If your dog suffers from liver disease, the latest findings are that the disease can now be successfully treated with diet changes. That is great news for veterinarians, pet parents and their beloved pet.
On the other hand, we have to beware of some insignificant ingredients that are found in the foods we feed our pets. Not only do they lack in nutrition, they have ingredients that can actually produce diseases. In fact, an article was published about a type of mold that was tracked to some dog foods called mycotoxin which could result in illness and diseases in your dog such as liver and kidney fibrosis, infections, a weakened immune system and cancer.
We can only hope that our dogs’ foods will not contain mold and other harmful ingredients but most have fillers of corn, wheat, barley and oats. That is why it is so important to read labels, as the first ingredient listed is the main ingredient in that food. For the health of your dog, choose foods with some type of meat as the first ingredient.
By feeding your dog a canine liver disease diet, the goal is to supply adequate energy and nutrients to fulfill basic requirements. Not only do you want to prevent malnutrition and accumulation of copper and free radicals, a proper diet will also support liver cell regeneration and prevent or minimize any further possible complications of liver disease.
In most cases of canine liver disease, high protein is essential, at least 20% of the food content. It is recommended that you feed your dog a mix of animal based and plant proteins since the use of soybean or lactose-containing dairy protein diets can cause diarrhea in many dogs. Fats are a necessary component as well in your dogs’ diet, 30 – 50% of the calories. A moderate amount of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber also plays an important part in the diet of your dog.
Some Vitamin supplements are also essential for a healthy liver and happy healthy dog. Such important supplements are Vitamins B, C, E and K, zinc, adenosylmethionine (Sam e), and phosphatidylcholine (PC). Supplements to avoid are potassium, sodium and copper. Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss a proper diet that can aid your dog with liver disease.
Aside from a good home made diet of chicken with skin, rice, carrots, wheat bran and rapeseed oil (can substitute beef with some fat for the chicken), there are some good commercial foods. The Hills Prescription Diet I/d Food has a great variety that is specially formulated for the dog with liver disorders. The hills diet has the appropriate amounts of proteins to aid in the regeneration of the liver as well as supply all antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin E & C and selenium to help combat oxidative stress which is an imbalance between the intake of oxygen and free radicals within the body.
If your dog has problems eating the new diet, discuss other options with your vet. Sometimes adding a little water and warming the food makes it appear more appetizing. Feed your dog small portions more often, and serve different flavors rather than the same one all the time so your he/she doesn’t get bored with meal times. Changing your dogs’ diet and you should see an improvement in your dogs’ health over time.