Liver diets for dogs are available as high-quality ready-made food in the form of dried animal food or Wet food specially developed for dogs with liver disease. Alternatively, you can cook a liver diet for the dog yourself.
The main focus of a liver diet for dogs is to give them food that relieves the liver and helps with regeneration. Therefore, the goal of the liver diet is to reduce the consequences of liver disease and not to treat the cause of the liver problems.
The overview of liver diet goals are:
- Maintaining normal weight through adequate food intake liver care
- Supports liver regeneration and cell repair
- Promotion of normal metabolic processes
- Avoidance of an accumulation of metabolic toxins
- Compensation for electrolyte disorders
Chronic liver diseases in particular often lead to weight loss and deficiency symptoms, as the energy storage and storage function of the liver is impaired.
What Is A Good Diet For Elevated Liver Enzymes
The principle of liver care dog food is based on highly digestible food. In addition to protein in the form of quark and cottage cheese, highly digestible meat from chicken, lamb, duck, goat, or beef is recommended.
If the liver is diseased and its function is restricted, there are restrictions on energy metabolism. This can lead to malnutrition, and many affected dogs lose weight.
A liver diet should pay attention to the following goals:
- Ensure sufficient energy intake to keep your weight as normal as possible
- contains slightly less, high-quality, easily digestible protein and complex carbohydrates that keep the dog’s blood sugar level stable despite the liver disease
- Support metabolic processes and avoid the accumulation of metabolic toxins
- Support of liver generation and cell repair: Milk thistle supports liver function in dogs. The silymarin contained in milk thistle blocks, among other things, the absorption of toxins into the liver. It also has a regenerative effect on the liver.
How To Get A Dog With Liver Disease To Eat
It is not easy to feed a dog with liver problems. However, your vet will give you a prescription liver diet for dogs to follow. Other than that, you can follow these tips:
- Do not under any circumstances feed a liver diet dry food
- Feed small and several meals a day
- Feed reduced protein
- Feed only highly digestible protein
- Feed mainly carbohydrates, i.e. grains and vegetables
- Feed supplements that support liver function
- Feed high-quality fat for energy
- Make sure to reduce your dog’s weight if he has too much on his ribs
- Avoid stress
- Get regular blood counts
Do not under any circumstances feed a dry liver dog food
The classic dry food that you get from your vet or the nearest zoo discounter is no good.
Although they are reduced in protein, they contain inferior ingredients. You cannot expect muscle meat in it; instead, meat rich in connective tissue (if at all) and animal by-products (e.g. feathers, hooves, beaks, urine, udder, brain, intestines, etc.) end up in it.
The whole thing is mixed with vegetable by-products, which are nothing more than waste materials from grain production. It is anything but high quality and easy to digest.
If possible, you should stop giving the dry food with additives as far as the eye can see, starting with artificial vitamins and minerals, sugar (molasses, caramel), flavorings, right up to preservatives, humectants for soft foods (which, by the way, are also used in nebulizing machines in the discotheque) and artificial antioxidants.
Feed small and several meals a day
To preserve digestion, it is a good idea to offer your dog several small meals a day (3-4 feedings, if possible). Dogs with liver disease often suffer from nausea and would neither want nor pack one or two large servings a day anyway.
Feed reduced protein
Reducing meat and increasing the “side dish” instead minimize ammonia production and thus protects the liver metabolism.
Feed only highly digestible protein
For example, muscle meat from chicken, turkey, beef, veal, and lamb work well. Dairy products such as cottage cheese, quark, eggs, and yogurt (goat yogurt is often better tolerated) are also high-quality sources of protein.
Feed mainly carbohydrates, i.e. grains and vegetables
Potatoes, whole wheat pasta, whole grain rice, buckwheat, and millet are delicious. Vegetables that are well tolerated by dogs with liver disease include beetroot, celery, spinach, and broccoli. The fruit is allowed in small amounts if your dog likes it.
Feed supplements that support liver function
There are some effective supportive nutritional supplements that you shouldn’t withhold from your loved one. These include milk thistles, dandelions, brewer’s yeast, rosehip powder, herbs, elm bark, and much more (more on this below)
Feed high-quality fat for energy
So that your dog does not have to draw power from the carbohydrates and proteins, you must feed him high-quality fat. But not too much of that either. After all, the liver, which is also responsible for fat metabolism, should be relieved.
Make sure to reduce your dog’s weight if he has too much on his ribs
Obesity is one of the common causes of liver disease. If your dog is fat and stays fat, he is always prone to liver inflammation, but also inflammation of the pancreas, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and many more diseases.
Stress hits the liver. So you should always make sure that your dog always has enough retreat and gets enough sleep. He should also get into a few situations that are stressful for him. Especially with scared dogs, which are often tense, you should pay attention to a low-irritation environment.
Get regular blood counts
The most important thing is that your dog gets well again so that he gets better quickly. To see whether the diet is working and, if necessary, medication, you should have a blood count done regularly. You should do it every 3 months for chronic illnesses. Do not blindly trust 1 person or 1 vet. Instead, get a second opinion if necessary, analyze yourself and draw your conclusions from it.
What Should Dogs with Liver Problems Not Eat
When feeding, avoid especially coarse grain by-products such as oat bran or bran as well as a high protein intake, especially low-quality meat by-products such as lung, fish meal, udder, and mussels. Offal is allowed to a small extent.
Furthermore, avoid the combination of fresh, homemade food and ready-made food. However, if you add vitamins and minerals independently, this can lead to your animal receiving too much vitamin A, for example, which is too high a concentration damages the liver.
Homemade Liver Diet For Dogs
Self-cooked dog food can be a tasty alternative to a ready-made liver diet for dogs with impaired liver function. You must ensure a moderate supply of protein, copper, and vitamin A.
The meat should mainly be lean meat with a medium fat content (approx. 8–12%), duck and goat meat or 1: 1 mixture of slightly lean and fatter varieties are well suited here (examples: 50% lean beef goulash / 50% fat beef goulash, 50% poultry meat with skin / 50% poultry meat without skin). Once a week, a fatty fish like salmon or mackerel also goes well.
Your dog can tolerate a small feast of meaty bones (50% meat / 50% bones) up to a maximum of 5% of the daily amount of meat. However, it is advisable to refrain from bone-feeding altogether for the first 6-8 weeks of the diet and until the liver values have been checked.
To keep the protein and phosphorus content as low as possible, carbohydrates are an essential additional source of energy. B. potatoes, pasta, or rice. This starchy feed is an easily digestible and readily available source of energy.
It would help if you cooked it very soft to be usable (rule of thumb 15–20 minutes longer than usual for humans). The carb variety is also possible here, provided the products and the daily change are well tolerated.
A good alternative is different types of flakes such as potato or rice flakes.
These should be soaked in about 3–4 times the amount of hot water and allowed to cool before feeding. 100 g of cooked carbohydrates correspond to approx. 25–30 g of dried flakes.
The well-suited products are semi-fat quark, grainy cream cheese, yogurt 3.5%, and sour cream. Dairy products are highly digestible proteins, and some contain lactic acid bacteria for the intestinal function.
The milk sugar (lactose) it contains can lead to changes in the consistency of the feces in larger quantities. Therefore, it should always be tested how much of which milk product is suitable for your dog, as the lactose levels are different. Alternatively, you can use lactose-free products.
With a few exceptions, all types of vegetables and fruits are OK. They serve as a source of fiber in dog nutrition.
However, it would help if you avoided the following: onions, garlic, leeks, avocado, grapes, and raisins. Instead of fresh vegetables or fruit, flakes or canned vegetables are more suitable.
For a regular bowel activity, if your dog refuses to eat vegetables, the use of cellulose fibers can be useful. Especially, if the feces are too soft.