Hypothyroidism in dogs is a common disorder where the thyroid glands are not producing enough thyroid hormones. Whilst hypothyroidism is not deadly to all dogs with treatment, in severe cases it can lead to more complicated illnesses, comas, and death if left untreated.
The main symptoms include excessive and inexplicable weight gain, fur loss, skin infections or irritation, dry and flaky skin, lethargy, lack of energy, and shivering.
As these symptoms could easily be a sign of something else, potentially something as simple as a change of diet, it is important to feed your dog the right type of food to see whether you are dealing with a general illness or hypothyroidism.
As with any change to a dog, it is important to consult with a veterinarian before assuming you can help them with home remedies.
We have compiled a list of the best dog food for hypothyroidism that include all of the necessary nutrients, as well as a buyers’ guide and FAQ for any unanswered questions.
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Our top pick is the Annamaet Grain-Free Lean Reduced Fat Dry Dog Food. Suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, this dog food is GMO free and sustainable as well as grain-free - a great alternative for dogs who struggle with sensitive stomachs.
This dog food is designed for dogs who are overweight, as it has a low fat formula with high protein to strengthen muscle without adding unnecessary calories. Also filled with essential Omega 3 fatty acids, this food is ideal for dogs with dry and flaky skin for hypothyroidism.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The Annamaet dry dog food is an ideal kibble for dogs struggling with hypothyroidism or similar symptoms.
With a grain-free formula - free from corn, wheat, and soy - this non GMO recipe is made for dogs with sensitive stomachs, skin and coat, and weight.
The protein based minerals are designed to strengthen and support muscles as well as the immune system, which is ideal for hypothyroidism in dogs who struggle to maintain their weight and nutrition.
Filled with L-Carnitine and high protein, this formula is made to control weight gain as it is low fat and works to maintain lean body mass. There is also no extra fiber.
The formula also boasts Omega 3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy skin and coat - ideal for dogs with irritated skin and dandruff.
What’s more, this dog food has sustainable packaging, family owned, and created specifically with vets and nutritionists.
- Low fat and designed to maintain a healthy weight
- Filled with necessary vitamins such as Omega 3 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat
- Formula created by vets and nutritionists
- Kibble comes in one size, which may be too large for small and toy breeds
A very trusted brand, the PEDIGREE Complete Nutrition dog food is filled with the necessary minerals, vitamins, and nutrients for a dog with hypothyroidism.
This steak flavored dog food is designed to taste as good as its health benefits. The kibble is an extra bonus, as dry food works to maintain oral hygiene.
This dog food is filled with Omega 6 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat, as well as healthy whole grains to promote a healthy digestion.
This is also beneficial for dogs who struggle with the consistency of their stool.
With no artificial flavors or added sugar, the ingredients list is virtually faultless and is designed to provide all of the health benefits to a dog.
The food is ideal for dogs of any age or size, just bare in mind the size of the kibble for smaller breeds. This dog food is made in the USA.
- Filled with necessary vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals
- Trusted brand and made in the USA
- Omega 6 fatty acids for a nourished coat and skin
- Size of kibble may be too large for small or toy breeds
The Lucy Pet Formulas dry dog food is best suited for dogs with sensitive skin and stomach issues.
For dogs with hypothyroidism, fur loss and skin infections are highly likely and can affect their moods as well as their health.
This dog food is made from Alaskan salmon which is filled in Omega 3 fatty acids to nourish a dry or flaky coat and skin.
Whilst fatty acids may sound counteractive to weight control, these acids are actually essential to a dog’s body without affecting their body weight.
The kibble, whilst potentially large for smaller breeds, has a flat design to suit dogs of all ages and sizes.
It is also filled with antioxidants for a strong immune system, balanced fiber for a healthy gut and stool consistency, and amino acids to improve the quality of muscles.
This dog food is trusted by vets, trainers, breeders, and military working dogs - meaning it is an ideal food for dogs struggling with gut issues.
- Ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin issues
- Flat kibble for dogs of all ages and sizes
- Trusted by professionals
- Whilst flat, kibble may difficult to eat for smaller breeds, but water helps to soften it
The Iams Proactive Health dog food comes in either a normal or smaller kibble size, making it ideal for dogs of all ages and sizes.
Filled with wholesome fibers, this dog food is perfect for dogs with a sensitive digestive system.
Made from farm-raised chicken, the Iams dog food is filled with high protein - ideal for maintaining muscle quality as well as promoting a healthier weight without the extra and unnecessary calories.
It is also filled with antioxidants to promote a stronger immune system, and Omega 6 fatty acids for a healthy and nourished coat and skin.
The kibble is a great food option for large and small breeds, as the crunch can help to improve oral hygiene and remove remaining food and plaque build-up.
Iams is a trusted brand, frequently recommended by veterinary professionals.
- Ideal for dogs with sensitive skin
- Filled with necessary nutrients for a healthy immune system and digestive system
- Recommended by vets
- More expensive than other brands but a worthy investment
The Purina Pro Plan dry dog food is filled with necessary fatty acids, such as fish oil and sunflower oil, for a well-nourished and healthy skin and coat.
The number one ingredient is salmon, which is also filled with fatty acids and a high protein that is great for increasing the energy levels of a lethargic dog.
The formula also includes rice, which is highly beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs and inconsistent stool. As well as this, the formula does not include corn, wheat, or soy - ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
It also features oatmeal, a healthy carbohydrate that is easy to digest and light on the digestive system. Purina Pro Plan is a well-known and trusted brand by users and veterinary professionals.
As this food is designed for sensitive skin and stomachs, it can be eaten by dogs who have symptoms similar to those with hypothyroidism but without the diagnosis - for example, those with allergies or other stomach issues.
- Made for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin issues
- Salmon and rice formula, filled with essential fatty acids and nutrients
- Trusted brand
- For adults, so not suitable for puppies or seniors
Best Dog Food for Hypothyroidism Buying Guide
Hypothyroidism in dogs is when the thyroid glands in the neck are underactive, and therefore produce a lack of hormones called thyroxin. Thyroxin helps to break down food for the dog’s metabolism.
When there is a lack of thyroxin, the body can struggle to maintain its healthy condition. The opposite of this is called Hyperthyroidism, when the thyroid glands produce too much of the thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism is fairly common amongst veterinarians and is regularly treated. It usually affects large dog breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Boxers, and Great Danes, but can also affect medium sized dogs such as Cocker Spaniels and Airedale Terriers.
It is also common in older dogs, but can affect younger dogs whose immune system attacks the thyroid glands.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Excessive and inexplicable weight gain
- Lethargy and laziness
- Fur loss
- Dry and flaky skin
- Cold and shivering
- Decreased heart rate
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is vital to make an appointment with your vet.
Whilst any of these symptoms could easily be general illnesses or due to something else, it is always worth checking with a professional regardless.
Dogs with hypothyroidism are diagnosed by a series of blood tests to count thyroid hormone levels.
Fortunately, hypothyroidism can be treated by veterinary recommended medication in the form of a tablet. This will be taken every day for the rest of their lives, as hypothyroidism cannot be cured, and vastly improves the quality and longevity of their lives and health.
There are no home remedies or natural treatments that can treat hypothyroidism without the medication. Some side effects include fur loss, but this will eventually stop and grow back after one to two months.
As with any illness, it is important to make regular vet check-ups - especially if anything out of the ordinary occurs. The vet may take regular blood tests to count the thyroid hormone levels to see if the medication is working.
Why Food is Important for Treating Hypothyroidism
As one of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism is excessive weight gain, it is important to control the dog’s diet. All of the recommended dog foods on our list are designed to prevent weight gain and improve lean muscle mass.
This is generally achieved by a low fat and high protein diet, which also helps to increase the energy levels of an animal. The more energy a dog has will not only help their lethargy, but they will want to go on the walks they used to struggle with. This will therefore help with their weight loss.
Essential nutrients and vitamins include Omega 3 or 6 fatty acids (the difference being fish and vegetable acids respectively), which are really important for the skin and coat conditions.
These acids work to nourish and hydrate the skin, and therefore maintain a smooth coat also, which is great for dogs with hypothyroidism who struggle with dry and flaky skin.
Dry food is a really beneficial food type for improving oral hygiene. Kibble works to exercise the dog’s jaw, gums, teeth, and facial muscles.
It also is easy to break down without leaving excess food in between teeth, and the crunch prevents plaque and tartar build-up. This is highly beneficial for any dog, regardless of if they are diagnosed with hypothyroidism or not.
It is important to remember that the right type of diet will not solely cure hypothyroidism with or without medication, but it will greatly improve the quality of the dog’s gut, skin, fur, weight, and muscle.
High protein foods will also improve energy levels, which will help dogs to walk efficiently. Grain-free isn’t a complete necessity, however the lack of grain can be beneficial for weight loss.
However, if a dog food does include high quality and wholesome grains that are not cheap, this is fine. As with any dog food, it is best to go with formulas that are GMO free, and free of artificial flavorings and no added sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you feed a dog with hypothyroidism?
A dog with hypothyroidism requires a diet that will help them to lose weight, gain lean muscle mass, improve the quality of their skin and coat, and increase their energy levels.
We recommend looking for food including Omega 3 or 6 fatty acids, low fat and high protein formulas, and other essential vitamins such as L-Carnitine and antioxidants. The dog foods on our recommended list all include these nutrients.
As with any dietary change, dog food needs to be smoothly and slowly transitioned over a period of 1-2 weeks.
The first day should start with 25% new food and 75% old food, with the new food gradually increasing and old food decreasing until the transition is complete. This is to prevent stomach, skin, and health issues.
Can dog food cause thyroid problems?
Dog food is not often the cause of thyroid problems, but diets can affect thyroids. Studies have shown that dogs who are on a raw meat diet can have elevated levels of thyroid hormones, which would lead to hyperthyroidism.
It is worth consulting with a professional if any behavioural or physical changes appear.
Can hypothyroidism cause anxiety in dogs?
Hypothyroidism can, unfortunately, cause anxiety in dogs. Their normal fear responses are doubled due to their weakened state and lethargy, fur loss, and weight gain because of the lack of thyroid hormones.
Of course, canine anxiety can also cause these symptoms, so it is worth making a vet appointment to rule out hypothyroidism.
This is because anxious dogs can scratch or lick themselves to create skin irritation or infection, can either overeat or undereat, can refuse to leave the house or be left alone resulting in a change of mood, and can lose fur from stress.
What dog breeds are prone to hypothyroidism?
Studies have shown that large and medium sized dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism than small and toy breeds.
- Golden Retrievers
- Cocker Spaniels
- Great Danes
- Labrador Retrievers
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- Border Collies
Dogs who are a mixed breed with a susceptible breed can also be prone to hypothyroidism. However, small and toy breeds are not immune from it.
How can I naturally treat my dog’s thyroid?
Hypothyroidism cannot be cured, so it is therefore not recommended by professionals to rely on natural or home remedies you may read on the internet.
The best treatment is an oral medication that is taken daily and for the rest of their lives to improve the quality and longevity of their lives. However, a vet may suggest home remedies such as a dietary change or supplements to improve your dog’s condition, but it will not cure it.
What are the symptoms of a dog with hypothyroidism?
The main symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs include:
- Weight gain
- Fur loss
- Lethargy and loss of energy
- Dry and flaky skin/Dandruff
- Skin infections
- Shivering and cold
- Decreased heart rate
- Behaviour changes that make the dog mentally and physically slower
If you notice any of these changes, consult with a vet. They could be down to a general illness or a change in food or shampoo, in which case it is worth cancelling out hypothyroidism or something more serious.
What happens if hypothyroidism is left untreated in dogs?
If hypothyroidism in dogs is left untreated, it can lead to anemia, corneal ulcers, seizures, infertility, and liver or kidney problems.
These can, unfortunately, develop more seriously and eventually lead to death. Fortunately, hypothyroidism is easily treatable if you discover and examine the symptoms quickly.