When the pH of your dog's urine rises above the neutral value of 7, it's alkaline. This can lead to the formation of harmful bladder stones as well as painful bladder infections. Fortunately, special prescription foods available through your veterinarian can treat Fido without the need for medication. These foods contain ingredients to lower the pH of urine and prevent stones from forming.
Signs of urinary tract issues such as urinary stones include blood in the urine, trouble urinating, urinating inappropriately indoors and increased water consumption, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. You need a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Testing will determine if Fido's urine is normal. Normal urinary pH for a pooch is between 5.5 and 7.0, which is slightly acidic to neutral, according to the Whole Dog Journal. Lower levels indicate acidic urine and higher levels indicate alkaline urine. Depending on the diagnosis, your vet may prescribe a special diet for your pup that will lower the pH of his urine if it's too high. Some veterinary diets that discourage alkaline urine include Hill's Canine s/d or c/d prescription diets and Royal Canin's Urinary SO.
Dogs with high urine pH are prone to the formation of struvite bladder stones, which irritate the lining of the bladder and can cause urinary blockages. Prescription canned and dry diets to treat alkaline urine contain lower amounts of ingredients like protein, magnesium and phosphorous than other foods. This balance of ingredients helps to acidify the urine while discouraging stone formation, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals website. The foods also have higher amounts of salt in the form of sodium chloride to encourage a dog to drink more. Higher water intake dilutes your pup's urine and lowers its pH value to a more neutral level, according to PetEducation.com. Not only do these foods lower the pH value of the urine, they also help dissolve existing struvite stones.
Foods and Supplements
If your pooch has alkaline urine, look for foods and treats that contain ingredients like cranberry extract, probiotics and vitamin C, all of which promote more acidic urine and lower urine pH, recommends the Whole Dog Journal. Other supplements like DL-methionine can also acidify your dog's urine, according to the Minnesota Urolith Center at the University of Minnesota. Many manufacturers of prescription diets that lower your pup's pH include this ingredient in their foods for this reason. Avoid feeding your pup vegetables or foods that are high in carbohydrates and fiber like grains, which can make his urine more alkaline, warns Dr. Ronald Hines' 2ndChance.info website.
Keep other dogs away from your pooch's prescription food; it can make normal urine more acidic, causing different types of urinary stones. Some prescription urinary diets are safe to feed your pup long-term, while others, like Hill's s/d, are meant only for short-term stone dissolution, usually fed for no more than six months at a time. Many prescription foods that help acidify your pup's urine contain higher levels of fats to add calories because they contain lower levels of proteins. This high fat and sodium content isn't appropriate for pups suffering with pancreatitis, heart disease, kidney issues or high blood pressure.
By Susan Paretts
Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Canine Struvite Bladder Stones
Minnesota Urolith Center at the University of Minnesota: Canine Struvite Uroliths
PetEducation.com: Bladder Stones (Urinary Calculi) in Dogs
VCA Animal Hospitals: Struvite Bladder Stones in Dogs
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Lower Urinary Tract Problems and Infections in Dogs
Hill's Pet Nutrition: Synopses of Clinical Studies Supporting Use of Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d, s/d, u/d and x/d Formulas_4-24-08.pdf)
Iams: Cystitis and Urolithiasis in Dogs
2ndChance.info: Kidney and Bladder Stones In Dogs and Cats
Hill's Pet Nutrition: Hill's Prescription Diet s/d Canine Dissolution
Long Beach Animal Hospital: Bladder Stones
Hill's Pet Nutrition: Canine Urinary Health
petMD: Using Diet to Treat and Prevent Bladder Stones
About the Author
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, crafts, television, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared in "The Southern California Anthology" and on Epinions. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.