This article is part of a series of articles dedicated to dogs suffering with liver problems like our own old girl “Lulu” did at the age of 16.The information that you find here is based on Lulu’s journey through liver disease and what we did to help her through it.
This disease is a very serious disease and should not be taken lightly.  Without a doubt, a diet consisting of whole foods that are pure in every sense of the word such as organic meats and vegetables and pure supplements (not cheap, synthetic vitamins) and pure filtered water will play the largest role in your dog’s battle.  Avoiding adding any chemicals to your dog’s body is an absolute must!You can see several of Lulu’s recipes here.

When Lulu was diagnosed with liver disease, we immediately went to work on what we needed to do to not only keep her alive, but provide quality of life for her as well.



Recommended Supplements

When we refer to a natural treatment for liver problems in dogs, we’re targeting diet and the necessary supplements your dog needs to battle the disease.  Now that your dog has been diagnosed with liver disease, you MUST BE very careful with his or her diet and anything that enters the body whether through the mouth or the skin.

This is what we used for Lulu who weighed 72 lbs; you can determine how much you need for your own dog’s weight…

  1. Coconut Oil – Must be ORGANIC, COLD PRESSED, EXTRA VIRGIN – 1-1/2 HEAPING Tablespoons Daily (divided AM/PM)
  2. N-Acetyl Cysteine aka NAC (a must for liver disease) at 150mg per twenty lbs of dog. We like Twinlabs Nac
  3. Vitamin E – 400IU daily
  4. B50 (NOT a STRESS/TIME RELEASE FORMULA) – 1 (One) daily
  5. Selenium 100 mcgs.
  6. Alpha Lipoic Acid – 1 capsule TWICE daily
  7. Chlorella made by NOW Foods – 1 (One) TWICE daily
  8. Milk Thistle – 300 mg. TWICE Daily (Milk Thistle is VERY, VERY SAFE. For advanced liver disease and very sick dogs, use 200mg per 10 lbs of your dog’s weight)
  9. Whey Protein – The one we used years ago was extremely expensive. TGS is just as good and very economical.  Add one scoop to 8oz. of food once daily.

Organizing Your Dog’s Daily Supplements

It can get a little confusing and overwhelming when you’re dealing with all these different supplements. What we did was purchase one of those plastic weekly-daily pill organizers and separate all her vitamins one week in advance. They’re cheap and really do help.

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Showing 22 comments
  • My3Dogs

    I’m having trouble with the recommendations for Milk Thistle because some say ###mg Standardized to ###mg, some say % sylmarin, etc. do you have a recommended brand and strength?


    FYI: AjiPure (Japanese formula) N-A-C is much better quality — and no God-awful smell as is common of lower-purity NAC formulations that dominate the market (if you want to know why so many NAC supplements whether for dogs or people have a foul odor, look up how they derive the ingredient — yuck!). The “AjiPure” alternative is available from Swanson Health Products (I have no affiliation with Swanson). I started on AjiPure NAC for myself over a year ago and my LDL cholesterol dropped like a rocket. Recently after buying very costly dog liver supplements and seeing no appreciable result — my 16-year-old dog’s liver enzymes actually went up modestly — I opted instead for human-grade supplements in dog-appropriate doses (which involves doing some homework). This approach seems to allow for better quality supplementation at lower cost.

    • Jim

      I’m having trouble translating the Milk Thistle recommendation because there are many different formulations. For example, one says ###mg extract yielding ###mg sylmarin, one says Standardized, etc. Di you have a brand recommendation?

      • janie

        Hi Jim:

        I’m sorry your having trouble. Please see my article on Milk Thistle here and I include a link to the brand I recommend.


  • Marie

    Hi! Thank you very much for sharing this information! I wanted to ask about the daily addition of Vitamin E, since its a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver, and therefore could accumulate and become toxic? Is it not dangerous for a dog with liver disease to take this vitamin daily?
    Thank you!

    • janie

      Hi Marie:

      You’re welcome. But, you might want to check with your vet on that question regarding using vitamin e daily for a dog with liver disease.


  • evanden19


    I’m gathering the supplements, in an effort to help my dog, and upon looking up the alpha lipoic acid, I noticed there are several different mg’s. What mg do you recommend for the recipes in your book and the ones posted on your blog? I’m finding 600mg, 250 mg, 240mg, etc. I have a 75 lb Labrador mix with liver problems. thanks!

  • ruth

    i found your site, thank you, i have a 12 year old 2 pound chihuahua with liver failure , she spent a week at the vet hospital and is now home, they sent her home with hill urgent care a/d dog food. im happy she is eating this but not sure if this is the best for her? any advise is welcome. i live in central Mexico.

    • janie

      Hi Ruth:

      I’m really sorry to hear about your old girl. It’s not the best food for her.

      I’m not sure if you know or not, but we have a cookbook for dogs with different diseases. The recipes are very easy and meant to used in the crockpot, however, you also bake the meals on a low temperature such as 300 degrees just until the meat is lightly cook and still light pink on the inside and the vegetables are very soft. It’s $9.99 for the digital book. You can read more about it here.

      The book will also share other helpful ideas for liver disease regarding herbs, supplements, etc.

      I hope this helps.


  • Julie

    What do I do if I can barely get my dog to eat? She doesn’t necessarily have liver disease, but the vet said she may or may not have a blockage in her bile ducts from liver to gallbladder. I’ve already spent $2,500 at the vet and at the pet hospital about 3 weeks ago. The ultrasound done didn’t find cancer or lumps, only showed slight possible problem in the ducts, they say now she needs a surgery that costs $5,000. She is 11, and blind. They prescribed 2 antibiotics, Denamarin (milk thistle & SAMe pills for liver), Tramadol (for pain), and said to give her over the counter Omeprazole for stomach acid. I was having a heck of a time getting ANY of these pills down her, she’s very clever and can taste them in anything (and I mean anything) I tried giving her. She is still hanging in there, sometimes will eat dry kibble, sometimes baby food, will not eat wet dog food, or even plain boiled chicken. I purchased alcohol free dandelion root extract and burdock root extract to try a holistic approach to her issues. Is it safe to give her both of these in the same day? And also safe to give her along with the Denamarin? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!

    • janie

      Hi Julie:

      I’m sorry to year about your old timer. I would completely get the girl off of all kibble and commercial food unless it’s something like The Honest Kitchen where you simply add hot FILTERED water. Follow the instructions on box and make it nice and creamy for her. Give her variety and use at least two different formulas for her. Don’t feed her the same thing every day. I also recommend our cookbook for crockpot. I think your girl would love this. Boiled chicken is useless for a meal. It’s void of all nutritional value. You can read more about our cookbook here if you like.

      I would avoid the Tramadol as well. Yes, it’s a little easier on the liver (so they say) than other NSAIDS, but still tough on the liver. I would look to something more natural. Let us know if you need help with that okay.

      I would definitely include a multivitamin for her as well. A good multi can do wonders. Ours includes glandulars including a liver glandular to support your girls liver. You can learn more about that here.

      Try the pill pockets for her supplements and pills and try and leave her food alone and free of any pills in it. Yes, both the dandelion and burdock root are safe to give with the Denamarin. I hope this helps Julie.


  • Janet Stafford

    My Nikki is 14 and had a recent injury to her spinal column and since then has what the vet believes is an enlarged liver. I say “believes” because I cannot afford tests to confirm or deny, but she has a swollen “pot belly” abdomen. She has also been on Prednisone since the injury which I’ve learned can cause a reversible form of Cushing’s Disease. I want to treat her holistically as a dog with liver disease, Cushing’s, etc. I bought dandelion, burdock, astragalus roots, and milk thistle. I appreciate all advice on this. My girl was extremely healthy and energetic until this injury. Now she is aging right before my eyes. I’m so sad.

    • janie

      Hi Janet:

      I’m so sorry to hear about Nikki. What are you feeding her for her liver disease and do you want to also try and treat cushings disease as well?


  • Lynn Jones

    I have a six month old pup have been diagnosed with liver problem pretty much on prescription diet vitamin supplement . He weight around 45 pounds now . How much do you feed them per day ?

  • Val Silver

    Thanks for posting this series. I hate putting flea/tick chemicals on my dog and know they are processed through the liver. I’ll give more natural products another try. He is just so sensitive that it takes one flea to drive him nuts with itching.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Val:
      You’re welcome. The thing is that you have to stay on top of the natural products for flea and tick. During flea and tick season, use it daily. Mist the dog without soaking him and make sure it gets to the skin as best you can, especially to the top right and left above the tail, the tail itself and underneath, along with the neck and belly areas and don’t forget the feet. Also, if he’s that sensitive, start strengthening his immune system with a good vitamin and make sure the diet is top notch.

      As much as I would love not to have to use chemicals in my yard; I still do. I tried not using them and going natural, but, it didn’t work out too well.:) My dogs ended up with fleas.

      So, my husband uses the chemicals to treat the yard for bugs, and I make sure that I rinse and dry their feet each time they go out for the next several days.

      The flea and tick spray that I recommend, I’ve been using for years Val.


      • alia

        Janie – try Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) for fleas, worms and garden control…. read up on it – amazing stuff that is safe for dog but deadly to pests without all the chemicals. It’s also good enough to eat for dogs/humans as long as you stay hydrated.

        • janie knetzer

          Hi Alia:
          Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve tried Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) in my yard, but it didn’t really work. We have a huge hard though. Do you mean to use externally or internally Alia?


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