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9 Best Dog Foods for Dogs with Hypothyroidism in 2020

Does your dog seem more lethargic than usual? Has he started to put on weight despite a lack of appetite? Is he exhibiting changes in behavior that are starting to worry you?

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American Journey Chicken

  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Protein-rich formula

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Ollie Healthy Turkey Feast

  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Added Fruits & Veggies

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Taste of the Wild Sierra

  • Recipe is grain-free
  • Added vitamins

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Your dog is your baby and your best friend, so you’re right to worry if you notice changes in his health or behavior. The three changes mentioned here are some of the most common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance disorder called hypothyroidism. This is a condition that affects a small gland in your dog’s neck but can have a big impact on his total health and wellness.

In this article, we’ll explore the subject of hypothyroidism in dogs in greater detail to teach you what you need to know about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this disease. We’ll also talk about how to choose the best dog food for dogs with hypothyroidism and show you our top 9 picks.

The Basics About Hypothyroidism in Dogs

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The thyroid is a small gland located in your dog’s neck and it is responsible for producing certain hormones that regulate essential bodily functions. One of the functions the thyroid regulates is metabolism – if the thyroid becomes overactive, it elevates the dog’s metabolism and, if it becomes underactive, it slows it down. As you can imagine this leads to corresponding changes in body weight.

The term for an overactive thyroid gland is hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid. In dogs, there are two primary causes for hypothyroidism – lymphocytic thyroiditis and idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy. Unfortunately, hypothyroidism is a tricky condition to diagnose. It isn’t because the symptoms are difficult to identify, however. The real trouble is that the diagnostic criteria for the condition have changed over the years.

If you’re wondering just what hypothyroidism in dogs looks like, here is a quick dog hypothyroidism symptoms checklist: 

  • Weight gain (often without increase in appetite)
  • Lethargy or low energy
  • Lack of interest in exercise or play
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Dry, dull hair with increased shedding
  • Thinning hair and/or bald spots
  • Increased skin pigmentation
  • Frequent ear infections
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Slow heart rate

In addition to these common symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs, some breeds experience additional abnormalities such as thickening facial skin, abnormal nerve function, loss of libido, fat deposits in the eyes, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye.

Many of the symptoms related to hypothyroidism in dogs are physical, typically related to metabolism. In some dogs, however, it can cause behavioral changes. According to veterinarian Dr. W. Jean Dodds, there is a connection between abnormal behavior and thyroid issues in dogs. Some dogs experience unprovoked aggression, sudden seizures, moodiness, erratic temperament, fearfulness, compulsiveness, irritability, or even anxiety. In fact, when it comes to dog hypothyroidism, anxiety seems to be an increasingly common problem.

Diagnosing hypothyroidism in dogs starts with blood testing to check the dog’s levels for thyroid hormones. Low levels of thyroxin (TT4) in the blood combined with certain signs from the dog hypothyroidism symptoms checklist above is indicative of hypothyroidism. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a free T4 test or thyroid panel. Once diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be treated but, unfortunately, it is not a curable condition. 

What Role Does Diet Play in Treatment?

The primary treatment for hypothyroidism in dogs is thyroid replacement therapy (TRT), typically in the form of orally administered drugs. Most dogs with hypothyroidism require TRT for the rest of their lives. The most commonly used oral synthetic thyroid hormone replacement drug for dogs is levothyroxine, known by the brand names Synthroid or Thyro-Tabs Canine.

Though diet does not cause hypothyroidism in dogs, it does play a role in treatment. For the most part, the best diet for dogs with hypothyroidism is one made from wholesome, natural ingredients that is highly digestible and formulated to provide balanced nutrition. Luckily, most commercial dog foods are formulated to provide for a dog’s basic nutritional requirements, but not all dog foods are created equal. Looking for the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy gives you an idea whether a product is intended for use as a staple diet or supplemental feeding, but that statement doesn’t indicate the quality of the product or the ingredients used.

Simply put, the quality of your dog’s diet has a significant impact on his health. Particularly for dogs with metabolic issues, it is important to provide a stable source of calories and balanced nutrition, so your dog’s body doesn’t have to deal with the stress of dietary changes on top of dealing with the symptoms and treatment of hypothyroidism.

What to Look for in a Good Dog Food for Hypothyroidism

When shopping for dog food for thyroid issues, don’t feel like you have to go the route of prescription diets. Though veterinary diets are formulated to address specific dietary or health problems, they are extremely expensive and, in many cases, use low-quality grains and fillers as well as plant-based proteins. The best diet for any dog is one made with natural, whole-food ingredients that is formulated for the dog’s size and life stage.

Here are some things to look for in a dog food for thyroid issues: 

  • Rich in lean, high-quality animal protein. Protein is the most important nutrient for any dog because it supports muscle mass. Look for lean protein options to help your dog maintain a healthy body weight – things like chicken, turkey, and fish are great options.
  • Balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many of the symptoms caused by hypothyroidism in dogs are skin- or coat-related. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help improve and maintain the health and condition of your dog’s skin and coat, not to mention providing fat-soluble vitamins and a concentrated source of energy.
  • Low-to-moderate levels of digestible carbohydrates. Dogs have a limited ability to digest plant products, so any carbohydrates in your dog’s diet need to come from highly digestible sources like whole grains and starchy vegetables. Some veterinarians recommend grain-free diets for dogs with hypothyroidism because many grains used in dog food are GMO. If you choose a grain-inclusive diet, make sure they are non-GMO grains.
  • Thyroid-supporting nutrients. On top of meeting your dog’s needs for protein and healthy fats, look for a recipe rich in thyroid-supporting nutrients like iodine, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B, and folic acid. Liver, for example, is rich in these nutrients.
  • No artificial additives or low-quality fillers. For the most part, dog foods made with premium-quality ingredients tend to be free from artificial additives and fillers, but it never hurts to check. When it comes to things like added vitamins and minerals, look for digestible, bioavailable options like chelated minerals.

Now that you have a better understanding of your dog’s hypothyroidism and the role diet plays in his recovery, you’re ready to start shopping! Keep reading to learn more about the best dog food for dogs with hypothyroidism and to see our top picks!

The 9 Best Dog Foods for Hypothyroidism

The best dog food for thyroid issues is not necessarily an expensive prescription diet. In fact, veterinary diets made with low-quality ingredients could do your dog more harm than good. Instead, look for a recipe from a reputable brand made with high-quality, natural ingredients. It should be rich in protein and healthy fats with low-to-moderate levels of digestible carbohydrates. It also doesn’t hurt if it contains beneficial supplements like iodine, chelated minerals, or probiotics.

Here’s our top pick for the best dog food for hypothyroidism:

Ollie Fresh Food Delivery Service

Overall Best Dog Food for Hypothyroidism: If you’re looking for a wholesome, high-quality diet to boost your dog’s health and wellness, try Ollie. This is a fresh food delivery service that sends perfectly portioned packages of customized dog food right to your door. Simply provide some basic information about your dog’s breed, age, and weight as well as any nutritional requirements or allergies he has, then Ollie will customize one of their recipes to meet your dog’s unique needs. Choose a customized delivery plan to receive shipments as often as you like and follow their simple instructions to feed your dog properly. Ollie uses only fresh, high-quality natural ingredients like real animal protein, wholesome fruits and veggies, and natural botanicals to create flavorful, nutritionally balanced meals for dogs.

  • Pros: Customize your dog’s meals, fresh food delivered to your door, made with wholesome natural ingredients, vet-crafted for premium quality
  • Cons: Expensive compared to most commercial diets, limited number of recipes

Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food

Most Popular Dog Food for Hypothyroidism: If you’re not sure what to get for your dog but you know he has a sensitivity or allergy to grains, Taste of the Wild could be the perfect brand. They offer a variety of high-protein formulas featuring wholesome natural ingredients like this Sierra Mountain dry food recipe. This particular recipe features a single source of premium animal protein in several forms – fresh lamb, lamb meal, and roasted lamb. It also contains natural sources for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the form of salmon meal and canola oil, both of which also provide a concentrated source of energy. This recipe contains 25% protein overall as well as 15% fat and 5% fiber – an ideal balance for the average dog. You’ll also be glad to know that this formula contains fresh fruits and veggies to provide natural sources for key nutrients as well as vitamins and chelated mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

  • Pros: Single source of premium animal protein, naturally grain-free, rich in omega fatty acids, contains fresh fruits and veggies for natural sources of key nutrients
  • Cons: Not all dogs require a grain-free diet, primary source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

American Journey Chicken & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Dry Food

Most Affordable Dog Food for Hypothyroidism: You don’t necessarily need to spend a small fortune on a high-quality diet for your dog. American Journey is Chewy’s in-house brand and they provide a wide variety of dog food formulas including both grain-inclusive and grain-free options. If you’re looking for a grain-inclusive recipe that contains lean protein, this Chicken & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe is a great place to start. It features fresh deboned chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients, followed by both brown rice and rice bran (the nutritious outside of the grain removed in processing). This formula offers an ideal balance of protein (25%), fat (15%), and fiber (6%) to keep your dog’s diet stable. It also contains beneficial supplements like chelated minerals and synthetic vitamins for nutritional balance as well as natural sources for key nutrients like fresh blueberries, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cranberries.

  • Pros: Rich in lean animal-based protein, contains digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, beneficial supplements like chelated minerals
  • Cons: Contains some plant-based sources of protein, may be too high in fiber for some dogs

Zignature Turkey LID Formula Dry Dog Food

Best Dog Food for Hypothyroidism and Sensitive Stomach: Many dogs develop sensitive stomachs as they get older. If your dog also has hypothyroidism, you need to be particularly careful to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach. A limited ingredient diet made with wholesome natural ingredients and a single source of premium animal protein is the way to go. This Zignature recipe features lean turkey as the primary source of protein and contains a limited number of main ingredients. It provides 31% protein and 18% fat with chelated minerals and added vitamins for nutritional balance. It is a little higher in calories than some recipes, so pay attention to the feeding recommendations, but know that it is complete and balanced for your dog’s benefit.

  • Pros: Limited number of main ingredients, lean turkey as the main ingredient, chelated minerals and added vitamins for nutritional balance
  • Cons: Contains pea protein (a plant-based protein) as a main ingredient

5 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Thyroid Problems

If the dog foods reviewed above don’t seem like the right fit for your dog, don’t worry – there are plenty more to choose from! Simply keep the recommendations made above in mind when you start shopping or consider one of our additional picks below: 

The Honest Kitchen Whole-Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food

Fresh food is one of the best diets you can offer your dog because the raw ingredients haven’t been exposed to the same high-heat process as commercial kibble. If fresh food isn’t quite within your budget, or you want something with a longer shelf-life, try this Honest Kitchen Whole-Grain Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food. This recipe is dehydrated rather than cooked, so it is shelf-stable until you mix it with water to prepare it for your dog. It features 100% human-grade ingredients and is prepared in a human food facility, held to the highest standards for quality. This recipe contains real chicken as the main ingredient with digestible whole grains like barley and oats. It also contains fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients with added vitamins and chelated minerals for nutritional balance. Serve it as your dog’s staple diet or as a food topper to add a boost of natural flavor and premium-quality nutrition to your dog’s current diet.

  • Pros: Dehydrated not cooked at high temperatures, lean chicken as main ingredient, whole-grain digestible carbohydrates, beneficial supplements
  • Cons: Some dogs dislike the rehydrated texture, fairly expensive compared to most kibbles

Castor & Pollux Organix Organic Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe

When it comes to dry dog food, the quality of the ingredients determines the quality of the recipe and organic ingredients are usually best. This Castor & Pollux Organix Organic Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe is a great option because it features USDA organic ingredients like free-range chicken, oatmeal, barley, and chickpeas in a protein-rich recipe balanced with plenty of omega fatty acids. It provides 5% crude fiber and probiotics to support healthy and regular digestion, plus chelated minerals to maximize your dog’s nutrient absorption. It is complete and balanced for dogs of all breeds and ages, plus it contains a special blend of superfoods and is easy for sensitive stomachs to digest. You’ll also be glad to know that it is completely free from corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives like antibiotics, hormones, flavors, colors, and preservatives. Your dog is sure to love it.

  • Pros: Made with high-quality organic ingredients, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, easy for sensitive stomachs to digest, special blend of superfoods for maximum nutritional value
  • Cons: Fairly expensive compared to traditional kibbles, contains some plant-based protein (pea protein)

Merrick Classic Real Chicken & Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains

Organic dog food is great, but it is also very expensive. If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable option that still delivers premium quality nutrition, try this Merrick Classic Real Chicken & Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains. It comes from a reputable brand known for high-quality, natural ingredients and it is made with lean chicken as the main ingredient with ancient grains for fiber and carbohydrate support. This formula delivers a wholesome balance of protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables with added vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. It contains added glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint health, plus it is a potato-free recipe which makes it a lower glycemic option for dogs with blood sugar issues. It also supports your dog’s skin and coat health with a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You can see now why it is one of our top picks for the best dog food for hypothyroidism!

  • Pros: Wholesome blend of protein and digestible carbohydrates, nutrient-rich ancient grains, blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, locally-sourced ingredients
  • Cons: Could be higher in fiber (only 3.5% compared to 5%)

Petcurean Gather Free Acres Organic Free-Run Chicken Dry Food

Another excellent option in organic dog food, this Petcurean Gather Free Acres Organic Free-Run Chicken Dry Food features free-run chicken as a lean source of premium animal protein. This formula contains non-GMO vegetables including organic peas, lentils, blueberries, and cranberries, all of which also add a boost of antioxidant nutrition and natural flavor. With sustainably harvested krill, this recipe is a great source of EPA and DHA fatty acids which support brain and heart function as well as healthy skin and coat. This recipe is fortified with essential vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and balanced nutrition. Plus, it is rich in fiber to support healthy and regular digestion. Overall, it is a great choice for any dog but especially dogs with hypothyroidism.

  • Pros: Made with premium organic ingredients, made with non-GMO vegetables, rich in omega fatty acids for skin and coat, chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Cons: Very expensive compared to the average kibble

Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Recipe

A dog food with added nutrients won’t do your dog any good if his body can’t digest and utilize them. This Holistic Select Adult Health Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Recipe is a great solution to the problem because it is formulated with a unique Digestive Health Support System made up of active probiotics, added fiber, and digestive enzymes to boost your dog’s digestion. Combined with other natural ingredients in a holistic recipe, this dog food supports health nutrition and optimal wellness in adult dogs. It features chicken meal as the main ingredient and a concentrated source of lean protein with digestible whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal for carbohydrate support. You’ll find an optimal blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to help with nutritional balance. This recipe also contains chelated minerals to maximize your dog’s nutrient absorption.

  • Pros: Formulated with unique Digestive Health Support System, concentrated source of lean animal protein, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fresh fruits and veggies
  • Cons: May be too high in calories for some dogs, fairly expensive compared to average kibble

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can dog food cause thyroid problems? – Hypothyroidism in dogs is often an autoimmune disease and may be caused by environmental factors. A highly processed or low-quality diet may contribute to poor health in dogs and certain unnatural ingredients may trigger a change in hormones that could affect your dog’s thyroid gland. Generally speaking, however, dog food does not cause hypothyroidism and the right dog food can play a helpful role in treating the disease.
  2. What dog breeds are prone to hypothyroidism? – For many years, it was thought that the dogs most commonly affected by hypothyroidism were middle-aged dogs from mid-to-large-sized breeds. Today, however, it has become clear that the majority of dogs diagnosed with this condition are fairly young adults between the ages of 1 and 2, not 4 to five. There no longer seems to be a connection between breed size and hypothyroidism either, though it is becoming an increasingly common problem in rare breeds. Some of the breeds most commonly affected by hypothyroidism are Akitas, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, and Cocker Spaniels as well as popular breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers.
  3. What are the symptoms of thyroid problems in dogs? – If you’re looking for a dog hypothyroidism symptoms checklist, simply scroll back up! If you’re looking for a more general overview, however, here’s where you’ll find it. Dog hypothyroidism causes the thyroid gland to be less active than it should be which causes problems with your dogs’ metabolism. Changes in metabolism can affect your dog’s body weight and energy levels, and hypothyroidism often correlates with behavioral changes as well. Some of the most common symptoms, however, are related to the dog’s skin and coat – things like dryness, dull hair, excessive shedding, increased pigmentation, and failure to regrow hair after clipping.
  4. What happens if hypothyroidism is left untreated in dogs? – Hypothyroidism is a very treatable condition but, unfortunately, it cannot be cured. Just because it can’t be cured, however, doesn’t mean you should forgo treatment. Untreated hypothyroidism in dogs can lead to serious complications such as dangerous weight loss and a number of secondary diseases such as corneal ulcers, anemia, and adult-onset megaesophagus. Some dogs may also develop other adult-onset problems like seizures, heart problems, and infertility.
  5. Can hypothyroidism cause anxiety in dogs? – The most noticeable symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs are physical symptoms – things related to the dog’s skin and coat. In many dogs, however, untreated hypothyroidism eventually leads to behavioral issues like aggression, compulsiveness, depression, fearfulness, and anxiety. When it comes to dog hypothyroidism, anxiety may present in the form of excessive chewing, digging, scratching, or licking as well as reluctance to leave the house or fearfulness in unfamiliar situations. As a dog owner, it is your job to notice changes in your dog’s behavior and to bring them to your vet’s attention.

By now you should have a thorough understanding not only of what hypothyroidism in dogs is, but how to treat it. We aren’t qualified to provide detailed veterinary advice, so make sure to talk to your vet for testing and diagnosis information. If you’re simply looking for healthy dog food for hypothyroidism, however, you’ve come to the right place. Try one of our best nine recommendations above!

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