Best Dog Food for Cushing’s Disease

Published on
This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
dog eating closeup

If your dog has Cushing’s disease, you’re most likely looking to change their diet to support their new nutrition needs, along with their medical therapy.

Don’t panic — we’ve pulled together a list of the best dog foods for Cushing’s disease, and they don’t need a vet’s prescription. 

Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Formula dry dog food is our number one choice.  

This dog food is perfect for all breeds and sizes, from adults to older dogs. And it’s also lower in calories and fat to keep your pup at a healthy weight. 

But we have other great options, too — including options for puppies and dogs with advanced Cushing’s. 

Our Best Dog Food Options for Cushing’s Disease

10 Best Dog Foods for Cushing’s Disease Reviewed 

The formulas below follow AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your pup to new dog food, consult with your veterinarian. 


Best Overall

Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Formula Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Shredded Blend Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Poultry By-Product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine), Corn Germ Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 9% Crude Fat, 5.5% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 330 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-fat and low-calorie dry dog food for dogs with Cushing’s disease 

One of the biggest ways to support your dog after a Cushing’s diagnosis is with the proper diet. The disorder can cause significant changes in their body structure and lethargy.

So it’s crucial to choose an adult dog food that protects your pup’s immune health, manages their weight, and gives them a boost of energy. 

If you’re looking for a top-recommended option, Purina Pro Plan Brand Weight Management dry dog food fits the bill. 

This formula starts with high-quality deboned chicken as the first ingredient. This highly-digestible protein is low in fat but high in Crude Protein for lean muscle mass. And amino acids like lysine aid in metabolic support too.  

Beef fat and menhaden fish meal provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy brain function and adrenal glands. And omega-6 aids in strong joints and cartilage since their joints tend to be weaker, plus soothes skin. 

Wheat bran and whole-grain wheat supply natural prebiotic fiber. This nourishes the beneficial bacteria in your dog’s intestinal tract. And whole grains pack B vitamins and iron for energy support. 

This low-fat food also comes fortified with live probiotics to support digestive and immune health. These also aid in keeping your dog regular, which can be an issue for many dogs with Cushing’s. 

Dog owners say this food is perfect for helping their pups maintain their weight. And many noted that their canine no longer has dry and itchy skin issues. 


Best for Puppies

Nutro Ultra Puppy Dry Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Barley, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 436 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and high-protein dry dog food with fiber for puppies with Cushing’s 

Usually, your dog will show signs of canine Cushing’s disease in adulthood or during their senior years. But, puppies can also have the disorder. While it is rare, it does mean a change in diet. 

For example, most puppies need a higher fat diet and dense nutrition to support healthy and sturdy growth. But young dogs with Cushing’s need to limit fat, sodium, and calcium. So what’s a healthy balance?

Nutro Ultra Puppy dry dog food is the perfect middle between solid nutrition and supporting your dog’s needs while dealing with Cushing’s.

First, it’s a bit higher than the normal range for Crude Fat. This will allow your puppy to grow strong and healthy without compromising their lean muscle mass or metabolism. 

Your pooch also gets a high-protein diet with real deboned chicken, chicken meal, lamb, and salmon. This is essential for muscle growth and recovery. 

Whole-grain barley, whole-grain oats, and whole-grain brown rice are high in prebiotic fiber. This helps your dog absorb their food for better bowel movements and nutrients over time to provide all-day energy.

And brown rice contains manganese and magnesium — two essential minerals that boost your dog’s metabolism and gut health. 

This formula contains non-GMO ingredients and is free of corn, wheat, or soy protein. It’s also free of chicken by-product meal, artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors. 

Superfoods like coconut, kale, and blueberries pack antioxidants too. This boosts immune support and aids in coat health. 

Pet owners loved how this food firmed up their dog’s stool, and they noted it didn’t cause any tummy upset.


Best for Seniors

Sojos Complete Senior Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Dog Food

Sojos Complete Turkey Salmon Senior Grain Free Freeze Dried Dehydrated
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Flaxseed, Whole Egg
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 284 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-calorie, high-protein, and low-fat senior dog food with extra fiber for canine Cushing’s disease 

Senior dogs with Cushing’s disease do well with a lower calorie and low-fat diet. And since they may have trouble chewing, dehydrated food that’s softer and easier to feed can be convenient.

That’s where Sojos Complete Senior Raw Dog Food comes in. This food, for senior dogs six years and older, starts with real deboned turkey.

This will provide your old pal with glucosamine and chondroitin. These are essential for increased mobility and to protect their joints.

Salmon, coconut, and flaxseeds provide omega fatty acids to reduce inflammation in the adrenal glands and aid in muscle recovery. And, salmon contains DHA and ARA which boosts cognitive function and your dog’s immune system, 

This low-fat food is also packed with natural antioxidants. It includes cranberries, apples, celery, and pumpkin — also fibrous fruits and vegetables. So they’ll aid in a healthy immune system and help keep your dog regular.

It is important to note that this formula comes dehydrated. So you’ll need to add water to it before serving. And, because it’s made with raw meats, you’ll want to wear gloves and wash your hands right after.

But the dehydration process helps break down harmful bacteria, so your dog is safer with this food than the traditional raw diet. 

This recipe is free of artificial ingredients, fillers, preservatives, and soy. 

Senior dog owners love that this food is shelf stable and lasts longer due to the expansion after adding water. 


Best for Small Breeds

Vital Essentials Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Vital Essentials Rabbit Grain Free Freeze Dried
  • First 5 Ingredients: Rabbit, Rabbit Liver, Rabbit Heart, Rabbit Kidney, Rabbit Lung
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 56% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 8% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 230 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: High-protein and low-calorie freeze-dried food for small dogs 

Yes, small breed dogs with Cushing’s disease should usually avoid high-fat diets. But with Vital Essentials Mini Nibs, your dog gets a limited ingredient diet.

And it’s low in purines, calcium, and highly-digestible proteins. And the food comes concentrated, so the fat content shouldn’t trigger any adverse reactions. 

Their Beef Mini Nibs formula starts with a whole farm-raised rabbit, plus its heart, liver, and lung. This recipe follows a “whole prey” approach — which means it uses the whole animal and not the discarded scraps. This helps offer more amino acids for metabolic support and lean muscle mass.

Besides the rabbit, this formula only includes herring oil and supplemented vitamins and minerals. The oil provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protecting your dog’s joints and boosting cognitive function. 

This formula is free of fillers, by-products, artificial colors, and flavors. The low-calorie but high-protein ratio aids in a healthy weight and lowers cortisol levels. 

Small breed parents love the small pellet size. And many note that they’ve never seen their pups have as much energy since they made the switch. 


Best for Large Breeds

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Senior Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 397 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-fat and low-calorie dog food for large breeds with glucosamine for joint health and Cushing’s disease

Cushing’s disease can take a big toll on large breeds. While it affects all dogs, giant breeds can lose significant amounts of weight and muscle tone, hurting their bones and joints. This is why it’s so important to provide them with the proper food for larger dogs. 

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult dry dog food is a great option. It’s lower in calories and fat, which works well with metabolism boosting and keeping digestive issues at bay.

But, it’s high enough in protein and contains fiber for regularity, and keeps lean muscle mass. 

It starts with real cage-free chicken and chicken meal. These provide glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints.

And chondroitin keeps your dog’s cartilage strong, which also aids in muscle growth and maintenance. And they contain taurine, which is essential for heart health.   

Chicken fat and flaxseeds supply omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health. These also aid in reducing inflammation — a common issue for dogs with Cushing’s. 

Blueberries, kale, pumpkin, and oranges provide your large breed dog with plenty of antioxidants. These can boost immune system health. Plus, each food serving includes species-specific K9 strain proprietary probiotics to support digestive health. 

Large breed owners say this food is perfect for pups who need energy and maintain muscle mass. But some admit that their dog got bored with the food after a while, so they had to switch flavors.


Best Wet Food

Zignature Salmon Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Zignature Salmon LID Grain-Free Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Fish Broth, Salmon Meal, Peas, Chickpeas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10.5% Crude Protein, 6.5% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 411 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fiber wet dog food for picky eaters 

Got a particular pup on your hands? If your pooch doesn’t like dry food, no worries. You can still meet their nutritional needs with great wet dog food. Zignature Salmon Limited Ingredient Formula canned food is an excellent choice. 

This delicious dinner starts with real salmon from the Northwestern US. This novel protein is also the only protein in the food, so it’s digestible and perfect for dogs with sensitivities.

It’s also packed with omega fatty acids for cognitive function and soothe dry or cracked skin. 

Peas and chickpeas provide low-glycemic carbohydrates for all-day energy. And they also contain magnesium, selenium, and iron for heart and metabolic health. 

This food has less than 10 ingredients (not including vitamins and minerals). So it’s perfect for dogs who have food allergies or intolerances and need help managing their Cushing’s disease. 

This food doesn’t contain chicken, corn, wheat, soy, or potatoes. It’s also free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. It’s considered a complete and balanced diet formulated for all life stages. 

Dog moms and dads say this is the only food their dog will eat. And they admit that they love that it’s made with only simple and wholesome ingredients.  


Best Budget Food

Annamaet Original Adult Formula Dry Dog Food

Annamaet Original Adult Formula
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Millet, Rolled Oats, Pearled Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 365 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Low-fat dry food with probiotics for owners on a budget

Being on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing high-quality food and support for your dog with Cushing’s disease.

It’s possible to find affordable dog food without having your vet prescribe it. Instead, try Annamaet Original Adult Formula dry dog food. 

It’s perfect for dogs with slower metabolisms, like those with Cushing’s. It’s low in calories and fat but contains fiber and protein for digestive and metabolic health. 

It’s crafted with premium ingredients, including top-quality chicken meal and chicken fat. These provide l-carnitine — boosting your pup’s metabolism and helping maintain lean muscle mass. For healthy fats, marine microalgae — a sustainable ingredient — provides omega-3s for brain health. 

This grain-inclusive formula also has brown rice, millet, and rolled oats. These offer gentle prebiotic fiber for regularity.

And, rolled oats are low-glycemic and lower in natural sugar. So they’ll boost your pooch’s energy without causing them to crash later and become lethargic. 

Annamaet is free from corn, wheat, and soy. It’s supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics to help support your BFF’s gut health and boost their digestive health. 

Canine owners say this food is the best bang for your buck. And many love that although it’s budget-friendly, it still contains live probiotics for gut health. 


Best Premium Food

SquarePet VFS Low Phosphorus Formula Dry Dog Food

SquarePet VFS Low Phosphorus Formula
  • First 5 Ingredients: Brown Rice, Whole Egg, Turkey, White Rice, Turkey Fat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 14% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 2.5% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 462 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: Low-protein and low-fat premium dry dog food with low phosphorus levels for dogs with advanced Cushing’s disease 

If your dog has progressed or advanced Cushing’s disease, your vet may recommend a prescription diet.

But, if your dog can still handle commercial dog food, talk to your vet about SquarePet VFS Low Phosphorus Formula dry dog food. 

This premium option is low in protein, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus to avoid mineral deposits. And it contains prebiotics and probiotics to aid healthy digestion and a well-oiled digestive tract. 

It starts with cage-free turkey and whole eggs. While these ingredients are lower in protein, they’re easy to digest. So your dog will still absorb the nutrients they need, like B vitamins and vitamin D for strong bones and cognitive performance. 

Brown rice, white rice, and sweet potatoes contain vitamin A and vitamin C for eye health and a robust immune system. They also pack natural fiber to normalize bowel movements and control blood sugar levels. 

This food is low in phosphorus, so it’s perfect for dogs with Cushing’s disease that may also have diabetes, kidney disease, or low-functioning liver. 

Pet owners say this food helped their dog gain lost weight, lower ALT levels, and have more energy. 


Best Raw Diet

Addiction Perfect Summer Brushtail Raw Dehydrated Dog Food

Addiction Perfect Summer Brushtail Raw Dehydrated
  • First 5 Ingredients: Brushtail, Potatoes, Carrots, Flaxseed, Coconut Oil
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5% Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 455 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and limited ingredient raw dog food with novel proteins for dogs with Cushing’s

Dogs with Cushing’s need the best proteins without too many purines and fat content. Because of this, novel proteins tend to be popular — including salmon and water buffalo. But would you give brushtail a try?  

Addiction Brushtail dehydrated food is a hypoallergenic formula. And it starts with New Zealand brushtail. This is a marsupial known as a possum. While it’s a rare protein option in dog food, it’s high in B vitamins and essential fatty acids for metabolic support and energy. 

Coconut oil is an excellent oil for dogs with Cushing’s disease. It’s easier to absorb and contains medium-chain triglycerides for skin and coat health. It also helps reduce inflammation in your dog’s adrenal glands and joints and increases mobility. 

Blueberries, cranberries, and papayas pack healthy antioxidants for a robust immune system. And papayas also contain selenium and lycopene, which protect your pup’s heart and metabolism. 

This recipe is free of gluten, corn, chicken, by-products, and artificial preservatives.

Pet parents love that this food has simple ingredients and doesn’t cause skin issues or inflammation that causes pain in their dog. 


Best Fresh Food

Ollie Turkey Dog Food

Ollie Turkey
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey Breast, Kale, Lentils, Carrots, Coconut Oil
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 11% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 72% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 173.75 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Human-grade and customized dog food for dogs with Cushing’s disease 
Get 50% OFF your first Ollie order!

One of the easiest ways to meet your dog’s needs, avoid certain ingredients, and get them back to their healthiest self is to feed them customized dog food.

But instead of going the homemade or raw route and spending your time making their food, try Ollie. This human-grade diet has fresh ingredients (like those in your fridge) and delivers the food right to your door. 

For example, their turkey recipe starts with real ground turkey breast — followed by kale, lentils, and carrots. These raw ingredients get cooked over low heat to remove harmful bacteria to keep your dog’s gut health in check.

To get started, you’ll take Ollie’s online quiz. They’ll ask about your dog’s weight, height, age, diseases and disorders, and activity level. 

This quiz takes about 5 minutes, and you can update your answers at any time as a customer. 

After you finish, Ollie will craft the perfect and balanced diet for your pup. While turkey is a popular formula, there are other flavors to choose from — including lamb, chicken, and turkey. 

You can also sample all four to see which choice is best! After subscribing, Ollie ships the food fresh to your doorstep every two weeks. 

After switching to this recipe, owners say that their dog no longer has weight issues, low energy, or itchiness.


shih tzu eating kibble

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Your Dog’s Cushing’s Disease

Once your dog gets diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, you may be wondering about their dietary changes. Here’s what you need to know.

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease is an incurable but treatable condition. A tumor usually causes it in the pituitary gland. It requires consistent monitoring because the adrenal gland produces excess cortisol. Also, it can be tricky to diagnose. 

Cushing’s disease causes common symptoms like extra stress, weight gain, spiked blood sugar, and lowered immunity. Some other dog’s cushing’s symptoms include; 

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Extreme thirst
  • Muscle loss and weakness during advanced stages
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Lesions on skin
  • Hair loss
  • Lack of energy 
  • High cortisol levels 

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, take them to your vet immediately. Usually, your dog will undergo many tests to diagnose Cushing’s disease. It’s expensive and difficult to diagnose. 

A few of the tests involved include blood tests and urine tests. But they will also check your dog’s liver, and an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation test. In some cases, an ultrasound can also determine whether your dog has a tumor. 

Once they diagnose your dog, treatment will vary based on the location and size of the tumor (if they have one). While tumors are usually easy to remove in people, it’s harder to do with dogs. 

So instead, your vet may recommend medication to limit the growth of the tumor or keep it from releasing too much cortisol. 

Along with this treatment plan, you’ll most likely need to switch your dog’s food. This is to ensure that they’re getting supplements that aid in their recovery.

Can Dietary Therapy Cure Cushing’s?

Nothing can cure Cushing’s disease. It’s a treatable disorder, but it is lifelong. But the proper diet and nutritional therapy can work well with your dog’s medications or treatments. And it can limit symptoms and help them live a fulfilled life.

Commercial Diet for Dogs with Cushing’s Disease

Even if your pup has Cushing’s disease doesn’t always mean that they need a special or vet recommended diet. You can feed your dog commercial dog food unless otherwise noted by your vet. We’ve included our top 10 options above.

Raw Diet For Dogs with Cushing’s Disease

Would you prefer to feed your dog a raw or homemade diet? While most vets recommend against these diets (unless you’re working  with a canine nutritionist or vet), it’s possible. Just keep in mind that it can be more work for you as their owner. 

A raw diet can increase their energy levels, give them healthy skin, and increase lean muscle mass. These are all great things for dogs with Cushing’s disease. 

But it’s essential to make sure the raw food is safe. Since raw meat can contain harmful bacteria that affect gut and immune health, this can exacerbate dogs’ symptoms with Cushing’s.

Choosing dehydrated or freeze-dried raw food is a better option. 

If you choose a homemade diet, be sure to work with your vet. This is to ensure your dog is getting all the vitamins and minerals they need, along with protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

dog eating

What to Look for When Buying Food for Cushing’s Disease

Now that you know more about Cushing’s disease and how to support your pup with the proper diet better let’s talk about what to look for in their dog food. 

Highly Digestible Protein 

Your dog’s metabolism and digestion system won’t have to work as hard to process the food with highly digestible protein.

And these proteins also include essential amino acids to build and maintain lean muscle, which is harder to do with Cushing’s. 

Look for digestible protein sources like real meats — including chicken, lamb, fish, beef, and eggs. Meat meals are okay too but should be the first ingredient. 

If your dog also suffers from allergies, a hydrolyzed protein formula may work well. 

Low in Fat 

With Cushing’s disease, cortisol levels are higher, which can cause other issues like blood sugar spikes and higher cholesterol. Because of this, a food that’s lower in fat can help manage these issues. 

While upwards of 15% Crude Fat is okay, the lower, the better. Foods with fat levels between 10%-12% are best. 

Moderate Fiber

All dogs need fiber, but it’s vital for dogs with Cushing’s disease. Fiber helps regulate gut health, keeps stool firm and regular, and also helps keep the digestive tract clear.

Look for ingredients like prebiotics (found in many complex carbs) and starches like potato starch. 

Low Purine 

With Cushing’s disease, your dog’s kidneys and liver can also be affected. To keep these organs in better shape, look at foods lower in purines.

This means avoiding formulas that have a lot of organ meats and limited portions of mussels and sardines. 

Low Sodium and Chloride

While this isn’t a concern for all dogs with Cushing’s, it is essential to consider if your dog also experiences high blood pressure. You may also want to stick to low sodium if your dog is a senior since their metabolism and heart won’t be as strong as during their young years. 

Low Calcium 

All dogs need calcium. But, pups with Cushing’s disease shouldn’t have too much. This is because excess calcium can cause mineral deposits in the skin to become painful.

Instead, choose a food that doesn’t have more than 2% calcium. 

Our Verdict

Your furry friend can still live a long, healthy, and fulfilled life with canine Cushing’s disease. With the right treatment plan and the proper diet, they’ll be back to their usual self in no time at all. 

Our favorite is Purina Pro Plan Adult Weight Management Formula dry dog food.  

This dog food contains plenty of prebiotics and probiotics to better digestion and reduce inflammation caused by Cushing’s. 

But no matter which dog food you choose, this list has foods that support dogs no matter their age, breed, or how much TLC they need. 

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author
AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

Save 30% on your next dog food order!

We have partnered with Chewy.com to offer the best deal on high-quality dog food to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.