If your pooch has a urinary tract infection, it could lead to the development of urinary stones in his bladder and vice-versa. To prevent stones from forming, your vet may prescribe a special therapeutic diet for your canine companion, along with antibiotics to treat any infections present. These foods are only available through a veterinarian and work much like medication to prevent urinary issues in your pooch.
Bladder stones are comprised of various minerals that combine together to form rock-like particles in your pup's bladder. While your pup's urine is normally slightly acidic, it can become alkaline if a bladder infection occurs. The bacteria that cause the bladder infection produce chemicals that make the urine more alkaline and prone to developing struvite bladder stones, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals website. Conversely, other types of bladder stones, including calcium-oxalate and ammonium urate stones form in more acidic urine, without an infection present. The presence of these types of stones can then induce a urinary tract infection because they tend to irritate the lining of the bladder.
Prescription veterinary diets are only available through your veterinarian and are used to either dissolve existing bladder stones or prevent new ones from forming. These diets usually contain lower amounts of protein and the minerals that can combine together to form bladder stones. Veterinary diets that are low in magnesium, calcium and phosphorus help to discourage the formation of bladder stones in pups prone to urinary tract infections. These foods will also affect the pH of the urine, making it more acidic if a bladder infection is causing the urine to become more alkaline. For pups suffering with calcium oxalate stones, the foods will promote more alkaline urine because the urine is too acidic.
If you notice that Fido is having trouble urinating, is urinating more than usual, appears lethargic or is drinking more water than usual, he may be suffering with bladder stones, a urinary tract infection or both conditions. Get your pooch to the vet right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Bacterial infections can spread to your pup's kidneys if not treated, and bladder stones can cause a blockage of your pup's urethra, both of which can be fatal. Your vet will determine if your pooch requires a special therapeutic diet, antibiotics to treat any infections and additional medications to deal with bladder stones or pain.
Some veterinary therapeutic diets are meant for long-term feeding to prevent the formation of bladder stones, depending on the type of stones your pup has been diagnosed with. Others are meant for short-term feeding to fully dissolve any existing stones, usually for around 16 weeks. Your vet can recommend the proper food for Fido to help prevent the formation of stones in his bladder, which should help to prevent urinary tract infections as well. Not all types of bladder stones can be prevented or treated with diet, though, and may require surgical removal.
- The Canadian Veterinary Journal: Dissolution of Infection-Induced Struvite Bladder Stones by Using a Noncalculolytic Diet and Antibiotic Therapy
- Hill's Pet Nutrition: Bladder Stones
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Lower Urinary Tract Problems
- Iams: Cystitis and Urolithiasis in Dogs
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Struvite Bladder Stones in Dogs
- petMD: Using Diet to Treat and Prevent Bladder Stones
- Cesar's Way: Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs
- Pet Health Network: Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs
- Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images