By Guardian Angel Pat & Dixie


When liver damage has been determined by a pre- and post-meal bile acid test or a urine bile acid test and a chemistry panel which show elevated values of Alkaline Phosphatase, Alt (SGPT), and GGT, there has been great success in reversing liver damage by doing three things:

1. Reducing the amount of Phenobarbital on a program determined by your vet and replacing it with potassium or sodium bromide.

2. Using the liver cleansing diet

3. Adding Milk Thistle to the diet

The liver cleansing diet has been formulated by W. Jean Dodds, DVM.  Dr. Dodds recommends a formula of 2 cups of cod fillet to 6 cups of veggies and potatoes, or 25% cod fillet to 75% veggies and potatoes.

1 and 1/2  cups new white potatoes
1 and 1/2 cups sweet potatoes
1 and 1/2 cups of zucchini
1 and 1/2 cup string beans, celery or summer squash
2 cups cod fillet

Wash the potatoes well and cut them up crosswise into 2" pieces so the skin circles the potatoes. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour and remove the skins.

Wash the zucchini and cut up with string beans, celery or squash and steam or cook until very tender.

2 cups cod fillet poached in a frying pan with water until fish is white.

Mix all ingredients together until it is well blended. This will give you approximately 8 cups of food. Depending on the size of your dog, you can double or triple the recipe.

With liver disease try and feed in 3 or 4 small meals, the last one being at bedtime. This puts less stress on the liver. Put one-meal portions in baggies and freeze what you won't use in 3 days. You should be able to cook once a week and freeze what you don't use. This recipe will stay fresh for 3 days in the fridge.

You can or cannot supplement the liver diet. Supplements are not needed on a short term basis while you cleanse the liver. If you feel you MUST supplement the diet, you can add one-half (1/2) the recommended dosage of "Missing
Link" food supplement to just ONE of the meals each day.  This food supplement is recommended by Dr. W. Jean Dodds for normal diets to ensure that all nutritional needs are being met.  Missing Link can be purchased at most pet food stores and online pet food websites (see package for dosage by weight). If this causes diarrhea, discontinue.

Cod fillets or white low-fat fish has branched chain amino acids that actually helps heal the liver. Soy and fat-free cottage cheese also have this specific amino acid, but should not be used in a diet until the pre- and post-meal bile acid test comes back in a normal range.


Dr. Dodds recommends using milk thistle in the doses listed below to help heal the liver along with reducing Phenobarbital (according to your vet) and feeding the liver cleansing diet.

Milk Thistle Dosage (from the newsletter "Healthy Pets - Naturally"):

Dog's size
Dose as % of adult human dose
5 lbs 10%
5-10 lbs 15%
11-20 lbs 20%
21-40 lbs 30%
41-70 lbs 50%
71-100 lbs 75%
100 lbs 100%


W. J. Dodds, DVM
Healthy Pets - Naturally newsletter

*Dodds WJ, Donoghue S. 1994. Interactions of Clinical Nutrition with Genetics.  In:The Waltham Book of Clinical Nutrition of the Dog and Cat, Chapter 8.  Pergamon Press Ltd., Oxford, England, pp. 105-117.