Dogs prone to developing bladder stones need treats based on the type of stone they have. Any treats you give your dog should help reduce the risk of developing additional bladder stones, and in some cases, the correct treat may even help dissolve stones.
Acceptable Treats to Help Address Bladder Stones
Before implementing any treat into your dog's diet, you must first consult with a veterinarian. Acceptable treats vary from dog to dog, and depend on the type of crystals forming in your dog's bladder. Your vet may recommend specific treats to assist in reducing or dissolving bladder stones. Fortunately, there are several treats to choose from.
Many of the chews listed here require a prescription from a veterinarian. Even if you find these for purchase somewhere, consult with your vet before giving them to your dog.
1. Royal Canin Urinary Dog Treats
Royal Canin offers Urinary Dog Treats that are often permitted even to dogs who are on a medicinal kibble. Royal Canin Dog Treats are based on veterinary science and are veterinary-exclusive. Dogs who are on the Royal Canin Urinary Diet require a prescription from the veterinarian before ordering.
The Royal Canin treats work by promoting an environment that is unfavorable to the development of bladder stones. Also, the company claims their food can help prevent the formation of struvite crystals. The treats are appropriate for all dogs regardless of age, and the first ingredients in the list include brewers rice, corn, and chicken fat, which makes this a high-quality product.
2. Amazing Nutritionals Cranberry Chews
Amazing Nutritionals Cranberry Chews are easy to chew and may allow a dog to be taken off of their medication. The treats are bacon and liver flavored, so many dogs are attracted to their smell and taste, making them a great alternative for dogs who have difficulty ingesting their medication. Remember, though; these treats are medicinal and can only be taken in certain quantities.
The chews work by flushing bacteria from your dog's body and reducing inflammation. The company is so confident in the treats' efficacy, they will provide a full refund if you do not notice an improvement in your dog's health within 28 days. The treats contain no by-products or wheat and are acceptable for all life stages, whether your dog is a puppy, adult, or senior dog.
3. Zesty Paws Cranberry Bladder Bites
Zesty Paws Cranberry Bladder Bites promote kidney and bladder health by balancing the pH of your dog's urine with organic ingredients. According to the explanation of ingredients on the company's website, the cranberry ingredient in this treat also promotes a healthy immune system, allowing your dog to fight any bacteria within your dog's body.
The organic licorice root in the treat assists with detoxing the kidneys, while the Nettle Seed herb reduces inflammation and reduces discomfort while urinating. These treats are also chewy, which means they can be consumed by dogs of all ages. The company offers a money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied.
4. K9 Nature Supplements
K9 Nature Supplements offer a Bladder & Kidney Support Treat, which comes as a chewable. Not only are these treats recommended for bladder stones, but also for kidney failure, frequent urinary tract infections, and incontinence.
The chewables have a combination of cranberry powder and herbs to help reduce inflammation and provide relief for your dog's discomfort. This treat also works by decreasing the risk of bacteria buildup within your dog's body. K9 nature supplements are especially helpful for senior dogs who experience difficulty ingesting a pill.
If you suspect your dog has kidney failure, or signs of urinary infections of any kind, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
5. Strawfield Pets Cranberry + UTI Bladder Chews
Strawfield Pets offers Cranberry + UTI Bladder Chews, which include cranberry to help flush your dog's system. The treats are formulated to help prevent bladder infections, support healthy bladder function, and regulate your dog's pH levels.
The chews do not contain any wheat, grain, corn, soy, gluten, salt, sugar, or gumming agents, but do include organic marshmallow root and the herb astragalus to help flush your dog's system. They come in a bacon flavoring and are suitable for dogs of all ages.
Natural Foods as Treats
There are specific restrictions associated with treats for bladder stones. Bladder stone treats that are pH neutral should not have a significant effect on the pH of your dog's urine. High-protein treats, such as lean chicken or turkey meat, can assist with a neutral pH level.
If you're leaning toward a natural approach, contact a holistic veterinarian for medical advice.
Urate stones are the least common type of bladder stone in dogs. Veterinarians generally recommend a diet low in purines in addition to using wet food to increase water consumption in an effort to prevent future stone development.
Dogs who are prone to urate bladder stones should avoid treats that are high in vitamin C, because vitamin C will acidify your dog's urine. The following foods have also been found to promotethe development of urate bladder stones:
- Brewer's yeast
- Organ meats (ex. liver)
If you are searching for acceptable treats for your dog who is prone to developing bladder stones, eggs are the way to go. Most dogs love eggs, and small pieces of hard-boiled egg make an easy treat. Foods high in complex carbohydrates are also acceptable for dogs with urate stones. Examples include:
- Whole grains
- Most fruits (no citrus)
The key component in preventing the formation of urate stones is maintaining a neutral urinary pH. This means the pH of the urine to prevent urate stones should be right around pH 7. You can test your dog's urine by purchasing pH testing strips.
Make sure you know what type of stones your dog is developing before trying to adjust their urinary pH through diet.
Calcium Oxalate Stones
There are two types of calcium oxalate crystals found in dogs: calcium oxalate dihydrate and calcium oxalate monohydrate. Calcium oxalate monohydrate crystals are formed when a dog ingests a poison, such as antifreeze. The calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals are those that often form from an acidic urine.
To prevent future calcium oxalate stones from developing, the urine must have an alkaline pH level (pH greater than 7). The more vegetables in the diet, the more alkaline the urine. For dogs with bladder stones resulting from calcium oxalate crystals, give them alkaline vegetables, such as:
Avoid non-alkaline vegetables, such as strawberries, carrots, celery, collards, and leeks if your dog has calcium oxalate bladder stones. These vegetables will disrupt the proper urinary pH and may result in additional calcium oxalate crystals forming. You must ensure the foods your dog is eating are not high in oxalates and encourage water consumption.
Struvite Bladder Stones
If your dog has struvite bladder stones, then acidifying the diet may be necessary to dissolve the stones (ph less than 7). Struvite stones are most commonly found in alkaline urine, which means the main goal with your dog's diet is acidification of the urine. If your dog has been diagnosed with struvite bladder stones, the following foods are recommended to increase acidification of the urine:
- Lean chicken
- Cottage cheese
Fresh or dried cranberries have also been found to assist with the prevention of crystal formation in the urine. Cranberries contain an agent that prevents the adhesion of bacteria in your dog's urinary tract. Commercial treats containing cranberry are also often helpful.
Consult Your Veterinarian
If your dog is suffering with bladders stones, you should first consult with your veterinarian before providing any treats. Each dog is different and based on the composition and size of the bladder stones, as well as your dog's history, your vet may recommend particular treats.
It is important to note bladder stone treats may eliminate the need for bladder stone medication. Consequently, you should follow the recommended dosage on your product's labeling. You should also refer to your veterinarian for dosage instructions as dosage is also on a case-by-case basis.
If you see a treat which you are interested in providing your dog, bring your veterinarian the description of the treat as well as the ingredients included within the treat for approval. Failure to consult your veterinarian could result in serious health effects.
Treats Can Help Address Your Dog's Bladder Issues
Although they aren't a cure-all, these treats can reduce symptoms and help you deal with your dog's bladder health issues. Just remember, they are still treats, and you need to give them to your dog according to the manufacturer's recommendations and under your veterinarian's guidance. That said, treats and chews offer you another tool to address your dog's bladder problems and get them back to feeling their best.