Diet Recommendations for Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder stones in dogs are painful and can often be relieved or prevented by a proper diet. Because bladder stones are caused by a buildup of minerals, ensure that your dog has the right balance of minerals in his diet.

Symptoms of Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are caused by a buildup of minerals and wastes in your dog's bladder that crystallize and become stones. While dogs age 4 to 6 are more often affected, dogs of any age and breed can be afflicted with bladder stones. Females obtain them more often than males.

This is a painful condition that may cause your dog to act irritable or cry out in pain when you can't determine the cause. Other symptoms include frequent urination, blood in the urine, lethargy, weakness and loss of appetite. Your dog may urinate frequently but in small amounts, and he may strain or appear to be in pain when urinating. He may also lick his genital area more frequently.

Preventative Diet

Because some commercial diets are deficient in certain minerals, other minerals in your pet's body often increase to fill in the gaps in his diet. This causes a buildup that can result in bladder stones.

To prevent this from occurring, especially in a dog that has previously had bladder stones, a balanced diet is extremely important. Protein from an animal source helps maintain an acidic pH, preventing the alkaline pH that causes the most common type of bladder stones.

Make sure that you are feeding a high quality diet, with good protein sources. Avoid foods that contain meat byproducts, corn and wheat, which are low quality fillers and don't provide many nutrients for your dog.

Many veterinarians recommend a home cooked or wet food diet for a dog prone to bladder stones. By making a home cooked diet, you can avoid ingredients that cause the bladder stones in your particular dog, and add ingredients that reduce the chance of recurrence. Wet food diets are beneficial because they consist of 70 percent water, which is important to flush minerals through the bladder.

Don't overfeed your dog, as this may cause him to consume an excess of certain minerals.

Additional Supplements

The best way for your dog to flush his bladder is urination, so make sure he drinks an adequate amount of water each day. Add a little sodium-free broth or cranberry juice to add flavor to the water if necessary.

Increase your dog's intake of calcium and magnesium, minerals that prevent bladder stones. A spoonful or two of cottage cheese on your dog's food is a good addition of dairy that won't upset his stomach.

A small spoonful of apple vinegar can increase the acidity of the stomach. Since this doesn't taste good, you may need to mix it in a home cooked meal. Adding a few cranberries or a little cranberry juice can also help flush the bladder.

If your dog suffers from kidney stones, it's important to find a balanced diet that provides high quality ingredients. Look for foods with fresh or human-grade ingredients, or design a home cooked diet for your dog.