How to Feed for Dogs and Cats with Liver Disease
Liver disease is a serious problem in dogs. Perhaps the most important treatment for dogs with liver disease is a home-prepared diet.
Not all patients have the same type of liver disease and severity of liver malfunction; diets should, therefore, be specifically tailored to your dog's degree of liver dysfunction.
Most patients need a diet low in copper and sodium. Antioxidants should be available in a plentiful amount!
The guidelines for a liver diet include:
- The liver has a diminished ability to detoxify. Thus, we need to feed adequate, reasonably high levels of easily digested proteins, free of aflatoxins, hormones, herbicides and pesticides.
- Limit further damage by limiting copper and, again, pesticides and other toxins.
- Support liver regeneration by supplying high levels of antioxidants and free radical scavengers.
- Dogs with liver disease are usually suffering from a condition where less protein is being broken down (catabolic), resulting in increased energy needs and, therefore, the need for more protein.
- Prevent the build-up of bloodborne brain toxins, called hepatic encephalopathy.
- Dogs with liver disease can usually handle very high amounts of fat in the diet (30 - 50% of calories).
- Moderate amounts of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber can help a dog with liver disease. Soluble fiber, such as beet pulp and gums, lowers the production and absorption of ammonia and helps the growth of beneficial bacteria.