Hepatic diets for dogs are diets for dogs with liver disease.

The liver in dogs has a few very important roles.

It helps with digestion and blood clotting.

Most importantly, it removes toxins from their system.

Vets prescribe many medications for managing hepatic diseases.

But hepatic diets can also help.

Let’s go into more detail about hepatic diets for dogs!

What Is a Hepatic Diet For Dogs?

  • Liver Diseases
  • Dog Food
  • Homemade Dog Food

Liver Diseases

The dog’s liver has a vital role in the following:

  • Metabolism
  • Detoxification
  • Bile production
  • Nutrient storage

Liver diseases can lead to some serious consequences.

There are many liver diseases in dogs.

The most common is hepatitis which is liver inflammation.

Its causes are bacteria, viruses, toxins, and immune-mediated reactions. [1]

In such cases, dogs have a lower appetite.

Also, these dogs are apathetic and have polyuria and polydipsia.

Diarrhea is another sign of hepatitis.

Ascites and hepatic encephalopathy are complications of hepatitis.

There are 3 main types of hepatitis:

  • Non-specific reactive hepatitis
  • Acute hepatitis
  • Chronic hepatitis

Non-specific hepatitis can occur in cases of sepsis or increased gastrointestinal absorption.

Also, leptospirosis, a bacterial disease, can lead to it.

Acute hepatitis is a result of infection, toxins, or liver hypoxia.

Chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis.

This is the most common form of hepatitis.

Cirrhosis can lead to permanent liver damage.

Also, liver fibrosis is common for cirrhosis.

This is also known as scarring.

Scarring can lead to compromised liver blood flow.

Copper accumulation can also lead to chronic hepatitis.

Hepatic lipidosis is another type of canine liver disease. [2]

It is a condition of triglyceride accumulation.

It can be physiologic or pathologic.

Also, the causes of it might be alterations in lipid metabolism.

Its symptoms are fasting and anorexia.

It is interesting that this disease occurs in young toy breeds.

This includes Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Fox Terriers.

Other common diseases are:

  • Portosystemic Shunt (PSS)
  • Cancer
  • Infectious diseases

PSS is a vascular abnormality in the liver.

It leads to improper detoxification.

It can also affect other organs and the brain.

Liver tumors in dogs are uncommon.

Its severity is from 0.6-1.3%. [3]

They can be both malignant and benign.

These diseases can disrupt the normal liver function

The most common infectious disease that affects the liver is leptospirosis.

It leads to serious damage and serious symptoms.

If detected on time, the prognosis might be good. [4]

The bad thing is that this disease is zoonosis.

Dog Food


Dog Food

Hepatic Dog Food

Protein content

Moderate to high

Reduced proteins

Fat content

Moderate to high

Reduced fats


Grains and starchy

Easily digestible








Might include


Dog nutrition should provide enough:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Water

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) provides a general basis.

This general basis is for the content of commercial foods.

When you choose commercial food, keep in mind the guidelines.

Always choose the highest quality of food.

Also, pick the appropriate food for your dog’s age.

Young puppies need special food.

Large granules for puppies can do a lot of harm.

So be careful when you choose dog food.

Always carefully read the food label.

Especially be careful about the protein source.

Dogs need a lot of protein as carnivores.

So, providing a good amount of proteins is essential.

Some pet parents are adopting raw food diets for their dogs.

But you need to do careful research before this drastic change.

Homemade Dog Food

Homemade dog food can also be nutritious.

This can also be very time-consuming.

That is the main reason why pet parents avoid it.

Also, homemade food needs to be carefully balanced.

Before adding homemade food, keep in mind the dog’s age, health status, and breed.

Always choose high-quality ingredients.

Keep in mind that some foods are not appropriate for dogs.

Therefore do your research carefully.

You should include enough proteins and vegetables.

Proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, and fish are good for dogs.

To add carbohydrates, you can use rice and oats.

Vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and peas can provide your dog with enough fiber.

Fish oil can lead to better skin and coat.

It is a source of healthy fatty acids.

When cooking, don’t add any spices.

Dogs are very sensitive to spices and herbs.

Some spices, like garlic, can lead to serious consequences.

Vets usually recommend chicken and rice for dogs with hepatic issues.

Also, potatoes and fish are a good combination for liver problems.

It is very difficult to create a balanced diet on your own.

Our advice is to consult with a vet to achieve it.

Diet for Dogs with Liver Disease

  • Specific Diet
  • Low Protein
  • Low Fat

Specific Diet

Vets advise a specific diet for dogs with liver diseases.

This is also known as the hepatic diet.

It is also known as an exclusive hepatic diet.

This means feeding your dog only with that food.

An exclusive hepatic diet is a prescription diet.

You should not switch to a normal diet until the animal is fully cured.

These diets lead to:

  • Normal digestive function
  • Reduced liver damage
  • Promote liver regeneration
  • Detoxification

Only hepatic diets will not cure your dog.

Hepatic diseases need special medication and treatment.  [5]

The treatment will depend on the primary cause.

Liver-specific diets should contain:

  • Fresh food
  • Low fat
  • Low Phosphorus for PSS
  • Low copper
  • Bioavailable protein
  • Omegas
  • Antioxidants

Specific diets can increase the quality of life of dogs.

They reduce the toxin build-up in the blood.

Dogs with liver diseases can lose weight.

So, providing a good diet can keep the dogs in good form.

High digestibility is very important.

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of liver diseases.

Liver diets can provide good digestibility.

Low Protein

Dog Food Type

Protein Content

Regular adult food


Puppy food


Senior food


Grain-free food


High-protein food


Commercial raw food


Homemade raw food


The protein quantity should be lower.

But dogs should receive the key amino acids for normal metabolism.

Fresh and bioavailable proteins can provide low protein content.

This way, the liver can metabolize the proteins better.

Healthy animals deaminate the excess protein.

Then the nitrogen converts to ammonia.

After it, the ammonia converts to urea.

The liver is responsible for this process.

But animals with liver diseases face difficulties.

The urea conversion is difficult to maintain.

Therefore, this can cause increased ammonia. [6]

Proteins like fish and chicken are great for liver disease patients.

If you want to give your pet some treats, there is a solution.

There are many low-protein treats for dogs.

Low Fat

Dogs with hepatic diseases should have a low-fat diet.

However, these dogs can benefit from omega supplementation.

That is why fish and salmon oil are usual supplements for dogs.

These supplements will provide your dog with healthy fats. [7]

Homemade Hepatic Dog Food

  • Low Sodium
  • Avoid Supplements
  • Recipes

Low Sodium

You should restrict the sodium intake in your dog.

Excess sodium can lead to harmful consequences on the liver.

Dogs with liver diseases can develop ascites.

This is a fluid build-up in dogs.

Dogs with ascites have hypovolemia.

In this case, potassium loss occurs.

To prevent potassium loss, vets suggest low-sodium diets.

Also, potassium diuretics might help. [8]

Avoid Supplements

Supplements are great for dogs.

But in some cases, you should avoid them.

Improper liver function is a sign to stop using them.

The liver metabolizes medications and supplements.

So adding supplements will do more harm.

There are a few supplements that you should avoid in dogs with liver diseases:

  • Vitamin A
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Herbal supplements
  • Protein supplements
  • Algal oil

Vitamin A overdose can lead to serious liver damage.

So, vitamin A has high toxicity when taken in the wrong doses.  [9]

Instead, you can include other supplements like Ashwagandha. [10]

Another great supplement is Vitamin B.

Vitamin B can help in liver detoxification.

Other useful supplements are:

You should add supplements only if your veterinarian suggests it.

We don’t recommend adding supplements on your own.


There are many homemade recipes for dogs with liver diseases.

We will present you with one very simple recipe.

You will need:

  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Cooked chicken
  • Boiled egg
  • Cooked oatmeal
  • Boiled pumpkin

Step 1: Cook the chicken and egg.

Step 2: Chop the food into small pieces.

Step 3: Mix the food.

The quantity will depend on your dog’s size.

Remember that the meat needs a proper thermic process.

Some pet parents give their dogs organ meat.

But you should do this only if your dog is completely healthy.

Before you add any homemade dog food for liver disease, consult with your vet.

Signs of Liver Disease in Dogs

  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Increased Thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in Appetite

Weight Loss

Weight loss is a common sign for dogs with liver failure.

It is normal because they usually lose their appetite.


Dogs with liver diseases have metabolic disbalances.

This can lead to vomiting and huge weight loss.

Vomiting can lead to serious fluid loss.

As soon as you notice vomiting, schedule an appointment with the vet.

Abdominal Pain

Lack of appetite and vomiting can also cause abdominal pain.

Abdominal pain is a very common sign of hepatic disease.

You will notice that your dog is lazier than usual.

Also, it might take some strange positions.

Increased Thirst

Polydipsia or increased thirst is a common sign of dogs with liver problems.

This might lead to some serious secondary issues.

It can also lead to kidney failure.


Lethargy is very possible in any disease.

The dog becomes exhausted due to the health issues.

And lethargy is visible.

Changes in Appetite

Changes in appetite are common.

That is why there is a need for a diet change.

Dogs with hepatic issues need easily digestible sources of food.

This will help them maintain a normal appetite.

What Is the Best Diet for Dogs With High Liver Values?

The best diet for dogs with high liver values is an exclusive hepatic diet.

With this diet, dogs cannot consume normal food.

This will keep the dog as healthy as possible.

Consult with your vet before changing your pet’s diet. 

Is Chicken Ok for Dogs With Liver Disease?

Yes, chicken is ok for dogs with liver diseases.

It is also very recommended by vets.

The protein is very easily digestible.

Therefore, pets can benefit from it.

Is Salmon Good for Dogs With Liver Disease?

Yes, salmon is good for dogs with liver diseases.

Like chicken, it is an easily digestible protein.

Salmon also contains healthy fats, which are beneficial.

Are Hepatic Diets Good for Dogs With Liver Diseases?

Yes, hepatic diets are good for dogs with liver diseases.

They are also recommended by vets.

Food can help a lot besides the usual medication.

It will keep your pet energized and healthier.

But before you change your pet’s diet, consult with a professional.