10 Best Food To Feed A Dog With Liver Problems (2020 Review)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Liver disease can be tricky to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. Typically, a dog only begins displaying symptoms when the disease is advanced. 

If your dog has been diagnosed by a vet, then you’ll most likely need to make a change to their diet. The best food to feed a dog with liver problems may not be what you think! 

There’s no need to go low-protein or prescription dog food. All it takes is some consideration and making sure to avoid problem ingredients. 

Check out our list to find the best one for your dog.

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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal, 30-Pound Bag
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Turkey Dog Food 10 lb - Keen
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb
Pro 1
Premium quality healthy ingredients
Human-grade
Antioxidant-rich ingredients
Pro 2
Superfood fruits and veggies for antioxidants
Organic ingredients
Good Omegas
Best Overall
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Ranked #1
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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal, 30-Pound Bag
Pro 1
Premium quality healthy ingredients
Pro 2
Superfood fruits and veggies for antioxidants
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Best Wet Food
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Ranked #2
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The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Turkey Dog Food 10 lb - Keen
Pro 1
Human-grade
Pro 2
Organic ingredients
Custom Button
Best Limited Ingredient
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Ranked #3
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Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato 24-lb
Pro 1
Antioxidant-rich ingredients
Pro 2
Good Omegas
Custom Button
Sources researched
16
Sources researched
Customer reviews
16,383
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
13
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

10 Best Food To Feed A Dog With Liver Problems in 2020

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal

Best Overall: Premium Quality Ingredients For Liver Support

Overall Score90%
Ingredient Quality91%
Protein Quality91%
Antioxidant-Rich91%
Healthy Additions91%
Affordability86%

PROS

  • Premium quality healthy ingredients 
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin 
  • Superfood fruits and veggies for antioxidants 
  • High levels of Omega fatty acids

CONS

  • May be slightly lower in protein than some dogs need

This dry dog food is right on the button for a dog with liver problems. It’s perfectly adequate in terms of nutrients, although it may be slightly low in protein and fat for very active dogs.

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High Quality Ingredients 

You won’t find anything of low quality in this kibble. Chicken and chicken meal make up the protein, while the carbs and fiber come from great sources like oatmeal, barley, peas, rice, sweet potatoes, and carrots. 

Ingredients like blueberries and apples give an extra dash of antioxidants. The glucosamine and chondroitin are helpful, and the Omega levels are high enough to be beneficial for your dog’s skin and coat.

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food

Best Wet Food

Overall Score85%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality90%
Antioxidant-Rich85%
Healthy Additions75%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Organic ingredients 
  • Good way to add moisture to your dog’s diet 
  • Human-grade 
  • Easy to digest

CONS

  • Contains no added supplements 
  • May be too low in protein for some dogs

If you have an older or more sensitive dog who has liver issues, then this dehydrated dog food could be the perfect choice for them. It’s easy on the teeth and the digestive system and highly nutritious.

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Human-Grade Quality 

This dog food is of such high quality, you could have a bowl of it if you wanted to! It’s loaded with dehydrated ingredients, which means they’re naturally preserved and seriously healthy. 

The only downside is that there’s no added supplements like glucosamine or DHA, so you’ll need to buy others separately if your dog needs joint support or a skin and coat boost.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet

Best Limited Ingredient

Overall Score87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality90%
Antioxidant-Rich90%
Healthy Additions85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Good Omegas 
  • Added glucosamine 
  • Antioxidant-rich ingredients

CONS

  • Only one flavor is suitable (turkey) 
  • May be too low in protein for some dogs

Limited ingredient diets can have a positive effect on many health conditions, liver problems included. Many of the best limited ingredient diets contain protein sources that are unsuitable, but this one is perfect for dogs who need a liver-friendly food.

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Limited Ingredient, High Quality 

The ingredient quality is great, and Omegas fatty acids are added in good measure. Glucosamine and chondroitin are a good addition.

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Adult Farm Raised Chicken

Best Low Protein

Overall Score85%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Quality85%
Antioxidant-Rich85%
Healthy Additions85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Lower in protein but retains good fat count 
  • High Omega levels 
  • Added joint supplements

CONS

  • Contains brewer’s rice, lower quality ingredient 
  • Contains lamb meal, which may worsen liver symptoms in severe cases

If your vet does recommend a low-protein diet for your dog, this is the dog food we’d suggest trying. It’s lower than most, at 21%, but not so low as to cause a deficiency.

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Healthy Low-Protein Nutrition 

The fat count remains high at 13%, and it also has decent Omegas and joint supplements. The ingredient list is filled with wholesome, easily-digestible foods, with the possible exception of brewer’s rice.

American Journey Active Life Formula Puppy Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables Recipe Dog Food

Best For Puppies With Liver Disease

american journey active life puppy
Overall Score90%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality90%
Antioxidant-Rich90%
Healthy Additions90%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Added DHA for brain and eye health 
  • Perfect calcium/phosphorus ratio 
  • Good level of joint supplements 
  • High in Omega fatty acids

CONS

  • Contains Brewers rice which is a lower quality ingredient

Although liver disease doesn’t often affect puppies, on occasion your little one can be afflicted. This is our choice for the best food for puppies with liver problems.

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Puppy Nutrition 

In addition to having a wholesome ingredient list, this kibble contains all a growing puppy needs. Glucosamine and chondroitin keep your puppy’s joints tough from the start, and DHA helps their eyes and brain develop well. There’s also great levels of Omegas for skin and coat health.

Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Chicken and Rice Formula

Best Value For Money

Overall Score89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality90%
Antioxidant-Rich90%
Healthy Additions85%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Perfect protein and fat levels for most dogs 
  • Contains superfood ingredients 
  • Very affordable for its quality 
  • DHA makes it suitable for adults and puppies

CONS

  • No glucosamine

If you’re looking for an affordable liver-friendly dog food that will improve your dog’s health without breaking the bank, we highly recommend this dry dog food.

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Quality At a Great Price 

The protein and fat numbers (26% and 16%) are super for just about all dogs. There’s also a great level of Omega fatty acids, and the addition of DHA is a great thumbs-up. 

This kibble is packed with superfood fruits and vegetables, which makes it high in antioxidants and great to support the liver. 

It’s extremely well-priced for such a high-quality dog food, and the only thing you may need to buy separately is a joint supplement, if your dog needs one.

Merrick Grain-Free Senior Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best For Seniors With Liver Disease

Overall Score88%
Ingredient Quality90%
Protein Quality90%
Antioxidant-Rich90%
Healthy Additions85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Senior-specific formula 
  • Added L-carnitine 
  • Nice levels of joint supplements 
  • Calorie-friendly

CONS

  • Has added salt
  • Dogs sensitive to potatoes may not like this food

If your dog with liver problems is on the older side, this senior-specific dog food might be the best choice for them.

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Useful Supplements 

As well as a superior quality ingredient list, the added supplements are great for older pups. You’ll find a high level of glucosamine and chondroitin, and above-average Omega fatty acid numbers.

Earthborn Holistic Natural Food For Large Breed Dogs

Best For Large Breeds

Overall Score88%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Quality90%
Antioxidant-Rich85%
Healthy Additions95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Good quality proteins for dogs with liver problems 
  • Suitable for adults and puppies 
  • Contains joint supplements 
  • Contains L-carnitine and Beta-Carotene

CONS

  • Slightly on the pricey side

Large breed dogs have more specific nutritional needs than others, and this food is a fantastic option if your large breed has been diagnosed with liver problems.

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All-Round Nutrition 

Firstly, this dry dog food contains chicken meal, whitefish meal, and dried egg as its protein sources, all great for liver problems. 

Fruits and veggies like cranberries, blueberries, carrots, and spinach add a good lot of antioxidants, as well as healthy fiber. 

Lastly, it contains all the supplements your large breed needs, including glucosamine and chondroitin, L-carnitine for energy regulation, DHA which makes it suitable for adults and puppies, and beta-carotene for improved eye and immune system health.

WholeHearted Grain Free Healthy Benefits Easy Digestion Potato and Egg Product Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best Vegetarian Option

Overall Score84%
Ingredient Quality85%
Protein Quality85%
Antioxidant-Rich85%
Healthy Additions80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Contains no meat ingredients 
  • High in protein and fat for a vegetarian dog food 
  • Good Omega fatty acid levels 
  • Easy digestion formula

CONS

  • Not many added supplements  
  • Slightly on the pricey side

You may be wondering why we’re looking at vegetarian dog food, but if your dog has a chicken sensitivity, it could be hard to find a suitable food that avoids red meat and poultry. This food makes use of egg and potato protein to hit its 25%, which is a superb protein count for a vegetarian dog food.

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Easy on the Stomach 

Dogs with liver problems who have a sensitive stomach would benefit from the high digestibility of this dog food. It contains wholesome ingredients that are easy on the tummy, and as an added bonus, the probiotics and prebiotics are impressive and will definitely make your dog’s stomach happy.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hepatic Formula Dry Dog Food

Best Prescription Food

Overall Score71%
Ingredient Quality70%
Protein Quality70%
Antioxidant-Rich70%
Healthy Additions70%
Affordability75%

PROS

  • Contains DHA and EPA 
  • Contains chelated minerals

CONS

  • Low quality ingredients 
  • Too low in protein for most dogs, even with liver disease 
  • Added copper

Prescription diets are tempting especially when recommended by a vet. We’ve included this one to give you a good comparison between a prescription dog food and others on the market.

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For Severe Liver Disease 

We highly recommend not feeding this to your dog unless they’re very far down the path of liver disease. It’s simply too low in protein, and it’s not necessary to go that low even in moderate stages of liver disease. 

It’s also unfortunately packed with low-quality filler ingredients that aren’t easily digested, like corn, soy protein, and brewer’s rice. 

As you can see, prescription diets are not necessarily the best way to go!


Questions & Answers

Does a dog with liver problems need a low-protein diet?

Contrary to popular belief, most dogs with liver disease should not be put on a low protein diet. In severe cases, when the liver disease has started to manifest in neurological signs and symptoms (known as hepatic encephalopathy), then a low-protein diet may be necessary. 

Either way, it’s crucial to not go low-protein unless tests have been done and the vet has determined that your dog needs less protein.

What should I look for in the best food to feed a dog with liver problems?

High-quality ingredients should be the first thing to look for. Choose a dog food with chicken, turkey, or whitefish rather than red meat. 

Good quality grains can also be helpful. Oats, rice, and millet are good choices. Stay away from grains containing gluten, like wheat, corn, and soy. 

Vegetables and fruits are always good to see in a dog food. They pack an antioxidant punch that dogs with liver problems can benefit highly from. Omega fatty acids are also a good ingredient. 

Other nutrients depend on your dog. L-carnitine is always a nice thing to see, and dogs who are prone to joint problems will need glucosamine and chondroitin. Puppies and seniors benefit greatly from DHA and EPA.

What should I avoid feeding my dog with liver problems?

As always, don’t feed your pup any human food. Corn, wheat, and soy should always be avoided. 

High levels of copper can worsen liver disease. It’s hard to tell which foods have copper in them, so simply try and stay away from anything with organ meats (many raw foods), beef, lamb, pork, salmon, duck, and game meats. 

Legumes can potentially be problematic for dogs with liver problems, so it’s recommended to avoid them if possible, too.

What are the signs and symptoms of liver disease in dogs?

Liver disease is tricky because the liver regenerates damaged cells. For your dog to be showing signs of liver problems, almost 80% of the liver will already be damaged. 

The symptoms are very vague and similar to other diseases, unfortunately: 

  • Lethargy & weakness 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Signs of stomach pain 
  • Vomiting 
  • Signs of depression 

These can be accompanied by a yellow color inside of the mouth or in the eyes. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, you should get them tested at the vet.