Food for Dogs with Liver Disease

The right diet for a dog with liver disease minimizes the liver’s workload and ensures proper nutrition for that dog.


Because the liver is intimately associated with digestion, feeding the proper diet to a dog with liver disease is an important part of his treatment. Your dog needs the right nutrients for good health, while minimizing the liver’s work in toxin clearance. The dog’s food must be highly digestible.

Protein is always the No. 1 in consideration when feeding a dog with liver disease. Your dog will need adequate protein for a dog with liver disease, with proper amounts and balances of essential amino acids. Eggs are often included, but too much protein can contribute to hepatic encephalopathy (a neurologic disease brought on by liver disease), which can be fatal. There’s a lot to consider when choosing liver disease dog food.

Homemade Liver Disease Dog Food

Many people want to do homemade dog food or a raw diet for liver disease, and that’s fine, but you should contact a veterinary nutritionist. Veterinarians and other experts in animal nutrition can provide you with balanced and complete recipes for your dog. Be wary of homemade recipes posted for free on websites and forums. You pretty much get what you pay for. Don’t take the risk.

Nutrients for Liver Disease Dog Food

Depending on the stage of your dog’s liver problem, limiting overall protein may be recommended. The amount of fat in the diet will be adjusted as well.

Dogs with liver problems may be deficit in some vitamins, especially the fat-soluble ones such as vitamins A, D, K and E. Adequate B vitamins are also important. A supplement might be in order but discuss this with your veterinarian.

If your dog has copper toxicosis, the mineral content of his diet has to be monitored very carefully. Phosphorus needs to be monitored as well.

Choosing the right diet for a dog with liver disease depends upon the cause of your dog’s liver problem and the stage. A diet will then be customized to your dog. This might be a prescription diet from your veterinarian. If your dog doesn’t like the prescribed diet, try again. Many different formulations and flavors are available from several companies. And you can usually get canned or dry. There is almost always a diet to fit your dog’s needs that he likes.