So your dog has a urinary issue – now what? Aside from any medications your vet has prescribed, you might need to switch up your dog’s diet.
Even if your dog has to endure a round of antibiotics to clear any infections, revamping their diet can help prevent infections from recurring.
Why is that important?
Many urinary issues in dogs are caused by the wrong food and the wrong ingredients.
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In fact, some minor urinary problems can be solved by changing your dog’s food to something designed to keep their urinary tracts healthy.
What does a urinary diet for dogs look like? Is it complicated?
Don’t worry, many effective foods and supplements can be found online and easily ordered.
We’ll go over some highly-rated options that will help you take a proactive stance toward your fur baby’s health.
How Do I Know My Dog Needs a Urinary Diet?
You’ll need a vet to tell you exactly how a change in diet can help their urinary tract and bladder health.
You might notice your dog is trying to pee without producing much, pees more often than usual, or you spot mucus in your dog’s urine, or find blood in their urine.
Further, a dog’s urine can be foamy. This is also not normal.
These are all indicators of crystals, or an infection, or both.
If your vet gives you the go-ahead to make a change on the menu to help your dog, here are some of the best options out there.
1. Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Care “c/d”
You might be wondering what the “c/d” stands for in the name of this dog food.
Acronyms in prescription diets can be puzzling if you don’t know what they mean, but they’re easy to understand once you do know.
In this case, c/d means “crystal diet.” This type of food is sometimes referred to as c/d dog food.
You can probably figure out that this food is targeted to help dogs suffering from urinary crystals.
Urine crystals may or may not turn into bladder stones, but even if they don’t, they can cause some discomfort for your pet.
This food can help prevent struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.
These are only a few of the types of crystals that can be present in your dog’s urine, so a proper diagnosis is essential if you want to treat the condition with diet.
- Wet and dry options available
- Easy to find online and in stores
- Helps prevent the building blocks for crystals and infections
2. Royal Canin Urinary “SO” Dry Dog Food
Aside from being full of beneficial vitamins and minerals, this food can help dissolve stones that have already formed.
Of course, only your vet can tell you if your dog has a struvite stone that can be broken down and passed safely.
If that’s the case, this food could be high on the list of vet recommended urinary dog food.
Calcium oxalate stones are discouraged from forming thanks to the S/O index that makes up this formula.
This food can help maintain overall bladder health, even if stones aren’t present.
If your dog has a urinary issue caused by low acidity in their urine, this food is specifically formulated to raise acidity levels.
What exactly does that do?
A high-acid environment will help keep stones from forming.
So if your dog has had stones in the past, or are at risk of developing them, this food could go a long way in keeping your pet healthy.
- Can help break up stones
- A good option for dogs at risk for urinary disease
- Contains Omega 3s to fight inflammation
- Needs authorization from a vet before purchasing
3. Purina ProPlan Canine UR Urinary “Ox/St” Canine Formula
Purina’s ProPlan foods offer a wide range of solutions to several conditions – including urinary crystals.
The ingredients can help dissolve struvite stones, and reduce the risk of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.
It even promotes increased urine output.
What makes that helpful?
Fully voiding their bladder can help your dog flush out stones and crystals, and keep new ones from collecting in the urinary tract or bladder.
As far as urinary tract dog food goes, it is a formidable match against calcium oxalate and struvite crystals – hence the ox/st acronyms in the name.
It also has plenty of antioxidants, making it an excellent non-prescription dog food for urinary health.
This food is grain-free, which is ideal for pets with grain allergies.
- Widely available
- Reviewers report dogs love the taste
- Comes in kibble or canned form
- Smaller bags mean you’ll have to purchase often for large dogs
4. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Weight Management + Urinary Care for Dogs
If your dog needs to lose a few pounds and get their urinary tract health up to par at the same time, this is the food for them.
The diet formula is clinically proven to aid in weight loss while helping prevent the formulation of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals in the urine.
The high-fiber content and added vitamins and minerals make it the best dog food for pH balance and overall health.
If you’re conscious about artificial ingredients in your dog’s food, then you can rest easy knowing that this blend has zero artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
What if your dog is allergic to grains?
This food from Blue Buffalo hasn’t included any in the formula. It’s the perfect option for sensitive tummies.
- No grains
- Ideal for overweight dogs
- Dry and wet options available
- Might not be suitable for active or athletic dogs
5. Pet Honesty CranBladder Health Urinary Tract Support
These treats aren’t something you can fill your dog’s dish with, but they’re a great way to supplement your dog’s urinary care diet.
They probably count more as a snack, but they’re among the best dog foods to prevent urinary tract infections.
Cranberry is an ingredient high on the list, which is known for helping to prevent the formation of crystals that can go hand-in-hand with UTIs.
What else does it do?
The D Mannose in the formula will help keep bacteria from sticking to the bladder and urinary tract lining, where it can multiply.
Your dog’s pH balance can benefit greatly from the all-natural ingredients in these tasty snacks.
Some dogs could even see better bladder control with prolonged use of these supplements.
- Treat form makes it easy to feed to dogs
- Contains several supplements not included in urinary care foods
- Can assist with incontinence
- Isn’t meant to replace your dog’s food
How to Select a Urinary Diet for Dogs
Finding out if your dog can benefit from a urinary diet starts at the vet’s office.
If your dog has been diagnosed with urine crystals, these foods only help with two types: struvite and calcium oxalate.
A urinalysis done by the vet will reveal if your dog’s urine has crystals that can be reduced through a change in diet.
Some crystals can lead to stone formation, and some stones will need to be removed – either through surgery or medications.
It’s also important to note that struvite crystals can be brought on by urinary tract infections. In this case, the infection will need to be treated with antibiotics.
Relying on food to cure the infection won’t work, but the formulas in crystal diets can help flush out existing struvite crystals.
Your vet might recommend a particular food they’ve had good experiences with, or just advise you to look for urinary support blends in general.
The good news?
Even though some of these are prescription diets, they can still be purchased like any other dog food.
Think: Over the Counter.
Your vet will need to provide you with authorization or prescriptions to be presented to retailers.
In addition to a change in food, your vet might suggest certain supplements to help boost your dog’s urinary health.
Change in Diets
In most cases, switching your dog to a different food too fast can make things worse.
Why?, I hear you ask.
Many dogs can’t adjust to sudden changes in their diets the way a human can.
A gradual transition from their current food to their new one can make things easier for everyone involved.
If your dog’s food isn’t helping their urinary issues, it’s understandable that you want to discontinue feeding it to them right away.
Unless they’re in immediate danger from their current food, easing them into it is the smartest choice.
You can start by adding a handful of the new food to their regular meals. Do this for a day or two, and see how they react.
You’ll need to keep an eye on their bowel habits – one of the earliest indicators that the new food is being introduced too fast is if they develop diarrhea.
As long as their bathroom habits don’t change such has urinating less or not wanting to pee outside, you can steadily increase the amount of new food over the course of 1-2 weeks.
If you switch them to a new food too quickly, you can disrupt the natural bacterial colonies in their digestive systems.
Good bacteria should always outnumber the bad – it’s the ideal recipe for healthy bathroom habits.
A new food formula will cause these colonies to change while they adjust to the new ingredients.
If the change happens too fast, the good bacteria can be all but killed off, while the bad will flourish.
If that happens, your dog could have uncontrollable diarrhea.
In some cases, they will need to be prescribed medication to help balance things back out.
Don’t Forget the Water
Food can be highly helpful in getting your dog’s urinary health in the best shape.
But you should also remember that healthy water intake is just as important.
Encouraging your dog to drink a lot will help them flush out any crystals or bacteria from their urinary systems.
You can easily check their pee color, and spot if the urine is dark or the pale yellow it should be to signal proper hydration.
In this case, it’s important to get in their business to example their liquid waste carefully. Don’t worry, usually dog urine isn’t harmful to us humans.
Make sure they can access clean water at all times, and take them out as often as they need.
Holding their urine for too long can promote the growth of crystals and bacteria.
If they’re reluctant to cooperate with drinking more water, ice cubes or even DIY popsicles are a good way to sneak in extra liquids.
A can of low-sodium chicken or beef broth and some tidbits or treats in a popsicle mold makes a delicious treat for dogs.
The Best Choices for Your Dog
Is there a best dog food for urinary care? What is the best dog food to prevent urinary tract infections?
You will need to have your vet evaluate the source of your dog’s urine issues.
Some urinary conditions can be the symptoms of other problems, and it’s important to rule those out before spending money on specialized diets.
Otherwise, you might be treating the symptoms and not the cause.
Once your vet has diagnosed your dog, you can make adjustments to their diet, which can help them get back to their usual, healthy self.
Some foods work better for specific issues than others, and sometimes a supplement can be as helpful as a new diet.
Just remember to take it slow when introducing a new food, especially when it concerns urinary dog care.
And always monitor your dog for any unusual changes.
It might take some time to get your dog’s urinary health in its best shape possible. Don’t get discouraged – what matters is you’re making changes and good choices for your pet’s overall health.