If you have a Dalmatian or an English bulldog, it's probably wise to put your pet on a low purine diet as a proactive measure. That's because both of these popular breeds, especially the former, are prone to developing urate bladder stones. Purines are a specific type of protein, which includes uric acid, and in normal dogs, the liver converts them into allantoins, which are passed out through the urine.
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Dalmatians and other dogs with a singular kidney and liver chemistry can't convert purines to allantoins, so they excrete uric acid in their urine. Because uric acid isn't really water soluble and doesn't pass through readily in urine, it's easy for stones to form in the susceptible dog's bladder. This can be painful and potentially dangerous for your dog.
A less common breed, the black Russian terrier, also has a genetic predisposition to forming uric acid stones, and so does the Parson Russell terrier. Male Dalmatians are far more likely to suffer from uric acid bladder stones than females.
Purines in your dog's diet
Purines are found in meat, especially organ meats. Other meats that are generally high in purines include duck, venison, sardines, and mackerel. While most vegetables and legumes are relatively low in purines, there are exceptions that should not be fed to vulnerable dogs. These include:
- Kidney beans
Foods that are safe for dogs and free from purines include:
- Whole grain cereals and bread if there is no yeast
- Peanut butter
- Nuts, with the exception of macadamia nuts
- Oatmeal, which contains low levels of purines
Low purine meats for dogs
While all meats contain some amount of purines, some don't contain sufficient numbers to affect dogs prone to urate stones. This list of low purine foods includes:
- Most types of poultry, with the exception of goose and duck
- Most types of fish, with the exception of mackerel
If you want to feed your dog a homemade low purine diet, ask your veterinarian for specific recommendations. Obviously, a diet too heavy in cheese or peanut butter will cause problems of its own. These are examples of calorie-dense, high-fat foods that can lead to obesity in dogs. Save cheese and peanut butter for occasional treats. Your veterinarian can help you concoct a safe, well-balanced diet for your dog.
If your dog is overweight or obese, talk with your veterinarian about a low purine diet that is also conducive to weight loss and weight management. Keeping your dog active with daily walks is also helpful in keeping their weight in check.
Low purine diet for dogs
Your veterinarian may prescribe a low purine veterinary diet or recommend a commercial diet for your dog. The Royal Canin Urinary UC Low Purine dog food lists brewers' rice, corn, wheat, egg, chicken fat, and corn gluten meal as its primary ingredients, all of which are on the list of low purine foods. The diet causes the dog's urine to become more alkaline, which reduces the likelihood of stone formation. You can ask the salesperson at your local pet store for recommendations for low purine foods and treats as well.
While all dogs should have ready access to fresh, clean water, it's especially important to Dalmatians and other canines prone to urate stones. You may want to add water to your dog's meal to make a gravy. It's not just dog food you must watch out for; typical dog treats are loaded with purines. Treat your pet with a piece of hard cheese, a carrot, a boiled egg, or a similar purine-free tidbit.