The Best Foods For Dogs With Chronic Active Hepatitis

June 29, 2010  •  2 Comments

My blue female Doberman named Misty has been living with Chronic Active Hepatitis for several years now.  When she was first diagnosed, she was in really bad shape.  She is now a healthy, happy and slightly on the porky side. If you are finding this post because you are searching the web for answers on this very frightening disease in your dog, you may also want to click here to read a previous post that describes what Chronic Active Hepatitis is and how my dog has dealt with it over the years. Note: I created a Chronic Active Hepatitis in Dogs Google group on 9/21/11 – Click here to visit it and join us.

The following information is based on my own personal experience with my dog that has CAH. You must consult your own veterinarian for the specific needs of your dog. There are many different forms of Hepatitis in dogs that require a different form of treatment. Do not follow the advice below without the approval from your vet!

According to my vet and much research I have done over the internet, one of the keys to managing copper toxicity Chronic Active Hepatitis is to drastically reduce the amount of copper in your dog’s diet. To maintain control over this, I have been feeding my dog a diet of half homemade low-copper foods and half Innova brand dry dog food. She was initially on strictly a homemade diet when she was first diagnosed. This diet consists of chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, rice, green beans, hard boiled eggs and flax oil. If you are making your own food for your dog, you may want to click here to see a list of the copper content in common foods. Once her liver levels were under control, I decided to add in some kibble to give her teeth something to crunch on and to give my kitchen stove a bit of a break! I chose Innova because I had heard that it was one of the best foods with the lowest copper content. My dogs love it and Misty’s liver levels have remained under control for as long as I have been using it.

Even though Misty’s current diet has done wonders to keep her CAH in check, I have decided to completely change it. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Two reasons…. 1.) Cooking homemade food for your dog is a pain in the ass. 2.) I found some premium dry dog foods with a much lower copper content than Innova.

I have been on a quest to find a convenient yet comparable substitute for the homemade diet for several years now with no luck. I have looked at dehydrated foods, raw foods, canned foods and freeze-dried foods and all of them seemed to have either a copper additive (good for most dogs, not dogs with CAH) or they had organ meat in them (organ meat is high in copper).  While exhibiting at the 2010 Phoenix Pet Expo, I stopped by the Pawsitive Foods booth to see if they had any suggestions for me.  They gave me a brochure on N-R-G dehydrated dog food. I was excited to see that the Optimum Diet line did not contain a copper additive nor did it have any organ meat. Woooo Hooo! Perhaps this is the homemade substitute that I have been looking for??

A few days after the show, I got a call from Pawsitive Foods. Not only did they remember to follow up with me, but they also took the time to search through all of their available foods and prepare a breakdown of the copper content in each of them for me. Click here to read a recent blog post describing their remarkable customer service. Here is the breakdown that they gave me of premium dog foods and their nutrient contents, sorted by copper content lowest to highest:

Dog Food Protein % Min Fat % Max Fiber % Copper Mg/Kg Zinc Mg/Kg
Great Life Chicken Grain/Potato Free 33.00% 12.00% 4.00% 7.79 251.00
Great Life Salmon 22.00% 12.00% 4.00% 7.79 243.00
Great Life Salmon Grain/Potato Free 30.00% 14.00% 4.00% 8.00 256.00
Natures Logic Beef 31.50% 17.50% 6.00% 9.00 94.00
Great Life Buffalo 22.25% 9.47% 3.64% 10.03 180.60
Great Life Buffalo Grain/Potato Free 29.00% 12.00% 4.00% 10.18 248.90
Fromm Chicken ala Veg 24.00% 15.00% 4.00% 11.00 135.00
Fromm Duck & Sweet Potato 24.00% 15.00% 3.00% 11.00 135.00
Fromm Salmon ala Veg 25.00% 16.00% 3.50% 11.00 135.00
Fromm Surf & Turf 30.00% 19.00% 3.00% 11.00 135.00
Fromm Whitefish and Potato 23.00% 11.00% 3.50% 11.00 135.00
Fromm Gold Adult 24.00% 16.00% 3.50% 11.00 135.00
California Naturals GF Chicken 36.08% 13.08% 3.94% 11.85 180.00
California Naturals GF Venison 21.50% 16.10% 3.91% 13.07 180.97
Innova Large Breed Adult 25.85% 14.21% 2.93% 13.79 192.20
Innova Adult Dry 25.42% 14.28% 1.92% 14.40 193.43
Fromm Gold Puppy 27.00% 18.00% 3.50% 14.70 135.00
Fromm Gold Lg Breed Puppy 26.00% 14.00% 3.50% 14.70 135.00
Earthborn Holistics Primitive Natural 38.00% 20.00% 2.50% 15.00 147.00
Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion 22.00% 12.00% 4.00% 15.00 166.00
Natures Logic Chicken 38.30% 18.10% 6.00% 15.00 73.00
Natures Logic Lamb 32.00% 18.10% 6.00% 15.00 73.00
Natures Logic Venison 38.30% 18.10% 6.00% 15.00 73.00
Natures Logic Duck/Salmon 38.30% 18.10% 6.00% 15.00 73.00
California Naturals GF Lamb 25.10% 13.50% 4.00% 15.27 180.00
Prairie Venison 26.00% 14.00% 3.90% 15.48 268.70
Evo Herring/Salmon 42.98% 18.60% 2.01% 15.97 201.08
Innova Adult Red Meat 24.24% 19.00% 2.08% 16.35 200.00
Prairie Salmon 26.00% 14.00% 3.50% 17.81 241.40
Evo Wt Management 52.46% 15.26% 1.73% 17.95 231.24
Earthborn Holistics Adult Vantage 22.00% 12.00% 4.00% 18.00 163.00
Great Life Lamb 22.00% 11.00% 4.00% 18.66 223.00
Evo Chicken 43.43% 22.74% 1.43% 19.51 260.08
Evo Red Meat 44.17% 23.13% 2.50% 19.69 218.73
Great Life Chicken 24.25% 14.47% 3.44% 19.76 234.20
Prairie Beef 26.00% 14.00% 3.50% 20.89 294.30
Prairie Lamb 26.00% 14.00% 3.40% 20.95 247.20
Prairie Chicken 26.00% 14.00% 3.40% 24.80 244.10
Instinct Rabbit 35.00% 22.00% 2.00% 24.95 203.93
Instinct Chicken 42.00% 22.00% 3.20% 25.86 277.10
Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage 28.00% 20.00% 5.00% 26.00 241.00
Instinct Duck 35.00% 22.00% 3.50% 27.00 415.00


Here’s a photo of my Misty Blue looking happy and healthy.  She’s missing most of her hair because she also has Color Dilution Alopecia (also common in Blue Dobermans) but it doesn’t seem to bother her much.


Update – March 2014: 

Last July, my sweet girl Misty passed away from cancer. At almost 13 years old, she lived a very long life for a Dobereman. I am happy to report that in the end, she won her battle with Chronic Active Hepatitis. We managed to keep the condition under control for many years through proper diet, medication and advice from an excellent vet. Since this post gets so much attention from people areound the globe that are looking for answers for their own pet with CAH, I created a forum for you to communicate with one another. Please visit this Google Group to ask questions. The comments on this page are not regularly monitored. You will get answers much quicker by visiting the link below. Best wishes to you and your best friend:!forum/chronic-active-hepatitis-in-dogs


A Dog's Life Photography by Susan Schmitz
Martha - Sorry to hear about your dog. You might want to visit this Google Group for info and support -!forum/chronic-active-hepatitis-in-dogs
Great story about your dog and my sympathy for your loss. I'm searching for help for my min-pin. He has liver problems and the mess are not bringing his levels down. Any help will be appreciated for supplements or diet. Thanks!
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