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How I Created Tessa's Liver Shunt Diet Part 2

Updated on September 17, 2013
Carrot?? | Source

How I Made The Diet Plan

To say that there is an exact formula for Tessa’s Liver Shunt Diet would be misleading. I can only say what is working for Tessa. Like many of you searching the web for some kind of help, that is what I did. I flipped through many web sites and dietary formulas to make a food plan that would meet the requirements Tess now needed.

Thankfully, I was shown very young what a food plan was. I would help my Mother plan weekly meals and she in turn taught me what was good and what was not so good. I followed recipes, learned how to adjust them for what family members did not like to eat and learned how to still make them taste great.

Researching Needs and Nutrition

For Tessa, I looked at what was recommended as far as portion size for a dog of her age. Each dog breed has its own requirements due to how large they get within a year. Tessa, being a pug, needed to be fed up to three times a day. I had asked the vet and found some general guidelines, on the web, to follow. Here is one I used: How Much?

Once I had this as a guide, I needed to find how much protein is in certain foods, along with sugar content and overall nutritional value. I found an excellent site that would let me input all of the foods I knew Tessa would eat and I got the answers that I needed very simply put. Nutrition Guide. I love this guide. It is simple to read, gives me proportion sizes and enabled me to think about introducing other foods if Tessa got sick of eating green beans.


¼ Cup of boiled, drained Chicken

¼ Cup of no salt canned Green Beans


¼ Cup of cooked Whole Grain Pasta

Dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil


½ Cup of boiled, drained Chicken

¼ Cup of cooked frozen Squash


  1. I proposed this diet plan to the vet. He thought that it would be fine for Tessa. It was plenty of food to meet her needs and should give her the nutrition she needed.
  2. Boneless, Skinless,Chicken Breasts are used as the primary meat/protein source. The only other item I could find, as a replacement, was Ground Turkey.
  3. Chicken must be boiled and drained. I use a strainer to make sure all fat is away from the meat I will serve. Ground turkey is pan fried, Tess likes a 1/2 Tsp. of garlic added, and drained before serving.
  4. Veggies are prepared as I would for myself. Tessa prefers her green beans out of the can, most other veggies steamed or boiled. As I make my veggies for my evening meal, she gets some first, then I dress mine up.

As She Grew . . .

As Tessa aged, I took away her lunch meal and added about an eighth of a cup of pasta or rice to her dinner. She no longer needed to be having three meals a day but due to her liver shunt I slowly weened her to the two meals. I wanted to make sure her body could handle the change. This may not apply to all dogs due to their different breeds and requirements. Before I did anything to her diet, I always asked the vet about it at her visits.

One day as I was having melon for breakfast, I offered Tessa a small, 1” square, to her and see if she would eat it. Tessa loved it. I would leave some cut up squares in the fridge and use these as treats for her during the day. Her favorite treat is carrots. I used this to my advantage as a reward for her training. I personally do not give Tessa any dog biscuits, whether homemade or store bought. She does not need the extra grain, and in some cases added protein, from these. There are some homemade biscuit recipes that would fit her needs but Tessa prefers a carrot.

Hiking With Tessa


To Sum It Up

I was going to say that there is neither rhyme nor reason to making up this diet for Tessa, but as I look back on it there really was. There were many reasons I needed to find specific foods that would give Tessa all of the nutrition she would require to be an active, healthy, dog. I set out determined to find a way to help Tessa live with a liver shunt and not have to go through surgeries that may not be able to help her at all. She sees her vet every couple of months, due to her not liking her nails clipped, eats as well as I can supply and has good physical activity that sometimes wears me out.

A Tip

Due to the liver shunt, Tessa needs to go when she needs to go. My work schedule does not allow me to be there all the time, so I put a doggie pee pad down every day for her. This way, I do not come home to an accident and Tessa does not have to feel ashamed she went in the house.

Just like us, there are days when Tessa really has to go!


What Activities Do You and Your Dog Enjoy?

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© 2013 Susan McLeish


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    • profile image

      Linda 2 months ago

      I emailed you but never got an answer back regarding my Shih zu Rainbow .

    • profile image

      Yvonne Tucker 6 months ago

      Most of the other liver shunt diets I have researched include several supplements. Do you give her anything other than this diet? I have a 3 lb. Yorkie who has just been diagnosed and my head is spinning. Thanks.

    • Nicola Atherton profile image

      Nicola Atherton 20 months ago

      Hi I am waiting for my Nancy who is also a pug to have operation she is 15 weeks old and can't eat any dog food whatsoever at the moment she is on your diet with milk thistle lactulose, any advice regarding vitamins

    • profile image

      sue newman 20 months ago

      Please can you send me the diet for my gorgeous boy Bob....we need your help!!

    • profile image 21 months ago

      My bichon frise from 2 months old needs help INMEDIATELY! He has portosystemic congenital shunt and HIS liver enzymes are too high that the laboratory machine cant read it. Please help me! I rescue him because HIS illegal breeder wanted to sacrifice him because he also had a malfunction on one of HIS hind legs. I really love him! He is a warrior...HIS name is Reddington. Please, HELP ME! THE VET SAID TO ME THAT EUTHANIZED HIM WAS THE BEST OPTION BUT I CANT DO IT WHEN PRECISELLY, I SAVE HIM FROM HIS BREEDER. He is very playful and lovable. My email is PLEASE DONT LET HIM DIE!!!

    • profile image

      Johanna Gil 21 months ago

      My Charlie Brown was diagnosed with liver shunt a week ago, he doesn't like the can diet Hill Science try to have him eat it but he turns arround and starves, drinks water and today I fed him a little of chicken breast boild and in small pieces, he ate, now he is on medicine to help him with the toxins put him on a vitamin too, could you please email me your diet with portions, he is a rescued dog since he was 4 weeks now he is 18 months and has the size of a cooker spaniel doodle, we don't know what he is, weights at the moment 14 lbs. my email is

      God bless you for posting all your knowledge.


    • profile image

      Tracey-Ella 24 months ago

      I have a 3 year old Shih-Tzu I rescued, I have had her since October2015, she had a huge bladder stone removed in December and have now found out she has a Liver shunt, I just cannot afford the operation so at the moment with consultation with our vet we are trying the Hills Liver care diet. However I am after some suggestions as to make homemade foods as I feel just eating the same liver diet in a can may become boring for her.. Can anyone PLEASE help me.. I am Ella's 3rd owner I think her previous owners new she was sick and instead of getting help for her both owners sold her.. I believe she has been brought into my life so that I can help her live a happy life.. Thanks Tracey

    • profile image

      sallyjol 2 years ago

      I rescued two little dogs, a maltese and yorkie. The maltese is very thin and both are 4 1/2 yrs old. They were raised together. The maltese (Charmain) got sick a couple weeks after we got her. She was diagnosed with a liver shunt. She has been on Hill Science L/g dry and canned food. She doesn't like it.

      Can u please send me your diet for Tess and the portions I should use for Charmain.


    • profile image

      Val 2 years ago

      My Tess has been diagnosed for 2 weeks now. Looking for all the info I can

    • profile image

      Amanda hartwig 2 years ago

      Just want to know how Tess was on the diet before you seen any improvement??

    • profile image

      Christine Banks 338 Orange av winchester ky 40391 2 years ago


    • profile image

      mary1089 3 years ago

      Can you send me the diet I have a puppy that has been diagnosed with the same condition really glad to hear Tess is doing good would love to have some of your recipes if your willing it would help greatly my taterpuff doesn't want to eat