Diets for dogs with enlarged liver

Updated July 19, 2017

Liver problems have significant impact on the dog's quality of life, and such disease can cause death in dogs. If you think your dog is suffering from liver enlargement, you should bring your pet to your veterinarian for immediate medical attention. The liver has the ability to heal itself if the disease is treated in the early stages, and a low-protein diet may help your dog suffering with an enlarged liver.

Dog Enlarged Liver Diet

Like humans, dogs are susceptible to many diseases. When your dog suddenly drinks more, eats significantly less that normal and has lost weight alarmingly, is vomiting or becomes jaundiced, your dog might be manifesting symptoms of enlarged liver. Because the liver removes toxins from the body, a dog suffering from an enlarged liver may also exhibit behaviour changes, have grey-white, soft stool or diarrhoea, due to the inflammation that disrupts that liver's normal functioning.

With an enlarged liver, as with other liver disorders, rest and nutrition is very important for the liver to recuperate. Though certain medications may help to treat liver disease, diet plays a significant part in treating the illness. A special diet may be prescribed by the veterinarian that will keep him remain healthy and aid in the medication that might be needed.

According to Jon Geller, a vet at, the best you can do for your ailing dog is feed him a low-protein diet because a "low-protein diet will reduce the amounts of circulating ammonia" that the liver has not been able to remove. Be careful when choosing commercial pet food and do not presume that a pricey brand is the best.

Often times your vet will give a recommendation on which food to feed to your dog that has a low-protein mix. Commercial dog foods come in both canned, known as "wet" variety as well as "dry" food that is also known as kibble. Feeding your dog whatever is comfortable for him to eat is best. If she is used to eating kibble but finding it hard to eat, wet it with some broth or water.

The major factor in a diet for a dog that is suffering from an enlarged liver is to make sure that you are helping to detoxify the body and help bind the ammonia in his circulation. says that a good balance of protein in the diet is key, as too much protein will only produce more ammonia while too little will cause the body to break down its own tissues. Make sure the food has a sufficient amount of protein to keep your dog safe. A low-protein diet does not mean a "no protein" diet. Always consult with your vet before placing your dog on a diet because it could be the difference between life or death.

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About the Author

Michelle Emery has been a freelance writer since 2007. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts. Emery has published two children's books, one book of short stories and contributes to several online publications.