Stones can form in your pup's kidneys due to a variety of causes, some of which are based on the ingredients in his food. If your pooch is prone to the formation of kidney stones, your vet may prescribe a special prescription food. This food may help to dissolve the stones that have formed in his kidneys and prevent new ones from forming.
Stones in the Kidneys
Stones can form anywhere along your pup's urinary tract, including his kidneys and bladder. These stones can cause serious health conditions such as kidney failure or urinary blockages if left untreated. Some pups are predisposed genetically to developing kidney stones. Their kidneys don't produce enough of a substance called nephrocalcin, which helps to discourage the formation of stones, according to VeterinaryPartner. Other pups may develop kidney stones due to bladder infections, diets high in protein and minerals or high amounts of calcium in the blood, according to petMD. Certain health conditions like Cushing's disease also may predispose a pooch to developing kidney stones.
All Kinds of Stones
Your vet may recommend dietary changes for Fido to help to prevent or to dissolve any kidney stones. Which food she recommends depends on the type of stones that Fido is suffering with. Pups with calcium oxalate stones require diets low in calcium and oxalates to prevent the recurrence of the stones. Those with struvite stones need a prescription food low in protein, magnesium and phosphorus, according to Dr. Ron Hines of 2ndchance.info. Pups with urate stones may need a diet that is low in purines. The prescription food that your vet recommends also may contain ingredients to either acidify the urine, in the case of struvite stones, or make it more alkaline, to prevent calcium oxalate stones.
Foods that contain a large amount of water help to dilute your pup's urine and flush the kidneys, possibly preventing the formation of stones. For this reason, your vet may recommend a canned veterinary diet rather than a dry one. Canned foods contain much more water than dry ones and will increase the amount of water your pup ingests. Most of these special diets also contain less sodium to control your pup's blood pressure, especially if his kidneys aren't functioning correctly, while some contain more sodium to help increase his water consumption. No matter what the case, you need to provide your pooch with fresh water at all times along with his veterinary food to encourage him to drink lots of fluids.
Can Food Really Treat or Prevent Problems?
Veterinary diets are only part of the way to prevent or treat kidney stones in pooches. Some pups may require surgery to remove the kidney stones and a special diet to keep them from reforming. Diets like Hill's c/d help to prevent both kidney and bladder struvite stones in the long term, while s/d helps to dissolve them in the short term. Other diets like Purina NF and Hill's k/d or u/d are easy on Fido's kidneys and they can help to prevent calcium oxalate stones. Whatever your vet's recommendation is, feed only the diet your vet prescribes to Fido, with no additional foods, to prevent a recurrence of his kidney stones.
- petMD: Kidney Stones in Dogs
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Struvite Bladder Stones in Dogs
- Pet Health Network: Bladder Stones in Dogs
- PetPlace.com: Nephrolithiasis (Kidney Stones) in Dogs
- The Veterinary Clinics of North America -- Small Animal Practice: Canine and Feline Nephrolithiasis. Epidemiology, Detection, and Management
- 2ndchance.info: Kidney and Bladder Stones in Dogs and Cats
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Kidney Problems
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Oxalate Bladder Stones (Canine)
- petMD: Kidney Failure in Dogs
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.