- Struvite bladder stones are the most common type of bladder stone in dogs, and are contracted from a bacterial infection of the bladder via the urethra.
- Unlike other types of bladder stone, struvite bladder stones are not primarily caused by diet. But restricting your dog’s diet could help dissolve the stones and relieve your dog of the condition.
- Homemade dog food for struvite bladder stones can be a bit resource-intensive because of the nature of the condition, but it’s well worth it if you’re set on a natural remedy for this illness.
Dogs can develop many of the health problems that humans have, including kidney or bladder stones. Just like with us, struvite bladder stones in particular are quite common in canines. Bladder stones generally form from minerals that build up in the bladder and resemble small rocks. Struvite stones specifically develop due to a buildup of magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate as a reaction to an upper urinary tract infection.
Such infections are caused by bacteria that secrete ammonia, which combine with the magnesium and phosphorus in the urine, as well as calcium carbon-apatite, to form struvite crystals and subsequently turn your dog’s urine alkaline. Canine urine is normally acidic, so any struvite that forms usually dissolves. However, if the concentration of struvite is higher than normal or if the urine turns alkaline struvite bladder stones may form. Factors that may contribute to urine turning alkaline include:
- Bladder infections
- Kidney disease
- Antacids or diuretics used long-term
Transitioning your pup to homemade food instead of commercial dog food can help to prevent struvite bladder stones from forming in your dog’s bladder. My tried and tested homemade dog food for struvite bladder stones is just the recipe for that task. Alternatively, try out one of the best fresh dog food brands if you’re too busy to cook your own dog food.
A Quick Rundown on Struvite Bladder Stones
Bladder stones are known to be a somewhat common problem among canines, with struvite bladder stones being the most common variety.
- Constantly urinating
- Difficulty urinating
- Frequently thirsty
- Weird urination pattern (when urinating, your dog might only release a few drops to start, and after a few seconds it may increase to several drops to a stream)
- Poor bladder control
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in urine
As stated above, struvite stones develop because of bacterial infection. Bacteria in the bladder produce urease, an enzyme that fosters the rapid reproduction of bacteria. Urease reacts with the urea in the urine, producing an excess of ammonia, which is the reason why the urine becomes alkaline. As we’ve discussed, alkaline urine does not dissolve struvite crystals well, enabling the development of struvite stones.
Struvite stones tend to be more common in female dogs, likely because their urethra is wider and shorter, making it easier for bacteria to get to the bladder from there.
The main cause for infections are unsanitary environment, swimming or traveling through filthy areas, or even poor hygiene that enables anal bacteria to travel to the urethra.
Lack of hydration is also a key factor in causing struvite bladder stones. If this is your main issue, I find that a small amount of added salt in food encourages dogs to drink more water. Remember that canned food provides more fluid than dry kibble, but nothing beats actual homemade dog food recipes, or products from acclaimed fresh dog food brands.
What Kind of Diet is Best To Treat My Dog’s Bladder Stones?
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, a diet that’s low in protein, magnesium, and phosphorus may reduce the risk of struvite bladder stones in dogs . The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends one gram of protein per one pound of a dog’s body weight each day. Always remember to give your dog plenty of water to encourage urination to help them dissolve and/or pass the crystals, too.
The most typical recipes for struvite bladder stones in dogs are low in magnesium, phosphorous, and protein. The ideal struvite bladder stone recipe is formulated to promote more acidic urine that can assist in dissolving the bladder stones your pup already has and help to prevent new struvite stones from forming.
My Best Veterinarian Approved Recipe For Struvite Bladder Stones
As I’ve shown in all my other homemade dog food recipes, you can easily create healthy, homemade food to improve your pup’s health conditions just by using fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits. This struvite bladder stones recipe is no different. Created with the help of my friend Michael Stavin, DVM, this has helped relieve one of my dogs of a particularly nasty bout of struvite stone symptoms, and prevented recurring struvite stones from appearing since. It has since helped many of my friends’ dogs, and eventually, I hope it will help any of your dogs suffering from this condition as well.
- 2/3 of a cup of 25 percent fat ground beef
- 3 cups of white rice, long-grain
- 2 teaspoons of canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of potassium chloride
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of bone meal powder
- 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt, iodized
- One vitamin and mineral supplement for children
- 50 milligrams of zinc
Cook the rice according to the directions on the packaging. While that’s cooking, brown the ground beef over low heat in a skillet. Afterwards, mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. The recipe provides approximately 1095 kilocalories — about the daily requirement of a 45 lb neutered dog.
As always, remember to consult with your vet in case you need to make any adjustments to the recipe based on factors such as:
- Activity level
- Current health
- Medical history
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What can I feed a dog with struvite stones?
Foods that have lower oxalate levels include peeled apples without the core or seeds, fish, meats, and wild rice. Struvite crystals often form as a result of a urinary tract infections (UTI) that will require veterinary treatment. However, low oxalate foods can help to dissolve them.
2. What foods should dogs with struvite crystals avoid?
You should avoid feeding your dog foods made with grains including corn, brown rice, and wheat as they are all high in oxalate. Grains create alkaline urine in dogs that make them more susceptible to developing struvite stones. An alkaline ph is necessary for struvite stones to form and can’t form in acidic urine. Additional foods to avoid include:
Vinegar that’s not distilled like organic apple cider vinegar found in some foods, should also be avoided.
3. What can I feed a dog with bladder crystals?
The answer largely depends on what type of bladder stone you’re dealing with. Only three types have been documented to respond well to dissolution via dietary regimen: purine stones, cystine stones, and struvite stones. For the first two, a protein-restricted diet that promotes alkaline urine pH is required. For struvite stones, veterinarians advise foods high in fat, although this might increase the likelihood of pancreatitis. In general as with humans, high sodium is to be avoided.
4. Is canned pumpkin good for dogs with bladder stones?
Adding canned pumpkin can soothe the digestive system when a dog has an upset from bladder stones or even an upset stomach. The most important point is that you should only feed your dog 100 percent plain pumpkin. You should never use pumpkin pie filling since it contains additional ingredients that are harmful to dogs.