Did you know your dog can get bladder stones? These fall into six categories, depending on mineral composition…they can also be compound or mixed. It can get somewhat involved, and I will only touch on some important points and give my guidance to help understand and work with nutrition to improve the chances your dog won’t have to deal with this issue.
Treatment depends on which kind of stones are present - - it is necessary for your vet to make an accurate diagnosis, which an x-ray will confirm. All breeds, ages, and male or female dogs are at risk, however the highest risk is for small, female dogs between the ages of 4 to 8 and prone to bladder infections. These stones are more dangerous for male dogs due to their anatomy, as there is more chance of a blockage of urine flow, which can prove fatal. If your dog is prone to bladder infections or you suspect your dog might have a bladder infection, you can purchase PH testing strips for around $12 to test the PH level of their urine. It might be a good idea to have these on hand before you need them…or to check in advance when you know your dog is not having any issues. On a PH scale of 1 to 14, 7 is considered neutral. Normal PH for a dog’s urine is 5.5 to 7, although this can vary up or down from dog to dog. Try to get the first ‘catch’ of the day when obtaining a sample.
There are some breeds more pre-disposed than others, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Dachunds and Dalmations to name a few, and some of this is due to genetics, but again, any breed can get them.
So can they be prevented? Well, I always feel there’s no 100% guarantee in anything, but there are steps we as responsible pet owners can take that will hopefully keep it from happening in the first place. Water is the most important asset, and not just any water. Distilled water is best to help prevent them because there are no minerals in it. Allowing your dog access to plenty of clean water will help dilute urine strength and promote more frequent urination, which will help keep the bladder flushed out. Allow your dog plenty of pottie breaks. If your dog has to ‘hold it’ too long and too many times, bladder stones are more likely to develop.
My suggestion would be if your dog has a history of bladder infections, be pro-active in their diet. This gets into cooking for your dog. Offer cranberries (run through a food processor)…adding them to plain organic yogurt, sweetened with a little local raw honey, or mix a little in with meat…like turkey. Remember, don’t feed large quantities too often of fresh fruits, as this could disrupt the colon. Consider making batches and freezing small quantities for later use. You can also purchase cranberry supplements to add to their food, which aids in preventing bladder infections. Only Natural Pet has several supplements from Cranberry Wellness Powder to Chinese Herbal supplements and much more. Ascorbic acid (a form of Vitamin C) can also be used.
Surgery is a typical means by which to eradicate bladder stones, and recurrence is possible in some cases even after removal. This is proof positive that nutrition (water included) is a top defense in waylaying the onset of bladder stones. Adjust your dog’s diet according to the PH results. Too much alkaline, add more acidic foods such as chicken, beef, eggs, yogurt, fish, pork, rice, or cottage cheese. Too much acid, add more alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables (not more than 25% of their total diet) Foods with a good moisture content such as chicken broth (low sodium), yogurt, homemade soup, and cottage cheese are suitable choices for a healthy diet as well.
Do everything you can to boost your dog’s immune system, and keep it up to par, so that should health issues or illness arise, your dog has a strong immunity to assist in the healing process.