Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine (Canned)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine Liver Care canned dog food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.

The Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine product line includes one canned recipe, a product designed to help in the treatment of hepatic (liver) disease.

Hill's Prescription Diet L/D Canine Liver Care

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 18% | Fat = 25% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Water, rice, chicken fat, soybean meal, soybean oil, egg product, corn starch, corn gluten meal, chicken liver flavor, powdered cellulose, fish oil, dicalcium phosphate, natural flavor, potassium chloride, dried beet pulp, l-lysine, calcium carbonate, l-arginine, iodized salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K), biotin, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride, taurine, l-threonine, l-tryptophan, minerals (zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), l-carnitine, beta-carotene

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis18%25%NA
Dry Matter Basis18%25%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis14%47%39%
Protein = 14% | Fat = 47% | Carbs = 39%

The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The second ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The third ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The fourth ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is soybean oil, which is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.

However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3’s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.

The sixth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient is corn starch, a starchy powder extracted from the endosperm found at the heart of a kernel of corn. Corn starch is most likely used here to thicken the broth into a gravy.

Corn starch isn’t a true red flag item. Yet we’ve highlighted here for those wishing to avoid corn-based ingredients.

The eighth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With five notable exceptions

First, we find powdered cellulose, a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.

Next, this recipe includes fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

In addition, we find beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

Next, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

And lastly, this food also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Hill’s Prescription Diet
L/D Canine Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Although this is a prescription product, our review has nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to the product’s ability to treat or cure a specific health condition.

So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.

With that understanding…

Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine appears to be an below-average wet product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still prefer to estimate the product’s meat content before concluding our report.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 18%, a fat level of 25% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 134%.

Below-average protein. Above-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean and corn gluten meals, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D Canine is a plant-based canned dog food using a limited amount of egg product as its main source of animal protein.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

12/06/2016 Last Update

  • Diane Mattos

    melissa how is your dog?

  • Bonnisue Neil

    How is your Dobie doing?

  • aimee

    Hi MattandKristi Brasket,

    The Honest Kitchen foods are all much higher in copper than either LD or the Royal Canin diet.
    If you want to compare diets it is best to do so on an energy basis. You can use dry matter basis to compare but it won’t be as accurate.

    On a DM basis L/D dry is 4.6mg/kg.

    These are the copper values THK reports for their foods on a DM basis. Brave: 11.46mg/kg,Embark 8.39mg/kg, Force 8.21mg/kg, Halcyon 11.64mg/kg, Hale 10.21mg/kg, Keen 9.29mg/kg, Love 9.81 mg/kg, Marvel 11.26mg/kg, Revel 9.12 mg/kg,Thrive 7.9mg/kg, Verve 8.33mg/kg and Zeal 7.6mg/kg.

    To meet AAFCO a food must have a min. of 7.3mg/kg copper, much higher than the vet foods which are less than 5mg/kg

    Hope this helps

  • MattandKristi Brasket

    This dog food contains 4.5 mg / kg of copper which is still higher than some dog foods (Honest Kitchen) Royal canine is I believe 2.5mg but my dog won’t eat either. Right now I’m having custom dehydrated dog food made with 2.6mg/kg but it’s sooooo expensive I’m looking for other options a tad cheaper

  • Crazy4dogs

    As losul said, I’ve done 3 days too. If the dog is picky, you might put the food in a plastic container so it doesn’t pick up the metal smell of the can.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I keep them up to 3 days too. But with my group it almost never gets that far.

  • losul

    I’m not all afraid to keep leftovers from a can for 3 or 4 days in the frig, we do it all the time. Would that be long enough? Could probably go another day or 2 longer without any problems.

  • Jennifer

    Anybody know how long the wet food can last in the refrigerator before going bad? Our dog mostly eats the dry food but occasionally is picky about it and so we have to mix some wet with it. But the can is so big that I’m afraid it’s going to to bad before she eats it all!

  • Dori

    Cindy I’m glad you found the appropriate dose for your dog. One of my dogs is on a product called Denamarin. You can buy it cheaper on Amazon or other sites than you can from the vet. Anyway I use the chewable ones. I give her her dose 1 to 1 1/2 hours for her dinner meal once a day. She’s been on this for a little over a year and will continue for the remainder of her life. (She’s 15 yrs. 8 mths.). Should not be given with food but before as I mentioned or a couple of hours after a meal. My dog weighs 7 lbs. When she was initially diagnosed they put her on half a chewable tablet but then the specialist that I took her to said it wasn’t doing much so she switched her to what they refer to as a “loading” dose and that was an entire tablet. After about 7 or 8 months they lowered her to half the tablet. Her liver levels have begun to rise a little again so I think I’m going to switch her back up to the whole tablet again. It’s not cheap, but it works. Since you’ll be seeing the vet later in the week you might want to ask what they think of Denamarin and what else you should be doing diet wise. My dogs are all on commercial raw foods and she’s been doing really well.

  • Cindy Casas

    No and Ella and I don’t have a follow up appt till later in week. I have found the appropriate dose Thank you

  • Dori

    Cindy, didn’t the vet tell you their recommendations and dosing amount for your dog?

  • Crazy4dogs

    You’re dog is extremely small. Please ask your vet how much sam-e and milk thistle they recommend. I give my 13 lb foster a 100 mg tablet in the morning 1.5 hours before breakfast and I use a vegetable glycerin based(DO NOT USE ALCOHOL BASED TINCTURE) liquid milk thistle in her food.


  • Cindy Casas

    Help I need reciepes! My pom was just dx with liver shunt 2 days ago. I immed started cooking for her. but I need help to get her thru this!!!!. How much Sam-E and milk thislte do I give. Or where kind I find the recommened dose. She is barley hanging on to 4 pounds with collar and dress on.

  • Abrost

    Yes, on Denamarin twice a day and the hill’s hepatic for past 2 years since diagnosis. Removed off the other medications after 6 months.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    I’m a bit confused, is your dog still on the prescription diet? Glad she is feeling better?

  • Jasmine Falgout

    My dog has (well we think we have) food allergies. He constantly licks or chews at his paws, has pink spots in one ear and pink skin. I thought he was allergic to chicken so I got him Taste of the Wild salmon and potatoe food. Didn’t stop so took him to the vet today and they gave me a bag of the L/D hypoallergenic food. It has chicken liver in one of the ingredients… So that worries me. However I don’t know if chicken was ever the problem. Really really hoping this helps. Can anyone else relate to my dog and have any input? Oh and by the way he has the dry food, not canned

  • Betsy Greer
  • Katanya

    Are there any Hills without Pork?? For Liver???

  • Katanya

    I have a dog with severe Hepatic Encephalogy. I am searching everywhere for food that is low protein. We tried Hills and she just won’t eat it and she has a problem with Pork??

  • I’m so glad you found a food that’s apparently been so cruical to your dog’s longevity. I can’t help but think that the excellent medical care you’ve gotten for him and the tlc you’ve shown him have obviously had a major positive impact on his quality of life. Keep up the great work!
    : )

  • Jen Gray

    I have a Chinese Created with almost the exact same diagnosis. Around 1 yrs old, he was diagnosed with microshunts at the University of Tennessee and put on lactulose, denosyl, and metronidiazole. We were told he would be lucky to see 2 yrs old with his condition. We were also told that he could not be neutered, have dental cleanings, or anything that requires anesthesia. Since then he has been on a strict l/d diet and has had fairly normal liver function. He will be 8 yrs old this August. He has seizures as a result of the shunts and takes potassium bromide daily (no phenobarb for a shunt dog), but has been able to stop the lactulose and metronidiazole while maintaining function. I believe that this food has helped him live a much longer life than was expected.

  • Shawna

    I agree with everything except ID being “high quality” :)..  Just me though…

  • aimee

    I think dogs with severe liver issues would do best on a home cooked diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist and tailored specific to their needs.

     In lieu of that a commercial therapeutic diet such as l/d is an excellent high quality alternative.

  • Shawna

    Thanks for the clarification..  🙂 

    I agree with most of what you are saying (except Dr. Dodds diet not being appropriate for dogs with HE)..  Mary Straus actually suggests Dr. Dodds diet for dogs with HE. 

    However, my point was that low quality prescription foods are not the only appropriate diet for dogs with severe liver issues. 

    Mary Straus has some good info on her page, in my opinion. 

  • aimee

    Hmmm… I didn’t actually say anything about Dr. Dodds’ liver diet did I? : )

    In most cases dogs with liver issues don’t even need a specific diet in regards to macronutrients and ingredient sources, so as long as her diet is balanced it would probably be fine in most liver cases. Exceptions likely would be copper storage and protein intolerence.

    In protein intolerence (HE can result from shunt or end stage liver) the sources of protein that I’ve seen recommended are dairy, egg and vegetable. I’ve never seen fish on the recommended list for a diet for hepatic encephalopathy(HE).

    “Dogs with shunts need high quality proteins made from milk or vegetable, and are restricted to a protein content of 18% or less (on a dry matter basis).”


    So based on the above recommendations Dr. Dodds’ diet would most likely not be appropriate for a dog with a shunt, esp if clinical HE.  

    Also I think the purine content of that diet may be higher than desirable ( cod and green beans). Dogs with shunts are predisposed to urate stones so limiting purines is likely part of the feeding recommendations. Haven’t really double checked that.. just my first impresssion when looking at the diet. 


  • Shawna

    Dogs actually do make pancreatic amylase but some vets feel that they are not efficient at making it.

    Dogs fed a predominantly carb diet have been shown to even, eventually, make salivary amylase — but it sure isn’t normal for them…

  • Shawna

    So you’re saying that Dr. Dodds diet is inappropriate for dogs with liver shunts and issues?

  • aimee


    So glad to hear that your dog was dramatically changed through finding the proper diet for his condition. The fact that he is gaining weight and has improved quality of life is true testament to the effectiveness of this formula for him.

    A dog I owned over 20 years go was born with an abnormal liver. L/D wasn’t available at the time and she was raised on a homemade diet based in corn starch and dried milk. It was the only diet she didn’t vomit.

    So as someone who has walked the walk with a dog with abnormal liver function I understand the importance of controlled protein and the recommendation for dairy and vegetable origin protein over meat based for dogs with specific special needs. 

  • Melissaandcrew

     My liver disease dog ate the homecooked Dodd’s diet for a few months, then went to Fromm Whitefish/potato alternating with Wellness whitefish/potato. He got sick of both, had loose stool ,and stopped appearing to thrive. He is now eating Acana and still doing great 🙂 As Bryan says, what works for one ,may not work for another.

  • BryanV21

    First of all, grains and carbs are not good for dogs with liver issues. And with no grains and low carbs, you’re going to get a food high in protein. So even though a lower protein food may be ideal, it’s impossible to get. At that point you want to make sure that it’s a quality protein, meaning animal-based, as animal-based proteins are easier for a dog to handle. For example, dogs don’t make amylase, which is an enzyme needed to break down plant matter. So getting animal-based protein is key.

    And please keep in mind, just because a food didn’t work for you that doesn’t mean it’s not a good food for a particular issue.

  • Shawna

    That is only partially true Ceasar..  If the liver issue is a liver shunt then the type of protein is very important.  You need an animal based protein that won’t create a lot of ammonia as the liver can not convert the ammonia into urea.  White fish and dairy plus others are good sources of protein for dogs with liver shunts (still not “high” amounts though).  But, the body needs the amino acids from quality protein to maintain proper health. 

    If you were to go to someone like Dr. Jean Dodds, she would formulate a diet (and has) that has moderate amounts of better quality protein while still providing support for the liver. 

    Additionally, if your vet (if it is a liver shunt) suggested a specific protiotic and prebiotic (I’m blanking on the names right now — grrr) to you for your pet you might be able to feed even slightly higher amounts of protein..

    The problem with LD is that it is really low in protein and more importantly, the quality of the proteins used are HORRIBLE..  I’m glad it is working for your pet but there are other, and many think MUCH better, options.


    If a dog has a problem liver, a food that is high in quality protein is asking for trouble. I did try the evo and I will never again. This is a prescription diet, it gave me my best friend back.

  • BryanV21

    It’s funny that you say low protein foods didn’t work, yet you’re recommending a food well below average protein levels. Not to mention that the protein sources in Hill’s foods are NOT animal-based, which is also recommended for dogs.

    If it works for your dog, great. Although I’m willing to bet you could find a “better” food that would work for your dog.


    this food dramatically changed my dogs life for the better. I tried going with low protein so called healthy food and my dog lost weight and was just miserable. As soon as I put him on the hills ld, he gained weight, no more vomiting and is now the happiest dog ever.He has a bad liver. I highly recommend feeding this food for liver problems.I would also like you all to know I looked for a website to recommend this food.

  • OscarMom

    Thanks Hound Dog Mom I’ll have a look at the sites.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Oscar’s Mom –

    Here are some lists of copper contents of various dog foods:



    If you were interested in homemade, I would recommend talking with your vet to formulate a meal plan but I know organ meat, duck, lamb, salmon, and pork are all high copper meats. While turkey, chicken, whitefish, beef, eggs, and cheese are fairly low in copper.

  • Oscar Mom

    Hello all I am hoping to get some recomendations on a LOW COPPER food. My 11 year old Pitbull was recently diagnosed with  an abundance of copper in his liver. Basically he falls on the scale of high copper count but not yet toxic. He has Copper-Storage Hepatopathy. The vet put him on Hills Prescription Diet L/D, and a couple different meds. The last blood test done has shown the levels have decreased and he’s putting weight back on… However, I know that food is not the best for him. I am having trouble finding what other food out there, canned, raw or kibble would be LOW in copper for him to eat. He was on Nature’s Variety canned and kibble, that may have been too high in copper for him. I am also willing to prep human grade food for him, I am researching but, I am not sure what protein he can and cannot be eating(i.e. chicken, beef, lamb etc..) If you can offer some sound advice on low copper foods for dogs I would appreciate any input on the matter. Thanks.

  • Bennettvictoria

    Hi suzie. My pup has been diagnosed with a liver shunt. We are feeding her the hills ld and she has done great on it. Put weight on and isn’t currently having seizures. If you want to chat my email is [email protected]

  • Pingback: Alimento Royal Canin Hepatic y Hills l/d para perro enfermo del hígado | Blog de alimentación sana, nutritiva y natural de perros()

  • Yorkie Mom

    IMO, all Hills-Science Diet products are bad news.  They routinely use rendered meats & by-products.  This includes dead, diseased & euthanized animals from shelters.  Yes, it’s true.  Search online & you’ll be shocked at what you learn.  Whenever you see lots of vitamins/minerals & chemical sounding words listed, it tells you there is little to no nutritional value in the product so they have to add it in.  My holistic vet also said soy is a no-no – both for humans & pets.  It’s processed using chemicals & is negatively effecting thyroid & hormones.  Just what we all need, more health problems.

    I’ve had both liver & kidney dogs.  I would never feed them any manufactured garbage.  Cooking once a week & freezing is what gave my dogs the best health they could have.  There are recipes online (Dr. Dodds Liver Cleansing Diet, the Revised GARD diet for liver).  For kidneys, contact the K9 Kidney & K9 Kidney Diet Yahoo groups.  They are awesome & have more knowledge about the kidneys than any conventional vet I’ve ever met.  Switch to a holistic vet & you’ll also learn more & get better results for your pets.  These people are educated on nutrition, natural pet rearing & restoring health.  Conventional vets only use drugs, toxic chemicals & advise you to feed horrible “pet food” that will further deteriorate your animals’ health.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Ellen, I think the point you are missing here is that Dr. Sagman is in no way assessing the efficacy of this product. He is looking only at the apparent quality of ingredients. So, yes, while this product is designed to provide nutrition without animal protein (actually, eggs are animal protein), there is still no reason it should be made with poor quality ingredients. For instance, instead of a bunch of processed soy and corn ingredients and generic “egg product”, it could have been made with fresh eggs and peas. I mean, they charge premium prices for this stuff… To say that a prescription is above review is to trust, implicitly, that multimillion dollar food and drug corporations really put our best interests first. And that is just not the case. Think about the reckless use of free aspartic acid in softdrinks and children’s medicines. Or the proliferation of fastfood into our everyday lives. We should question everything, Ellen. Not sit on our heels and trust government and corporations to take care of us. If a food benefits a specific health problem, but then has the potential to cause others because of the ingredient quality, then companies like this should be questioned. And they should have to defer product testing to an outside, impartial group. And they should NOT be training the very people who will eventually be in the position to “prescribe” their products.

  • Shawna

    Ellen ~~ I understand your frustration I really do…  However, because cooking isn’t practical for many pet owners, doesn’t magically make this a “good” food.  It is a POOR quality food because of the ingredients and if folks are forced, due to circumstances, to feed it then so be it..  But again, it doesn’t change the quality of the food.

    My dog was born with kidney disease — I wouldn’t feed her Science Diet K/D for anything in the world..  In fact, when she was diagnosed with congenital kidney disease 5 years ago the food still had ethoxyquin and bha/bht in it..  Ethoxyquin is KNOWN to cause liver and kidney issues???????  I asked my vet about this and she had no idea what I was talking about???????  They removed those ingredients about 3 years ago but it showed me just how little concern they, Science Diet, had/has for the health of my dog……… 

  • Marie

    Uh, yeah every food on this site is rated based on ingredients. Its the only way to rate pet food objectively.

  • Hi Ellen,

    I can understand your concern here. So, I’ll try to address each of your points.

    First, you remind us that there’s an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement on the labeling. This is a universal labeling requirement mandated by the US FDA’s regulations. So, it has to be there.

    However, like every one of the 650 reviews posted on this website, each article includes a statement regarding the presence or absence of such a statement on the company website as it relates to which life stage for which the recipe has been AAFCO profiled (growth and reproduction or adult maintenance).

    In this case, there is no adequacy statement anywhere I could actually locate on the Hill’s site. And so my report so states.

    You said, “Since you are not a veterinarian, you should not be recommending what owners should or should not feed their chronically ill pets. Hill’s l/d is a prescription diet with specific proteins for hepatic support. A hepatic diet SHOULD NOT HAVE animal protein as it’s main protein source.”

    Did you actually take the time to read this review? Aside from being encouraged to see their veterinarian, I never made a recommendation regarding this product anywhere in this review.

    In the very first sentence of this review (right at the top as you suggested) I state, “Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D canned dog food is not rated due to its intentional no meat therapeutic design.”

    What’s more, in The Bottom Line summary below, I wrote:

    “Even though this is a prescription product, we continue to limit our judgment to the estimated meat content of the recipe as well as the apparent quality of its ingredients. And nothing else.

    “Our ratings have nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to this product’s ability to effectively treat or cure a specific health condition.

    So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, you must consult your veterinarian.

    In any case, please know it’s never been my intention to mislead any reader. For I love dogs as much as anyone.

    However, veterinary products (especially foods) as well as human nutritional supplements and medically prescribed foods (like the human dietary replacement, Ensure) must not be exempt from public scrutiny.

    Consumers still have the right to know what’s inside Hill’s Prescription L/D – or any human or pet food – prescribed for themselves or their pets.

    After all, every Hill’s Prescription Diet product IS a food, even though it may have a therapeutic design.

    Hope this answers your question.

  • Ellen

     Ok, I should have said reviewed instead of rated, but the review still says “Judging by its ingredients alone, Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D appears to be a below-average canned dog food.” This comes from just reading the label, not any actual experience with the food. For many pet owners, cooking for their chronically ill pets just isn’t practical so they are in need of an already prepared prescription formula. L/D is not a below average food, it can improve life for pets with liver disease by offering a food source that has less of an impact on their liver.   I personally have seen it work, and I am upset that the review may cause people to not give it a try.

  • hounddogmom12


    You say “please refrain from rating prescription products” and this product is not rated. I understand where you’re coming from, some dogs have a specific health issue that requires they be on a prescription formula, however by making the ingredients available to view on this site people can see how poor quality prescription formulas are and be encouraged to consult with their vet about a healthier, more natural way to feed their dog while still treating the condition – which in many cases is possible. Also, the comments left on the different foods on this site by users who have used the food are an invaluable tool. People can come on to this site and read about real results people have experienced by using a particular food, reactions caused by a food, or ask questions pertaining to a particular food that another user may be able to answer.

  • Eve’sHumanMom

    ummm… it says right at the top:  “Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D canned dog food is not rated due to its intentional no meat therapeutic design.”

  • Ellen

    There is an AAFCO statement on the actual bags and cans. “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Prescription Diet l/d Canine Hepatic Health provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adut dogs and growing puppies.”
    Since you are not a veterinarian, you should not be recommending what owners should or should not feed their chronically ill pets. Hill’s l/d is a prescription diet with specific proteins for hepatic support. A hepatic diet SHOULD NOT HAVE animal protein as it’s main protein source. These patients respond better with soy, egg or milk protein. To base a rating on the protein source and ingredient list  is terribly misleading to your readers (as I see from Rich’s post- 4/5/12) and though you may clarify when they write in, that reply gets stuck at the bottom in the comment section when it should be at the top of your review.
    In closing, you would do your readers a great service by not rating prescription diets at all. These are prescribed by a doctor, not bought off of a shelf in a pet store like other designer pet foods. They are considered a medical treatment just like other medications.  Please refrain from rating prescription products.

  • Hi Rich,

    I’m so sorry to hear your dog has liver disease. Unfortunately, most liver problems are serious health conditions requiring strict dietary control and not typically treated with standard store-bought dog food or even homemade recipes.

    My strongest recommendation: find a veterinarian you trust, get a specific medical diagnosis and follow his/her advice.

    This is one issue where prescription dog foods are typically the best treatment for your pet.

    Hope this helps.

  • Rich

    My pointer/lab 11 years old was found to have very high liver enzymes.  The vet suggested Hills L/D.  After reading about this product I chose not to give it to her.  I’m now changing from Nutro Senior to Wellness Senior and giving less meat and more veggies.  I’m at a loss and don’t know what the answer is.  I just want what’s best for my dog so that she’ll be well.  Vet also prescribed Denamarin for liver support.

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  • Suzie


    I would love to chat with you more about the Science diet l/d.  Would you email me when you can at Suzie0156 @aol:disqus .com  ?  My dog has very early stages of liver disease, so early that he still feels great.  Only mildly elevated bile acid test results…   Hope to hear from you! 

  • Suzie

    Melissa and Gare, so great to hear from you. Sorry for the delay in writing. Oreo had lab work done last week in preparation for our apptmt next week at a university vet school and all liver functions were normal. ALthough the week before last, they were slighlty up, the bile acid testing that is. I am now not so sure I am going to take him in yet. He is totally asymptomatic . I know I will pay super big bucks and I am told in other groups I am in, that there is no promise of a definative diagnosis. I am thinking to give his SAM-e and milk thistel more time and then repeat bile acids in another month or so. For the milk thistle I give only have the recommended dosage. Graet to hear from you both!


  • gare

    hi suzie,

    that’s great that u got a vet university to help u figure out what the issue is with your dog. I had my pug diagnosed with multiple liver shunts (microshunts) via MRI after an ultrasound didn’t reveal much. I’m glad I went the MRI route rather than exploratory surgery where in the end my boy would not be a candidate for surgery to address the shunt. ever since he was 8 months old, he’s been on a free-feed diet of science diet’s LD dry dog food. I did attempt to use the L/D canned food but he did not like it. I was also not happy feeding the dog just pork fat! I was told to not expect more than a couple of years, if that. My pug is now going on 4.75 years old with the l/d dry diet, lactulose & metronidazole. He weighs 19-20 lbs and liver functions are well. He got a new vet and the vet would have never suspected this was a liver shunt affected dog. I ho

  • melissa


    Ours get the milk thistle once a day for 6 weeks, and then we stop for 6 weeks to avoid toxicity. I actually believe the recc course is something like once a day for 5 days, stop for 2 days, repeat for 6 weeks. Stop for one week, and then repeat. We found that 6 on/6 off worked for our boy as his SAM E also contains milk thistle. If you google it, it should come up-as well as the recommended max-our guy gets a little less than 2/3 of a 175mg caps to account for the Sam E content-Last thing I found on the internet was a max of 200mg per10lbs-ask your vet what she feels the maximum dose for a dog your size should be.

  • Suzie

    Hi Melissa

    My dog is far from the end and he does have apptmt in 2 weeks at a university vet school for a liver biopsy. My vet went to this particular school and she really recommends it be done so we know what we are dealing with. Regarding food, she recommended Science Diet or Royal Canin or home cooking which I am not willing to do. I’m not much of a cook and she printed out some home cooked meals and it looks complicated to me. Alot of different ingrediants, alot of precision. I did talk to Dr. Dodds who suggested I just keep him on his regular Innova dog food. Every vet is going to say several things to confuse you in my opinion…glad your dog is doing well. My dog is on the SAM-e along with milk thistle but what do you mean by the 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off? Also the SAM-e is suppose to be given on empty stomach but what about the milk thistle? I also dont give him full dose of milk thistle as I am afraid to over dose him. The SAM-e does contain milk thistle. The one I give to my Oreo has 20mg of milk thistle. He is 20 pounds so do you know what a safe dosage for dog of that weight is?



  • melissa


    I have a rescue who was given a very short time-considered pretty much end stage. Our vet put him on a purina rx product(can’t remember which one for the life of me) and he did not have a specific “liver diagnosis” such as shunt, just end stage liver disease-as a senior dog that we had just taken in 2 weeks prior, we were not going to put him through more testing. Long story short, I googled Dr Dodd and liver diets, did the home cooked for a while(dog lost too much weight) and now he is on Wellness whitefish and sweet potato-and his blood values are within normal limits. He gets the dry and canned mixed together, Sam E, Milk Thistle on 6 wks, off 6 weeks, and several other supplements. Print out the various online info, take it to your vet, and ask about using a whitefish based food for your guy. Ours is almost two years out on this diet and going strong. I caution any one with a dog with a medical problem to consult their own vets as what works for one, may not work for another-

  • Suzie Peck

    Hi Melissa

    Thanks for your reply. Well my vet recommends Royal Canin Hepatic LS but it is dry and my dog wont eat dry. Other vets in town recommend Science Diet L/D

    I know what his readings were. He had a pre meal reading of 21 a month ago and a post meal reading of 26.9 So..vet put him on SAM-e and I just kept him on his canned food.

    Flash forward to last week. We repeated testing. Pre meal was perfect with a 4.6 His post meal had risen to 46 which is higher than a month ago. The post meal suggest the liver isnt working optimally. Further testing? There are ultrasounds, liver biopsys and needle guided liver ultrsounds that can be done but all require travelling a considerable distance and of course there is the expense. I would love to talk to someone who has had a dog on this formula and had success.

  • melissa

    Suzie Peck-

    Before hitting the panic button and taking internet advice, talk with your vet. Ask what the readings were, and WHAT type of “malfunction” do they suspect with your dog’s liver. Then take your vets advice to stabilize the situation., There is always time later to research conditions, change plan of action etc. Best of luck with your furkid-

  • Suzie Peck

    My dog has liver issues, had two bile acid test performed and they were abnormal. I dont have him on anything yet but he is a canned dog food eater and I have to do something fast. Is there anyone who can say anything good about this food? I am desperate as I dont know what to feed him.


  • sandy


    This is not an appropriate food for the healthy chihuahua. Feed him a normal meat based food.

  • Hi Joan… Hill’s L/D is a meatless prescription dog food. It may be therapeutic for your dog with the liver issues, but, unfortunately, this is the furthest thing from what nature intended for a dog to eat as you can get.

    No. L/D is (probably) not “toxic” for your healthy chihuahua. But why feed your naturally carnivorous pet a plant-based dog food?

  • Joan

    I feed my shizuh mix Hills l/d for a liver shunt problem. I feed her kibble. She only weighs 4 lbs. Is it safe for my chihuahua to eat this kibble, too? (There’s nothing wrong with the chihuahua that I know of.)

  • Mary

    I have been feeding my Maltese Hills l/d since we got him as a puppy. He is 7 now and his liver enzymes are normal and have been for many years. I am concerned about the smell of the kibble. It makes me think that the food is rancid. Any explanation for the odor?

  • sandy

    I came across this site looking for low ammonia foods. http://wholefoodcatalog.info/nutrient/ammonia/foods/low/

  • aimee

    My dog with the severe congenital liver problem was put on a home made diet for about the first 1 yr (??? ) of her life. I don’t remember all the details. Looking back, I’m sure her diet was unbalanced but it got her through her illness. It was based in milk protein and starch. She was not to have any meat based protein but was allowed to have protein from organs in small amounts. Over time her liver improved in structure and function and her diet didn’t have to be as restricted, but she never could metabolize fat well.

    I have Strombeck’s book.( Home Prepared Dog and Cat Diets) He is a veterinary internist (or was?? …he may have passed). For liver he recommends to feed as much protein as can be tolerated without causing hepatic encephalopathy. As a guideline he recommends 20 percent of calories to be fed as protein if the dog can tolerate it. Protein from meat was not recommended as dogs with severe liver disease succumbed much sooner when fed meat than when fed milk and soy based diets. He specifically recommends a diet low in the amino acid methionine and boosted in the amino acids arginine and citruline.
    He recommends a fat level be between 20 and 25%, a highly digestible starch such as polished rice, and a fiber source. Further recommendations were to boost Vit.E, K, C, and B12, the mineral Zinc and to avoid Cu.
    The diets in his book are based in rice and soy (tofu), or rice and cottage cheese.
    Hope this helps

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Yeh Gordon – I was just hoping that a vet would post a comment here on DFA about a Real Food alternate diet in a circumstance where most mainstream vets would, without hesitation, prescribe Rx dog diet.
    Similar to when my mom was in the hospital being fed jello, applesauce and yogurt, all chemically-sweetened. Yuk! She dreaded ‘mealtime’, the same 3 things every meal. This would have continued had I not arrived from out-of-town and had a candid chat with the MD, who agreed that most certainly, my mom could consume organic fresh whole foods, liquid or pureed, that I prepared.

  • Gordon

    That’s why Dr. Billinghurst suggests low fat raw formulations in smaller portions with more neutral meat protein concentrations including low fat, with adding more low GI vegetable matter mashed well in a juicer to neutralise the raw formulation even more blah blah blah. But he has plenty of examples of “REAL FOOD” recipes in his books that suggest diets for certain ailments just like the one above.

    I’m assuming, so does Dr. Becker’s books.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Luke – Since the Hills Rx diets seem to be confusing to many, it’s nice to have a veterinarian post a comment explaining the ‘why’ of low protein / no meat products. Aimee similarly explained on the Purina HA diet.

    I would like to know a Real Food diet that a Vet could recommend for the same “liver failure/liver problem” diagnosis. Before Rx diets existed, what foods would be fed to a dog with these ailments?

    I believe that Nutrition Isn’t Rocket Science, and that Real Food can heal.

  • Luke Deverell, D.V.M.

    Quick point: Hill’s L/D does not contain any meat protein specifically because it requires more enzyme digestion by the liver than plant proteins. This food is specifically designed for patients with inadequate liver processing capabilities, so even though it may be considered “low-quality protein,” it is necessary for liver failure/liver problem patients in order to provide less work for the liver to do. Hope this helps.

  • “Ryo”

    Glad I could help! 🙂

  • Hi Ryo… Oops, you’re right. Canned dog foods never contain probiotics. It must have been past my bedtime when I wrote this review. In any case, I’ve now removed that line from this report. Thanks for the tip.

  • Ryo

    Next, we find no evidence of probiotics… friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.

    ^ I’m a little confused here. Isn’t this canned food, not kibble? 😛

  • Hi Rosalie… Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading for me to assure you a particular dog food would be appropriate for your dog’s liver condition. When I rate a dog food (like Hill’s L/D), I do my best to convey to readers that we are not judging the foods efficacy for treating a particular condition. I’m just reading and interpreting the product’s label. I truly wish I could be more help.

  • Rosalie

    Do you know of a dog food that would be good for an enlarged liver condition? A vet put our dog on this Hill’s l/d diet. And now we’re wondering just how good or bad it is for him. We don’t know where to turn right now.

  • Hi Becky… I can certainly understand your need to know about my qualifications to publish the Dog Food Advisor. In a situation like this, I would want to know the answer to these same questions myself.

    For starters, you may want to visit my “About” page for a brief overview of my professional profile.

    However, if you still need further details, I’m a graduate of the Medical College of Virginia with a doctoral degree in dental surgery. My undergraduate college training included a major in chemistry and a minor in biology.

    Yet none of my formal education or my 41 years in the practice of dental medicine should be considered a prerequisite for writing and managing the Dog Food Advisor website.

    The many articles and research you’ll find on my website are the direct result of information I’ve personally aggregated from readily and publicly available sources… including books, journals, and published research materials at the United States National Institute of Health PubMed medical libraries… and of course the Internet itself.

    I am not a veterinarian. And neither am I an animal nutritionist.

    I do not sell pet food. I do not test pet food. Nor do I taste it.

    However, I do consider myself a consumer advocate and an expert at reading and interpreting pet food labels.

    The reviews you can read on my website represent many thousands of hours of my own hard work (which I do when I’m not treating my human patients).

    For a better understanding of how I analyze dog foods, be sure to read my article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“.

    Hope this answers your question.

  • Becky

    Just out of curiosity, what are your qualifications in evaluating dog food? Don’t get me wrong, what you say causes me some concern, but your qualifications will either heighten or lower that level and it would really help me determine just how concerned to be. Thanks!

  • Hi Jane… Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading and inappropriate for me to assure you a particular dog food would adequately address your dog’s liver condition. There are other “prescription” dog foods for liver problems out there but since they’re usually sold only by vets, I’m not sure any of them would meet your budgetary preferences. In any case, I commend you for your humane actions. Your new dog is certainly lucky to have found you. 🙂

  • Jane Link

    I have a 3-month-old female Doberman female I bought from a breeder as a humanitarian gesture. The breeder explained she was the runt. I thought she was thin due to being shoved away from food. Thought I could fatten her up and find a good home for her. I got her home had blood work done and she has a liver shunt. So, she is mine now. She is a great little dog. I want to manage her diet but it would be nice to do it as cheaply as possible without sacrificing quality.

  • AllyM

    Thank you for confirming what I suspected. My Pepe’s vet just suggested this food since he seems to have a larger than normal liver although his bile acid tests were normal.

    When I saw the corn in the list of ingredients I did not want to feed it to him. The menadione you identified makes me positive. I would end up hurting his liver in order to stop his liver from getting worse.

  • Hi Olga… There are many dog foods with similar protein levels. But I’m not sure they’re appropriate for your dog. Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading for me to assure you a particular food would provide the health results you’re looking for. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  • Olga


    I am wondering if there is any comparable canned dog food that has similar protein levels but that is also higher quality. My dog is experiencing abnormal liver enzyme levels and we have started him on phenobarbital so I don’t want his liver to work any harder than it already is. I am currently home cooking for him, but I would also like to be able to have the option to give him commercial dog food just in case.

    Thank you!

  • Hi Lauren… Since I’m not a vet, I’m not qualified to judge the appropriateness of a particular dog food to treat a specific condition (such as Cushing’s Syndrome).

    Although we’ve rated the quality of the Hill’s L/D ingredients to be at the lower end of our scale, your dog’s health appears to be improving. So, Hill’s Prescription Diet L/D may be a one star to us but it might be a solid “five” to your dog. So, whatever it is you’re doing appears to be working. Keep up the good work. We hope you continue to see improvement.

  • lauren Taylor

    My dog has Cushing Syndrome. During routine labs it was discovered that she had elevated liver enzymes. Thus her vet recommended the l/d diet. Ive been mixing just 2 or 3 tablespoons on her low fat California Natural dog food. Although the stuff is gross in consistency her liver enzymes have gone down substantially. Could be the California Natural?
    Im not sure. But knowing Im giving my dog a 1 star dog food does not make me happy.

  • Lawrence Chase

    I was advised to feed my dog canned Hills Prescription Diet L/D in order to address her liver problems. It was the worst food I ever fed her and Hills was the worst company to deal with. After feeding this product to my dog for several months I contacted Hills because I found that , on occasion, it varied greatly in consistency from firm to mushy: when it came from a mushy can my dog would vomit it up. Hill’s initial response to me was that there was nothing wrong with the mushy food and that this condition was a result of the product “aging in the can”. When I pointed out that the can was a sealed anaerobic environment and that no canned food product, be it dog food or human food, changes unless there was a problem, Hills then claimed that the variations were due to the “differences in temperatures”. When I responded to Hills that this new explanation also seemed illogical Hills stated, rather curtly, that the explanations they put forth were the reason for the texture variations and that their quality control was not at fault or even suspect. As a result, I stopped using Hills Prescription Diet L/D so as not to put Abby under any undue stress and discomfort and then I mailed back to Hills the free food coupon they sent me. Your rating of one star is too generous, especially in light of all the controversial red item ingredients.