Lowering Your Dog’s Urine PH Levels To Decrease Bladder Stones/Struvite Stones
I just received a call from a customer looking for a way to lower their dog’s urine PH levels. I just sent the customer this email, and thought it would make a great blog article for this week also. With summer here, the high temperature can lead to increased water need for pets, but decreased consumption.
Here are a few tips for folks dealing with a pet with high urine PH, that don’t necessarily want to push their pet into a Prescription Diet.
1) Stones and crystals are usually indicative of an infection, commonly a urinary tract infection. Treating this with antibiotics will help.
2) Increase moisture content. Increasing your dog’s water intake can do WONDERS on lowering urine PH. There are multiple ways to do this.
- Add a bit of organic, low-sodium chicken broth to your dog’s food. Start with maybe 1-2 teaspoons. A low-sodium broth, like this one from Walmart, contains 60mg sodium per 2 oz serving. According to this article on Medicinenet.com, “Most average-sized dogs (around twenty-five pounds) will consume at least sixteen ounces of fluid in a day, either directly or as part of their food. Warmer weather and increased exercise, however, will put greater demands on them and require greater fluid intake.” You may consider increasing to 1-2 tablespoons of broth, based on monitoring your dog’s increased water consumption. For a general rule of thumb, the dog should be drinking a little more than half of it’s body weight in ounces of water. Example: 50 lb dog could drink around 32 ounces of water. This may be reduced if the dog is getting water from other sources (canned foods, raw foods, etc.)
- Monitor your pet’s water intake. Take your pet’s water bowl and measure how many ounces of water it holds. Create of goal of getting your pet to drink “X” ounces of water a day. Have fresh water available always. Cleaning your pet’s water bowls regularly can discourage the growth of algae which can give water an “off-putting” taste. Also, some pets drink filtered water better than tap. You can also try adding ice cubes on a hot day, or using a water fountain, like this one.
- Use treats to increase water intake. If you have a Kong toy, this Kong Popsicle recipe is a great way to increase water intake! KONGSICLE JERKY POPS: The equivalent of a popsicle. Seal the small hole of the Kong toy with peanut butter. Fill to the rim with water and a pinch of bouillon (or just use chicken broth instead). Place a stick or two of beef jerky inside. Freeze. (This one gets messy in a hurry, so it’s recommended only for outdoor use.) (funtimesguide.com)
- Mixing in a bit of high protein, low carb canned food. Canned foods are a GREAT way to add moisture into a dog’s diet but, they can caramelize on the dog’s teeth and gums causing gingivitis and other diseases, if the dog’s teeth are not brushed daily. I prefer Evanger’s Canned Foods, especially their Grain Free line (not the supplemental diet for this – the full dinner recipes) due to the use of Selenium Yeast, a natural anti-oxidant that has multiple health benefits. If using canned foods, make sure to brush your pet’s teeth daily to prevent oral disease. For a selection of canned foods available from Nature’s Select of the Carolinas, click here.
3) Supplements can help decrease urine PH and increase the health of the urine tract.
- NaturVet GrassSaver Biscuits with Cranberry (contains amino acid called DL-Methionine which helps lower PH)
- NaturVet GrassSaver Tablets
- NaturVet Cranberry Relief
- NaturVet Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
- Ask your vet about supplementing with Vitamin C also. (per an online contributor on Dogster: Vitamin C should only be used in dogs and cats with high urine pH and no history or sign of oxalate crystals. I also wouldn’t bother with it unless your pet has a recurrence of high pH.)
4) Monitor your dog’s urine PH level for changes. Check urine a different times of the day, a few times a week. Closely monitor your dog’s urinary pH to detect UTIs (dogs should have a pH of between 5.5 and 7.0). PH test strips like these work well.
5) Use a Prescription Diet, like Royal Canin S/O, short term to dissolve bladder stones (60-150 days). These foods are PROVEN to dissolve stones and are a great option to start. If you can use this option in lieu of surgery, I would highly consider it. However, once stones are successfully dissolved, you could speak with your vet about returning to a more nutritious food. (I am not personally fond of the protein sources used, and prefer to feed my pets foods that do not contain corn, wheat, or soy.)
Here is a great in-depth article on Bladder Stones from PetEducation.com. (NOTE: Do NOT use a urinary acidifier, like Vitamin C, and s/d, c/d or a similar diet at the same time.)
6) Regular vet visits for check-ups. Make sure to discuss your plan with your vet. Some vets are sold on prescription diets (and sometimes they are DEFINITELY needed), but if you feel your vet is being very pushy about the prescription diet, ask for a copy of the dog’s urinalysis or any other tests and feel free to get a second opinion.
Check your dog’s PH levels regularly and monitor for any changes outside the normal range. Communicate any changes with your vet and seek medical advice as needed.
Review the information in this blog article and come up with a plan for your pet. Make sure that testing the urine PH is part of that plan. Discuss your plan with your vet.
Depending on your individual situation, you may want to consider using prescription diet temporarily to dissolve stones (if he/she has any currently) in lieu of surgery. After that, you can reintroduce your regular pet food with gradual transition and monitor any changes in your dog’s PH levels. Seriously consider moving to a predominantly canned food diet or homemade diet high in moisture. (NOTE: I always suggest feeding at least a 4-5 star food off the DogFoodAdvisor.com site, like Nature’s Select.) Make sure to take your pet’s oral care health into consideration, and start a holistic oral care routine with products like Petzlife Oral Care Gels and Sprays.
Using the tips above to increase water intake and supplementing with Cranberry, GrassSaver, and Probiotics, can help lower high PH levels and increase overall health. Make sure to check your pet’s PH levels for a week for verify positive changes.