Bladder stones are painful and can lead to serious health concerns if not treated. They are also painful and can cause your dog to feel miserable. Fortunately, bladder stones are treatable, and you can help prevent them from forming with simple diet modifications.
Since you will most likely have to feed a therapeutic food to your dog for the rest of their life, it is important to make sure it is nutritionally balanced. We put together a review list of the top six dog foods for bladder stones, along with a buyer’s guide that will help you find the appropriate food for your dog.
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The 6 Best Dog Foods for Bladder Stones
1. Purina Veterinary Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
When your dog suffers from bladder stones, the Purina Veterinary food is ideal for supporting and offering balanced nutrition. It is formulated with reduced sodium, phosphorous, and protein to lessen the workload on the kidneys.
This dog food is made in the U.S.A. and contains 12.5% protein, 0.5% calcium, and 0.4% sodium and phosphorus. The main ingredient is whole grain corn, followed by brewer’s rice. To decrease the amount of protein in the food, it doesn’t contain meat-based protein but instead uses corn and rice. There are added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to provide complete nutrition for your dog.
The Purina is a large kibble and may be challenging for smaller dogs to chew, but it can be moistened with water for easier eating. Some low-sodium dog foods are bland and it can be difficult to find one that your dog will eat, but most dogs love the taste of the Purina Pro Plan for kidney function.
2. Blue Buffalo Wet Dog Food – Best Value
Our pick for the best dog food for bladder stones for the money is Blue Buffalo Basics because it is high in nutritional value while decreasing food sensitivities. If your dog suffers from calcium oxalate stones, this dog food is optimal because it doesn’t contain any wheat. Canned food also adds water to your dog’s diet, which is an important factor in preventing stone formation.
The recipe contains turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin, which provides protein while aiding digestion. Your dog will also benefit from the addition of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that support skin and coat health. Though this formula is not made specifically for kidney issues, it is an affordable option if your dog has a certain type of bladder stone.
3. Royal Canin Urinary Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice
Royal Canin has developed a food that bolsters your dog’s urinary tract and bladder health. It can help dissolve struvite stones and prevent calcium oxalate stones. When your dog eats this food, it helps create an environment that is unfriendly to crystal formation in the bladder and inhibits more struvite stones from developing.
The main ingredients are brewers rice, corn, and chicken fat. As such, this food has a chicken flavor that dogs enjoy eating. This veterinary-exclusive food increases the amount of urine that your dog produces, which dilutes the minerals that cause stone formation. Another benefit of this food is the decreased levels of magnesium that make for an unfavorable environment for struvite stones to form, and the Relative Super Saturation (RSS) helps diminish ion concentration.
On the downside, this food is pricey, but it can be fed to all breeds of dogs, small and large. Royal Canin has 17% protein, 10% moisture, and 0.75% calcium.
4. Blue Buffalo Wet Dog Food – Best for Puppies
They make this canned dog food with real turkey and chicken for a high-protein option for your dog. It does not contain any wheat or soy, ingredients that your dog should avoid if they suffer from urate or purine stones. Blue Wilderness prides itself on creating food from the finest natural ingredients, free of artificial flavors and preservatives.
This wet dog food contains 10% protein and 78% moisture, so you know your dog is receiving plenty of water with their meal. On the downside, some wet dog foods can lead to gassiness, which may not be pleasant for your dog or you. Typically, however, the gas resolves over time, and transitioning to the wet food gradually will help prevent gas from becoming bothersome. On the upside, this food is enhanced with plenty of vitamins and minerals to support a balanced diet for your puppy.
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5. Hills Diet Urinary Tract Dry Dog Food
To help prevent crystal formations that turn into struvite bladder stones, the Hills Diet is formulated with reduced levels of protein, magnesium, and phosphorus. It has 18% protein, 10% water, 0.7% phosphorus, and 0.12% magnesium. The main ingredient is corn to reduce the amount of protein in the food.
It is also low sodium and has added antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system. It’s good to note that Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians developed this formula to support dogs’ bladder health.
The kibble is little enough that small breeds can eat this with ease, and most dogs enjoy the flavor too. Hill’s Diet is pricey but provides enough calcium to prevent the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
6. Grandma Lucy’s PUREformance Dog Food
A way to add extra supplements to your dog’s diet to improve bladder health is by feeding Grandma Lucy’s freeze-dried dog food to your pet. It consists of fruits and vegetables that help prevent the development of urate or purine bladder stones.
Ingredients include chickpeas, cranberries, apples, flaxseed, pumpkin, and papaya. It is free of grains, by-products, and preservatives. You can rest assured that you are providing plenty of antioxidants, fiber, nutritious oils, and vitamins and minerals to support your dog’s health.
It is easy to prepare by mixing it with warm water and then adding meat if prescribed by your veterinarian. This mixture is ideal for dogs to chew, and they love the flavor combination. Grandma Lucy’s food does well at keeping the pH of your dog’s urine balanced to prevent stones from forming. On the downside, some individuals don’t like the smell of the garlic incorporated in the recipe.
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Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Food for Bladder Stones
As you research dog food that can help with bladder stones, there are certain considerations to keep in mind. This buyer’s guide is a resource to help you find the right dog food to support bladder health in your canine friend.
The 3 Types of Bladder Stones Found in Dogs
Before figuring out what dog food is best for your dog with bladder stones, you should know what type of stone is afflicting your dog. Each stone is caused by different factors, and you don’t want to give your dog the wrong type of food that could potentially make the problem worse.
Your veterinarian is a great resource to provide further insight into the type of stone that you are dealing with, and they can advise you about foods your dog should and shouldn’t eat. There are other methods of dealing with bladder stones, but this article focuses on food.
1. Struvite Bladder Stones
This type of stone is created when ammonia is mixed with magnesium and phosphorus, forming the mineral struvite. It begins when your dog gets a bladder infection caused by the bacteria staphylococci (staph) or proteus. The bacteria break down the urea (protein waste from urine) into ammonia and bicarbonate. Unfortunately, the bicarbonate causes the urine to become alkaline, which inhibits struvite from dissolving. Consequently, your dog now has a bladder stone.
Preventing a bladder infection will hinder a struvite stone from forming. Therefore, keeping your dog’s immune system strong and encouraging fluid intake will help immensely. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in your dog’s food will support a healthy immune system. Food formulated with low protein (especially meat protein) and decreased amounts of phosphorous and magnesium will promote acidic urine, which helps dissolve the minerals that create struvite stones.
2. Calcium Oxalate Stone
When acidic urine is high in calcium, citrates, or oxalates, this can be a risk for your dog to develop calcium oxalate stones. If the intestinal bacteria, oxalobacter, is reduced (such as with over-use of antibiotics), the excess oxalate that these bacteria usually ingest is excreted into the urine, thus increasing the risk of a stone forming.
Diets that dilute the urine to promote less acidity and food with probiotics and animal protein are ideal at preventing these stones from forming. Canned dog food offers higher amounts of water to dilute the urine. Avoid dog foods with wheat and organ meat because they have high oxalate content.
3. Urate Stones
These stones are made from purines and form in highly acidic or concentrated urine. Certain breeds are more susceptible to these stones due to their DNA. This is the least common of the stones and may also be referred to as purine stones. Foods that contain purines, such as organ meats, can form urate stones.
Increasing fluids to dilute your dog’s urine while decreasing foods that are high in purine will help prevent these from forming. A diet high in vegetables and low in meat and soy protein, with no oats or barley, is ideal.
When looking for a dog food, check out the mineral content to see how much is included in the formula. The moisture level is of high importance if you want to dilute your dog’s urine. Be aware of the protein content and what protein source is used, since some stones are formed by meat or organ proteins.
Feeding your dog the right food will help prevent stones from forming in the future and decrease recovery time from a bladder stone if one does form. Provide your dog with food that is appropriate for the type of stone causing the problem. Your veterinarian can perform tests that tell you what you are dealing with.
Signs your dog has a bladder stone:
- Blood in the urine
- Loss of appetite
- Straining when urinating
- Signs of pain with urination
- Frequent urination
- Urinary accidents
- Licking at urinary opening
Bladder stones are confirmed with an X-ray or ultrasound, and early identification is important. If you notice any symptoms, have your veterinarian evaluate your dog. Immediate attention is warranted if you notice that your dog is straining to urinate or can’t urinate at all.
Knowing the link between diet and stone formation will provide you with the knowledge of what type of food is appropriate for your dog. Our reviews list offers six different foods that are best for bladder stones.
Our top choice is the Purina Veterinary food, which is low in phosphorus and protein while offering a complete and balanced formula for optimal nutrition. The best value is the Blue Buffalo Basics, which is an affordable option if your dog suffers from calcium oxalate stones, since it is high in water content and contains no wheat. Royal Canin Canine is the premium choice, and if the price isn’t a factor, your dog will benefit from this food that supports the urinary tract and bladder health.
We hope these reviews and buyer’s guide will ease some of the frustration of choosing a dog food that has the potential to keep your dog healthy and prevent bladder stones from becoming an issue.
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