For some pet parents, needing to research the best dog foods for urate stones is an unfortunate reality. A urate stone is a type of kidney stone. It’s a hard accumulation of minerals from your dog’s urine. After it forms, a urate stone may stay in the kidneys or travel into the urinary tract.
Dog food for bladder stones is specially made for your dog’s needs. Depending on the type of bladder stone your pooch has, they will need a diet that helps to control the building blocks of the stone. So, if your dog shows signs of bladder stones, it’s vital to ask your vet for advice.
What Causes Urate Stones in Dogs?
Urate stones (also known as uroliths) are rock-like formations made up of minerals in the urinary bladder. They are more common than kidney stones in dogs. However, uroliths make up about 5% of all bladder stones diagnosed in dogs. The salts of uric acids, such as sodium urate, uric acid, and ammonium urate, are soluble in urine and are the end product of purine catabolism. When these urates become supersaturated in the urine, crystals may form.
The risk factors promoting this include hyperuricosuria (Dalmatian genetic abnormality, liver shunts, and chemotherapy), acidic urine, and highly-concentrated urine. So, controlling these risk factors is important for reducing the risk of recurrence. The golden approach is to use dietary changes, provide more moisture, and in some cases, introduce a medication known as allopurinol.
Urate stones are common in Dalmatians due to a genetic abnormality causing a defect in their uric acid metabolism. According to research, Dalmatians may suffer from a hepatic membrane transport defect. As a result, some Dalmatians have a higher concentration of uric acid in the blood, and uric acid is poorly reabsorbed in the kidneys.
That said, not all Dalmatians will suffer from urate stones, even with the aforementioned hyperuricosuria. Overall, 92% to 97% of Dalmatians with urate uroliths are male. This translates to a prevalence of 27% to 34% in male Dalmatians. This may be because the urethra of the female is shorter and wider than the male. This may allow smaller stones to pass before they worsen.
Luckily for Dalmatians, some dedicated breeders are outcrossing Dalmatians and Pointers. Dr. Schabile spent seven years backcrossing Dalmatians to reestablish the breed type. And, at this point, with the Dalmatian Club of America’s help, the outcrossed dogs were accepted by the AKC. These dogs are sometimes known as “LUA Dalmatians.”
Relatively little is known about how urate stones form in non-dalmatian breeds. However, other breeds at risk of these stones include English Bulldogs, Black Russian Terriers, Pugs, Schnauzers, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terriers. As well as this, breeds related to these are also at risk, including crosses of any of the above. Of all of the breeds mentioned above, English Bulldogs have the highest incidence.
Signs of Urate Stone in Dogs
The symptoms of urate stones in dogs resemble cystitis or a bladder infection. Among the most common symptoms are blood in the urine, straining to go to the toilet and neurological impairment where a liver shunt is involved. These symptoms occur because the uroliths rub against the bladder walls, damaging the tissue and causing it to bleed.
Alongside this, uroliths can cause the bladder to swell and obstruct urine from passing through. If your dog has a large urolith or several small uroliths, they may obstruct the bladder, which can cause the bladder to be unable to empty itself fully.
Where an obstruction is complete, your dog won’t be able to go to the toilet at all. This can be fatal, so your dog will require immediate emergency treatment from your veterinarian. Fortunately, urate stones are one of the few bladder stones that can dissolve.
So, to summarize the symptoms to look out for:
- Straining when going to the toilet
- Blood in the urine
- Passing small amounts of urine
- Accidents in the house
- Drinking and urinating more often
What To Look For When Buying Food for Dogs With Urate Stone Issues?
To prevent and dissolve urate stones in dogs, your vet may recommend a specialist diet. Your dog will benefit from a diet that is lower in protein, as these diets are lower in purine, a building block of urate crystals.
The ideal diet will also be non-acidifying, prompting a slightly alkaline environment in the bladder. It is also important to incorporate moisture into the diet to promote hydration and bladder health. As such, your vet may recommend a wet food or a dry diet, but at least mix a cup of water before feeding.
So, to recap what to look for in a suitable diet:
- Low in purine
- Promotes neutral or alkaline urine pH
- Added moisture for urine dilution
- Veterinary-specific and approved
10 Best Dog Foods For Urate Stones
Because urate stones in dogs are less common than other types, there are fewer dietary options. Here, we will cover the diets that tackle urate stones but also other types of bladder stones as well.
|Royal Canin Adult Urinary UC Dry||Made for urate stones|
Low in purine
|Hill’s Prescription Diet u/d Urinary Care||Made for urate stones|
Low in purine
|Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA||Low in purine|
|Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U||Made for struvite & calcium oxalate stones|
|Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St||Made for struvite & calcium oxalate stones|
|Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare||Made for struvite & calcium oxalate stones|
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Urinary SO||Made for struvite & calcium oxalate stones|
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support||Kidney support|
|Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet||May be beneficial for silica stones||**|
|Purina Canine UR Urinary Ox/St||Made for struvite & calcium oxalate stones|
1. Royal Canin Adult Urinary UC Dry Dog Food
Urinary UC Dry Dog Food is a veterinary-exclusive dry food formulated to control urate stones. It supports urinary health through its inclusion of low purine proteins. It is also free from organ meats and helps to control urine pH, making it all the more suitable for pups with recurring urate stones. Additionally, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, reporting that this diet is effective at preventing recurring urate stones.
The main issues with this diet are the few dogs who do not enjoy the flavor and the size of the kibble. Also, some smaller dogs may struggle to work around the larger kibble size, and there is not yet a smaller option.
2. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Vegetarian Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Vegetarian Dry Dog Food is a veterinary-exclusive diet. While it may not be formulated for urate stones specifically, its ingredients may be effective at controlling them. To begin, its source of protein is corn starch and hydrolyzed soy protein isolate, which is low in purine.
As such, it contains no organ meats, which would be high in purine. The Minnesota Urolith Center recommends this diet for dogs with urate stones. As well as this, this diet may be more suitable for dogs with specific allergies who cannot eat the other foods on our list.
As with any diet, not all customers are entirely satisfied. Some dogs refuse to eat this food, and other customers report the lack of smell, which could make it less delectable for your pooch. And, of course, this diet is not made specifically for urate stones, which could decrease confidence in the product. Therefore, be sure to talk to your vet about your options.
3. Hill's Prescription Diet u/d Urinary Care Original Flavor Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet u/d Urinary Care Original Flavor Dry Dog Food is a veterinary-exclusive diet proven to reduce urate, oxalate, and cystine uroliths. Its main source of protein is dried whole egg, which is not only nutritious but also low in purine.
The Minnesota Urolith Center states that this diet excelled in a cross-over study, wherein Dalmatians on this diet had reduced urolith recurrence and increased urine volume.
One of the main issues with this diet is that the kibble size is small. For larger dogs, this could be an issue, but for small dogs, this diet is suitable. Some pet parents also have concerns about the lack of flavor in this food.
4. Hill's Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Dog Food with Chicken is a dietetic dog food designed to reduce struvite and oxalate stones. Moreover, its blend of ingredients works to control calcium and sodium, thereby lowering the concentration of building blocks for some bladder stones.
Further, it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog’s urinary health. Many pet parents recommend this food, as do veterinarians. For dogs who are too old for surgery, this food can do wonders for controlling bladder stones, making it a viable alternative for some dogs.
The main concerns with this diet are its lack of flavor. Some dogs who are prescribed this diet will not eat it without a tastier topping, such as chicken or canned food. As well as this, this diet is especially effective for uroliths made up of calcium oxalate or struvite – it is not formulated for urate stones specifically.
5. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Urinary SO Loaf Canned Dog Food
Urinary SO Loaf Canned Dog Food is a veterinary-exclusive dog food designed to dissolve struvite stones and prevent calcium oxalate stones. This kibble is also soft in texture, making it more palatable to picky dogs and easier for them to eat. Many pet parents recommend this product for its tastiness, value for money, and its effectiveness in reducing bladder stones.
Some pet parents report that the cans of food arrive dented or of poor quality. For some owners, the smell of the food is offputting and some dogs do not enjoy the taste. As well as this, the food is manufactured for struvite and calcium oxalate stones rather than urate stones.
6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support D Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Dog Food
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Renal Support D Thin Slices in Gravy is a veterinary-exclusive wet food designed to support kidney health. Plus, this diet is energy-dense and provides nutritional support in smaller portions, making it suitable for dogs with kidney issues who have reduced appetites. Because this diet is low in protein, it may be effective at reducing the risk of bladder stone formation.
With that being said, this diet is not formulated for bladder stone control specifically. Rather, it maintains optimum kidney health which can help to prevent the formation of bladder stones. Moreso than other foods on our list, some dogs do not enjoy the taste and refuse to eat this food.
7. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon & Sweet Potato Adult Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon & Sweet Potato is a dry kibble diet made with limited, highly-digestible sources of carbohydrates without any extra peas, pea protein, corn, wheat, or soy. Some pet parents report that this food is one of very few that comes close to being 100% free from silica-containing ingredients. This is important for dogs prone to silica bladder stones, as there is a link between silica uroliths and specific dietary ingredients.
With that being said, this diet is not made to tackle bladder stones specifically. Rather, it is better for dogs with specific allergies, and to prevent the formation of silica uroliths. As well as this, some customers report that their dogs became unwell after a change in formula. And, most importantly, salmon is a high purine ingredient, which may make it unsuitable for pups with urate stones specifically.
8. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St Canine Formula Wet Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St Canine Formula Wet Dog Food is a veterinary-exclusive diet. This diet helps to dilute urine, which benefits dogs who struggle with urate stones. As well as this, the wet formula increases urine volume and decreases the volume of calcium and oxalate. It is also free from organ meats specifically, which could decrease the risk of urate stones. Many dogs also appear to enjoy the flavor of this diet and eat it readily.
One of the main issues with this diet is that it is unsuitable for dogs with chicken allergies. It has also undergone a price change recently, and some pet parents report that it was not effective at preventing bladder stones in their dogs.
9. Purina Canine UR Urinary Ox/St Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St Canine Formula is a veterinary-exclusive diet formulated to reduce the risk of and dissolve struvite and calcium oxalate stones. The primary protein source of this diet is whole grain corn, rice, and chicken by-product meal. So, the lack of organ meats may reflect lower purine levels.
There are three size options: 6lbs, 16.5lbs, and 25lbs offering a range of support as you require. Many pet parents report that this diet has successfully controlled their furry friends’ struvite and calcium oxalate stones, and even picky pups seem to enjoy the flavor.
Some customers report a foul smell from some bags of food. Others report that the diet was unsuccessful at controlling their pups’ urinary stones. Another downside is that this food is not specially tailored for urate stones.
10. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care Dry Dog Food is a special diet for urinary health and weight control. It is made with deboned chicken and is free from by-product meals, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives.
The chicken flavoring goes down a treat with most dogs. Also, its weight management aspects are useful when considering that overweight dogs are 2.2 times more likely to develop calcium oxalate stones.
Unfortunately, the higher protein content makes it less suitable for urate stones. And, the presence of chicken may also indicate a higher purine content.
How Do Diets for Urate Stone Work?
There are several reasons to start using a veterinary prescription diet for your pup. If your dog has urate stones, it’s important to give them a diet with lower quantities of high-biological-value protein. This is because lower protein is consistent with lower purine content.
As such, it’s essential to avoid diets containing organ meats (e.g. kidney and liver) and to favor diets containing egg and whey (e.g. dairy and casein) instead. High-moisture foods, such as canned foods, are effective due to the increased water content. This is because more water is associated with decreased urine concentrations of minerals.
Where dietary therapy alone is not effective, your vet may suggest long-term allopurinol therapy. However, it’s important to follow your vet’s directions carefully. This is because high doses of allopurinol, when given alongside high protein foods, increase the risk of xanthine uroliths. As well as this, allopurinol may be ineffective for dogs with liver shunts.
How Can I Prevent Urate Stones in Dogs?
Urate stones are preventable in several ways. First and foremost, it’s important that your dog has access to clean, cool water. Adequate hydration is important for keeping the urine dilute so that there is less build-up of waste products. This is also important for balancing your dog’s urine pH.
To prevent urate stones, your dog’s urine is better off either neutral or slightly alkaline in pH. As well as this, maintaining a healthy weight is essential. Obesity in dogs is a risk factor for bladder stones. And, along with this, cutting down on high-purine foods like red meats and organ meats can reduce the risk. This is because purine is a building block of urate crystals.
If your dog is a breed that is at risk of urate stones, it’s all the more important to monitor their toileting habits. When your dog shows signs of bladder stones, get them to your vet right away.
Urate Stones Dog Diet: FAQ
Foods high in protein, especially red meats, increase the risk of urate stones in dogs. As such, it’s important to feed your dog a balanced and complete diet. However, it’s important to know that diet alone is not always responsible for dog urate stones. Some dogs have a genetic predisposition to uroliths.
Whether a dog can pass urate stones or not depends on the size. In dogs, urate stones range in size, from sand-like grains to large ball-like formations – so some may well be able to pass through. However, larger stones risk blocking your dog’s urinary tract. This can be life-threatening. If your dog cannot urinate, it’s imperative to seek your vet’s help immediately.
While chicken broth can help to make your dog’s food tastier, it should not be given excessively. It is crucial that you stick with the diet that your vet recommends. If you deviate from your vet’s instructions, you risk causing your dog further illness.
Urate stones in dogs are best controlled with a low-purine, moist diet. This is because purine is a major building block of urate stones, and maintaining good hydration supports the bladder in diluting the urine.
So, always be sure to provide your pup with clean, fresh water that’s easy for them to access. And, if your dog has urate stones, be sure to check in with your vet regularly. Also, they can tell you if anything about your dog’s treatment plan needs to change.
Luckily for your furry friend, urate stones are among the most dissolvable types of bladder stones to exist. To manage urate uroliths, there are three steps your vet will take: dietary modification, urine alkalization, and treating secondary infections.
Although it may take weeks to months to see an improvement, urate uroliths are treatable. On average, urate stones in dogs dissolve over 3.5 months with the three treatment approaches.
Each dog suffering from urate stones has a specific food need. You can help prevent the disease from going critical if you feed them the right food. If you are still hesitant, it is better to seek your vet’s suggestion.