Just like humans, dogs can develop stones in their bladder, leading to problems peeing, pain when urinating and general discomfort. Left untreated, they’ll not only make your dog miserable but can cause more serious health complications. Bladder stones form when there’s a disturbance in the PH balance in their urine and can be brought on by urinary infections, dehydration or an imbalanced diet. And if your dog is prone to bladder stones, he will always be at risk of developing them, unless his human steps in with the right therapeutic diet.
As well as working with your veterinarian to ensure your dog gets appropriate treatment, you can help by adjusting his diet. But it doesn’t need to be complicated as there are a host of quality dog food specifically formulated for bladder stones and urinary issues in canines. We take a bite out of seven of the best dog food for bladder stones products so you can decide which is best for your stone-prone dog.
This veterinary formula from the natural brand Blue Buffalo is designed to help manage both urinary and weight issues, without denying your pooch mealtime satisfaction. Both the fat and calorie levels are managed for nutritional balance while helping to keep him a lean, not so mean canine. Plus, you get a decent amount of fiber in this dog bladder stones diet to keep him feeling fuller for longer. And if struvite crystals are an issue, this dry meal has controlled mineral levels, including magnesium and sodium, to help keep his bladder happy and stone-free.
Read here our detailed Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review.
Calorie content: 309kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 30%
Minimum fat: 10%
Maximum fiber: 17%
Maximum moisture: 10%
Managed minerals, fat and calories to support urinary health and weight loss
Grain-free and all-natural ingredients
First five ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, pea starch, peas, pea protein
For dogs who already have struvite stones, this moist dog food from Purina Pro Plan can help to dissolve them. Not only that, but thanks to its balanced formula, it can also help to prevent the formation of both struvite and calcium oxalate stones and crystals in their bladder. The moisture levels in this quality dog food to prevent bladder stones are high to help keep up your dog’s water intake and the formula has been designed to create an ‘unfavorable environment’ for bladder stone formation. Nutritionally balanced, this urinary care dog food can help to keep your pup happy and urinary tract healthy.
For more information on the brand, check out our Purina Pro Plan Dog Food Review.
Calorie content: 1,041 kcal/kg
Minimum protein: 7.5%
Minimum fat: 4.5%
Maximum fiber: 3%
Maximum moisture: 78%
Developed to help dissolve struvite stones in the bladder
High moisture content to keep your dog hydrated
First five ingredients: chicken, rice, meat by-products, liver, powdered cellulose
Hill’s Pets’ Urinary Care is a quality wet dog food that tastes delicious and will nourish and satisfy a healthy canine appetite. Using whole chicken as the main protein source, Urinary Care is also carefully balanced to tackle any stones issues in their bladder. The levels of phosphorus, magnesium and calcium are precisely formulated so not to over-mineralize your dog’s system, reducing their risk of developing more struvite or calcium oxalate stones. The formula has also been enriched with vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3s to boost their immunity and general well-being.
Read in-depth our Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review.
Calorie content: 463kcal/can
Minimum protein: 5.5%
Minimum fat: 4%
Maximum fiber: 2%
Maximum moisture: 74%
Precision levels of magnesium, calcium and phosphorus
Fortified with antioxidants, potassium citrate and omega-3 fatty acids
First five ingredients: beef by-products, chicken, rice, whole grain corn, pork liver
Royal Canin is considered a premium brand for dogs and it’s easy to see why as with their Urinary SO formula you get quality, taste and targeted nutrition. And with 24, 13.6-ounce cans in the pack, you get a decent amount of dog food for your money. Royal Canin SO has lower magnesium, calcium and oxalate levels to help prevent the formation of crystals plus high levels of moisture to boost water intake and dilute the minerals that can cause stones. The formula also works to dissolve existing stones, while omega 3sreduce inflammation and boost bladder and kidney health. As one of the best nutritional solutions for bladder stones, Royal Canin Urinary SO Dog Food is a premium buy.
Take a look at our Royal Canin Dog Food Review.
Calorie content: 478kcal/can
Minimum protein: 5.6%
Minimum fat: 5.9%
Maximum fiber: 2.1%
Maximum moisture: 73.5%
Boosted moisture to increase urine output
Lowered levels of magnesium, calcium and oxalate
First five ingredients: chicken liver, chicken by-products, pork by-products, corn grits, corn starch
While not developed specifically for bladder stones in dogs, Merrick Lil’Plates are a good choice for a small pooch who may be struggling to keep up with their daily water intake. With dehydration a factor in the potential formation of crystals, the whopping 82% moisture level in these tasty wet dog food portions is going to help make up for any shortfall. Made from quality deboned meat and free from grain, gluten, corn, soy or artificial ingredients, your little chap won’t miss out on taste either. All the ingredients are natural, and the formula is high on glucosamine and chondroitin too, to keep their joints healthy and supple.
For a full list of our favorite options, see our round-up of Merrick Dog Food.
Calorie content: 93kcal/bowl
Minimum protein: 8%
Minimum fat: 3%
Maximum fiber: 1.4%
Maximum moisture: 82%
Made with quality deboned meat as the number one protein source
Fortified with vitamins, minerals, glucosamine and chondroitin
First five ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken broth, turkey broth, chicken liver, dried egg whites
Your dog may have had bladder stones but there’s no reason he should miss out on taste just to keep those crystals at bay. And with The Honest Kitchen’s delicious organic whole oats and chicken recipe, there’s nothing in this formula to irritate his bladder. It’s dehydrated so you can control the moisture levels, depending on your dog’s size and individual needs. As a natural dog food for bladder stones, there are no by-products, artificial preservatives or GMO ingredients to inflame your dog’s system. Simply add water, leave for a few minutes and you’re ready to serve a tasty meal to boost their nutrition as well as their moisture levels, keeping them happily peeing and crystal free!
Calorie content: 485kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 24.5%
Minimum fat: 14%
Maximum fiber: 4%
Maximum moisture: 8%
Dehydrated formula – just add water to serve
Organic ingredients, fortified with vitamins and minerals
First five ingredients: dehydrated chicken, organic barley, dehydrated potatoes, organic flaxseed, organic oats
Formulated for small dogs with urinary issues, Royal Canin has come up with a bladder stone-busting dry food that doesn’t skimp on taste. Royal Canin Urinary SO for small dogs uses Relative Super Saturation methodology to increase urine production to dilute the minerals that can cause crystals and stones. With a reduction in ions in the urine, the result is a bladder environment that works to prevent both struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. The shape of the kibble also helps to take care of their dental health, reducing plague build up on their teeth. And as our Best Value pick, Royal Canin Urinary SO can be fed on its own, or mixed with wet food, for a delicious, satisfying meal.
Calorie content: 358kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 18%
Minimum fat: 15%
Maximum fiber: 3.6%
Maximum moisture: 10%
Increases urine production and reduces crystal forming ions
Kibble shaped to help remove plaque from canine teeth
First five ingredients: brewers rice, corn, chicken fat, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal
Bladder stones are small stones that form in the bladder and come in varying sizes, from grain to gravel-sized stones, and often several at a time. There are two main types of bladder stone – those made from struvite, which are the most common, and those made from calcium oxalate. Dogs can also be affected by silicate, cystine, and urate stones.
Bladder stones typically start as minute crystals and build up into stones over time. Each type of stone has different causes:
Your dog may be more prone to bladder stones due to their breed – pug, basset hound, Dalmatian, welsh corgi, Shi Tzu, cocker spaniel, miniature schnauzer, beagle, Pekingese, dachshund, and bulldog are all more susceptible to high PH levels in their urine. Dehydration, conditions such as liver disease and bacterial urinary tract infections can also make your dog more vulnerable to developing stones.
The early stages of bladder stones may not show any symptoms and it’s usually when the stones are larger will you see the effects on your dog. If you suspect bladder stones in your dog, here are the main symptoms to look for:
If you suspect bladder stones are behind your dog’s symptoms, get him checked out by the vet so a correct diagnosis as to the type of stone and a treatment plan – including therapeutic diets – can be formulated to reduce and prevent stone formation in your pet.
Your dog’s diet is essential in the prevention of stone formation as well as the reduction of existing bladder stones so there are certain things you need to consider when buying a dog food formulated for bladder stones:
High moisture content: Keeping the urine diluted is one of the best ways to dissolve stones and stop more forming.
Managed protein levels: As a canine, your dog needs protein in his diet but too much and stones, especially calcium oxalate stones, can start to form. The best food for your stone-prone dog is made with moderate amounts of high-quality animal protein.
Managed mineral levels: Certain minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and calcium are all causal factors in the formation of bladder stones, so while they are essential in your dog’s diet, they must be in carefully managed amounts.
Natural ingredients: Look for therapeutic diets which are made from natural ingredients, with minimal or no preservatives, artificial colors, flavoring and fillers. The more natural the ingredients, the less your dog’s kidneys or bladder need to filter out.
Balanced nutrition: While his diet needs to manage the amount of proteins and certain ingredients your dog eats, it shouldn’t be at the cost of balanced nutrition. Ensure his dog food provides all the essential vitamins and minerals he needs, at the right levels for bladder stone management.
If your dog has bladder stones or is experiencing repeat urinary tract infections, he may be put on a therapeutic diet by your vet. To minimize the impact of stones on your dog and to prevent new ones forming there are certain foods he should avoid or cut out altogether. But it does depend on the type of stone your dog has or has had. Food that’s high in protein, magnesium and phosphorus should be avoided for struvite stones, as managed levels are essential. For oxalate stones, calcium-rich foods should be carefully managed in your dog’s diet. For guidance on what food to avoid for the particular type of bladder stone your dog has, always consult with your veterinary professional as it’s essential any therapeutic diets followed are nutritionally balanced.
A: As well as any treatments prescribed by your vet, your bladder stone prone dog’s diet will play an essential role in getting him back to health. Moisture-rich dog food will also keep the PH levels of his urine balanced, which can help to dissolve any existing stones. And a correctly formulated and balanced diet will work to keep his bladder healthy and prevent any future stone formation.
A: Yes, dogs can pass bladder stones as long as they are small enough. Treatment, whether that’s via their diet or through veterinary intervention – or both – can also work to break up larger stones or dissolve them all together so the crystals can be easily passed by your dog with minimal discomfort. Stones that are too large or become lodged and cannot be treated through medication or diet, may need non-surgical or surgical removal.
If your pooch is prone to bladder stones and putting on weight, this carefully formulated dry dog food to prevent struvite crystals is a flavorsome best choice to add to his food bowl. Fat and calorie managed, with reduced levels of minerals and grain-free, Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Weight Management + Urinary Care is a tasty therapeutic diet which also works to support their all-round good health.