Are you one of the pet owners burdened by your dog’s liver issues? Do you feel like you don’t know where to turn or who to listen to?

The hard truth is your furry friend is beginning to show signs for the early stages of liver disease and you’re quite worried.

Before you mentally throw in the towel and start cherishing every last moment with your beloved companion – stop. Breathe. Take that frustrated energy and redirect it into a mission to heal your best friend and put him on the road to recovery.

As you might have read in our article on canine liver disease, the liver has the ability to regenerate itself.

If your dog has not yet reached end stage liver disease, there’s hope for recovery. Yet, with so much conflicting information, how do you decide which diet is appropriate for your little (or big) guy? More important, which foods will aid in recovery and which foods will exacerbate the condition further? This leads me to my first point.

Commercial Pet Foods Are Not Suitable for Dogs with Liver Disease

commercial pet food

What’s ironic is that many people believe feeding a raw diet is acceptable for a healthy dog, but it’s less than ideal or flat out dangerous for sick dogs. They claim raw diets are risky for dogs with compromised livers because one of the main jobs of the liver is to filter out toxins.

This is a prime example of an oxymoron. Commercial pet food is the epitome of toxic.

To begin, it’s a processed food. If you had cancer or organ failure would you eat McDonald’s or processed convenience foods everyday? I’d bet you wouldn’t – unless you had a death wish.

Well, feeding commercial pet foods might deliver the same result. Commercial pet food typically contains:

  • Poor quality rendered protein that can contain diseased, sick, or euthanized animals.
  • Grains and/or starchy vegetables in considerably higher quantities than meat leading to nutritional deficiencies in dogs and cats
  • High amounts of rendered animal fat or vegetable fat and oils from leftover restaurant grease traps. This is often sprayed over the kibble to make it appealing to your dog.
  • Low nutrient foods. The ingredients used in pet foods are often a poor quality to begin with. Then these already nutrient deficient foods are cooked twice, first in rendering, second in the extruder. This harsh process destroys what vitamins, minerals or enzymes the food originally had and is the reason manufacturers must fortify the food.
  • Preservatives (chemical or natural)
  • Additives and emulsifiers such as: anti caking and anti gelling agents, artificial colors and flavors, curing and drying agents, condiments, humectants, grinding agents, leavening agents, palatants, lubricants, pelleting agents, petroleum by products, pH controlling agents, stabilizers, spices, sweeteners, thickeners and texturizers.
  • Low moisture content

In addition, the processed nature of the food makes it difficult for your dog to digest.

A lifetime of commercial, dry pet food is the reason dogs are sick today. Dogs fed conventional kibble suffer serious nutritional deficiencies and receive daily doses of toxins, which lead to diseases of modern civilization like diabetes, cancers, and liver disease.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s a must-read article from Dog’s Naturally Magazine that goes over the results from a consumer-funded pet food evaluation. Unfortunately the results show that a shocking number of kibble brands contain dangerous toxins and molds that can contribute to cancer and liver disease. Hopefully this will motivate you to ditch the kibble.

Though any kind of commercial kibble can be less than ideal,  it’s worth mentioning that commercial pet food manufactured in China should be avoided like the plague. China has a history of tainted foods with heavy use of chemicals and additives. The death count for innocent pets that consumed pet food or treats from China is considerable already.

Prescription Pet Food for Liver Disease Is No Better

prescription pet food

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You may be thinking, “duh… I’m not feeding regular pet food. I’m feeding pet food prescribed by my veterinarian.” Well, you might want to think again.

The pet food industry learned a long time ago that there’s a great opportunity to sell exclusive veterinary diets for the treatment of liver disease and other serious conditions. Unfortunately, they still contain poor quality ingredients, lower amounts of protein than normal (which can be counterproductive for dogs with liver disease – the liver needs protein to heal), starchy vegetables, and tons of preservatives and additives.

To be honest, they aren’t’ all that different from regular commercial pet foods. See for yourself.

Here are the ingredients for Hills Prescription Diet LD for Canine Hepatic Health:

“Brewers Rice, Pork Fat, Dried Egg Product, Soybean Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Flaxseed, Pork Protein Isolate, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dicalcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Dried Beet Pulp, Calcium Carbonate, Glycerol Monostearate, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of vitamin K)), Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, L-Arginine, Taurine, DL-Methionine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, L-Tryptophan, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Natural Flavors.”

Here are the ingredients for Hills Healthy Advantage Adult Canine:

“Chicken, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Soybean Meal, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Oat Groats, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Vegetable & fruit blend (Green Peas, Apples, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli), Dried Beet Pulp, Iodized Salt, Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Choline Chloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Natural Flavors.”

What do you think; do they look that different?

What About The Risk of Bacteria?

Many veterinarians along with pet food industry proponents claim that raw foods contain dangerous bacteria.When it comes to illness or disease they use this argument to add fuel to the fire, asserting that sick animals can’t handle the added complication of bacteria and pathogens in raw meat.

Let me ask you one question. How many recalls have their been of commercial raw pet foods? And ow many have there been for kibble?  Too many to count! Are you aware of how many pets became seriously ill or die from contaminated kibble each year?

Raw pet food gets a bad rap and is constantly claimed to be dangerous, but it’s nowhere near as dangerous as kibble. In fact, the pet food industry and the FDA go as far as trying to sway public opinion that raw food is more dangerous than dry food. You do the math, you’ll see their statements don’t add up.

The bottom line is that statistically, there’s a much higher risk for salmonella poisoning when feeding conventional kibble compared to raw foods. A look at the numbers should tell you all you need to know.

If you want the best chances for avoiding food borne pathogens, transition to a homemade raw diet (BARF or prey model) from food fit for human consumption.

How Do We Heal Liver Disease?

Okay, we went on a bit of a rant to explain why commercial pet foods and veterinary prescribed commercial diets for liver disease are no good. Instead of once again stating the benefits of raw feeding, let’s just get into the meat and potatoes of this post – what do we feed to reverse liver issues?

The following 7 suggestions and their explanations are provided below:

1. Remove Toxins

First and foremost, remove anything from your dog’s environment (inside or out) that can be potentially toxic and is known to contribute to liver disease.


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Chemicals used in your yard and inside your home are dangerous to your dog.  Make sure to always use products that are safe for pets whether it’s rock salt, lawn fertilizers or pest products. These include:

  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Rodenticides

There’s probably an arsenal of dangerous chemicals in your home that are capable of harming your dog. Household cleaners and anything used on surfaces and floors can be toxic to your pets.

household cleaning products

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Remember, dogs lie on the floor, eat things off the floor, then lick themselves. They’re inadvertently ingesting chemicals on a  daily basis.

Always use all natural cleaning products safe for pets. Homemade cleaning products are just as effective at eliminating germs and bacteria compared to standard household cleaners and are safe for your pets. Some dangerous cleaning chemical include:

  • Carbon Tetracholride (found in fire extinguishers and cleaning agents)
  • Bleach
  • Household chemicals

While the following substances aren’t generally dangerous, toxic amounts are very dangerous and are known to cause poisoning and damage to the liver.

  • Lead (commonly found in lead dust and paint chips of older homes, and a plethora of other objects)
  • Phosphorus (commonly found in fertilizers, pesticides, and rodenticides)
  • Selenium (commonly occurring after consuming plants or water with high selenium content. Be aware of indicator plants that require selenium for growth. They’re called obligate selenium accumulators)
  • Arsenic (commonly found in rat poison, insecticides, herbicides and wood preservatives)
  • Iron (occurs after pets accidentally consume vitamin and mineral supplements, especially high iron prenatal vitamins, disposable hand warmers, and iron fortified fertilizers)

Chemicals aren’t the only danger; drugs and medications pose a serious risk. Make sure your supplements, antibiotics, and drugs are kept out of reach of pets. A common cause of liver damage is accidental consumption of medications and supplements.


Human medications don’t pose the only risk. Canine prescriptions have serious side effects and long-term use often leads to the deterioration of the liver as well.

  • Anesthetic gases
  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Dewormers
  • Diuretics
  • Analgesics (including NSAIDs)
  • Painkillers
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Testosterone preparations
  • Corticosteroids
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Cortisone
  • Corticosteroids
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Certain parasiticides given over extended periods
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Phenobarbital

Last, while this is harder to control than the other areas of toxins, do your best to make sure your dog doesn’t have access to areas with toxic plants and herbs. Some known to affect the liver are:

  • Ragwort
  • Certain mushrooms
  • Blue-green algae
  • Certain molds (aflatoxin) – These have been found in commercial dog foods, see here for more.

2. Skip Low Protein Diets

Despite what many believe, dogs were built to eat meat and actually digest raw protein the easiest. So, it’s certainly fitting that we feed raw protein (biologically appropriate foods) when our dogs are sick. These foods don’t strain the body. Plus, proteins with high biological values leave less waste for the liver to deal with.

cubed beef

To help drive this point home, I’ve solicited the help of two ACAN (American Council of Animal Naturopathy) practitioners and one ACAN certified Carnivore Nutrition Consultant to contribute their views on the subject.

Practitioners Dr. Kim Bloomer, CVND, ND and Dr. Jeanette Thomason, CVND both hold doctorate degrees in Veterinary Naturopathy. They assert that when our dogs are not fed a species appropriate diet, their organs become overburdened carrying out work they were not originally designed to do.

They go on to state, “Poor quality, cooked, and or processed protein cannot be flushed through the colon effectively. Thus, the toxins are reabsorbed into the body. So when you’re deciding on the right diet for your pet with liver disease, be sure to do your homework and research. A raw, carnivore specific diet is the best and most easily digested diet there is for healing or maintaining health.”

Though, for dog owners, one of the biggest challenges in treating liver disease is sorting through all the misinformation out there.

Carole Milligan, a certified carnivore nutrition consultant, explains how it’s common for many vets to prescribe low protein diets in cases of liver disease. Dr. Bloomer and Thomason agree, saying, “Since the liver is the organ that aids in processing protein, it has been taught in veterinary medicine that because dogs with liver shunts and/or liver disease have impaired liver function, they should be fed a reduced amount of protein.”

There’s several reason you don’t want to follow this advice.

First, protein is important for liver health. In fact, poor quality proteins or too little protein for that matter can further damage the liver. Even more important, protein is necessary for regeneration of the liver. So, if you’re not feeding enough protein, your liver isn’t getting what it needs to heal.

Second, feeding less protein is incorrectly advised because it came about from tests completed with cooked or processed protein, not tests completed with raw protein! Not only is cooked or processed protein a poor quality, the moisture content is removed making the protein count higher.

To elaborate, when meat is cooked for as little as 3 minutes at temperatures above 177 degrees F, “the molecular structure is altered, the proteins coagulate and denature and essential amino acids are destroyed.” Therefore, cooked meat is actually higher in protein than raw meat! This happens because the molecular structure of raw meat changes and all moisture is removed, condensing the protein.

Raw proteins are 60-70% water. To check the protein content of the raw meats you’re feeding, visit the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

There was another study conducted in 1993 at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands on Great Dane puppies. The professor of Veterinary Medicine at the university, Herman A Hazewinkel, D.V.M., Ph.D., led the research and found:

  • no detrimental effects from high levels of protein (up to 32 percent of the diet).
  • low percentages of protein in the diet did affect the health of puppies negatively.
  • The study concluded that high protein did not negatively effect the skeletal or cartilage development in these dogs, nor did it have detrimental effects on the function of the liver and kidney.

The point I’m trying to make. Take advice that dogs with liver disease need to be on a low protein diet with a grain of salt.


Dr. Bloomer and Dr. Thomason’s closing statements were, “It needs to be understood right here and now that our dogs are carnivores and are designed to require a RAW protein based diet to thrive – something they especially need when ailing to support their immune system in order to heal.”

3. Feed High Quality Proteins

As pet owners and caregivers, we should always strive to serve the best quality protein that we can afford.

However, when you’re dealing with a sick dog, feeding quality protein is of utmost importance. Carole Milligan explains that “the amount and type of protein fed to a dog with liver shunt or liver disease needs to be of excellent quality.” This means, we should feed raw, natural, organic, and non-medicated meats. Grass fed or pasture raised meats are best.


These meats will have:

  • the right combination of amino acids
  • an improved fatty acid composition
  • higher levels of healthy omega-3s
  • a better saturated fat composition
  • increased antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • 2 to 3 more times conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has potent antioxidant activity and is known to protect against heart disease, diabetes, and cancers.

4. Moderate Ammonia

One of the tasks of the liver is to remove ammonia, a by-product of protein digestion. Normally when the liver removes ammonia, it’s converted to urea. Ammonia is toxic; urea is not.

It’s common to believe protein is what affects dogs with liver disease; rather it’s the ammonia from certain animal proteins that can be damaging. It’s important to note that ammonia is only problematic for certain liver conditions like shunts or advanced/end stage liver disease.

It may be necessary to moderate ammonia if your dog has a liver condition that may compromise it’s ability to process ammonia.

Dogs whose livers cannot remove ammonia may often show signs for Hepatic Encephalopathy. This is a dangerous type of brain dysfunction created by high levels of ammonia and other toxins in the blood.

Hepatic Encephalopathy is generally a symptom of liver failure and end stage liver disease. Most livers that have not yet reached this point are still capable of carrying out the duty of ammonia removal even if a small portion of the liver is affected. It’s important to be aware of this possibility and plan accordingly nonetheless.

Red meats and organs are extremely healthful for your dog but they also produce the most ammonia. They should not be eliminated entirely because they contain important nutrients that help with liver function. However, they may need to be restricted depending on what type of liver disease or condition your dog has. If feeding red meat, it should be the best quality red meat you can find.


Fish, poultry and eggs produce the least amount of ammonia and can be fed in higher quantities.

5. Moderate Fat, Feed Only Easily Digestible Fats

Bile acid is produced in the liver from cholesterol and other compounds. It’s stored and released through the gallbladder. Bile acid aids in the breakdown of food, helps with fat absorption, and moderates levels of cholesterol.

Dogs in the advanced stages of liver failure may show signs for another condition called Jaundice. This condition occurs when the liver’s ability to excrete bile is exceeded which causes the bile to accumulate in the body and the blood, staining the tissues yellow. Dogs with jaundice may have a yellow appearance to the whites of the eyes, gums, tongue, or inside ears. Their urine may also turn dark brown and their stools may be putty colored.

Because fat is processed in the liver and gall bladder, too much fat could further stress the liver. If your dog’s liver health is in question or is advanced, you might want to be careful about feeding too much fat.  Fat shouldn’t be avoided because it’s important for canine health, but it should be moderated. The fat fed should also be kinds that are easily digested such as fats found from animal protein sources.

Raw meats known to be greasy and rich in fat are duck, lamb, bison, buffalo, or certain low quality cuts of beef (from concentrated feeding lots) or meat packing plants. Marrow bones also have a high fat content.

6. Supplement

Supplementation is important for sick dogs. Though we’d like to think that feeding an all natural, organic, raw diet will provide all that our dogs need to be healthy, that’s not always the case, nor is it always easy or possible to get our hands on truly natural foods.

Supplementation is a great way to provide extra nutrients our dogs need to heal. The following is a great list of supplements that can be provided to dogs with liver disease. These can be offered in whole food form like herbs, fruits and vegetables, or with a high-quality supplement.

Note: Always consult with your veterinarian for dosage information and prior to incorporating supplements to make sure they don’t interact with anything else you may be giving your dog.

Milk Thistle – A powerful antioxidant known for protecting liver tissue and helping to regenerate damaged liver tissue. Research has proven that milk thistle may also be able to prevent or reduce medication induced liver disease or damage by flushing out medication and chemicals residing in the body. It’s also helps to improve allergies. The recommended dose of milk thistle is ¼ teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight per day. It’s advised that the daily dose not be administered at once but broken into 2-3 doses throughout the day.

B Complex Vitamins & Vitamin C These vitamins groups are required for healthy cells. In addition, these vitamins are water-soluble. This means the vitamins are not stored in the body and must be replaced each day. Dogs with liver disease often have trouble retaining water-soluble vitamins, so it may be a good idea to supplement these.

Vitamin K – This fat-soluble vitamin is necessary for the proper clotting of blood. Vitamin K deficiency can cause internal or external bleeding. Dogs with advanced or end stage liver disease may have integral bleeding because their livers have trouble with blood clotting. Vitamin K can be supplemented with probiotic bacteria that will help restore the ability to produce Vitamin K within the body.

Probiotics The beneficial bacteria in probiotics helps to improve immune function in the gastrointestinal tract. Acidophilus, a beneficial bacterium in most probiotic mixes contains ellagic acid and tannins that have protective liver properties. In addition, probiotics help to keep beneficial gut bacteria that may have been lost due to vomiting, diarrhea or other stresses. And as mentioned above, intestinal bacteria manufactures vitamin k, a vitamin important for liver health. This is why it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Bone Broth – Bone broth has a wide range of beneficial properties and should be fed to any sick dog.  More importantly, bone broth contains an important amino acid for liver health. Since the liver’s job is to remove toxins from the body, its ability to remove toxins is dependent on the availability of the amino acid glycine. Bone broth is an excellent source of glycine. Glycine helps the liver to perform vital detox activities, it also aids in digestion by regulating synthesis of bile salts and gastric acid secretion. Make a pot of bone broth and serve alone or with food.

Sam E (Denosyl) Sam E is a natural biochemical made in the body from the amino acid methionine. Studies have shown that it boosts and supports liver function. It’s been shown that it increases gluthathione levels in the livers of dogs, protects liver cells from death, and can be helpful in cell repair and healing. While you should consult your veterinarian, recommended dosages are often 200 milligrams per fifty pounds of body weight provided in between meals.

Certain Amino AcidsL-Carnitine and L-Arginine are liver supporting amino acids. L-Carnitine is recommended in 500 milligrams per fifty pounds of body weight daily and L-Arginine is recommended in 250 milligrams per fifty pounds of body weight daily.

Incorporate Liver Cleansing Foods (Apple Cider Vinegar) – Some foods can have very positive effect on the liver and are known to promote bile flow. One such example of a liver cleansing food is apple cider vinegar. It helps to harmonize the liver and promote cleansing. Feel free to add ¼ – 1 teaspoon into food.

7. Provide Clean, Filtered Water

Dogs can certainly drink tap water but think about why you drink filtered water. Tap water can contain contaminants like heavy metals, excessive minerals, chlorine, or pesticides.

If you have a sick dog or a dog with liver disease, providing clean filtered water will help remove additional toxins, making things easier on your dog and their liver.

Good Luck!

We love our dogs like our children and while there’s no doubt that your dog’s liver issues may be keeping you up at night, there is something you can do because liver has the ability to regenerate!

I recommend learning all you can about liver disease (see blogs run by trusted, pro-raw veterinarians here) and taking a holistic approach to treating it through proper diet and supplementation.

Be sure to visit your veterinarian to have blood panels and other tests completed to determine the condition and functionality of your dog’s liver. Being aware of what type of liver issues or disease your dog has will be key in formulating an appropriate diet and deciding on supplements needed.

Follow the 7 steps provided above and hopefully your dog will be on the path to recovery.

Please note: Comments are best used for discussion on the topic as a whole. Feel free to help others by sharing knowledge, something that has worked for your dog, or provide suggestions for others looking for help with liver disease.

If you’re looking to discuss your dog’s medical condition, contact me through email. I’m no longer able to respond to individual health queries in the comments area. But I will continue to approve comments so that you can converse with other readers.

And last, I’m not currently providing liver disease recipes due to legal/liability reasons but am looking into how I can best offer this in the future! Sign up for the Primal Pooch email list (through the homepage) to stay abreast of these changes.







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Comments (209)

  • ak thompson

    Can you just tell me what raw food you would use? Or how I could do it myself? This is a lot of info to digest and I need simple help on what to use NOW to help my pet. Any manufacturers? Or just buy it at the grocery? I am already suspect of grocery store meat for humans? Please send me a message if you have time.

    Reply to ak
    • Amy Marshall

      Sure, I’ll shoot you an email :)

      Reply to Amy
      • Lisa

        I have a chihuahua the weight on him is 3 lb and he should be 6 lb found out from the vets he has a liver shunt they put him on a dog food call hepatic from royal canin and he won’t touch it so I’m going to put him on a raw diet they gave him medication for it called mirtazapine a quarter of a pill every 24 hours for 4 days and and also a food supplement called RX vit hepato and he gained about 2 pounds he is eating a can vegetarian formula dog food with cooked chicken in so he will eat would love if you could send me all I need to make it right for him thank you Lisa

        Reply to Lisa
        • Karen Hedge

          Mine has that. She is 9lbs . Need to know what the name of can. Food you use. And how is your dog doing. I hope ok

          Reply to Karen
      • Tammy Horlock

        Could you please shoot me the same email. My dachshund has elevated liver enzymes. I have been given the L/D dog food from vet. I am concerned.

        Reply to Tammy
        • Lori

          Tammy, we were informed when my dog was 1 yr old that she had a liver shunt. She had surgery to band the shunt. She has been on Science Diet l/d, milk thistle, lactalose for 7 years and doing great. I trust my Vet and he has done a lot of research on feeding her raw. Protein is too high. I watched her eat just a little piece of chicken and have a seizure when younger. I don’t care what the comments will be from those about Science Diet but it has kept our dog going strong, with a lot of energy.

          Reply to Lori
          • Jan

            Lori, thank you for that comment! just found out my 4lb yorkie has elevated liver levels and they wrote a prescription for the ld food. I was wondering if it helped! can you tell me exactly how much of the can I should feed her at a time? And should it be two or three times a day? right now I’m giving her about a tablespoon+ twice a day..they also prescribed Denamarin a vitamin antioxidant. have you ever heard of that medication? Thank you for your help! you’ve given me hope that my 4 year old 4lb yorkie will be ok!

      • Loretta Watts

        My Rat terrier 3yrs old,
        was diagnosed with liver shunts, she’s still very active but she was having seizures about once a week. they gave her a bile acid test. I did not want surgery, I wanted to try to treat it another way and the vet said diet they gave her LD Science Diet and she won’t eat it she’s used to eating pedigree brand dog food and table foods she has a very big appetite. they prescribed some Denamarin along with the foodbut she’s starving she won’t eat. I need help I don’t know what to do. please forward me the email also or anything out there help that you can give. 510-677-7567

        Reply to Loretta
      • Lynsey

        I’d appreciate the same email. My dog has elevated ALT levels and the vet says to use the Royal Canine food. I am not convinced.

        Reply to Lynsey
      • Karym Flores

        Would you mind foward me the same message too pls! My 6lb chihuahua is suffering from his liver and i would like to go on a raw diet but im not sure what foods should i give him. Boiled chicken he LOVES, i tried squash and sweet potatoe and wont even try it. Thank you so much for the info! It was very helpful.

        Reply to Karym
        • Amy Marshall

          Hey Everyone, thanks so much for your comments! If you have specific questions related to the health of your dog instead of a general comment on the post, please head over to my contact page to get in touch. I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can but please keep in mind that I’m receiving a high volume of comments and emails I’m receiving on this topic, so it might take a bit. Thank you!

          Reply to Amy
          • Denise

            My 10 year old ShihTzu is supposedly in the end stages of renal failure. We started Denamarin approx 4 months ago and her liver enzymes dropped a little. She was put on the Hills Liver diet and the Royal Canin and had horrible reactions to both…vomiting with Hills, and her whole body broke out in sores, which we are having a terrible time healing. Antibiotic regimens galore. The worst sores are inbetween the pads of her paws. Painful to walk to say the least. Vet says this is end stage and raw food will change nothing at this point. She is currently on the Purina vet Rx EN canned which is supposed to be gentle on the GI tract and she loves it. We supplement it with a hard boiled egg and canine Omega 3 geltab every day.
            Do you think this is the end? Hope?
            She has no jaundice and a great appetite, but suffering from the sores. ANY help or advice or which raw food diet which comes balanced would be greatly appreciated. I have MS and unable to prepare my own raw food.
            Forgot to mention hair loss…pretty bad.
            Please help. Thank you so much.

          • Denise

            I just made a HUGE MISTAKE. My ShihTzu has liver failure, Not renal. Sorry.

      • Audrey Chambers

        Hi, could you email me a sample diet as well? My dog is suffering from liver damage following Sego palm poisoning two weeks ago. His liver count is high but he’s hanging in there. He is, however, still vomiting once daily. Thanks, in advance.

        Reply to Audrey
        • Britni

          Hi Audrey,
          I know this is a very old thread but i wanted to see how everything turned out long-term with you sago palm poisoned dog. My dog ate the sago almost 3 weeks ago, only stopped vomiting 3 days ago. Just like yours, he is hanging in there but the prognosis is not good according to the vet. Do you have any advice or things that worked for you? Having trouble finding others who have gone through this. Thank you!

          Reply to Britni
        • Jenny Seiter

          My dog, a 9 month old Shih Poo also suffered a sago palm poisoning. He survived the initial poisoning, but we are still feeling the effects of Thebes’s poison. What diet did you end up putting your dog on? I don’t want to do the production or prescription dog food going forward. We still have elevated liver enzymes. Any information you have to share on your experience would be extremely helpful. Thanks.

          Reply to Jenny
          • Tatiana

            Hi Jenny, I am going through the same sago palm issue with my 13 m/o Dalmatian. Can you please share with me the diet? Thanks and I hope your dog is ok. Regards,

      • Michelle

        I also would like this email. My dog experienced sudden onset liver failure and now won’t eat. He will make it through 1/2 an egg and be done. I bought, raw, dehydrated dog food at the natural food store that he is still reluctant to eat. Thanks

        Reply to Michelle
      • Ellen

        Can u please help me also with a simple answer as to what to feed my 10 lb chi mix with elevated ALT levels almost 5x the normal. I loved the article and it’s full of helpful information but doesn’t actually give the recipe! Waiting to hear.
        Thank you

        Reply to Ellen
      • Rita Baber

        Please help on starting raw diet for copper storage disease. Vet just started my dog on l/d and it looks awful. Do I just but grass fed beef or hormone free chicken and give raw? Is ground beef or bison OK?

        Reply to Rita
        • alina

          Hi Rita,
          My dog just got diagnosed with a copper storage disease, can you please give me any information you have how to help my little westie.

          She refuses to eat, any advise you can give me i’d appreciate it.
          thank you

          Reply to alina
      • Shirin Apour

        Hi, I’m in the same boat as the author who needed food recipes immediately. Could you please send me them too!! My finances yorkie sliver stint is failing and my fiancé is terrible with her diet. He’s been on a business trip and I’ve kept her away from the usual dog (beef – high ptotein) that he buys for all the dogs. I gave her cooked rice, carrots, and a veggie burger mixed together, and she’s nibbling but I don’t think she likes, plus I read sky is bad?? HELP PLEASE.

        Reply to Shirin
      • Bobbi Goodwin

        Hi there. I just lost my 10 year old Yorkie to liver issues. The signs were there but I didn’t realize they were signs until it was too late, woke up one morning to blood everywhere. Rushed him to the vet. It was too late they said so he had to be put down. I’m going to get another Yorkie and we have two 3yr old Chihuahuas. Now I’m so nervous especially with the Yorkie breed as my research has shown me they tend to have liver issues. I found your article really good and I want to learn how to feed my dogs to try to avoid issues to begin with. Another person commented and I guess it could be my question too—->: “Can you just tell me what raw food you would use? Or how I could do it myself? This is a lot of info to digest and I need simple help on what to use NOW to help my pet. Any manufacturers? Or just buy it at the grocery? I am already suspect of grocery store meat for humans? Please send me a message if you have time.” my follow up question would be best supplements. I give my dogs dog vitamins but how do I know if it is good quality or the right ones etc. Any advice would not only be taken but appreciated greatly. Thanks, Bobbi.

        Reply to Bobbi
        • Susan Alden

          If you got a reply would you forward to me please as one of my Shih-Tzus (9) has now got liver disease . Been told to buy the LD cans as won’t eat dry food, but it looks very dry and he’s not happy . He usually has natures diet raw food but that seems to be wrong according to comment . My email is : [email protected] . Thank you

          Reply to Susan
          • Patty Kramer

            My dog is in the final stage of liver disease. She is taking medicine but for diet I tried so many things she would not eat & she lost 3 lbs. Now making her chicken soup using low sodium broth, chicken breasts, carrots. Celery. Squash. She has gaied half a pound ina month..She is a small dog anyway so the vet was very happy. She had a blood test yesterday & liver levels have come down remarkable. You might want to try the soup-my dog loves it. We feed her 4 times a day smaller portions so it is easier onher liver to digest. Hope this helps.

          • Amy Marshall

            Thanks for sharing! I’m so glad to hear your dog is doing better. I agree, it can be difficult and frustrating to feed a dog with advanced liver disease. Especially when you’re trying hard to use healthy, fresh foods and they’re refusing them. I love to hear more about your successes. Feel free to shoot me an email: [email protected]

          • Michele Lotarew

            Please could you give me a list of foods that my 6 month old pug can have he has a protosystemic liver shunt and is in hills l/d liver care food but we are desperate for him to put weight on please can you help us…
            We could afford the operation so doing this with diet and medication xx

        • Linda Matthys

          An ultra sound showed my Golden has end stage liver failure. I would love to see an example of good protein, high Vitamin K, low copper receipes. Is bone broth different than beef or chicken broth?

          This was a good article, but it was only 1/2 complete.

          Reply to Linda
      • Jim Logston

        I’m looking for a list of what to feed my 18 lb foster poodle. He was diagnosed with hepatitis. Liver number was 650 when I got him. We were able to get it down to 125 with Denamarin. Now it’s back up to 355 (still on Denamarin and now prednisone too). I’m starting to think the vet/medicine route isn’t going to get it…


        Reply to Jim
      • Jeri Milo

        Do you have raw food recipes to share? Thank you.

        Reply to Jeri
      • Cindy

        What is the raw diet i can give my 12 year old Shih Tzu who just had liver surgery and has extremely hi liver counts?

        Reply to Cindy
        • Amy Marshall

          I’ll be coming out with a natural healing liver protocol (and recipes) soon, hang tight!

          Reply to Amy
          • JP Nelson

            Would like info on the natural healing liver protocol. 5yr old lab mix just diagnosed with liver shunts.

      • Aimee

        I’d love to know this info as well! 8lbs jack russel terrier/chihuahua. Has high liver ALT. Thank you!

        Reply to Aimee
      • Teresa

        Me too Please!

        Reply to Teresa
      • Jeannie Fazio

        I would love to know what diet you use as well, thank you.

        Reply to Jeannie
    • Sharon

      Could you please shoot me the same email?


      Reply to Sharon
      • Lola

        HI… I have a cairn terrier with the same problem. What name brand of dog food can I get for his liver disease? I am so confused…HELP???

        Reply to Lola
        • Pumpkin

          Try Stella & Chewys raw dog food. My chihuahua is VERY picky but she likes the duck and the beef. She also prefers the dehydrated.

          Reply to Pumpkin
    • Sylvia

      Can I please get a email on this information too. Please. The ingredients for the food to make it.

      Reply to Sylvia
    • pumpkin

      My Chihuahua had a high ALT so after researching I put her on Stella and Chewys freeze dried raw chicken diet. I gave her carrots for treats with occasional piece of cheese. Once in a while I’ll give her fresh raw children and or fish but she’s a chihuahua and VERY picky so she rarely eats fresh raw. Anyway I took her back a month later for lab work and her levels are almost back to normal!! I take her back again in three months but its looking good so far. The best part is that I leave the food out and she free feeds when she’s hungry. Freeze dried doesn’t go bad easily.

      Reply to pumpkin
      • Amy Marshall

        That’s so amazing to hear, thanks for sharing your story!

        Reply to Amy
      • Laura K

        I’m sorry, but “pumpkin says” gave me the biggest laugh! “I’ll give her fresh raw children”….I’m pretty sure that would be “chicken”…right? I really needed a laugh today. I’m also dealing with a Chihuahua with liver failure. Thank you!

        Reply to Laura
      • Patti Jones

        hello, I came across your post and this web site by accident, and so glad that I did. My Chihuahua is 5 and very very picky eater. I use to have to give her kibble with mixed wet vegetarian canned food and sprinkle parmesan all heated in the microwave so her food is warm, she won’t have anything to do with cold food….all this is an expensive way to eat for a little 9 lb dog…her liver levels have alway been on the high side..125 Dr. said….I have heard of dogs having higher liver level than hers. but having the normal levels is what I want to achieve with my dog. A few weeks ago I started her on Denamarin Pills prescribed by her Vet. and I also went and got a package of Stellas and Chewey’s raw freeze dried chicken mixer to crumble in her kibble that she eats for her dog breed size…after 5 agonizing years of trying to find the right combination to have her eat her food without going through an expensive process…that one works for us. FINALLY. So now…it is only moisten kibble heated in microwave with freeze dried raw chicken and it works…no more cheese or veggie canned food. Another huge thing I noticed that she has gone from grazing on 1 cup of food over an entire day to eating all her food at one eating…about half a cup 3 X a day. and she is showing more energy also. I think I and my dog are on the right path to a healthier liver and longer life. She also gets her teeth cleaned once a week as Chihuahua need special care with their teeth for health. So we’ll see if her liver level have returned to normal, with her new diet.

        Reply to Patti
    • Maury Gentile

      My pit bull puppy is having issues the vet thinks associated from a liver shunt. It has been a frustrating and expensive process to disagnose.

      I found your site and would love to learn more on the best diet for our pup.

      Thanks, Maury

      Reply to Maury
      • Sally

        Maury, my dog nearly died from a liver shunt. There are very few vets who can diagnose the problem, much less treat it. I traveled several hours to Cary NC to Veterinary Specialty Hospital. I was referred by my own vet, who can perform many difficult procedures himself. He wanted my dog to have the best so he sent me to VSH. I took him there for his diagnosis (even that is difficult) and was sent home with a high dose prescription cocktail to build him up for the surgery. He had the surgery, stayed a few days for recovery and came home. Home recovery took a couple of months. He recovered completely and went on to live a long pampered and happy life. I also fed him a home-made diet for dogs with liver disease until he completely recovered. There are several online. I think I used one that had tofu, artichoke hearts, peas, potatoes, and I don’t remember what else. Hope this helps.

        Reply to Sally
      • Patt Mondik

        I am waiting for testing this Wednesday on my 14 year old Coton. Her liver panel are sky high.
        In the mean time I would like to feed a raw liver disease diet. My dogs drink only bottled water and their diet now is self fed dry Artemis dog food. A raw carrot daily and meat ( 90% chicken) table scraps and yogurt. I feed my family from Whole Foods so have access to anything you suggest.
        I don’t know where to or most importantly how to prepare dog meals that will help. Can you give me recipes? Or suggest where I can get them? Thank you
        Patt Mondik
        PH 650.509.0023
        EM [email protected]

        Reply to Patt
    • This is the great information you shared with us. Some other thoughts…
      You never force a sick dog to eat. If your dog is sick and not eating, you have to take him or her to the vet, find out what the problem is and have it immediately treated. Depending on what is wrong with your dog, the longer you wait to get it to a vet, the worse the dog will get and the harder it will be for the vet to be able to treat the problem. Emergency Vets are open 24/7. Look in your Yellow Pages under Veterinarians, find one that is open 24 hours (they are in there) and get your dog to the vet Today.

      Reply to The

    If you could help me with the raw diet. I am at a loss. I have begun feeding the Blue Buffalo Low fat diet. He is on so many medications: Tramadol, Antihistimine and Carprofen. I stopped all medications when informed of the liver disease. An help you can provide will be a blessing. My Aussie is 10 years old and has back pain. Since removing the medications he has wagged his tail and played with his favorite toy. Thank you for your help.

    Reply to DEBBIE
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Debbie, so sorry for the delay in responding! Though Blue Buffalo is often touted as a superior brand of kibble, I’ve heard lots of people complain about their dog’s health when on it. In fact, I had a dog that had lots of digestive issues when on Blue Buffalo so I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. Shoot me and email and we can talk more – [email protected]

      Reply to Amy
      • janetha

        I have been feeding my Basset Blue Buffalo for years and recently found out he has a bad liver. I found this article while Googling a solution for his liver problems. I would love if you could email me more information about a raw diet. I will do whatever it takes to get him healthy!

        Reply to janetha
        • Amy Marshall

          Hi Janeta, thanks for commenting! I personally don’t recommend Blue Buffalo. Despite being labeled as a higher quality food, it’s still processed. Another fun fact, they’re currently being sued by Purina. Blue Buffalo markets their food as being free from by-products, but Purina is claiming that Blue Buffalo is misleading consumers by advertising ‘No By-Products’ when laboratory testing they allegedly completed, shows otherwise. We have no way of knowing the truth until the lawsuit is over. Regardless, this is a good point when it comes to higher quality kibble. It’s generally packaged and marketed differently and while they may use better ingredients, it’s still a processed food. I think it’s great that you’re looking into other solutions for his liver problems and would be happy to recommend a Carnivore Nutrition Consultant that we work with. I’ll send you the info :)

          Reply to Amy
          • Shannon

            Hi id like to get info on what raw good to use?

    • Carey J.

      My 13 yr. old Maremma Sheepdog was taken off Rimadyl because of elevated liver enzymes. She was already on Tramadol which wasn’t adequate pain relief for her arthritic back and hip. My vet recommended Denamarin (SamE and Silybin from milk thistle) to supplement her liver. I read that research indicates that SamE has the equivalent effect in managing pain as anti-inflammatorys, after 2 mos. of use. After 3 wks. it’s already improving my dog’s mobility. I’m also going to check into a homeopathic remedy mentioned at:, called Liv-t from India:

      Reply to Carey
      • Carey J.

        PS. Please be advised that if owners give their dogs a Glucosamine Chondroitin supplement with MSM, the dog must be off MSM four days prior to a liver enzyme test, otherwise there can be false positives (results will be awry).

        Reply to Carey
  • Julie

    Hello….I have a 6 year old lab/pit with either Liver disease or Liver cancer……they want to do a biopsy to see what he has. I just spent $600 on liver and bile tests and his values were off the charts. Hence the recommendation for a biopsy. Here is my thought…why am I having the vet open up my 100lb dog only to tell me either he has liver disease or liver cancer….either or which have veterinarian type treatments.

    Thus…..what would be a solid diet plan I could put him on……what raw meats can I buy and how do I ensure he gets the correct amounts and supplements he needs? I have contacted (2) local holistic vets in my area as well, but I want to start him on the right foods. He currently loves frozen, raw chicken wings…so he is use to eating those.

    Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
    JUlie and BEar

    Reply to Julie
    • Amy Marshall

      The best thing for our carnivore pets is to give them the food that they evolved to eat and thrive upon. You’ve made a important start already by feeding Bear raw chicken wings! However, wings are very bony, and do not provide the correct bone:meat ratio. You can move on to feeding other chicken parts. If Bear were my dog, I would give him clean filtered water, and raw food from the best protein sources I could find. High quality protein is important for liver health; poor quality proteins or too little protein can damage the liver even more. Research indicates that ammonia in certain animal proteins can be damaging to the liver. Red meat seems to produce the most ammonia, followed by fish and chicken, and eggs produce the least. As for the amount to feed, the rule of thumb is to feed 2-3% of the dog’s ideal body weight. In feeding raw food to my dogs, I try to keep to the ratio of 10%bone/80%meat/5% secreting organs(kidney, pancreas, etc.), and 5% liver. There are many supplements that your holistic vets may suggest, such as probiotics with Soil Based Organisms, and enzymes to help improve nutrient absorption. Best wishes to Bear for improved health! Feel free to email me with additional questions at [email protected]

      Reply to Amy
    • Julie

      Hello. My dog seems to have the same issue as yours. He is a 3 year old boxer. He is very skinny. We took him to his vet who did blood work and his liver enzymes were high. He had an xray on his liver which showed his liver is very small. His bile acid test was normal as well as his pancreas. The next step would be to have a liver biopsy, but I agree that it would only tell us what was wrong and not be able to treat him. Have you have any success with a natural diet? He will not eat regular dog food and he is losing more weight. Any ideas/tips would be helpful.

      Reply to Julie
  • K Maguire

    like the poster above, just looking to get started on better diet for 9 mo old morkie with high ALT level (liver shunt is assumed). Currently fee Stella and Chewy’s freeze dried patties (which are raw), but do not know if ok or not with poor liver health.

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply to K
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi, Kim! Good question. The best thing for pets facing health challenges is to provide them with nutrition as natural as possible, and to avoid processed foods as much as possible. One problem I have found with ground raw foods is that they commonly do not have the preferred meat/bone/organ 80/10/10 ratio. Another problem I find is that they often contain inappropriate ingredients for carnivores, like fruits and vegetables, which are hard for the carnivore digestive system to handle. If it were my dog with a liver problem, I would not want to put further burden on his or her body by giving inappropriate foods. Check the food ingredient label for information, and find out if there are added ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, vitamins and minerals. It should be very affordable to feed such a small dog a raw prey model diet. Shoot me an email if you’d like further help! – [email protected]

      Reply to Amy
  • Naomi

    Great article, Amy. This has helped encourage me to stick with raw. My dog has been on raw for a yr, but I didn’t do it correctly. Not enough meat, too much bone – was giving mainly chicken quarters. He’s just been diagnosed with liver disease (he’s 6) and I’m desperate to help home. Vet gave us canned food special for GI. My dog ate is for 2 days and had enough. Yesterday he refused it. Now I’ve been giving him boneless skinless chicken breast, but I don’t know how often to feed? Normally he ate twice a day, but I feel like he needs several small meals. He needs to be 85 lbs and he’s at 77. I know he needs red meat too but his total bilirubin is high (9.2) so I’m afraid to give that. Since being hospitalized his ALT has come down from 5994 to 1975. Still super high but better. Ultrasound showed no signs of abnormalities and he has no signs of encephalopathy. Anyway, your advice on frequency of feeding, and what to feed and for how long until I can add other protein sources would be amazing. I’m so desperate to do it all right and make him better. Thank you!!

    Reply to Naomi
    • Amy Marshall

      I completely understand your desire to help your dog get back to better health, and your concern about what and how often to feed him. I’ll answer the frequency question first. We humans are used to eating several times a day. Wild canines do not enjoy such a luxury, and it is not uncommon for them to fast for periods longer than a day. I know folks who feed their dogs twice a day; I know folks who follow the BFFLO method (Big Food Fed Less Often), and I know folks who feed their dogs once a day. All of their dogs adapt to the feeding schedule provided. In general, dogs tend to do better with less frequent feedings, because it gives the digestive system time to rest, so feeding once a day is usually recommended. There is no need for panic if you dog decides to skip a meal once in a while, as long as he is staying hydrated.
      As for what to feed, consider feeding balance of varying meats. The key thought is to achieve balance over time. You can feed chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, buffalo, venison, rabbit, eggs, beef etc., which will supply a balance of different white and red meats and a balance of nutrients. Introduce new meats one at a time for a few feedings to make sure it is well tolerated. Get meat from the best sources you can find, i.e. certified organic, free range, hormone free, antibiotic free, and grass fed. Since you state that he should weigh 85 lbs., the preferred amount to feed is 2-3% of that ideal body weight; that means feeding him roughly 17 ounces to 26 ounces of food a day. I hope this helps! As always, should me an email if you’d like further insight – [email protected]

      Reply to Amy
  • Gena

    Hi Amy

    Would you contact me regarding my 5 yr old Llasa Apso who had struvite crystal removal surgery in Dec 2013 and had elevated liver enzymes and now has even higher elevated liver enzymes. My vets have no answers for me and a nutritionist at Cornell gave me a special diet that is not helping her diet- chicken, rice or pasta, omega3, soybean oil, centrum, tums antacid, salt and chlorine. Please email me if you can help.

    Reply to Gena
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi, Gena! I’m sorry to read about your dog’s health issues. I don’t have to convince you that the nutritionist recommended diet is not appropriate for your dog, since you already know that it is not helping her. I hope the following information is helpful to you.
      In my opinion, the best diet for dogs is the one that they evolved to eat: raw meat, raw bones, and raw organs. The prey model raw diet provides the right balance of nutrients, and raw food has a high moisture content that dogs need in their food. Carbohydrate rich foods such as rice, pasta, and legumes are very hard for dogs to digest, cause stress to the digestive system and body, and are inappropriate foods for carnivores. Certified organic eggs, grass fed beef, and oil rich fish such as wild caught sardines and salmon can provide easily digestible Omega 3. There are also sources of wild caught certified organic salmon oil that will provide the Omega 3 nutrient. If your dog were mine, I would feed her a raw prey model diet, ensure she had adequate sources of clean filtered water to cleanse and flush her system, and see that she got appropriate exercise to help balance and strengthen her body. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more information – [email protected]

      Reply to Amy
  • denise

    Will you please send me info regarding raw diet that will benefit my great dane who has copper issues? Thank you so much.

    Reply to denise
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Denise, thanks for commenting! It’s hard to give advice on what may benefit your Great Dane’s copper issues without knowing more about them. Feel free to email me with more info – [email protected]. As far as my views on a raw diet, I work from the naturopathic viewpoint that animals’ bodies (as well as our human bodies) have a great capacity to heal when given the correct nutrition. Illness, or rather dis-ease, is believed to be a symptom of an imbalance within the body. The areas of importance to keep the body in balance are: species appropriate nutrition, proper exercise, clean uncontaminated water, adequate sunshine, temperance/moderation/balance in lifestyle, fresh clean air, and a proper amount of rest. We must trust that our bodes will do what they’re designed to do when given the proper tools. All of these are important in assisting a return to optimal health. There are many sources on the internet which can help you research raw food, and current thinking on the causes of copper disease. Email me personally so I can get more information and see if it’s something we can help with.

      Reply to Amy
    • Bingi

      If you’re going to feed dry, feed one of the newer grain-free dry foods. Brands like Innova’s EVO, Wellness Core, and Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness are all grain free and high-quality. They are free of by-products and are all meat. Cats were made by nature to eat meat, not grain, and they do not need a high-fiber diet. It’s all the gairns and corn we feed our cats that is contributing to the rise of feline diabetes. Diamond has been on the recall list many, many times due to the contamination of their gairns with some sort of mold or toxin (aflotoxin? I don’t recall exactly). Many people have avoided it ever since. Get your cat a food free of corn especially, with few or no gairns, and no by produces (scrap parts deemed not fit for human consumption) and you’;; be doing the right thing for your cat’s health.

      Reply to Bingi
  • Leeanna Feiken


    I wonder if you would be able to help me please? I have an 8 year old miniature dachshund named Trevor, who is now almost 10kg due to ascities. He’s had several blood tests done and most recently a liver biopsy, the latter of which revealed that he had mild hepatitis, which had developed over a period of time. He’s had liver function tests that seem to contradict the mild pathogy results and the picture of his liver shows that it’s red, raw and inflamed. I am now desperate to try any diet possible to assist his system. The vets seem to be doing little to help and are slow in making any changes. Please help. I need guidance on how to administer your advised diet, I.e. Quantities of meat and vitamins etc. do I literally just feed raw meat?

    I would appreciate any help you can give. I am at the end of my tether. The vet has basically just told me to wait for the worst to happen :(

    Reply to Leeanna
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Leanna, I’m so sorry to read that you are at the end of your rope trying to find help for Trevor. For readers who don’t know what ascites means, the word is a medical definition of a build up of fluid in the abdomen. There are various underlying causes for this edema, including liver disease. The liver’s function in the body is the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, storage of vitamins and minerals, digestion of food, and very importantly for detoxification.

      You don’t mention what kind of diet Trevor eats. In my view, his illness is a manifestation that is body is not in balance. If Trevor were my dog, I would eliminate toxins in his environment, and use the laws of natural health in an effort to help him (species specific food, clean uncontaminated water, mild exercise, natural sunshine, clean air, adequate rest, balanced life). As for what to feed in a species appropriate diet, dogs are carnivores. Carnivores eat raw meat, raw bones, and raw organs. The rule of thumb is to feed 2-3% of a dog’s ideal body weight. Feel free to email me and I can put you in touch with some carnivore nutrition consultants who can walk you through how to feed a raw diet – [email protected]. I wish you and Trevor all the best!

      Reply to Amy
      • Heather Siefers

        Hi Leanna,

        I am in the same predicament as Amy Marshall above with my 12 year old miniature doxie. In November 2014 she was given 1-2 weeks to live due to her liver (they *thought* she had liver cancer as her liver was enlarged but she made a quick recovery and was back to her normal self until this past week where she regressed). On Friday she was feeling unwell and her urine turned dark reddish-brown, but much like the last event the urine issue resolved itself in about 24 hours and she appears to be on the mend. Tomorrow we are getting a third ultrasound in 3 months to determine if maybe the cancer is actually hepatitis… that being said, I would like to switch her over to a full raw diet. Presently I am making her food, I have pureed cooked (not organic) chicken breast with pumpkin puree, cooked apple and spinach that I mix with brown rice, serving her 1/4 at breakfast and dinner. From reading your article I think that may not be the best food for her and I definitely should start to give her filtered water. Any advice or recommendations for a specialist would be most appreciated.

        Thank you!!

        Reply to Heather
  • Suzanne

    My 6 year old female Springer Spaniel had blood work prior to removing what turned out to be benign cyst. The blood work indicates elevated BUN but not ALT (I’m told the BUN is an indicator of liver issues and have read ALT is too). Two things heighten my concern: my previous Springer Spaniel died with liver failure – she was eleven, I live in an area with raised copper levels in the well water. Copper seems to be a contributor to liver issues. After much reading, I agree, commercial liver food was useless for my now deceased Springer so I’m not too confident for effectiveness today. I plan to manage her diet and want to supplement with vitamins and milk thistle. However, I cannot find supplement dosage recommendation. I am most hopeful you can provide some guidance on supplement intake for a 50#, 6 year old, female Springer Spaniel (who does occasionally eat deer poo – I know…).

    Reply to Suzanne
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Suzanne, I understand your concern for your dog, especially since you have already experienced the loss of a dog due to liver failure. Kudos to you for wanting to manage her diet. Illness is a symptom of an underlying imbalance. A species appropriate diet is one of the best ways to help a body heal. A species specific diet should supply adequate vitamins and minerals. The best thing I can tell you about supplementation is to see what the dosage amounts are on the label, and adjust accordingly for the weight of your dog. Also, read labels carefully to watch out for unwanted ingredients, such as synthetic materials, artificial colors and flavors. (On a side note, coprophagy [eating of inappropriate substances] is often seen as a sign of an underlying nutrient insufficiency and imbalance. In my experience, once my dog adopted a raw diet, he completely stopped eating his stools or the stools of other animals. Feel free to shoot me an email so we can talk about your dog’s health issues in more depth and see if we can provide the dosing information your dog requires – [email protected]

      Reply to Amy
  • Kimberly Swenson

    Hi Amy my dog recently has had liver issues. He had high liver enzymes and dehydrated. The vet performed a liver ultra sound and his liver was of normal size no masses and no shunt. His gall bladder was small. The vet has him on amoxicillin, hill prescription LD canned food and a milk thistle SamE supplement. I have done some reading and research about the raw diet and there is so much info out there. I do know I want to change his diet to the raw diet. I just want to make sure I’m in the right track due to his liver. Your blog article helped me a lot. I want to know if I’m on the right track or if I have a recipe for dogs with liver issues? I know I need protein try to stay with poultry and fish limit the red protein (d/t ammonia it produces) and limit fat (d/t fat digestion and his small gall bladder and yes he was jaundice) so my question is when I see added oil to a recipe should I omit .it? And is venison good to give occasionally? I have access to fresh venison. My dog is only 7-8lbs so I’m figuring he only get 2 to 2.4 oz of raw food or 1/4 to 1/3 cup. I just need some reassurance I don’t need convincing to do the raw diet I just want to do it right. Your guidance is much appreciated. Kimberly

    Reply to Kimberly
    • Kimberly Swenson

      I’m sorry for the typos do you have a recipe for dogs that have liver problems? Oh and I am giving my dog plain greek yogurt for the probiotics. Thanks again

      Reply to Kimberly
    • Amy Marshall

      Kimberly, I’m happy to read that you have done your own reading and research, and you have reached the decision to change your dog’s food over to a raw diet. Regarding a special recipe, it’s hard to provide a “special recipe” for dogs with liver issues since diets need to be specific to the dog at hand and be appropriate for their medical history and nutritional needs. As noted above, dogs with liver illness do very well on a high quality protein diet. Any kind of canned food has low quality protein because the meat ingredients have been cooked at high heat and the nutritive value of the protein has been destroyed (and I am not even touching the subject of the kinds of meat that go into commercially prepared foods!). The foods noted above (eggs, fish, poultry, etc.) will provide high quality, easily digested protein. It’s great you have access to venison as it is a very good food to use, in order to have a balanced diet with varying meat sources. Depending on the source of the venison, I have seen recommendations to package it in appropriate portion sizes and freeze it for a couple of weeks before feeding it. Finally, I assume you are giving your dog yogurt to attempt to re-establish his digestive bacteria that were destroyed by the antibiotic? Dairy products are hard for dogs to digest; in addition, any beneficial bacteria in the yogurt may not survive the process of digestion.. Many people that can’t feed their dogs outside in their yard choose to give their dogs SBO (soil based organism) probiotics that better mimic the natural bacteria that are picked up when food is fed outdoors.

      If you’re interested in a personalized consultation with our recommended carnivore nutrition consultant, and for information on a pet probiotic you may find beneficial, please let me know and I can put you in contact with her. Email me and let me know – [email protected]

      Reply to Amy
  • Helen Cottrell

    Hi, I have been told that the likelihood is that my 10 year old Beagle has liver cancer following an ultrasound scan in January. Since that time he doesn’t, seem to have deteriorated much, he still gallops up the stairs and goes for walks. The real problem I am experiencing is that he can be very picky with what he will eat on any given day. He also has a heart murmur and I give him Q10, Omega 3 and he is also taking Denamarin once a day which I get from my vet. Some days I get so desperate for him to eat that I try anything i.e Tinned Tuna in Sunflower Oil or Spring Water, or Cat food (such as Chicken in Jelly). Other days he might eat Chicken Breasts, Minced Beef (Raw or Lightly Seared ). I have read so much and am nearly at my wits end. I know its not good but I resorted to giving him cat food etc when he would eat it just to keep him energy up. Tonight he turned his nose up to the beef and chicken and ended up eating a tin of tuna. After his ultra sound scan he was sent home with a bag of Royal Canin Hepatic kibble which he just will not eat. I have always fed him Royan Canin Kibble but he stopped wanting that just before Xmas. Please if you can give me any advice as to how I can help him I would be very gratefull, Thanks again, Helen.

    Reply to Helen
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Helen, thanks for reaching out. It seems to me that it’s a good sign that your dog still has the energy to gallop up the stairs and go for walks with you. If it were me, I would do all possible to feed him a raw diet, and from your comment, it appears you are trying to do that. I know it is difficult, but I would not let my dog govern the choice of food. If he is not hungry, let him skip meals. (How often do you feed him? A picky eater may lose the choosiness when the feeding time is once a day instead of twice.)

      As his guardian, I would try to provide an environment that will support his immune and liver function: provide clean uncontaminated filtered water, uncooked food that is easier to digest, and remove chemicals and anything with artificial fragrances from the home environment. I would avoid commercially prepared pet foods, as they contain synthetic additives for flavor and to increase nutrient content. I would avoid anything packed in oil. A couple of food items I would use to vary the diet would be certified organic eggs, and fresh sardines. If I can’t find fresh sardines, I have found that my dogs also like water packed sardines that do not have any added sodium. I hope these ideas help, and wish you and your dog the best. Feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch with the carnivore nutrition consultant we work with.

      Reply to Amy
  • Christine P

    Liver disease- when to use antibiotics???

    Reply to Christine
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Christine, good question! Improper use of antibiotics may magnify liver problems. Although this is considered a relatively rare adverse side effect, read the information sheets that come with the medication. I recommend talking with to your vet and presenting your questions in order to make an informed decision. Sometimes antibiotics are a necessary and can be life saving. It’s hard to say when to use them, because it’s a case by case basis. If antibiotics are used, please be aware that they kill off the friendly bacteria in the animal’s digestive system, as well as any possibly harmful bacteria. This is why diarrhea or constipation are known to be side effects of antibiotics. Additionally, most of the immune system is located in the gut, so the use of antibiotics will compromise the immune system, which is why it’s important to provide supplementation to offset their negative effects, if you choose to use them. Supplementation with a good soil based organism probiotic can assist in re-establishing the probiotic balance.

      Reply to Amy
  • Billie

    My little girl has not been completely diagnosed with a liver issue. at this time we do not know the exact one, they say we need to do some test to be sure. her issue is she has a really bloated stomach. When they did the blood test the water part was tainted yellow. I do not have all the money to do all the test at once, but want to start helping her right now. An recommendations you can give me would help. She is in no pain, but I do not want to let it get to that point. I have other dogs, who are healthy, so if I choose change her to a raw diet, I will change all of them. I just need to know where to get started. Thanks ahead of time for you reply.

    Reply to Billie
    • Billie

      Just to let you know Boo is a small dog, she is a chiweenie. So most of what I have found is for BIG dogs. I just need to know how to cut some of the things people recommend down for a small dog.

      Reply to Billie
    • Amy Marshall

      There are several things that can cause stomach swelling or bloating in dogs. It’s great you want to be proactive and not wait for things to get worse. Dogs are carnivores and need meat for food. Their digestive systems are designed to digest meat and soft bones. They need excellent quality protein—the same as what we humans would eat. If it were my pack of dogs, I would change them all over to a raw diet. There are many resources on the internet to help you get started, from groups on Facebook to Yahoo groups to articles posted on the Web. Another idea is to obtain a consultation from a veterinary naturopath or carnivore nutrition coach for more specific suggestions. You can check out the carnivore nutrition consultant that we work with,, for information on the consultations. Best wishes for your dog’s health!

      Reply to Amy
  • jon

    My miniature schnauzer, Lexi, (17lbs & 4years old) has had a history of UTI’s. I recently took her to the vet because she has been peeing on the floor. The vet did an ultra sound and could not find her liver so she did an axray to find out her liver is very tiny compared to a normal size for her type. The vet was unsure if it was a congenital defect or a disease attacking her liver. Either way the vet says, she could not rebuild her liver but rather be on a light diet to prolong her life. She also could not give a reasoning for lexi drinking excessive abounds of water. She must drink 2-3 quarts a day and pees it right back out (diluted urine). I’m thinking about trying a protein diet based on the 2-3% weight. Any thoughts or suggestions? Should I use hamburger along with different cuts at the half pound ratio a day? thank you so much

    Reply to jon
  • Meryl


    I have a 9-year-old Havanese who is 11.5 pounds. She just had blood work done before having teeth extracted and they told me that they found some problems. Her liver enzymes ALT were high and white blood cell coundt PLT were low. Here are the findings that were not normal…

    WBC 4.42
    PLT 32
    ALT 555
    LIPA 2694

    Can you please tell me what you think. They want to do an ultrasound and re-check her blood in 4 weeks. She is on an antibiotic for 30 days (twice a day).

    I want to make sure I feed her to help her liver. Is the chicken from a roasted chicken okay to feed her? What else should she have? Thanks so much!!!

    Reply to Meryl
  • carol

    my dog is have liver problems. could you send me send recipes that will help her she is 3 years old i would like to make her food for her..thank you..

    Reply to carol
  • Beverly Minardo

    I have a 7 yr old Doberman female who is in liver failure. I don’t comperhend what this raw diet is, and what it consist of, please help me. At at my wits end. I don’t want to lose her, and now she don’t want to eat anything.

    Reply to Beverly
    • Shonda Laughlin

      I have the same breed and issue Beverly. Have you had any luck with anything? I cannot even get my poor girl to be at anything!

      Reply to Shonda
  • Anne


    My almost 14 year old Schipperke has just been diagnosed with a liver mass, sent out for biopsy; she is jaundiced. I fear it’s cancer. Other than this, she has been remarkably healthy. She still is eating pretty well and has good energy for the most part. The way I noticed things were off was that she stopped eating her regular diet–Stella and Cheweys and California Natural. She pretty much only wants to eat meat (organic)! Kind of what you’re saying, eh? But, I’ve cooked the meat. Can you please give me some specifics on the kind of diet I should feed my lovely friend? Thanks so much!

    Reply to Anne
  • Shane

    H Amy,

    I have a 13 yr old Pit bull mixed named Harley JR his Dad recently died on Christmas Eve and I think got really depressed after that happened, but just recently we had taken our dog to the vet and he told us that he had liver disease and there was nothing else he could do for us but just to make him comfortable he predicted him to live for only a month. Harley Jr has lost a lot of weight and just lays around the house all day and we try to feed him chicken livers fresh with good water which he still drinks but he’s starting to drool, in morning he like to drink milk with cereal. It’s been over 2 weeks and he’s still hanging in there. Is there something else I can do to keep him alive my family and I don’t want to have to worry about burying him next to his Dad?
    Thanks, Shane

    Reply to Shane
  • Steph

    I have a red heeler named Tuff who has had complications with weight but has always been otherwise healthy. During the last two weeks his weight has changed very drastically. Took him to a vet and she told me he had a tumor. I wanted a second opinion and i am very glad that i got one. The new family vet did an ultrasound and discovered Tuff’s heart was super healthy and strong so he wanted to do a blood screen for liver problems.The vet felt bad for tuff and drained over a gallon of fluid off my dogs abdomen for comfort. The next day they recieved the results that said that it is liver failure and a severe infection of the liver, and the vet put him on amoxicillin and I am just trying to figure out the best thing for my dog. He is my life. the vet did say that I should feed him as much protein as possible because his liver is not producing enough bodily protein but I just had to be careful what proteins to feed. So I’m just wondering what would be the best protein for I guess moderate liver failure, or am i at the point of just being selfish. Also how active should i be with him. I don’t want my dog to suffer, I don’t want him to be in pain at all, I’m just concerned

    Reply to Steph
  • Maria

    Hi Amy,

    My mini dachshund came with ALP 510 and ALT 255. Her ALB 3.9 which is high as well. She eats blue for senior high protein and takes costco glucosamine and MSM for her back problem. She also takes tramadol 1/8 tab every other day. She has a tooth infected so she was on amoxicillin 1 month ago. Do you know what can cause her liver enzymes being so high? what kind of raw food and portions should I feed her? She weights 13 lbs. and how much of milk whistle, b complex and chamomile should I give her?


    Reply to Maria
  • Angela Hill

    Hi i have a 8 yr old Maltese who has liver damage, she had a Ultra sound yesterday and was told she has alot of nodules in her liver, he couldnt see anything else and she was traumatized and was uncooperative. Her liver counts were ( sorry not sure of terminology) was 800 ( told that was the bad one) and her other was 1500. 10 days later she had another test and she went down to 600 and the other went up to 2500 ( told sometimes this happens and takes a long time to come down) Meika has really bad teeth and her eyes were a yellow colour but after 10 days on antibiotics her eyes are clear. During this time she has not stopped eating and she is barking for food and people likes she normaily does. The vets are perplexed with her readings and how she is???? Can you help please… I truley believe it is her teeth that have been really bad and she will be getting them out once we feel she is ready. I have been feeding her chicken mince ( dog food that is chicken necks minced) and cooked rice, also chicken breasts…. is there anything else i can do… i dont want to go down the path of a biopsy just to be told he has liver damage as we are already aware of that. Oh one thing that she was doing was panting alot ( meika has a low threshold of pain and does this ) the vet said she may have cushions disease… she hasnt been panting and this morning she was barking for her healthy biscuit treat and awhile later came out panting, her biscuit was un touched.. I gave her a drop of Arnica and she calmed that shows me it is her teeth that are causing the problem. One vets says No teeth wont affect the Liver and another says yes it will… Your guidance will be greatly appreciated. sorry for the long blurb. Angela

    Reply to Angela
  • max silver

    Our Golden Retriever is now 8 months, we have had her for 3months and was diagnosed by us before the vet with HE, She has cost a fortune in medical bills needs and operation we cannot afford and eats pasta and WD, in carefully measured portions 5/6 times a day.

    Trying to train her not to bite and be food possessive is difficult as i cannot reinforce the commands with treats as far as I know. The other dogs get cheeses or dog treats, I cannot do this with Mia as it could tip her HE over the edge very easily.

    Any suggestions or alternative affordable foods i can feed her. i live in Israel where meat is unaffordable other than chicken, and finding Milk Thistle seems to be impossible.

    Reply to max
  • Deb culik

    Need to set a diet plan for my dog is the nutritionist board certified thx

    Reply to Deb
  • debra sanders

    THank you SO much for this very helpful article. I have similiar problems to a couple of people who posted above, and like many who have written here, I have been researching my head off to try to still the panic and find the best solutions for my beloved dog. He is 10 1/2 and was never sick a day in his life until recently. There wasn’t anything huge, but I could tell he didn’t feel “right.” He was always excited for our hikes, but suddenly he was having trouble keeping up with my other two, and that had never been the case. Anyway, I had his blood checked and to my shock his liver enzymes were sky high. I had the bile test done and that was sky high too. Bilirubin and all all blood levels were good, but the three liver enzymes and the bile were not.

    Here’s my dilemma: He is refusing to eat any raw food at all. This is weird, because he used to love it. He also loved chicken and now won’t eat that either. Or fish, although sometimes I can get him to eat a little bit of steamed white fish. He will eat small amounts of eggs. Everything I feed him is, and always has been, organic. But right now all he seems to want is beef–either bison or grass fed beef. He doesn’t want vegetables either–something else he used to enjoy in small amounts as a treat. I made a beef bone broth and added small amounts of organic gelatin for the

    I have him on probiotics and digestive enzymes and have been juicing celery and zuchini and mixing it with pure coconut water and giving him this to hopefully bring any ammonia levels down from the beef.arginine and other amino acids and he does seem to love this. I don’t know how much of it (the bone broth) he should have tho, because it is of beef bones, with lots of marrow.

    I’m very worried after reading this that I am not giving him the proper nutrition because it’s too much beef/bison.

    Any suggestions you have to offer would be so appreciated.

    Thanks so much,

    ps One other thing, I have been adding small amts of spirulina and dulse at times, but again, don’t know how much of this to give him, so have just been using small amounts.

    Reply to debra
    • debra sanders

      sorry, saw that for some reason part of one sentence jumped into another!! Weird. It should have read that I was giving him small amounts of the gelatin for the amino acids. BTW, it is Type B gelatin made by Great Lakes.

      Reply to debra
  • Susan Watson

    I need help too. My 11 1/2 y/o Black Lab is diagnosed with liver failure. Bile acid test show elevated numbers (400+) and our vet has her on Science Diet L/D for hepatic issues. Also, Raven is taking 300 mgs. of Ursodiol every 12 hours, with 425 mgs. of Denamarin before her morning meal. Recently she added an antibiotic of Cephalexin two pills totaling 700 mgs. every 12 hours. They added Missing Link for arthritis, etc. I do appreciate they want to help her, but as I can see from the costs of these drugs and the Science Diet L/D, this costs a lot and I’m not sure how healthy this diet plan is for her. What raw, natural diet would you recommend? I have switched to filtered water and I have looked around to see what other toxins there might be. I am concerned that she has been exposed too long to herbicides and pesticides. Could you give me an idea of what her diet should be? Thank you.

    Reply to Susan
  • Terri

    I have a 13 month old, 3 pound Maltese with a diagnosed liver shunt. She was diagnosed(through ultrasound) at 5 months old after multiple bouts of vomiting. Her liver enzyme levels have stabilized after being prescribed LD food, lactulose and metronidazole. She has some raw apple each day as a treat. I would love to switch to a homemade diet as she isnt too crazy for the canned food. Also, i am concerned about the toxicity of the antibiotics long term. Any advise would be appreciated.

    Reply to Terri
  • Sandy Leath

    Our British type cream Lab, Abby became deathly ill about18 months ago. She almost died, and we were desperate to find out what was wrong. We went to 3 vets of Alternative, Traditional, and mixed practices. Ultrasound and Biopsy revealed an almost “dead” liver. Her temp stayed at 104 for about 5 days. She was treated with fluids, antibiotics, and supplements and she slowly began to recover. Her liver levels were initially 1100 and have slowly dropped to 420 over the months. The traditional vet finally diagnosed with CAH and put on Metronidazole and Denosyl for maintenance. She has been on amoxicillin, Doxycycline, Metronidazole, plus. About 6 months ago we returned to the Alternative vet who began the quest for answers again. I might add we did every test known for tick, and other illnesses. The Alternative vet finally made a diagnosis of Toxoplasmosis from the nodules she saw in the eyes. She put her on Clindamycin for 5 weeks, and Abby’s blood work (except for the Liver) returned to normal. She is now on VetriScience Pro Line Immuno DMG Support and VetriScience Liver Support. She currently has her on Nutrisource Pure Vita Bison and we add Prozyme and small amount of Venison Raw. Through all this ordeal Abby has bee very picky over her eating, but eats and tolerates this diet well. We will do whatever we need to help her heal her Liver. We do understand there was damage, but we also see improvement with the treatments she has received. She seems to feel well, she plays and enjoys her life, but we react to every unusual movement

    What would you do if Abby were your dog??? God Bless you for this article and your help!!

    Reply to Sandy
  • sheila pappas

    My cat was diagnosed with possible hepatic encephalopathy present since birth. started out feeding her a diet of clams,tofu and rice with taurine and milk thistle supplements. She’s now past 2 years old and she is 5# due to stunted growth. She got sick of the food and now I have her on Castor and Pollux hepatic diet dry. Any other suggestions? Her liver #s are Good with this regimen. She also gets lactulose andamoxicillin daily.Her first symptoms were absent seizures but hadn’t had one since we began her regimen.

    Reply to sheila
  • Victoria

    Hi Amy, my husband found this blog. It seems very helpful. My 5 year old Olde English Bulldog has just been diagnosed with Chronic Active Hepatitis. The food he is currently on is Eagle Pack Holistic Select, either the fish or the duck, I add blueberries in the morning, boiled white fish(whiting) a little wet dog food, cellfood Sam-e, milk thistle and dandelion root powder. He became jaundiced and his liver values had doubled, so he just spent a week in the hospital and now is taking Ursodiol, Baytril, Pepcid, Prednisone and Denamarin. In the evening I add vegetables, carrots, broccoli, green beans, peas, which I rotate daily. The vet said to keep his diet the same, exercise the same, although he just doesn’t have much energy. Because of the Prednisone he is ravenous at feeding times, which is twice a day and a small meal at night. His normal weight is 88lbs but right now he is 80lbs. There is a great stand alone pet food shop near us and they seem to have a great selection of natural, grain free products as well as raw food for dogs. Am I better off going and buying my own meats and fish or would this privately owned shop be a good place to get the raw. I feel I need to reduce the copper in his diet and realise that vets have good intentions but are not nutritionists. Also, what is your opinion on acupuncture, I read it can be helpful. Thank you for any info.

    Reply to Victoria
  • Cynthia

    My double merle aussie has recently been on IV for 3 days and an ultrasound shows evidence of liver disease. The vet said that he doesn’t think I have much time with her. This all came on so suddenly as I had regular blood work done 3 weeks ago and it came back mostly normal. I came accross your article and it was great. Time is of the essence for her and I want to try all that I can. Do you have any suggestions of something I can put together for her? Recipies so to say. I thank you in advance and I really hope to hear from you soon.

    Reply to Cynthia
    • Victoria

      Hi Cynthia, sorry I am not Amy, I am the poster just before you. I have been transitioning both of my dogs to a raw diet in the last few days. If you like you can contact me as I have been researching liver disease like a crazy woman these last couple of weeks and there is a product called Juva Cleanse Essential Oil, the least expensive place I have seen it is on Amazon, $120! It might be a miracle worker, I don’t know yet. But, I am looking for a miracle as well. think I am going to get that but my friend has also mixed some powders for the liver and immune system, which I will start as soon as he is off the Prednisone.

      Reply to Victoria
      • Cynthia

        Hi Victoria! Thank you so much for commenting on my post. I would love to be in touch with you to share things that may be working for both of us. Although I have some faith in the profesionals, I have learnt alot more from my own research and puhing for answers. How would I contact you? When I try to click on your name, I get a page not found error. I how I am not too late in my response here. I hope to hear from you soon!

        Reply to Cynthia
        • Victoria

          Hi Cynthia, I have only just checked this site again today, I am not sure how you can send personal message here as our emails are not published and I do not want to make it public. So far with Bully, he just had more bloodwork today, will get results in next 2 days. Appetite is good, he put on 5lbs, now 81lbs! I will let you know once results are back if anything I am doing is working.

          Reply to Victoria
  • DebbieQ

    Recently my Westie had an extreme spike in liver enzymes after all of her yearly vaccinations. No symptoms prior. The following day, she drank and peed excessively. This conintued for a few days and started to diminish but still took her to the vet. Her blood test showed high liver values. Vet started her on the Denmarin. Also had a week of antibiotics. It is hard to get her to eat. She will eat chicken breast, peanut butter and a small amount of dry dog food. I had her on Blue but after my reading today, she won’t be having that any longer. She is about 80% recovered just extremely low energy, depressed and lethargic. Starting her on raw veggies to go along with her chicken. I was givnig her the blue mainly to increase fiber to make sure she is moving her bowels. Vet wants to do a surgical liver biopsy but I am not comfortable with it. Is it worth putting her through this? Thanks for any thoughts on this,

    Reply to DebbieQ
  • Laurie

    Hello Amy,

    My 10 year old baby girl named Morgan is a Boston Terrier who has high liver enzymes and high bile acid.

    She was put on a med for seizures in case they happened and prednisone. Our vet basically told us to feed her hills Hepatic food and if she did not improve her life was over.
    We are not settling for that!!!!!
    She seems very hungry and I am not sure what to feed her.

    We are trying to get her into the Cornell Animal hospital in our area for more help

    She is our baby and watching her be herself one minute and the next tired and not feeling well is heart wrenching.

    I want to feed her something that will not hurt her!

    Thank you so much!!


    Reply to Laurie
    • DebbieQ

      Sorry to hear about your dog. I see you have not gotten a response either. I have our Westie seeing a holistic vet. She is doing chiropractic and acupuncture. She believes in feeding the liver (Beef liver or other liver. Also using milk thistle has helped Sabrina. They have tablets as well as other supplements. Also if you research on the web, some of the dog foods out there are not good for our pets. Hills is one of them. I have changed Sabrina to all holistic foods (Honest Kitchen) along with her liver and she is doing much better. We have an appointment tomorrow for a liver ultrasound. We are monitoring her blood and since we started her blood level has come down significantly but not completely. I am quickly becoming a believer in the holistic approach. All the vaccinations we are giving our pets are getting them sick. Good luck.

      Reply to DebbieQ
  • Julia Bliss

    I just came home from the vet’s office and am heartsick because after running tests she says my 13 year old cocker spaniel has livers disease. He lost about 10 lbs. in 6 months. She did recommend 2 of the supplements you have listed. Do I start him on all of those at once? Also, can you name some snacks I could give him during the day? He is constantly hungry!!! Can you also list the recipe for the high-in-protein raw foods that I can make for his meals. Thank you so much.

    Reply to Julia
  • Julia Bliss

    Testing testing to see if my questions went through?

    Reply to Julia
  • Sharon

    I have a 13 year old Australian Shepherd that was diagnosed with a liver problem, something with her enzymes are low she also has had two mini strokes, but her heart is strong. As a result of the strokes she has some nerve damage in her lower back. The vet had prescribed a fairly new pill to help with her liver enzymes (Denamarin) and it raised them a little, but not enough so she is now on a cheaper pill (Lipo tabs). I would like to know what kind of foods I can give my dog to speed up this process because she does not take pills well. I would also like to know how to make her these meals.

    Reply to Sharon
  • Victoria

    Hi All, update on my OEB. He has been doing well on the diet change. His Prednisone is now down to 15mg per day compared to 40mg per day two months ago, he is still taking Ursodiol and Denamarin. My friend mixed Astralagus, Schisandra, Ashwagandha, Reishi, Chaga and 14 Mushroom Blend for me and he gets 1/8th teaspoon in the mornings, and I still give him Milk Thistle Seed Powder in his food twice a day. His liver values have all come way down and he had his first walk in two months this morning. He is no longer ravenous, thirsty or incontinent, which was a side effect of the Prednisone. My boy should have a normal life and I would rather have quality over quantity. I hope this information can help any of you. Thanks and good luck to everyone.

    Reply to Victoria
  • Amy Marshall

    Hey Everyone, so sorry I haven’t been able to answer some of your questions yet! I’ve been backlogged with comments and emails, especially when it comes to liver disease and am trying my best to work through them. It’s a huge problem for so many dogs today, but I’m so glad that so many dog owners are researching the options and considering a raw diet. Please continue to leave comments and help one another through active discussion on the post. If you do have additional questions for me, send them to [email protected], responses are easier via email. If there’s someone you’d like to connect with from the comments, just email me and I can pass along email info. Thanks so much for the support and for supporting one another! I’ll also be publishing a new post soon with some sample meal plans for raw diets to support liver disease :)

    Reply to Amy
  • Skylar

    She spells it all out for you guys in this article and comments. If you want your dog to become healthy again be proactive and find out what will work. Everybody wants to be handed nowadays. The information is here! If you need more details figure them out or at last resort ask an expert. Research is necessary for any attachments endeavor!

    Reply to Skylar
  • robert

    hi Amy, Our Coco has been recently diagnosed with liver disease. She is the best Pit in the world. She’s about 7 yrs old and still wants to chase the ball. Although she is laying down more often. She’s has also lost alot of weight, which gave us an indication somethings was wrong. They ruled out cancer, but stated her levels are extremly high. The vet wants to admit her for a week and put her on IV. I dont trust them, Im thinking they want to pad there pockets. I want to help her, have money to do it, but want a positive outcome. What would be our best route to take. thanks

    Reply to robert
  • Ria

    What bones can dogs eat if they have hepatic encelopathy? Vet only gave me 3 recipes for her to eat. Sweet potato with egg. Cottage cheese with sweet potato. And tofu with sweet potato. All my dogs teeth are rotting since the one dog can’t have it.
    Thanx so much

    Reply to Ria
  • Kathy Manade

    Can you recommend a good raw food diet? Also I have been reading about a liver cleanse consisting of cod fillet, new white potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini and string beans but the “recipe” did not indicate how long my dog should be on the cleanse. Can you advise?

    Reply to Kathy
  • Carol O'Connell

    I have a year old Micro Teacup Yorkie, that weighs in at 2 pounds 5 ounces. She has had stomach issues twice in her life, first time just growling stomach, this last time vomiting and diarrhea. Blood tests were done and they said her liver numbers were a little off. One of the vets says it could be a liver shunt which I hear is highly prevalent in Yorkies.. They are recommending an ultrasound or waiting a few months and retesting Roxie’s blood.
    Seeing Yorkies have a high likelihood of shunts I would like to change her diet to help prevent any problems. Roxie is extremely fussy with her diet, she doesn’t eat much dry food as it seems to be too hard for her to bite. What would you suggest I feed her

    Reply to Carol
  • Carol Crane

    I have a 11 month old French Bulldog with suspected Liver Shunt. Could you send me your diet? I’ve been using Dr. Dodd’s diet which is cooked food.

    Reply to Carol
  • Matthew

    HI, I have a ten yr old newfoudland and just got back from vet with bad news. Took her to get blood work done as we just lost our cat suddenly and wanted to make sure she was fine. They checked her over and said she was in great shape but just called with blood results and it says she has severe liver disease. Just wondering where to start and if u can give any advice on diet to prolong her life. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, they say it could be weeks or months.

    Reply to Matthew
  • Gina

    I have an 11 year old female shih-tzu with elevated liver enzymes and reoccurring bladder stones. Her liver enzymes have been going up for the last four years but she shows no signs of liver disease. On her most recent bloodwork, her ALKP were 2,000.0 and her ALT enzymes were 307.0. The vet did an x-ray and the liver looked fine, maybe a little on the small side. I took her to an internal medicine specialist vet and he did an ultrasound on her abdomen. Her liver looked good on the ultrasound- no spots or tumors. He also commented that the liver looked like it might be little small. Her gallbladder and pancreas looked good as well. The specialist did a liver function test and the results came back showing that her liver is functioning normally. He has recommended switching her from the prescription Hills UD diet (she has been on that because of bladder stones, which have come back despite this diet) to Hills WD. The specialist would like to also put her on denamarin.

    After researching holistic diets, I am starting to doubt the benefits of the hills prescription dog food. I would like to try something more natural. Can you recommend something that she should eat that can help her liver as well as prevent bladder stones from reoccurring (she will have to have these surgically removed in the next month or so).

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

    Reply to Gina
  • Kellie

    Hi, i have a 5 year old dobermann with advanced liver disease. We are a little confused over what we should be feeding him. Vet says green vegetables, rice, pasta and some dairy products are good. However, i think we should be feeding him some sort of meat product as well. He has lost a lot of weight since being diagnosed and we are worried he is not getti g the nutritional value he needs. We have also been feeding him specialized Hills canned food prescribed by the vet. Do you have any receipes we could follow??

    Reply to Kellie
  • Mona

    Our 8 year old Sheltie has been diagnosed with Hepatocutaneous Syndrome. We are currently giving her Denamarin and Vitmine E supplements. I was told by the internal medicine specialist to continue feeding her Science Diet but adding eggs each day. The more I research they all say to stop feeding the dry dog food. I have found another dog owner who makes chicken stock for the collagen and feeds a natural diet. We think we’d like to start doing this but want to make sure we do it right. Should we gradually switch to that method? Also wondering if we should stop the Denamarin when it’s gone and go to the regular Milk Thistle which we also have. We’d appreciate any information to help us try to save our special dog! Thanks!

    Reply to Mona
  • gayle

    I have 7 month old pointer puppy that has been diagnosed with a liver shunt. Bile acids fasting 82 < 11umo / L. High. Bile acids postprandial 200 < 21umol / L high
    I have been trying to sort out a diet for him. Not sure if this is right.
    He is getting cooked chicken or beef mince. 150 – 200grams, about 400 grams of cooked barley, steel cut oats and amerath grains twice a day. Goat milk, yoghurt and egg for lunch.
    I am adding hempseed oil, coconut oil, turmeric and St Mary Thistle.
    His medication is dupholic 10 ml 3 times a day. Antibiotics twice a day.
    He is due to have an op soon to close the shunt. Not particularly happy with this diet. Can l feed him his meat raw, was told that toxins would build up if l did. The other dogs are raw.

    Reply to gayle
  • dalena

    My 10yr old Australian cattledog mix has liver disease. Is there anything I can buy already made to give her. L?

    Reply to dalena
  • Katherine


    I would really want to know your opinion on the kind of diet for my yorkies liver shunt. He had a seizure last week and upon taking him
    To the vet discovered the shunt condition. I opted out of the surgery because it is too expensive and the type of liver shiny he has there is no guarantee. What is the best way to prolong my yorkie’s life.

    Reply to Katherine
  • Susan

    I have a mini doxi that is now about10 years old. She has had two seizures in the last year…Feb 9, 2014 and today Feb11, 2015. I have read a lot that diet can play a large part in this. I also have two other dogs. Currently feed them Purina One Maintenance. Treats are limited to one a day and they are by Authority. I am going through a divorce and my husband would mix large quanitys of any type of human food into the dry and give MANY amounts of treats daily. My other dogs are medium mixed breeds… Boarder Collie/ Aussie Shephard type mixes. I feed them once a day about 2 cups for the bigger ones and about 1 cup for my doxi. I feel I really need to make some drastic changes. By the way one dog is about 14 and the other is about 9. They are in need of teeth cleanings and I feel contributes to the overall health risks. Please help me figure a good diet for the babies. I am not sure I can completely affort all raw foods and have heard and read that all raw is not good either. Just want to do my best to try to keep them healthy. Can you advise me what and the amounts. The doxi and the 9 year old are over weight also. In a job and living condition transition right now and by next month will be in a perm. situation when we will be doing daily walks. I like my vet but they just want me to buy their foods… My dogs also love carrots and other veggies, now you are saying that is not good for them either. Hope to hear from you soon as I need to get on the change right away. Thank You.

    Reply to Susan
  • alison knight

    I have a newly adopted Chihuahua. Lily is 4lbs and had a possible Liver shunt. The specialist wants me to get a Scintigraphy because her bile acid is high.She is raw fed and if she goes to surgery, Dr.Rizzo wants her on a low protein diet, canned for 2 weeks. I don’t like that idea at all.Do you know if surgery is the way to go with liver shunts/ Thank-you for any advice you can give….Alison

    Reply to alison
  • Byron Mills

    I have a 12 year old Italian Greyhound that is retaining fluid in its abdomen. We have had him drained four times and within two weeks it is coming back. But he is not acting like he feels bad while he has the fluid. But we know this fluid is not healthy. We have run several panels and nothing is showing up abnormal. His heart is strong and no issues with this at all. The vet last week told us we just need to let him go. I’m at a loss !! He is running around the house and yes he does sleep a lot but this can also go to the age. But when he’s up he’s very active. We are feeding him lamb and rice and also vegetables. He loves vegtables. Please help me with some advice if this sounds like liver disease!! This fluid they draw off does not have any blood in it but appears to be high in red blood cells. Once they drain him and two days later he’s back to normal until he fills back up.

    Reply to Byron
  • Marilyn Cipriani

    My 4 1/2 year old long haired doxie was just diagnosed with liver shunt. He eats a very good diet of Halo grain free. 1/4 cup for breakfast mixed with 1/3 can of little cesars to make it moist. I don’t know what to feed him, the vet wants me to only give him white rice and cottage cheese for a week to see if his blood results improve. I don’t know what to do, any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply to Marilyn
  • Marilyn Cipriani

    mu post missed the part where I said I make him chicken I cook myself for dinner. He also has a vegetable, either carrots, broccoli, green beans, squash, zucchini or asparagus alon with his Halo grain free kibble. Thanks again.

    Reply to Marilyn
  • kathern

    hi my hairless creative has liver problems they are high what diet would you suggest got his weight up to 15lbs after many years he also 13 years old

    Reply to kathern
  • Victoria

    My 6 year old male dobe has slightly elevated liver enzymes. My vet has put him on Ursodiol, an acid reducer & vitamin e. I want to start making him bone broth because it detoxifies the liver, but didn’t know if it would effect his meds?

    Reply to Victoria
  • Doris

    I have a 14 year old bichon and she has not been wanting to eat.
    She has been losing weight fairly quickly and has high liver enzymes even with the denemarin. Would this raw diet help and what kind of meats should we feed her and are they somehow prepared first.
    Please let me know or refer to somewhere I could find the answer

    Reply to Doris
    • Amy Marshall

      Sorry to hear about your dog! Feel free to email me and I can provide some suggestions. Thanks!

      Reply to Amy
  • Annita Nathanail

    Could you please shoot me the same email of the diet?
    Thank you so so much!


    Reply to Annita
  • Tracey Gray

    Please email me a sample raw diet. My 60lb dog was just hospitalized with high liver enzymes Thanks Tracey.

    Reply to Tracey
  • Janice gibson

    Please send me some suggested food to feed my 14 year old poodle, she is have ng seizures and has a liver disease, she has been drinking lots and lots of water, has problems standing up and walking, any I form, would be appreciated, thanks

    Reply to Janice
  • Michelle

    I have a 2.4 lb 3 yr old chihuahua that we are pretty sure has a liver shunt. She was on a pre-made RAW diet when she started showing signs of star gazing. We took her to the vet and her liver count was bad with blood work. Nothing on the ultra sound. We got her to stop the start gazing on Science Diet LD but I hate that stuff, her blood work also was normal after 6 weeks on this. Still nothing showing on an ultrasound so we think its a hidden shunt. When I tried her back on RAW she went right back to star gazing. I really want to get her off of this science diet junk but am really at a loss on how to start her back if she is doing the star gazing on the pre-made RAWS. Could you possibly email with a plan to start her on. I certainly do not want to mess up and worsen her condition. Thanks in advance.

    Reply to Michelle
  • Misti Carney

    Amy can u please help me with what types of food I should feed my dog he has been diagnosed with hepatitis and they have him on 2 anabiotic’s and the other liver medicine denamarin. They also told me that he should be on a low-protein diet and gave me science Hill prescription liver care ID medicine . He won’t eat it. So then they told me to mix it with chicken and rice he will only eat the chicken sometimes. So I would really like to know what you suggest for me to be feeding him because I know he needs to eat something. Something is better than nothing. The vet told me to force-feed him the science Hill food. Which like a fool I listen to him and all it did was make my dog gag and choke and throw up and more miserable. And of course the vet says just keep trying to feed he met and giving the medicines and come back into weeks for more lab work. So please I need your help what can I feed him that will be good for him and help him heal? Sincerely Misti

    Reply to Misti
  • Fer Oropeza

    I have a four-month miniature schnauzer who has portosystemic shunt and has had episodes of hepathic encephalopathy symptoms. I have been feeding her with fruits and veggies and have taken away meat (during this period of time, she hasn’t had any episode) but I know she needs the protein and I want to know which kind of meat she can eat and in which proportions.
    I’ve been reading about giving her raw food but my moom seems a little skeptical about it.
    Can you help me figuring out a diet for my pup?
    Thank you very much for helping us!!

    Reply to Fer
  • Debbie Hill

    Hi there

    My 14 year old lack lab has just been diagnosed with liver disease and my vet has suggested hills L/d. I wasn’t convinced and am glad of ur comparison!!
    Please can u advise on an actual diet sheet for her with ur raw food. Many thanks.

    Reply to Debbie
  • Debbie Hill

    Sorry here’s my correct email!!

    Reply to Debbie
  • elaine stratton

    could you send me info on what foods you give a dog with high liver enzymes. she also is anemic. my dog is 69 pounds. any help would be appreciated!

    Reply to elaine
  • Dave gross

    Thanks for caring for our dogs.They mean so much to us. Your article on canine liver disease was eye opening. Please email your raw diet.

    Reply to Dave
  • Joanne McNally

    My 10kg lurcher bitch was diagnosed last year with multiple hepatic portosystemic shunts and placed on Royal Canin Hepatic dry food/ Hill’s L canned food, Lactulose and ampicillin three times a day. I would like her on a raw fed diet and seek advice as I don’t want her to become unwell (pre diagnosis: sickness, focal seizures, behaviour problems. Post diagnosis: struvite crystals) but am convinced her food is not good for her.
    Any advice would be welcome. Thanks.

    Reply to Joanne
  • Irene Stephens

    My 12 year old female Cavalier King Charles spaniel has recently been vomiting quite a lot. I took her to the vet and considerable blood work has been done. Her stomach lining was inflamed and her liver enzymes were very high. The vet said that there was probably some damage to the liver due to some kind of toxicity; pancreatic was alright. She gave me an acid absorber pill for the stomach; an antibiotic for inflammation and a liver pill to sooth and make her liver happy. She also recommended a low protein diet and sold me a couple of cans of prescription dog food which I will not use as I read the canned contents which were unbelievable to say the least. My dog is a very fussy eater and I would appreciate any suggestions that you could provide for me for a good eating program for her. I was also searching the internet and a vet suggested a good liver detox cleanse that should be done at least every six months. My vet suggested plain chicken with rice and no fancy seasonings. I am hoping that we caught this in time and can extend her life. Please help me with some good holistic advice. Too many vets are pushing these prescriptions diets with very low protein and so many additives. Waiting to hear from you. Thanks Irene Stephens and my little dog “Brie”

    Reply to Irene
  • Chrissy

    Can you also send me an email when you can regarding exactly what to feed my dog with liver issues? She is a 9 pound min pin and 11 yrs old. Had a seizure and blood work came back that she had liver issue. She was put on anti seizure meds and meds for liver and vet didn’t even mention her diet! They took her off liver meds but say she has to have seizure meds forever. They make her sick so I am seeking other options.

    Reply to Chrissy
  • Lara

    If available still please Email me too about raw.

    My poor girl, 13yrs has bile in her urine, double sized gallbladder with sludge??? Her liver is very large with mottling & lumpy, 2nd & 3Rd scan showed liver & gallbladder size increases & mottling spreading & shes has lost 8 kilo approx. Bile was present in first bloodtest all liver enzymes were high. 2nd blood, bile gone & 1 enzyme still sky high. Vet seems more interested in saving money than treating or testing her anymore. Worse keep saying shes old, best to end it & get a new dog. Im left pretty clueless if its liver related, gallbladder or cancer, as she had a toe removed 6 yrs ago that came back positive for cancer in skin, lesion, bone & plasma. So no idea if this is the cause of her liver trouble. Other than her tiredness & swollen area where liver is, drinking increased,feeding is less than normal & peeing has increased in need to go but flow is pulsating & less volume coming out. She’s her normal self with puppy mad half hours. Just want to help her as Vet doesnt.

    Reply to Lara
  • Veronica

    My dogs have liver problems.
    It’s possible to get a recipe on what to feed her to help her liver

    Reply to Veronica
  • Nancy Richard

    Hi ,
    I have an 11 pound, 6 yo Havanese with a liver shunt (incidental finding, not symptomatic). Until I found out that she had it, she was on a raw diet high in organ meat (Abady brand). She has been on prescription l/d for 7 months and doesn’t like it. I would like to give her a healthier and tastier option .
    Would you please share your recipe?
    Thank you,

    Reply to Nancy
  • Jayme

    Hi can you please send me the email as well. My dog is 3 with a possible shunt/MVD. She’s on canned royal canine but dislikes it and she has diarrhea all the time. It’s rough for both of us.

    Reply to Jayme
  • Misty Rodriguez

    If you could please send me the same email mentioned above. My Miniture Pintcher has elevated liver enzymes and I need to get them lowered. He is also my Diabetic Alert Dog and I need him for my low sugars. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Thank you

    Reply to Misty
  • Christina Newton

    Thank you so much for providing this article! Can you please email me specific instructions/recipe on the raw diet? My jindo lab mix has been diagnosed with copper storage liver disease. I’m looking into buying food from Just Food for Dogs but I believe making it myself may be more affordable. Also, can you tell me your thoughts on the supplement Denamarin and the pharmaceutical Penicillamine? Both were prescribed by my vet. My dog is showing no symptoms of anything, but after blood tests and a liver biopsy, she was diagnosed with this disease. I’m just nervous of the side affects of giving her Penicillamine. Thank you!!!

    Reply to Christina
  • Christina Newton

    Hi Amy- thank you for providing all the detailed info for fellow dog lovers!

    Could you please email me instructions for the raw diet as well? My jindo lab mix was diagnosed with copper storage liver disease. Our vet prescribed the supplement Denamarin, are you familiar with it? She was also prescribed the drug Penicillamine, but I’m nervous about the side affects as my dog is acting completely healthy. (We found out about her liver via a blood test and then a liver biopsy confirmed it.) I appreciate your insight!!

    Reply to Christina
  • Mary Arnold

    Could you recommend a raw brand. I am using primal now for my schnauzers and want to make sure it is the best. They are eating chicken

    Reply to Mary
  • Aimee

    Hello! I want to start feeding my 12 yr mini schnauzer raw food but I’m always confuse what people meant by raw food. Does it mean uncooked? What ratio of protein, carb, fat etc. Should I use? She has an elevated ALT,ALKP.

    Reply to Aimee
  • mitchell silvers

    my 14 yr old chihuahua has some elevated liver enzymes.. I am giving her SAMe and Milk Thistle as recommended by Vet and many others… Also, I am trying to provide new dietary focus. Bone Broth is one of those areas… I can find a lot of info on the benefits of it.. What I can’t find is HOW MUCH to give.. and how often. If I add it to her dry food portion…i put in a teaspoon’s worth .. 2x a day. I was also wondering.. can it be added to the daily drinking water? OR in place of the water?? any suggestions.. would be greatly appreciated..

    Reply to mitchell
  • Cristiane Regina Amorim

    Hi, I am from Brazil, and here information about raw dog food, especially for dogs with liver problemas ir very hard to obtain. My dog is a 3 years old rotweiller, 25 kg. She was born with liver deficiency. The vet prescribed some vitamins, such as SAM-E and folic acid, and a change of food, to Royal Canin Hepatic. In Brazil, this food is extremelly expensive. So I researched the internet and found out a recipy of cooked food (chicken breast, white rice, sweet potato, carrot and oatmeal). That’s what I have been feeding my dog. After reading your site, I would like to change the cooked food for raw, but I have no idea of portions or even what to give her. There is no one I can ask about that in my city. The closest doctor expert in dog nutrition is about 600 km from my home and she charges a great amout of money. Can you help me?
    I’ve just lost a precious dog for cancer, I can not lose the other one.

    Reply to Cristiane
  • Jennifer Hahn

    I would love an email with a detailed diet for my 5 pound miniature pomeranian with elevated liver enzymes and suspected liver shunts and the liver shunt surgery has been recommended which I do not want to do. He is 2 1/2 years old.

    Reply to Jennifer
  • Sandy

    My dog has been diagnosed with liver problem. It could be a liver shunt or liver failure but to confirm, a biopsy could be required and I don’t want to do it.
    Could you advise what diet is recommended for her? She’s a 8 yo Malchi and she’s only 2.3kg.
    Appreciate it!
    Thanks so much!

    Reply to Sandy
  • Janice

    My dog was diagnosed with elevated liver enzymes this morning. Her ALT was 818 and her GGT was 28. I am so confused on what to feed her. Please help!!!! Do you have a sample diet I could follow?

    Reply to Janice
    • Portia the Pug

      My Portia was diagnosed at 5 months old. We were told she would not see her 1st birthday unless she had surgery.
      We found a nutritionist and feed her a Raw Organic Diet. She eats Raw Veggies as well as takes probiotics. She has not had a episode in over 2 yrs now and will be 3 yrs old in Nov.
      Very Good Article here.
      You can always contact us for help via Instagram @portiathepug
      We have a very strong community and will always help our Livershunt pups

      Reply to Portia
  • Cesar

    HI there,

    Like AK Thomsom, I also have the following question.
    Can you just tell me what raw food you would use? Or how I could do it myself? This is a lot of info to digest and I need simple help on what to use NOW to help my pet.
    My little 9 years old yorkie (1.7 kilos) with not theet was diagnosed with liver shunt 2 years ago, and I moved to a holistic approche ever since.
    I find lots of information about this topic on the web, but always struggle to understand fully, and Im not sure if im doing it right, although I managed to keep her alive, she shows diferent symptoms shuch, fatige, ocasinal limping, ocasional episodes, often liking her front legs (from which she limps from).
    She is mainly on raw vegetables (Zuchinni, Brocoli, Cucumber, spinach, celery, green beans) and I try to add, other diferent sources of protein like boiled cod, prawns, boiled chicken, frozen beef in small quantities.
    Is all blended (due to no teeths) to which I add supplements shuch probiotics, enzymes, SAME and I alternate one teaspoon of Hemp oil, one teaspoon of coconut oil, one teaspoon of Goat Yogurt.
    Mid day I give her a blend of fruit shuch banana and pear, or mixed with watermelon, or mixed with apple.
    Breakfast and dinner I give her 70 grm per meal, but I really struggle as she does not seem to like it much.
    Another issue I have is when I leave her with pet sitters, as I can only provide food for 2-3 days (otherwise it goes bad) and is difficult to explain recipe to pet sitters. Do you have any suggestions for this issue?
    Please send me a message if you have time.
    Great article, and many thanks for your help.

    Reply to Cesar
  • Sandy Kepley

    My dog had sung. 07/2013 for hepatocellular adenoma,benign with a positive margin. We just took him back this week and CT revealed a non-resectable liver mass. Would you please recommend an example diet plan and any supplements to help us save our dog. He is a 9 yr old golden mix/sheltie. Weight 35 lb.

    Reply to Sandy
  • Mary

    Hi Amy:

    Can you share some help with how I should a 12 year old dog with Hepatic encephalopathy. The vet said she has toxin in her blood.

    Not sure what to do. :(


    Reply to Mary
  • Sue

    My 12 year old cocker spaniel was diagnosed with diabetes 5 months ago, and has to have insulin injections twice a day. He seemed to be improving and put on weight, but has now gone off his food and the vet has tested his bloods and found he had elevated enzymes in his liver. He is now on Denamarin. The problem I have is that I must get him to eat to give him his tablets and insulin injections. He is presently eating a small amount of chicken and steamed fish, do you think he would take to a raw diet ? Could you e-mail me a copy of the raw food diet please ?

    Reply to Sue
  • Ashley

    Would you recommend the pork primal freeze-dried raw food for a dog with suspected MVD?

    Reply to Ashley
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Ashley, thanks for the comment! Personally, I’m a big fan of homemade diets for specific health issues. Without knowing anything about your dog or without spending some time researching Primal’s ingredients and that specific formula – unfortunately, I can’t say for sure. Feel free to get in touch via the contact page if you have other questions.

      Reply to Amy
  • Deanna

    Can you send me the same email with suggested diet for dog with liver failure? Thank you!

    Reply to Deanna
  • Mark

    I have a 8 year old, 19lb beagle with high liver values. She is on denamarin and still has high values after 2 months and has gone jaundice. Vet pumped her with IV’s and she seems to be turning around. Looking to change her diet. Can you pass on sample diet to help liver?


    Reply to Mark
  • Danielle

    I am looking for a diet for my dog with liver disease. She is not eating anything at this time and I am trying to feed her with an oral syringe, but would like the best recipe to feed. She is allergic to chicken

    Reply to Danielle
  • Matt Brueckner

    My dog has chronic liver disease. His abdomen is filling with water which requires drainage about every 2 weeks. His quality of life is declining rapidly and we will have to put him down soon. I want to try anything I can to help him.

    What food and/or supplement(s) would you recommend? His current condition is quite acute.

    Reply to Matt
  • corburt erilio

    Merely wanna admit that this is very beneficial, Thanks for taking your time to write this.

    Reply to corburt
  • Jacob Magazine

    Hi I have a 69 lbs American bulldog he’s one month from being 11 yrs. He already has blood in his urine, it actually looked black and the vets aren’t recommending surgery they believe I should put him down soon. But he seems ok still and I don’t want to end things before it needs to be. Please guide me on how to prolong his life money is of no worry I will go to the best stores butchers and buy the highest end product needed. Please advise me on what to do.

    Reply to Jacob
  • Holly

    My 10 year old Havanese has had elevated ALT levels since he was a pup and has been fed Hills l/d for years. His ALT levels have sky rocketed and he now has paw and nail problems presumably from liver problems. Looking to make his food for him and get him off the l/d.
    Can you please send me recipe for raw and/or freeze dried fresh diet.

    Reply to Holly
  • Joanne

    Hi, I have Westie 11 years old that has liver damage. We have had a liver biopsy procedure on Friday and awaiting the results. The vet has put her on the Royal Canin hepatic can dog food which she has been on for 2 months. She seems to be fine on this but now has a skin allergy because she is unable to eat red meat which is contained in this food. Could you please email the raw food diet for dogs with liver disease please.

    Thanks Jo

    Reply to Joanne
  • Marilynn

    Hi Amy, Could you send the recommended brands and or raw diet instructions?
    Thank you for all your diligent work.

    Reply to Marilynn
  • Lynn

    Could I get a meal plan for a 60 pound dog . Have reached out in the past .

    Reply to Lynn
  • emmelle12345

    I have an almost 11 month old, 6.5 pound white morkie (1/4 yorkie, 3/4 maltese) that tested for high liver enzyme when I had her blood work done before her 6 month old spaying in August 2016. The vet called to say he couldn’t do surgery as her liver number was 270 and normal range was 10-125 and she probably had a shunt & wouldn’t recover from the anesthesia with those numbers so surgery was delayed. She had been eating Royal Canine Yorkie puppy food as well as a 90% meat canned food prior to testing. I immediately started researching liver shunt diets as I knew I couldn’t afford the surgery. I read the article above, as well as numerous others, too many to count. I researched and researched and after much thought, consideration & planning, I switched her diet to a “raw” diet, if u can call it that. Whole foods might be a better way to describe it…Anyway, after following this diet since August, I dropped my pup off for a retest today (Jan 2017) and the vet called me absolutely shocked! Wynnifred’s number was at 140. He was so thrilled, he said we can go ahead and spay her soon. For anyone who wants to know Wynnifred’s diet, I am posting it here. I do NOT know if she has a shunt. Because her bloodwork number was so much better today, he didn’t do the Bile Acid test or the Ultra Sound. SHE HAS ONLY HAD BLOOD WORK EVALUATED AND I AM NOT A DOCTOR!!! I JUST WANTED TO HEAL MY BABY WITH FOODS INSTEAD OF MEDS!!

    **please note, the kinds of proteins used (organic, grass fed, etc are very important!! this diet isn’t cheap but it’s cheaper than a $10k surgery!)

    My 6.5# dog gets this meal TWICE a day. Quantities will vary based on size of dog and stage (puppy, adult, senior). I have a measuring spoon set with “dash, pinch and smidge”. I use this measuring set for several of her supplements. I have ZERO affiliation with any products or company, just telling you what works for us! & where I found it…

    Feed 2 times a day for a 6.5 pound Morkie puppy:

    2 ounces: RAW organic ground chicken breast OR gently COOKED wild caught Alaskan cod fish (fish for dogs must be cooked!) OR 100% GRASS FED whole milk cottage cheese. (Grass Fed cottage cheese & frozen wild cod found at Whole Foods, dairy fridge & fish dept freezer respectively)

    2 “dashes” of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

    2 “dashes” unflavored & unsweetened coconut water liquid probiotic (Inner-Eco brand found in fridge section of Whole Foods)

    1 “smidge” ground cage free, organic eggshells (wash & bake shells at 200df, until dried, pulverize until almost a powder in a coffee or spice grinder, pour through fine mesh strainer to remove any pieces that are still too big & could cut intestines)

    1/2 “pinch” turmeric

    1 scant Tablespoon of organic cooked (in bone broth) black or purple rice

    1/2 Tablespoon puréed raw organic broccoli puréed with a little bone broth

    1/2 Tablespoon organic plain pumpkin (NOT sweetened & spiced pumpkin pie mix!!)

    1/6 Vetri Science Liver Supplement (

    1 heaping teaspoon 100% GRASS FED organic yogurt (Stonyfield Farm has 6 live active cultures unlike some that have only three…Found at WF)

    1 Tablespoon bone broth (shelf stable chicken bone broth found at WF on soup aisle; frozen PlusCare beef bone broth found in freezer section of my local pet store Happy Retales…the frozen is superior & preferred, or make your own, how & why explained in: Bone Broth, 101 Essential Recipes by Quinn Farrar Wilson, no relation to me)

    Sprinkle of organic sea kelp granules with algae (Found at Whole Foods)

    1/4 teaspoon organic, unfiltered coconut oil (

    Primal freeze dried turkey livers, 1/2 – 1 nugget a day, depending on size

    Bocce’s Bakery charcoal, pumpkin & ginger treat to help remove toxins (found at local Petco)

    3 or 4 frozen dried cranberries
    1 or 2 frozen carrot slices
    Earth Animal Chicken “No Hide” Chews (found at local pet store Happy Retales)
    Sojos Holiday Turkey Cranberry Flavored Biscuit (found at local pet store Happy Retales)

    How I do this and still work and have a life:
    I cook/prep her meals once a week, then weigh/measure her protein, veg & broth into daily freezer safe serving containers (i use mini reusable ziploc containers & pop in the freezer. I take one out daily & let it thaw in the fridge. When time to eat, I scoop half the protein/veg onto the plate, chop the Vetri Science supplement and add it, then add the dashes of vinegar, probiotic, yogurt, turmeric & sea kelp flakes. Anything with active yogurt cultures or probiotics should not be frozen for best results, so I only freeze the protein/veg/broth and add the rest at each meal. For travel, I place the frozen meals in a cooler. If I don’t have time to make meals, I freeze her broc, pumpkin & rice in ice cube trays then store in a ziplock bag in the freezer until needed.

    I hope this helps your babies as much as it has helped mine!!

    Reply to emmelle12345
  • Vanessa


    I have a one year old Prague rater (or mini Pinscher) which has a intra PSS (Shunt).

    I have been giving to her Hepatic from Royal Canin since she was diagnosed but truth is that it’s a nightmare to make her eat. I mean, she is all the time looking for food but she doesn’t touch hers.

    Is there any example of a homemade diet that I can prepare for her? She weights 1 Kg, so I don’t want to do a try-error method on her.

    Thanks a lot in advance and best regards,

    Reply to Vanessa
  • Laurie

    I’m overwhelmed. I have a pei mix that has PLE with liver enzyme issues. She develops fluid in the abdomen which we have under control for now with a high protein diet of chicken and bison mixed with baby food or AD but we are having to force feed her. Her liver is also having an issue now due to whatever fat is in the food. My vet has said to boil all the meat and strain it and we are going to add in the ID. He said no to supplements for now. Do you have any other SAFE ideas? Please email me any ideas. We’re so tired :(

    Reply to Laurie
  • Alison Knight

    Love your atricle..I have a Chihuahua with possible micro shunts in her liver(scan showed no shunt outside the liver)..I have been Feeding Lily Prey model raw..Feeding meats with less ammonia and some red meats with fats in moderation along with the offal…(pasture raised)..Oily fish once a week, some tripe and egg…I am in a Liver Shunt group and most feed completely different (script diets, cooked, vegtables etc)..Alot of people tell me I should not be feeding any red meat and the reason Liver shunt dogs sometimes don’t eat is because the build up of ammonia that makes their stomach feel bad…..What are your thoughts?.. I am hoping I am feeding Lily correctly

    Reply to Alison
  • Leigha Vansoest

    Great Post,Keep Writing!!!

    Reply to Leigha
  • Georgeann Stpierre

    Great Post,Keep Writing!

    Reply to Georgeann
  • Lynn

    Could you also email me the diet. My dog has just been diagnosed with liver failure also.

    Reply to Lynn
  • Robin

    My 9 yr old Springer is diagnosed with mild sorosis of the liver and colitis. It’s been a battle to get his interest in food so when he wanted to eat raw hamburger I found your web site. So good to see food go in after several days of him rejecting it. Today is day 2, he’s had 2 meals of raw hamburger (add some rice in the 2nd meal) and the previous meal of about 3/4 can of hills l/d food (he now rejects this). My concern is he’s not had a bowel movement. Can you make suggestions?

    Reply to Robin
    • Caroline Smith

      Hello sorry about your dog, I have a cavalier King Charles he has liver problem and did not eat for 4 days, and was on antibiotics. I now refuse to feed him anything but food that I would eat, I also will only give him filtered ar bottled water, as copper pipes bring tap water to us, which is not good for them.
      I feed my dog raw ground beef, chichen, turkey, rice pasta and white fish, and sweet potato and green vegetable, mixed with a little cottage cheese, and pro bio yoghurt, and grated white cheese, scrambled or boiled egg not all at same time, I used a paper plate ,and put small amounts around the plate to find out his favorite, then mixed his favorite ones together,
      He is eating small amounts 3 times a day, and is doing great,
      I will never feed him processed dog food again.
      Feel free to ask me more, I hope this works for your dog good luck x

      Reply to Caroline
  • Shin Dobert

    Hey, Good stuff. I am looking forward to see a lot more of your site.

    Reply to Shin
  • Debra Walter

    My Aussie also came down with a liver disease quite suddenly. He is on an antibiotic and Denamarin. I was finally able to get him to eat cooked chicken from Costco. But if we try cottage cheese or anything else, he won’t touch it. I like the idea of bone broth. Is there any problem with the cooked chicken or is that acceptable. I’m not ready to let go of this sweet dog. He is only 11 years old and was quite spry before this. He has lost nearly 8 lbs and is skin and bones so we are desperately trying to revive his health. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Reply to Debra
  • Tammie

    My schnauzer has had high liver I’m zines for along time he’s been on denamrain for long time also and the vets suggest royal cannon low far still no help changed him back to blue buffalo was wanting your advise and find out what raw meat your acually talking about and should I stop the danamrin because it’s not helping and it’s starting to make him iche going for the thiselle milk please reply thank you ..

    Reply to Tammie
  • Sharon S

    My son and his 2 year old corgi, Toby, came home from Korea a year ago. We don’t know if Toby was sick in Korea but shortly after arriving in the U.S. he became very sick. His ALT was 3200. A liver biopsy was suggested but we did not do it for several reasons – one of which was the cost of $4000. He is being treated with Prednisone which affected his GI system so he is also on Prilosec, Sucralifate. He gets Denamarin daily. He just finished a course of Proviable. His ALT came down to 1100 but needs to be much lower. His Prednisone was increased but made no difference so Prednisone was decreased to 10 mg 2x daily. He is extremely hungry all the time, pees up a storm, cranky, unemotional and has lost so much muscle mass – know the Prednisone can do this. Next suggestion is to put him on an immunosuppressant, Cyclosporine with hopes of getting him off the Prednisone. At no time was Toby’s diet mentioned so I asked about doing a liver diet and told it probably won’t make any difference. At this point we’ve got nothing to lose – he is one sad little guy. If someone could suggest exactly how to get started on the raw diet with step by step directions (works best for me) I would be ever so appreciative. Don’t know if it’s too late to do much good at this time but willing to give it a try.

    Reply to Sharon
  • Kristie

    Could you also please email me a list of foods that are best. My chihuahua x has epilepsy and a problem with her liver that is causing too much bile acid which my vet suspescts has caused ulcers. She’s a very unhappy little pooch at the moment. 2 days out of ten that she has kept food down

    Reply to Kristie
  • Caroline Smith

    I have a 11 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, he is over weight at 13k, he has just been diagnosed with a liver infection.
    He has been on antibiotics, his liver count was 14 and should be 12.
    I now refuse to give him shop purchased foods, and am cooking all his food, and feeding him 3 times a day, very small portions.
    Chichen, turkey, rice, pasta, vegetable, egg p, cottage cheese, raw ground beef.white fish (cod)
    My vet told me to feed him liver but many web sites disagree and told to avoid, can you advice on this,
    Would like to know if this diet is good for him, and should I continue forever, even if his liver recovers.
    Thank you, I love this site very helpful
    Caroline Smith and Pepe the dog

    Reply to Caroline
  • Steve

    Could you tell me best diet to maintain healthy liver, I have a 16mth old papillon who’s older full sister had a liver shunt my pap is only 2.5kg and should be more I am worried in case she may develop shunt like sister.

    Reply to Steve
  • Joanne Aldrich

    I have two schnauzer/poodle mixed dogs. They have been on a raw diet for about a year. At their recent visit to the vet, they both had blood work that showed elevated ALT (one over 300, and the other over 400). The vet recommended changing their food back to the kibble they were on prior to this problem. I’m so confused as I thought a raw diet helped with liver ailments. One of the two dogs also has elevated ALP and AST, she’s 14 yrs old and about 15 lbs. The dog with >400 ALT score is male, 23lbs, and 10 yrs old. Thanks for any advice that you can provide.

    Reply to Joanne
    • Amy Marshall

      Raw diets usually lack the toxic ingredients in processed pet food that can contribute to liver disease so yes, it’s an improvement. However, your dog can acquire liver disease through the toxins in his environment and so much more so it’s not just food. Also, if your dog does have liver disease, it’s important to tweak their raw diet so they can heal. I’m working on a natural healing protocol as we speak and hope to have it up soon! Email me and I can provide more information that can help.

      Reply to Amy
  • Cathleen Carlin

    Please send me the recipe for the raw meal.
    Thank you

    Reply to Cathleen
  • Barb Mason

    Thanks to C4 injection my dog now has auto-immune disease. So the fix for that was Pred-X and that now has invented a whole new set of problems with her liver, kidneys and adrenal glands. I am getting help from a Naturopath with various Herbal Liquids and if it weren’t for the blood test taken by the Vet, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong with her physically, she showed no signs.
    My Vet is trying to shove a diet of dry biscuits down my throat and I have told him to take a hike.
    I am also trying to find the foods she can eat safely, and she is already on Beef Broth, plus pureed Vegetables of Spinach, Celery, Zucchini, Pak Choy or Bok Choy, Green Beans, and cabbage.
    Meat is Beef Mince, Chicken Wings, Gravy Beef.
    So although I have avoided all wheat and cereal products, dairy products, I’m glad I stumbled on your site and read more information here that may assist.

    Reply to Barb
    • Amy Marshall

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Barb. Liver disease can be tough I’m in the works of creating a natural healing liver protocol. Subscribe to the site (forms at the bottom of every page) to be notified when it’s available :) Hang tight!

      Reply to Amy
  • Claudia

    Please Help! MY dog was diagnosed with Liver Disease and we need to know exactly what to cook for her as she is no longer interested in eating the food prescribed…. Please help and provide me with exact instructions or foods to feed my poor baby :(

    Reply to Claudia
    • Amy Marshall

      Claudia – I’m so sorry to hear that! Feel free to shoot me an email and I can provide some direction.

      Reply to Amy
  • Brenda H-Johnson

    I’m in the same boat as the 1st reqestor needing to get educated ASAP. PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL on what raw foods, etc.
    The 1st request was :Can you just tell me what raw food you would use? Or how I could do it myself? This is a lot of info to digest and I need simple help on what to use NOW to help my pet. Any manufacturers? Or just buy it at the grocery? I am already suspect of grocery store meat for humans? Please send me a message if you have time.

    Reply to Brenda
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Brenda, I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s has liver issues. If you like to contact me here, I can provide some more information that can help :)

      Reply to Amy

    My Rhodesian has 3 types of Cancer (one located in the liver). We live in Mexico City. Unfortunately there is no much “medical advance” on this here. The doctors told me they cannot do anything else to cure my dog, except monitor her declining health. However I am still looking everywhere (even practicing aromatherapy). Anything I can do with my weakened budget after years of efforts. At present I am offering her a better diet (not knowing exactly what meat to buy), as meat is very expensive, but I think improving her diet will help. Thank you for your advice. I understand the bad part of sharing some recipes, but I really would love to have at least one or two. Thanks for sharing and God bless you.

    Reply to NORMA

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