection or trauma in that area, in addition to other diseases affecting the liver or even medications.

According to studies, some breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers and West Highland Terriers, have an increased risk of liver disease.

If you suspect your dog has liver disease, take him to the vet immediately.

Early detection can help treat the problem. Thanks to the liver's ability to heal itself, dogs with liver disease can also make a full recovery with the right medication and diet.

How to feed dogs with liver disease (1)

Signs of liver disease in dogs

The following are common symptoms of liver disease in dogs.

  • jaundice
  • increased urination
  • seizures
  • to throw up
  • Decreased interest in food

Take your dog to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.

Diet for dogs with liver disease

Since the causes of liver disease are different, the methods of treating this problem can also be different. Developing a plan with your vet is crucial due to the causes of liver disease, but dietary changes can certainly help your dog.

Dietary Guidelines

It would help if you made dietary changes of any kind slowly. Doing this too quickly can upset your dog's stomach and make him feel worse than before. Speak to your veterinarian to determine how to incorporate these changes.

Try to feed your dog several times a day, not just one or two meals. Stick to smaller meals and feed him4-5 times a dayto unburden the stomach and reduce the amount of nutrients the liver has to process.

Some holistic veterinarians may recommend avoiding commercial brands of dog food, as they often contain proteins, grains, and starches that can adversely affect the liver.

(Video) Homemade Dog Food for Liver Disease Recipe (Easy to Make)

There is currently no hard evidence to prove this one way or the other, but certain brands of dog food may be better than others.

However, if you choose to feed your dog a homemade diet for liver disease, this article will explain the dietary guidelines for your dog.

Some people choose to feed their dogs raw, although raw feeding is still a highly controversial issue.

Practicing safe principles of raw feeding can be healthier for your dog's liver and liver-friendly than many commercial brands of dog food, especially the cheap over-the-counter formulas.

How to feed dogs with liver disease (3)

Important nutrients

Some nutrients are more important than others for dogs with liver disease and you should consider this when planning your dog's diet.


Optimal protein intake varies by stage and type of liver disease. Some types of liver disease require increased protein intake, while other types or stages require protein intake limitations.

However, feeding your dog high-quality protein for liver health would help.

In fact, a general recommendation is to make sure the protein you give your dog is of high quality, but also to feed it in moderate amounts.

The best proteins to increase protein intake are of animal origin.

They have the ideal amounts of amino acids that are generally good for your dog, especially for their digestion.

On the other hand, vegetable proteins such as cereals lack these essential amino acids. In addition to animal protein, vets also recommend soy, dairy, and eggs as protein sources.

Some animal proteins are high in copper, which is not good for liver disease. These should be avoided, especially offal such as liver.

Also avoid salmon, pork, lamb, and duck, as they're all high in copper, and stick to chicken, turkey, beef, and white fish instead.

fats and carbohydrates

Depending on the case, some dogs with liver disease can tolerate higher levels of fat in their diet, while others must maintain a moderate fat intake.

Fat is important for energy and calories but can cause discomfort in dogs with liver disease as it is processed by the liver.

(Video) How to Help a Dog With Liver Disease (Diet and Home Remedy)

It is therefore best to only feed easily digestible fats, such as coconut oil.

On the other hand, carbohydrates are important in any case as they can support your dog's digestion as they are high in fiber.

They also help remove ammonia from your dog's system. Add white rice, oatmeal, or pasta to your dog's diet.

vitamins and minerals

It is important to take in vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins and minerals such as zinc.

Vitamin C is good for its antioxidant properties, as is vitamin E, which is great for liver health. Among other things, they can lead to less inflammation in the liver.

Vitamin K can aid in blood clotting and help your dog's body deal with the byproducts of altered liver metabolism.

Zinc is good for binding copper and also has antioxidant properties that help the liver function properly.

How to feed dogs with liver disease (4)

Structure your dog's diet for liver disease

As mentioned before, consult your veterinarian before adding any ingredients to your dog and make sure you feed them at least 4 times a day.

Groceries to take away

Add safe dairy products like ricotta, cottage cheese, and yogurt to your dog's diet.

These foods help your digestion and also produce less ammonia than meat.

Just be sure to eat low-salt, low-fat dairy and remember that goat cheese is easier to digest than cow cheese.

Eggs are a great source of protein for your dog and you should include them in your dog's diet. Other protein sources you can include are fish and skinless chicken or turkey.

These foods are high-quality proteins that are good for your dog's liver.

Oatmeal is great for liver disease. Finally, it contains soluble fiber, which can help remove ammonia from your dog's system, which is good for the liver since it doesn't have to process it.

Cooked white rice is also something to include in your diet for the soluble fiber and canned barley and squash.

(Video) Liver Disease Problems In Dogs Treatment & Homemade Recipe

Add some fish oil or salmon oil to your dog's meals as these are high in omega-3 fatty acids and can help reduce inflammation in the liver.

There's also a chance that some fruits like watermelon, figs, and papaya may protect the liver, so try to include them in your dog's diet.

However, if you choose to feed your dog watermelon, try to remove all of the seeds as they can cause an intestinal obstruction.

Also, don't give your dog more than a few figs, as this can cause an upset stomach.

Coconut, and coconut oil in particular, can be good for your dog's liver. Coconut oil is perfect if your dog has trouble absorbing fat.

Simply add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to your dog's diet daily and use virgin or unrefined coconut oil.

to avoid foods

Avoid foods rich in copper. Liver disease is sometimes associated with copper buildup, and if your dog is affected, you should limit their copper intake.

Most offal is rich in copper and you should especially avoid beef liver. Chicken and turkey liver are good because they are low in contentcopper.

Also avoid lamb, duck, pork and salmon.

If you can't prepare your pup homemade dry food, ask your veterinarian which prescription diet food is best for him.

You should monitor your salt intake closely as it can contribute to liver disease, particularly by retaining extra fluid.

If your dog has a severe liver problem, you should put him on a low-salt diet. This will prevent fluid from building up in your abdomen.

Homemade dog food for liver disease

The best way to ensure your dog isn't eating anything that could damage his liver is to cook for him.

There are many simple and easy recipes that you can quickly prepare.

Try what I mentioned below and you can try it tooSamantha's prescription for liver disease.

Baked chicken with cottage cheese

This homemade dog food recipe is good for dogs with liver disease. That's because it contains high-quality protein found in chicken, cheese, and egg.


It's also high in soluble fiber from oats and squash, which also aid in digestion. It's also a fairly easy recipe that only requires about 20 minutes of prep time.


  • 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup cooked oats
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1/2 Tasse Dosenkürbis


The first thing to do is cook the chicken. You can use chicken breasts to stick to lean, low-fat meats, but other parts of chicken are fine too.

Just make sure it's boneless and skinless.

Chop the chicken and bake, simmer in a pan, or cook as you prefer.

Boil the oatmeal, pre-cook the egg, and when the chicken is well cooked, mix these ingredients together.

Then add the cottage cheese and canned pumpkin and mix everything together in a large bowl.

Once you've mixed it properly, you can serve this meal to your dog.

You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days, and if you're making a larger batch you can also freeze them for up to 2 months.

Frequently asked questions about the diet of dogs with liver disease

If you don't need all of the above information, read these FAQs to learn more about feeding a dog with liver disease.

What do you feed a dog with liver problems?

Try to focus on feeding eggs, poultry, and small fish like cod, salmon, and sardines. Avoid red meat as it is high in phosphorus.

How can I help my dog ​​with liver problems?

Start by following your vet's advice, including a diet for dogs with liver disease. You may also need to give your dog supplements.

Your vet may also suggest other treatments, including surgery.

What Foods Are Good For Elevated Liver Enzymes?

Coffee, leafy greens, fish, oatmeal, nuts, avocados, and tofu are all good foods for elevated liver enzymes.

If you give your dog human food, always make sure it is dog safe before doing so.

What foods should be avoided in liver disease?

Dogs with liver disease should avoid foods high in copper or salt, such as lamb, duck, salmon, pork, and liver.

Can Dog Food Cause Liver Problems?

Toxic dog food can lead to liver problems. However, many dogs that eat contaminated or toxic dog food are perfectly healthy.

(Video) Recipe: Egg Based Food for Dogs with Liver Disease

Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause of your dog's liver problems as well as the optimal treatment.

READ THIS:How to feed dogs with kidney disease


How can I get my dog to eat with liver disease? ›

Because one of the most common side-effects of liver disease is lack of interest in eating, it is helpful to develop a routine for your pet's mealtimes, and to increase their meal quantity. Rather than having 3 meals a day, it may be helpful for your dog's digestive system to have 4-5 smaller meals a day.

What is the best food to feed a dog with liver problems? ›

What do you feed a dog with liver disease? In general, dogs with liver disease do well on a low-protein, high-fat diet. Good proteins to feed include a little fish, eggs, poultry, and salmon, while proteins to avoid include red meats, since they are high in phosphorus.

How can I slow down my dogs liver failure? ›

A normal protein diet with supplemental vitamins E and K is advised. The common medications used for liver failure are antiemetics, drugs for hepatic encephalopathy (brain disease, with or without oedema), hepatoprotectants (to decrease the activity of aminotransferases), coagulopathy drugs, and antioxidants.

What is a homemade diet for a dog with liver shunts? ›

A chicken-and-cottage-cheese diet recommended by the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine for dogs with liver shunts includes 2 cups of white rice, 1 cup of 2-percent-fat cottage cheese, 4 ounces of dark meat chicken, 4 tablespoons of canola oil, and 2 ounces of mixed vegetables.

Is chicken good for dogs with liver disease? ›

Other protein sources you can include are fish and skinless and boneless turkey or chicken. These foods are high-quality proteins that are good for your dog's liver.

Is white rice good for dogs with liver disease? ›

Pets with hepatic disease need carefully regulated portions of high quality and highly digestible carbohydrates. White rice, potatoes, and vegetables are good source of simple and complex carbohydrates for pets with liver diseases.

What should dogs with liver problems avoid? ›

“Things like organ meats and fish contain higher levels of certain compounds (purines, some of the amino acids) that can be particularly harmful for dogs with bad liver disease.

How can I improve my dogs liver function? ›

Dogs with liver disease should eat diets high in methionine, cysteine, taurine, selenium, Omega-3 and zinc. A good liver diet should consist of: Chicken and turkey meat (vitamin B6, selenium and phosphorus) Eggs (methionine, B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium and iron, as well as high biological value protein)

How can I lower my dogs liver enzymes naturally? ›

A low-fat, fresh diet can be very beneficial. Green vegetables contain fiber, vitamins and minerals and can support a healthy liver. Many pets are eating prescription diets that can contain chemicals, food allergens and grains when low-fat natural liver diets are available.

How fast does liver failure progress in dogs? ›

Few medical conditions are more devastating than acute liver failure (ALF), in which a previously healthy patient can undergo rapid deterioration in liver function and be near death within 5 to 7 days after the onset of clinical signs.

Is cheese good for dogs with liver problems? ›

Additional Foods for Dogs With Liver Disease

Appropriate options include: Dairy products such as cottage cheese, yogurt, goat cheese, and ricotta cheese. High-quality proteins such as chicken and turkey without the bones, fish, and eggs.

How long can a dog live with high liver enzymes? ›

Abnormal liver enzyme levels can usually be detected in blood tests. In isolated cases it may be possible to surgical remove then affected lobe, however this is difficult. The prognosis in most cases is poor, deterioration is rapid once clinical signs develop and death usually results within 3-4 months.

What supplements can I give my dog for liver shunts? ›

If your dog has been diagnosed with a probable liver shunt, but seems otherwise healthy, there are things you can do to help manage the blood fl ow impairment to her liver. Nutraceuticals and herbal compounds that aid detoxification include SAM-e, acetyl L-carnitine, milk thistle, and dandelion.

Is peanut butter good for dogs with liver disease? ›

Aflatoxin toxicity is rare. But peanut butter could be worsening liver issues in dogs with known liver problems. Avoiding peanut butter could be the key to improving your dog's health. If your dog has been exposed to aflatoxins, please consult your veterinarian.

Is bone broth good for dogs with liver disease? ›

Bone broth supports liver health by providing high amounts of amino acids, such as glycine, that can help remove toxins that build up in the dog's body.

Can a dog recover from high liver enzymes? ›

Sometimes we misinterpret really high ALTs as irreversible disease and a poor prognosis. If you have a dog with acute liver injury, it might have a sky-high ALT, but if you can support the dog through that initial injury, then the disease could be reversible, and the liver can get back to normal.

What foods are hard for the liver to process? ›

Fatty/Fast Food Items

French fries, wafers, burgers, and pizzas do no good to your liver. These food items are high in saturated fat or trans-fat content and are difficult to digest. In other words, your liver needs to work hard to process these food items.

Can I feed my dog chicken liver and rice everyday? ›

You should not feed your dog liver every day; instead, use liver morsels as occasional reward or training treats to give them a taste of some yummy human food. Liver can be good for a dog's diet, but too much can lead to an overdose of vitamin A.

Are blueberries good for dogs with liver disease? ›

1) Blueberries

This versatile berry contains anthocyanins which function as antioxidants which been seen to protect the liver from oxidative stress.

How long can a dog live with liver disease? ›

Chronic hepatitis cases can have an average survival rate of 2 to 3 years, depending on the severity of symptoms and how well the liver responds to treatment.

What foods heal the liver? ›

Foods that support liver health include berries, cruciferous vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and fatty fish. Coffee and green tea contain antioxidants that are helpful for liver health.

How can I naturally heal my dogs liver? ›

Diet plays an important role in the healing of the liver. Small, frequent meals which are low in fat and contain easily digestible grains will help minimize the work that the liver must do while it heals. Milk thistle is often the herb of choice among holistic veterinarians because it is a powerful antioxidant.

How long does it take for liver enzymes to return to normal in dogs? ›

The serum half-life of ALT is less than 24 hours. Levels peak two to three days after hepatic insult and return to normal in one to three weeks if hepatic insult resolves.

How long does it take for milk thistle to lower liver enzymes in dogs? ›

Milk Thistle Dosage for Dogs

2-5 mg per pound is suitable for preventing harmful build-up and supporting liver function. This detox can be 1-2 times per year for 3-6 weeks to properly flush out any toxic build-up and help to maintain liver health.

Can liver disease affect appetite in dogs? ›

Advanced liver disease can also cause malnutrition through decreased appetite and abnormal nutrient digestion, absorption, and metabolism. General medical treatment recommendations for dogs with liver disease include targeting the underlying cause (if possible), and treating the symptoms.

Can I mix liver with dog food? ›

Cut the liver into small pieces.

Large chunks of liver can be a choking hazard, so be sure to cut it into smaller pieces so your dog can safely enjoy this treat. You can also introduce it by mixing it with your dog's kibble.

When should I put my dog down with liver failure? ›

If your dog can be pulled out of their aggressive state, they still have a poor prognosis as far as survival time moving forward. Many owners make the decision to put their dog to sleep if they develop hepatic encephalopathy, as this is a sign of end stage liver failure.

How long can a dog last with liver disease? ›

Chronic hepatitis cases can have an average survival rate of 2 to 3 years, depending on the severity of symptoms and how well the liver responds to treatment.

How does a dog feel with liver disease? ›

The most common signs of liver disease in dogs include gastrointestinal problems, like vomiting and diarrhea, jaundice (when the skin, gums and whites of the eyes look yellow), malaise (a sense of generally feeling unwell and fatigued) and poor appetite.

How many times a week should I feed my dog liver? ›

Liver is part of a balanced whole food diet for dogs. It should be fed raw and not exceed 10% of the overall diet. It could be fed once a week for instance or a little each day.

Do dogs prefer liver cooked or raw? ›

To really give your dog the rich benefits of liver, he should eat it raw.

Is beef good for dogs liver? ›

If you're wondering if beef liver is good for dogs, the answer is absolutely yes! Beef liveris a true superfood and a powerful source of nutrients for your pet's body.

How painful is liver failure in dogs? ›

Liver disease is a non-painful condition, however dogs and cats can be nauseous, neurological or accumulate fluid in the abdomen, all of which require medication to control.

What does end stage liver disease look like in dogs? ›

Dogs with end stage liver disease suffer symptoms related to the liver's inability to perform its functions: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, bleeding tendencies, jaundice (yellow color to skin and eyes), behavior changes, and in severe cases, seizures.

Why is my dog not eating his food but will eat treats? ›

It is common for dogs to not eat their food, but eat treats or table scraps. This is referred to as partial anorexia and it typically occurs because your dog doesn't feel well.


1. Naturally Treating Liver Disease in Dogs and Cats
(Veterinary Secrets)
2. How to care for Dogs With Liver Disease
(Volhard Dog Nutrition)
3. How To Treat Liver Disease In Dogs | Liver Failure In Dogs | Dogtor Pete
(Dogtor Pete)
4. 11 Symptoms of Liver Problems in Dogs [7 Ways to Heal & 1 KEY Remedy]
(Dan Scott)
5. Liver and Kidney Disease in Dogs - Early Treatment Really Helps! - Dog Health Vet Advice
(Our Pets Health)
6. Support Diets For Dogs: Kidney & Liver Support | JustFoodForDogs


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