Unless your dog's liver condition is severe most dogs continue with their regular diets, however it makes sense that their food should be one which is gentle on the liver and doesn't overload it with toxins. It is better to feed several small meals a day rather than one or even two, if possible, and to feed foods which aren’t particularly high in copper, ammonia or salt.
Lamb, pork, duck and salmon are high in copper, so you may wish to avoid these protein sources, but turkey, chicken, and white fish have more moderate amounts. Because dogs need a good level of meat-based protein, avoiding copper altogether is tricky - but sticking to turkey, chicken & white fish helps to moderate how much the liver must process. Eggs are a particularly low source of copper, & they’re a fabulous protein source, so adding an egg to their dinner a few times a week might be a good way to boost their protein intake safely.
Copper reduction is particularly important if your dog is showing signs of hepatic encephalopathy.
Soluble fibre helps remove ammonia from the system, so the liver doesn’t have to process it. Oats, Barley & Sweet Potatoes are all particularly high in soluble fibre so it might be worth feeding foods which rely heavily on these ingredients.
In addition, avoiding unnecessary salt makes a lot of sense. None of our foods or treats contain added salt so they are ideal for a dog on a moderate salt reduction program. Combine this with avoiding high salt table scraps such as ham.
Some dogs with liver disease can also have trouble absorbing fat, so opting for foods & treats with less that 9% fat may be helpful too. Either way, keeping fat around a moderate 13% or less makes a lot of sense.
Dogs with liver shunts have specific dietary requirements that are different from dogs with other types of liver disease. While surgery is the treatment of choice, dogs with liver shunts can benefit from a low-purine diet, to prevent the formation of urate bladder stones. See our Bladder & Urinary section.
The foods listed below have no added salt, contain ingredients known to be high in soluble fibre & use only moderate copper protein sources. They also contain low-moderate fat levels. Many also contain antioxidants which help remove toxins from the body, but you may wish to supplement your own too – milk thistle seeds are known to be particularly effective at cleansing the liver.
(Please note that we are not vets. The information given here is intended as a general guide & should not replace the directions received from your vet)