Alkaline Diet for Dogs

An alkaline diet for your dog can change his health, and it may be advised to help alleviate certain canine health conditions. Let’s look at what pH levels mean, what the pH level of most commercially prepared dog foods are, the components of an alkaline diet, how alkaline water may help your dog, what health benefits alkaline diets or water provide and if there are instances when they may not be a good idea for your pet.

Before we discuss the finer points of an alkaline diet, let’s take a few minutes to review the difference between alkaline and acidic pH. Solutions are measured on a scale from 0 to 14, and they are considered alkaline if their pH level is higher than 7. Solutions are considered acidic if their pH level measures below 7. Pure water is considered neutral at the midpoint of the scale with a pH level of 7.

As far as your dog’s health is concerned, his blood or urinary pH levels may be discussed by your veterinarian. Urinary pH is of particular concern if your dog is prone to kidney or bladder stones.

The pH Levels of Commercially Prepared Dog Food

Except for certain prescription diets designed to alter a dog’s urinary pH level to prevent the formation of bladder and kidney stones, most commercially prepared dog foods tend to have acidic pH levels. 

What Comprises an Alkaline Diet

A homemade alkaline diet is comprised of natural raw foods, especially vegetables. Foods that may increase dietary alkaline levels include:

  • alfalfa
  • apples
  • bananas
  • beans
  • celery
  • cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cabbage)
  • cucurbit vegetables (pumpkins and squash)
  • potatoes

Natural apple cider vinegar, unsweetened cranberry juice and vegetable juices can also increase dietary alkaline levels.

In addition to the vegetables listed above, your dog’s body will benefit from a raw food diet that includes bones and organ and muscle meat. You can supplement the meat with greens, such as kale, parsley, romaine, spinach or spirulina algae, to further boost its alkaline level.

The Benefits of Alkaline Water

Several companies are now touting the health benefits of alkaline ionized water (and the accompanying water treatment systems) for pets and people. This specialized water has been credited with improving the health of dogs with a variety of diseases and chronic conditions, including:

  • arthritis
  • digestive problems
  • hip dysplasia
  • respiratory problems
  • thyroid disorders

What Health Conditions Can Benefit from an Alkaline Diet

Oxalate stones form in a dog’s urinary tract when his urine is too acidic. Creating a more alkaline urine may benefit dogs with these types of stones, and feeding them an alkaline diet may help make this change.

When an Alkaline Diet May Not Benefit Your Dog

Dogs that have struvite stones in their urinary tracts will not benefit from an alkaline diet as their bodies are already creating alkaline urine, which is causing the stones to form. Dogs with these types of stones may benefit from other dietary modifications, such as the short-term use of prescription diets or dietary acidifiers to alter urinary pH levels.

Alkaline diets may also not be recommended for some canine kidney problems, which can become worse with an alkaline diet. Dogs that are prone to frequent urinary tract infections may also not benefit from an alkaline diet. Discuss any dietary concerns you have with your veterinarian prior to changing your pet's diet so he or she can help you make the best decision for your dog's health.