Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Denamarin vs Milk Thistle: Key Differences (Vet Answer)

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt Profile Picture

By Dr. Joanna Woodnutt

danamarin vs milk thistle 1

Vet approved

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt Photo

Written by

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt

BVM BVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Denamarin and milk thistle are nutritional supplements frequently given to dogs suffering from liver disease. The ingredients in both products are designed to support liver function by acting as an antioxidant; they help your pet’s liver produce new cells to protect them against toxins and inflammation. Both Denamarin and milk thistle contain the ingredient Silybin, but Denamarin also contains s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe).

If you’re looking for a high-quality, science-backed product, then Denamarin is likely going to be your product of choice, but if you’re looking for something that comes in a variety of different forms and at a lower cost, then milk thistle might be your best option. Denamarin comes with an easy-to-use dosing guide, whereas milk thistle can be easily purchased in capsule or liquid form, but it can often come without dosing instructions.

Both products are widely used and recommended by vets and are very popular among pet parents whose four-legged friends have been diagnosed with liver disease. Neither product is known to have any major side effects, and both are easy to give to your pet.

divider 9

At a Glance

Let’s look at the key points of each product.

  • Designed to provide high-level liver support
  • Contains the active ingredients s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and Silybin
  • Available as chewable tablets with easy-to-use dosing guidance
  • A more costly product
Milk Thistle
  • A natural supplement that provides liver support
  • Contains the naturally occurring substance Silybin
  • Available in a variety of forms including liquids, tablets, and powders
  • Widely available
  • Available at a range of costs from low-end to higher-end products

Divider 4

Overview of Denamarin


  • Denamarin is easy to give to your pet as it comes in a tablet or chewable capsule
  • The packaging contains a clear dosing guide, and the capsules/tablets come in different sizes for different-sized pets
  • Denamarin is a veterinary- and science-backed product that is known to provide high-level support to the liver
  • The active ingredient is Silybin, which is known to help support the liver
  • Denamarin also contains an extra ingredient (s-adenosylmethionine) that provides more powerful support to the liver by making the Silybin more bioavailable. This additional ingredient also encourages the production of glutathione, which helps the liver to produce new cells and prevent the loss of further cells
  • Protects the liver against toxins
  • Well tolerated by most pets and has no known major side effects
  • It is a more expensive product
  • Can cause some mild gastrointestinal side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea in some dogs

Divider 8

Overview of Milk Thistle

milk thistle

  • Milk thistle supplements are available in a variety of forms ranging from powders to tablets, capsules, and liquids. This means that there is something to suit every pet!
  • Milk thistle contains the ingredient Silybin, which is known to help support the liver
  • It is well tolerated by most pets and has no known major side effects
  • Milk thistle products are widely available from a range of suppliers, making them simple and easy to purchase
  • Can be a more cost-effective product, as there are so many options on the market ranging from low to high cost – there is something to suit every budget
  • Can cause some mild gastrointestinal side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea in some dogs
  • It can be tricky to work out a dose of milk thistle for your pet, as not all products come with clear instructions or guides
  • Different products contain different amounts of Silybin, meaning that some products are superior to others. It can be difficult to choose which products are the best quality for your pet.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 4What Are the Differences Between Them?

Ingredients and How They Work

Both Denamarin and milk thistle contain the ingredient Silybin. There is strong evidence that Silybin acts as a powerful antioxidant and can help to reduce inflammation. It also encourages the liver to produce new cells in order to continue its function of removing toxins from the body.

The key difference in ingredients between Denamarin and milk thistle is that Denamarin contains the additional ingredient s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). This gives Denamarin more strength as it encourages the body to produce a substance called glutathione, which then helps the liver to produce new cells and regenerate old ones. Additionally, SAMe has lipid-lowering benefits: it prevents and cures lipid accumulation in the liver. This property makes it an excellent treatment in cases of fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. It is the addition of SAMe that makes Denamarin a more effective product than milk thistle.

Price and Availability

Price is a big difference between Denamarin and milk thistle products, and an important aspect to consider if you are cost-conscious when it comes to your pet’s health care. With Denamarin having the addition of SAMe, its therapeutic properties are wider, so while it is a pricey product, it is also highly effective as it has a second ingredient in the formulation.

Milk thistle, on the other hand, is widely available at a range of costs. There is a myriad of products on the market containing milk thistle, and it can be a minefield trying to choose the right one for your pet. You must take care though, as sadly, not all of the products on the market are of equal quality, so ask your vet for a recommendation. The price can vary from low to high, so milk thistle gives you more freedom to choose a product that suits your pocket.

Dosage and Ease of Use

Denamarin comes in a chewable capsule or tablet form, which is easy to give to your pet. The packaging contains clear dosing guidance, which is based on your pet’s body weight. This makes it simple and easy to use.

Milk thistle comes in a range of different forms including liquids and capsules. Working out a dose for your pet can be trickier with these products as they often don’t come with a guide. If you are unsure, your veterinarian will always be happy to help guide you.

australian shepherd dog lying on the couch
Image By: Armin Forster, Pixabay

Divider 5

What the Users Say

We’ve researched what other pet parents have to say about these products. We’ve done this by reading reviews from users, and by paying attention to forum discussions.


As we’ve already discussed, Denamarin has stronger and superior properties when it comes to supporting the liver, and a lot of pet parents choose it for this reason. Reviews for Denamarin frequently state that pet parents have found the product to be hugely effective in their pet’s treatment and how much it has helped. However, many users also comment on the high cost of this supplement.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is also widely praised by users, with many pet parents stating that it really helped their pet and improved their condition. Many reviews comment on the lower cost and ease of availability of milk thistle products, but there are some reviews discussing difficulties in dosing and that they found it harder to give to their pet. As discussed earlier, milk thistle is available in many different forms, so it can take time to find what’s right for your pet. Whereas Denamarin comes in a simple-to-give chewable or tablet form.

The consensus from pet parents and users of liver support supplements such as Denamarin and milk thistle is that Denamarin has superior properties and effects, as well as being easy to use. While milk thistle users also comment on its profound effects, there do appear to be more mixed reviews about these products.

Divider 3


Denamarin and milk thistle both contain the ingredient Silybin, a natural supplement known to be useful in supporting liver function in animals with liver disease. Denamarin also contains s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), which makes the product more effective at supporting the liver.

Denamarin comes in at a higher cost, but it’s worth the extra pennies for its strong action. Milk thistle products are widely available at a range of costs, so if you’re after something affordable this might be a suitable option for you. 

Always speak to your veterinarian before starting your pet on any supplements, as they will be able to recommend the best product for your pet and help you in purchasing a suitable product.

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database