Dog liver disease diet depends on the specific liver problem that your dog is suffering from. Read the following article to learn the basics of planning a diet for dogs with a liver disease.
The liver is one of the largest organs of a dog’s body, with numerous essential functions that help the dogs to be healthy and hearty. It plays a major role in the process of metabolism by removing blood toxins from the system. Due to certain reasons like viral or bacterial infections, food poisoning, metal poisoning, congenital abnormalities, and heredity issues, dogs may develop certain liver diseases. Several dog breeds on the other hand, like the Doberman Pinscher, Bedlington Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier, etc., are also at risk of liver diseases, since they are unable to digest certain minerals like copper. However, it is important to understand that most of the canine liver diseases are prevalent in all dogs, irrespective of their breeds.
When a pet dog is suffering with a liver problem, it is evident in the form of various symptoms like loss of appetite, fatigue or laziness, weight loss, lack of interest in regular activities, increased thirst, jaundice, changes in the color of urine, abdominal palpitations, etc. When it comes to treatment or management of the liver disease in dogs, the veterinarian prescribes a few medications that promote easy removal of the elements which may have caused this liver problem, in the first place. Along with optional hospitalization (severe cases), proper dietary management of the liver disease is the best thing that you can do as the owner of the dog. Dog liver disease diet is also called dog diet therapy for liver disease, which involves various modifications as per the special condition of a particular dog.
Diet for Dogs with Liver Disease
There are four prime goals of a diet for dog liver disease. These goals include, to provide adequate nutrients that are required for the dog’s health, to promote the process of liver cell regeneration with the help of proper medications, to avoid accumulation of certain minerals and harmful elements like free radicals by making the correct dietary modifications, and to prevent further damage and other health complications that may have been caused due to the severity of certain liver diseases. For instance, hepatic encephalopathy and ascites. Healthy food for dogs should contain a good balance of certain components, including proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals. Let’s get into these details.
» Proteins: Liver diseases in dogs hinder protein absorption. While a regular diet of a healthy dog should contain at least 25% of protein rich foods, dog food for the dogs with liver disease should contain only 20% of proteins. The amount or protein gets further reduced if the dog is suffering with hepatic encephalopathy. In such cases, the veterinarian would advise you to feed the dog with special low protein dog food. While adding protein to the dog food, make sure that it is healthy and high quality protein with least amount of saturated fats and high amount of essential fatty acids like omega 3. For instance, soy protein isolates, dairy products and wheat gluten. You may retain around 30% to 50% of their regular calorie intake as well.
» Fibers: Both soluble fibers and insoluble fibers should be included in the diet. Soluble fibers help in absorption of ammonia and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria that quickens the process of liver cell regeneration. Insoluble fibers, on the other hand, assist the dog’s digestive health and prevents issues like constipation. They also bind toxins and promote their removal. It is the reason why one needs to confirm with the veterinarian and include healthy sources of fibers like beets, various vegetables and fruits, while preparing the dog food. Along with fibers, indigestible carbs should also be included in the dog food for liver diseases.
» Vitamins: Including healthy amounts of antioxidants is a must, while planning a diet for dogs with liver diseases. Antioxidants are gained from various vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, etc., that are present in fresh vegetables, meat dairy products and fish, and certain herbs like milk thistle. Also include other antioxidants like Phosphatidylcholine (PC), S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe), Silymarin or Silibinin, etc.; that have preventive properties against liver damages under normal circumstances. These nutrients should be included in the form of oral supplements. The veterinarian would provide appropriate vitamin supplements to your pet dog, and would also give you the directions of feeding them to the dog.
» Minerals: While making proper dietary adjustments for the liver disease in dogs, one needs to make sure that certain minerals like potassium, sodium and copper are not included in higher amounts. In fact, experts suggest that potassium food sources should be completely avoided. The amount of sodium should also be restricted, especially when the dog is obese or has hypertension. The intake of copper should also be restricted amongst the dog breeds that I mentioned in the introduction. These breeds are likely to develop liver disease due to lack of copper excretion.
Best Dog Food for Liver Disease
You can either follow healthy dog food recipes at home or choose certain healthy dog food brands upon confirmation with the veterinarian. There are certain dog food brands that provide foods for the dogs that are suffering with liver diseases. There are a few healthy recipes for dog food that you can prepare too, after consulting with the veterinarian. Here are a few.
☛ Recipe #1
Heat up oil in a pan and add chicken breast, wheat bran, rice and carrots to it. Stir well and add 2 cups of water to the mixture. Cover up the pan and let the mixture cook for about 20 minutes. Keep stirring the ingredients occasionally. Check whether the chicken and rice is cooked well and remove the pan from heat. Let the food cool, before serving it to the dog.
☛ Recipe #2
Heat up oil in a pan and add minced beef, wheat bran, rice, tofu and carrots to it. Stir well and add water to the pan. Cover the pan and let the mixture simmer on medium to low heat for about 20 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally in the meanwhile. Check if both the meat and rice are cooked completely and then remove the pan from heat. Let it cool, before serving to the dog.
☛ Recipe #3
Heat up water in a pan and boil the egg and potatoes together (don’t remove the skin). Remove the egg skin though. Take a bowl and mashed potatoes (with skin) and the egg, together. Then add crushed tablets of multivitamin, minerals and calcium carbonate. Mix all the ingredients well and serve to the dog with this low protein dog food.
As you can see, a diet specially for dog liver disease is totally different to what you must have been feeding your dog, otherwise. Always remember that proper medications and dietary changes with appropriate medical interventions, provide relief and promote quick recovery from canine liver diseases. All the best!