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  • Writer's pictureDr Meredith Wall

Low protein and low copper treats for dogs (and puppies)

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Here are two tasty treat recipes I've formulated for adult dogs or puppies with:

  1. Portosystemic shunts or advanced hepatic disease. These dogs typically require very low protein treats, particularly if they have shown clinical signs of hepatic encephalopathy. These treats contain only plant and dairy-derived proteins (no animal-derived proteins), so they are free from non-protein nitrogenous compounds, such as heme and methylguanidine, which can exacerbate hepatic encephalopathy Dogs or pups with a shunt may also be prone to developing ammonium urate bladder stones. These treats are therefore made from ingredients that are extremely low in purines (or purine free), and the yogurt-based treats are also high moisture. Low plasma vitamin C can also occur in dogs with severe hepatic disease, so these treats are enriched with vitamin C (supplied by the kiwifruit, blueberries and strawberries).

  2. Copper-associated hepatopathy. Both recipes are low in copper, providing an equivalent amount to Hill's Prescription Diet l/d Canine Hepatic Health (canned) - 0.9 mg per 1000 kcal ME (specific amounts given below).

As per usual, it's important to remember that these are recipes for treats - they are not complete and balanced. We recommend that you feed no more than 10% daily kcal as treats, to avoid any risk of deficiencies occurring. If you aren't sure if these treats are right for your dog or puppy, please just ask us, we are happy to help if we can. You can also check with your pet's regular veterinarian.

Anyway, without further delay, here are the recipes:

Blueberry and kiwifruit frozen yoghurt bites

These treats are perfect for hot, summer days. They are low in protein (14–14.7% ME basis), which is equivalent to Hill's Prescription Diet l/d canine canned diet. They are rich in vitamin C from the kiwifruit (440 mg /1000 kcal ME) and also rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin B6, niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. Fat is moderate (26.8% ME basis) - not as high as commercial hepatic diets. They contain 0.88 mg copper per 1000 kcal ME, so slightly less than Hill's Prescription Diet l/d. Finally, they contain the soluble fibre wheat dextrin, from the Benefiber, to reduce ammonia generation and reabsorption in the gut.


245 grams plain or natural yoghurt*

145 grams fresh or frozen blueberries

145 grams green or gold kiwifruit (peeled)

1 level teaspoon Benefiber powder

*For the yogurt, please purchase "Farmers Union Natural European Style Yogurt" or "Farmers Union Natural Pot Set Yogurt" in Australia, or "Naturalea Yoghurt Carton Plain Unsweetened" in New Zealand. It's important to get the right yoghurt, as other products may have much higher protein content.

To prepare:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend for several minutes, until relatively smooth. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray or silicone mold. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours.

Supervise your dog when feeding these treats.

There are many cute silicone molds available, that will allow you to make bone or paw-shaped treats - Amazon is a good place to order these.

Available from:

Strawberry, banana and peanut butter biscuits

These fibre-rich biscuits are also low in protein (14.9% ME basis) and moderate in fat (35.4% ME basis). The are rich in the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, and also niacin, thiamin, folate, magnesium and selenium. These treats contain 0.95 mg copper per 1000 kcal ME, so they are suitable for dogs with copper-associated hepatopathy.


1 large egg

1/3 cup peanut butter*

1 cup wholemeal flour

1/2 cup instant/quick oats (plain/unflavoured)

1 mashed banana (1/2 cup)

5 large ripe strawberries

*Please use smooth peanut butter with no added salt or sugar - in Australia, use Bega, and in NZ, use Sanitarium.

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 150 C.

Remove leaves and finely chop the strawberries.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and knead until a dough ball forms. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour.

Roll the mixture out on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes with cookie cutters, or spoon into silicone molds.

Place the cutouts or the mold sheets on a baking tray and bake for about 20–25 minutes, until lightly golden-brown.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool completely before feeding.

We hope your dog enjoys these treats – if you have any questions about them, please feel free to contact us:

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