So, you were just told by your veterinarian that your dog suffers from liver disease. Now what? You are probably scrambling around to familiarize yourself with this condition so you can help your pooch the best way possible. Even though this will likely be quite the adjustment for you both, you’ve come to the right place.
When it comes to finding the most appropriate diet to manage their ailment, we have done the hard work for you. We have found the top 6 dog foods to help with liver disease and written detailed reviews so you can find the best fit for your situation.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 6 Best Dog Foods for Liver Disease
1. Hill’s Prescription Liver Care Dog Food – Best Overall
This Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care Canine Dry Dog Food is our number one pick because it is the most fitting, nutritionally balanced commercial food we can find. It was a recipe specifically for liver disease in dogs. It was formulated to regenerate the body and reverse the issue.
The recipe helps to remove toxins from the blood and buildup in the system to allow digestion to flow naturally and effortlessly. It is designed to regrow vital tissues, avoid nutritional deficiencies, and promote healthy immunity.
It has a component called S+OXSHIELD, which helps reduce calcium oxalate crystals in the urinary tract. Overall, we could not find a better fit to benefit every aspect of your pet’s condition. While it is exceptionally healthy for liver disease, it may be lacking a bit in taste, as some dogs seem not to enjoy the flavor.
2. Halo Vegan Dry Dog Food – Best Value
Halo 37026 Vegan Dry Dog Food is the best dog food for liver disease for the money. As the name implies, it’s utterly plant-based with no animal byproducts. It’s available in a few different bag sizes so you can purchase as much as you need.
Because liver disease sufferers can be sensitive to animal-based proteins, this food offers a great alternative. Halo delivers the same percentage of necessary protein while being totally digestible. It’s all-natural, non-GMO, and grain-free. There are no preservatives or added artificial flavor.
Especially for vegan recipes, this dog food is much cheaper in comparison and delivers the same fantastic nutrition. It may need supplementation with other additives recommended by your vet. However, it is the best value on the list due to its high quality and affordability.
If you don’t mind dishing out a little extra on their new diet, this ROYAL CANIN 460477 Canine Hepatic Dry Dog Food is our premium choice. It is a recipe specifically formulated to support liver recuperation, symptom management, and optimal nutrition.
This kind has all the goodies your pup needs. With lower sodium and copper content, it will aid in lower blood pressure and metal buildup in your dog’s system. It has a boost of zinc, fiber, B-vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. That will help to reduce inflammation and support healing.
It has vegetable proteins for dogs who have neurological issues because of liver disease. This is a very healthful, nutrient-packed, specialized recipe to help your dog thrive and recover. While high-priced, this food seems to deliver in all the areas it should. If money is no object, it would be worth it.
4. The Honest Kitchen Dog Food – For Puppies
While the Honest Kitchen Food for Dogs is geared toward adults, many find it is an excellent recipe for puppies as well. It is so much within proper parameters for food safety that they consider it human grade. It is a dehydrated selection, so you just add warm water and stir it to make a mouth-watering meal.
Because of the softness, it is perfect or dogs with decaying or developing teeth. It won’t be hard on the gums, either. It’s completely non-GMO, no preservatives, no byproducts, and low protein. It is made from turkey and free-range chicken.
It is simple to prepare, but it can take some extra time out of your schedule as opposed to pouring kibble into a bowl. If you don’t mind spending a few minutes warming and hydrating the meal for your dog, it is a delicious, fresh choice that is both tasty and healing for their liver.
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo Wilderness 840243105342 Adult Dry Dog Food is a good selection, as it is grain-free and packed with essential nutrients for healing. However, because of the high protein content, check with your veterinarian before trying this. Typically, you will want a dog food that has whole protein content but is higher in quality than quantity.
Blue Buffalo is known for having premium ingredients. This recipe is designed to help your dog retain a healthy body mass, coat, and bone structure. It supports immunity and is balanced to meet all life stage nutritional requirements.
If your dog suffers from liver disease and also requires a higher protein diet, this may be a fit. Your vet should verify that it is safe for their overall wellbeing.
6. Instinct Original Dry Dog Food
The Instinct Original 769949657255 Dry Dog Food is another all-natural, grain-free recipe. It is made from cage-free chicken. They have introduced raw coated kibble into the dog food world. Each piece has a coating to protect the meat but is uncooked and unprocessed.
This food is made for all stages of life. However, there is a notice on the bag showing that it’s not intended for large puppy consumption. So, if you have a large adolescent breed, another selection may be a better fit for liver health.
Some dogs show sensitivity to the proteins used in this dog food, so it may not be right on every stomach. Transition with caution and keep a watchful eye on digestion changes. There have been three added proteins since this recipe was first released, so it is essential to note.
Before you can buy dog food, you may want an all-around understanding of exactly what liver disease is and how to handle it. Your vet may have explained it to you, but let’s go back over some key points. That will help you understand what is happening with your dog inside and why diet is so important.
What is Liver Disease?
The liver breaks down and eliminates toxins and waste within the body. It also secretes bile to help aid in digestion. When the blood passing through can no longer filter correctly, it leads to bigger problems.
The liver is such a primary part of the body’s natural flow, and many issues can lead to liver disease. Some of these pre-existing issues include:
- Canine hepatitis
- Infectious disease
- Vessel abnormalities
- Endocrine diseases
What are the Symptoms?
Because of its multi-functionality, it can cause a spiraling array of misfires and symptomatic issues in your pet’s system. Some of them may be easily recognizable, while others you will have to pay attention to. Since they can’t speak, they need us to be extra aware and responsive when something isn’t right.
Jaundice is often very noticeable because the first sign you notice is the yellowing in the white portions of the eye. You can also see this color in the gums, skin, and ears.
Jaundice is caused by a high level of bilirubin in the system. When the liver doesn’t function as it should, it causes a buildup of this waste substance and doesn’t excrete it as it should.
A brain degenerative condition that takes place due to liver disease, otherwise known as hepatic encephalopathy, show a wide range of physical symptoms. One of the responsibilities of the liver is to filter anomia in the body. When it can no longer do this, it backs up, causing neurological problems.
That can cause a dog to have abnormal personality traits, seizures, depression, head pressing, and blindness.
Concerning their diet, the gastrointestinal symptoms shown in dogs is another telltale sign. They typically will have problems with digestion including diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, increased urination, and weight loss.
Another direct indication of liver issues can be abdominal swelling. This is otherwise referred to as ascites, and it occurs when the stomach retains fluid. It will likely require draining from your veterinarian.
Why is Diet So Important?
As you can see, many of these symptoms are directly related to the digestive system. A properly balanced maintenance diet is essential for your pet to thrive with their condition.
Depending on the root cause, recommendations or special dietary needs may be given by your vet. You’ll need a food that will help the liver to regenerate while providing adequate nutrition at the same time.
You will want to tailor-make a diet that appeals to your pet’s appetite. A big issue with liver disease is that it decreases their desire to eat. Making sure the food you select is enticing to them will be a huge determining factor in success.
Having the proper balance of nutrients is step one. Diet is all about managing the symptoms they have and allowing the body to heal. If your dog’s food is loaded with unnatural fillers or harmful chemicals, it can even make the situation much worse than it needs to be.
While it may seem odd, protein can be a massive trigger in liver disease. For this reason, a lot of veterinarians will cut out animal-based proteins, substituting them for plant-based proteins instead. You will also want to make sure calorie and carbohydrate content is not too high.
Types of Diets
You won’t want to make the rules up as you go. Getting to the root issues of your pet’s liver disease with a licensed professional is absolutely vital to their health. Don’t hesitate to work diligently with your veterinarian to formulate the precise diet they need to restore their bodies to a good state.
Prescribed Dry Dog Food
Depending on your dog’s underlying issues, your vet may prescribe a specialized diet for them. Since there is no one-size-fits-all, and each situation spawns from other conditions or illness, it may require very specific ingredients or lack thereof.
Homemade Dog Food
You can also try to make the dog food yourself. You can work with your vet to obtain a detailed ingredients list and become your dog’s very own chef. Just be certain you measure out nutrients correctly, so they get precisely what they need.
Commercial Dog Food
Like the options listed in our top 6, commercial dog foods can be a great selection. These recipes are designed by years of research and have scientific backing. You can even add homemade or prescribed dog food diets to commercial foods to get the exact dietary delivery necessary.
The combination diet is also standard. It may be that your pet requires half-homemade, half commercial or half prescription, half-homemade. It strictly depends on what is the best dietary route for your dog.
Some terrific choices for your sensitive pooch’s diet landed on our top 6. However, our number one, Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d Liver Care Canine Dry Dog Food, is the all-around best choice we could find. It is completely formulated for this issue and touches all the critical nutrient necessities.
If price is a concern for you, trying the Halo 37026 Vegan Dry Dog Food to see if it is a good fit is your next best choice. It is affordable and has holistic vegan ingredients with no animal byproducts. It is successful in treating ailments at a decent cost.
If money is no object, ROYAL CANIN 460477 Canine Hepatic Dry Dog Food is another specialty recipe for liver problems. It targets symptomatic issues while promoting overall health for your canine friend. The scientific research is also there, so it has precise measurements if you want to foot the bill.
Liver disease is nothing to brush off. Your dog needs you to help them through this trying time. We hope this list has alleviated some anxiety so you can get them on the road to recovery.
Featured image credit: pzbasnik, Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 6 Best Dog Foods for Liver Disease
- 1. Hill’s Prescription Liver Care Dog Food – Best Overall
- 2. Halo Vegan Dry Dog Food – Best Value
- 3. ROYAL CANIN Hepatic Dog Food – Premium Choice
- 4. The Honest Kitchen Dog Food – For Puppies
- 5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Dog Food
- 6. Instinct Original Dry Dog Food
- Buyer’s Guide
- What is Liver Disease?
- What are the Symptoms?
- Why is Diet So Important?
- Types of Diets