My 5 year old Australian Shepherd mix has been told that she has high pH urine, currently around 8.5, and has struvite crystals. The vet said that she would probably need to go on the prescription diet food from Hill’s Science or Royal Canine but when looking at those ingredients they look terrible, first ingredient in the dry food is corn and in the wet it is mainly meat by-products. She is currently on Nature’s Recipe Grain Free kibble and since I switched her to grain-free a few months ago her mood dramatically increased and she has so much more energy so I want to keep grain free.
I have tried supplementing with cranberry tablets but she is picky and often eats all her food but leaves the tablets.
Can anyone recommend a good quality grain-free food to help with urinary issues that would do a similar job as the prescription food but much much better quality of ingredients?
I don’t have an answer for this, sorry, but I am bumping it up so other users will see it.
Do you feed any canned or raw food at all? If not I’d definitely start. By increasing moisture, it helps to flush out the crystals. Try to find the lowest carb, highest protein canned food you can afford and mix it in and add water. Also, You may want to use the prescription dry food for a while to help dissolve the crystals. After that, I believe Wellness Core is a good food for maintaining pH levels. Good luck!Laura LMember
My dogs both had high PH and crystals and the vet put them on vitamin C, we started with one a day and moved to one in AM and one in PM. Most recent urinalysis was great and we are continuing the vit c. We did not change foods.MelSnowyMember
Hi, hoping you can help – looking for sensitive stomach dry food. My 1 yr old puppy was on Purina Pro Plan Select for Sensitive Stomach and had a horrible experience with that causing bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Vet checked her creatinine levels in both blood, (high) and urine (SpGr) low …eating now boiled lean hamburg and rice, re-tested and both results normal. Vet determined it was the food..but need some good dry food to get her on. Any suggestions, help would be appreciated. Many Thanks.
I’m sorry your pup is having issues. A little more info is needed to make a good recommendation. Do you have any idea what she is sensitive to? A certain ingredient or fat level? Where do you shop for food and what is your budget? Did the vet make any recommendations?
You could print the list of 4 star foods and bring it with you to the store and see if it carries anything on the list. I wouldn’t jump to a 5 star food from what you were feeding. It might be hard on her system. Many posters have good luck with transitioning to Nutrisource and/or foods made by Well Pet, such as Wellness or Eagle Pack.
Thank you much, crazy4cats for responding. Old vet, (since my pup wouldn’t even eat much, (a few kibbles) of the high quality dry foods, like Royal Canin, Nutrisource, and Wellness – too rich for her,) New Vet recommended I give her the Purina Pro-Plan SELECT Sensitive Stomach/SALMON. She has been eating this for awhile, however, the recently opened bag she has eaten from, the Vet determined was the cause of her issues. (Very Scarey, Vet thot renal failure). I will never feed her that anymore! All of the times she has transitioned to new dry food – did it very, very gradually. Am stymied, I don’t mind paying the price for a good quality dry food but don’t see any others for sensitive stomach. She loves boiled lean hamburg and rice but know she needs other nutrients. Am so very willing to make home made food, (am retired, so have the time) yet, having seen so many ‘recipes’, (many raw meat, which I won’t use) don’t even know where to begin. “Snowy” is such a cuddle bug, 1/2 Great Pyr, 1/2 St. Bernard. She is small for the mixed breed (both parents seen in person were small, too) weighing 80 lbs. Her only other med issue, (6 months ago) was a Seresto Collar making her very aggressive, which when removed, she was back to her loving self.
?????? Want to give her the best, but don’t know where to start. Thank you, crazy4cats!
My name is Ellen. My 5 yr old cocker spaniel suffered with this high ph of 8.6 and struvite crystals x 4 years. He was placed on Kidney prescription diets with absolutley no difference. I found a high density cranberry supplement called CRANIMALS, original formula. [there r 3 formulas]
After just one month, Ozzie’s ph was 5.5, no crystals and no peeing in the house from the crystals blockng the urethra.. Go to their website http://www.cranimals.com. I will guarantee this will do the job without having to change the food.
I was told you do not have to treat struvite crystals with food change. They do respond to cranberry supplement and they have powder for so you don’t have to worry about the capsules.Georgia LMember
Thank you all for the above posts. My dog has the exact same problem and the vet just put her on Hill’s Urinary Care but I agree this food is not very nutritious and I really do not want to put her on it. One of you suggested Vit C. Can you please be more specific? Tell me how much to use for a 19 lb dog (powder or pill form) and where to purchase. The other suggestion was a cranberry supplement (which my vet also mentioned). Thank you for that info. I will check it out. My last vet said it was urinary crystals; my new vet says its a UTI and her ph level is 8.5. Your help is very much appreciated. I have another dog and would prefer they each eat the same thing, if possible.
One of the most important things you can do for your dog is to add as much moisture to her diet as possible. Are you feeding the Hill’s canned or dry Urinary food? If dry, see if your vet oks adding some of the Rx wet food to the dry. Also add water to her meals and make sure she gets plenty of bathroom breaks. Water will keep her urine diluted and flush the crystals away. Often there is an infection involved when a dog is producing urinary crystals. Did you get an antibiotic for the infection?
Also, please be careful feeding supplements to a pet who is on prescription food. They can over acidify your pup’s pH and cause a different type of crystal in the urinary tract that cannot be dissolved like the struvites can. Check with your vet first.anonymouslyMember
Have you checked the search engine at this site for “bladder stones”
Often when the infection is treated and water intake is increased the condition clears up, unless they have another type of stones, also. They can have more than one type.
The best thing you can do is to increase water intake and offer frequent bathroom breaks, opportunities to urinate. Sure, dogs can hold it, but that’s not good for this condition, You want to keep the bladder flushed. Stagnant conditions in the bladder are conducive to stone formation.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by anonymously.
PS: Has your dog had an x-ray to rule out calcium oxalate stones?
I use a potassium citrate/cranberry supplement I get from Chewy.com. It depends on the type of stones.
It is best to get approval from the veterinarian that is treating the dog before adding anything, and I would go along with the prescription diet for now. PH levels fluctuate and it takes a while (sometimes weeks) to see changes, at least that is what my vet told me.theBCnutMember
If they were struvite crystals, then it’s likely that the infection caused them and clearing up the infection is the most important thing. Adding D-mannose to the diet causes e. coli to let go of the bladder walls, so if it’s an e. coli infection that would help. In the short term, I would stick with the prescription diet, but if it doesn’t help, be ready to try something else. As everyone has said, do everything you can to make sure your dog is getting plenty of water.Lynn PMember
My dog has a minor case of this to. She has no stones just her Ph is higher then normal.
Some one said something about vitamin C. What kind, how much, powder or pill? I am going to look into the cranimals. And no one answered the dog food question. One person
Said something about core wellness dog food I have my other dog on it. It is a great dog food and my other dog is doing well on it. But does anyone know of a dog food that’s specific for this. And not the Hills U/R prescription. That is not a very good dog food. And does anyone know what makes the PH high in the first place. It has to be something or animals are eating. It is such a problem in many different breeds. One lady said she has an Australia Shepard mix, I have a golden retriever , labs is another one. So doesn’t really seem like its a specific breed problem. If you post products to try can you give information on where to get them what kind, how much,pills or powder ect. Thanks LynnJuliet SMember
I buy frozen organic cranberries and cook about half a small bag with water till they get loose and jam-like, and mix a few into my Chihuahua’s food. She eats it up, and it is a great source of Vit C. A larger dog will need more, maybe 8-10 at each meal, but meat will dull the sharp flavor, and I am in control of what goes into her dish. It’s just another idea. I try to mix a little fresh food (sweet potato, etc.) with her kibble and canned meat, all natural dog food brands.Lisa SMember
I have a 65-pound pit bull mix with a PH level of 8.5. He has already been treated twice by two different antibiotics that didn’t work. The vet also ran a bunch of other tests on him and said there were no other big issues but really the only other way to control the PH level would be to change his food to Hills prescription Urinary Care, or to Royal Canin prescription. Both of these contain chicken that he is allergic to. He said these are my only options to lower his PH. So can someone please explain what type (of the three) cranberry supplements I would need simply to lower PH (we were never told there were crystals). Or can someone explain the Vitamin C option?
Lisa S, may I ask a couple of questions please? Was your dog showing signs of or diagnosed with a UTI and that’s where the PH came into play? Are you saying that your dog had a UTI that was not corrected by two rounds of antibiotics?Lisa SMember
Yes he had a couple of accidents in the house so we took him to be tested for a UTI. It was then that he was diagnosed and put on two different courses of antibiotics that did not cure this high PH problem. He currently eats Blue Buffalo Lamb and Rice.
Did the vet do an x-ray to rule out bladder stones? Often when the antibiotics don’t solve the problem or the symptoms return….there is more going on. Also, there could be a genetic component at play.
Use the search engine here; https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/bladder+stones/
Come back if you have more questions.
I think where I’m confused is that having a high PH and having a UTI are different, and what is important is whether there is bacteria in the urine, not just that the PH is high. Have his habits gone back to normal and did your vet tell you if his urinalysis showed bacteria? A high PH means the urine is alkaline and struvite crystals are more likely with alkaline urine but you said that he showed no crystals, and in addition, struvite stones formation is rare unless bacteria is present. (the absence of crystals can be a deceiving comfort as there could be stones instead) I’ve never heard of using a food to reduce the urine PH or to deal with struvite crystals for that matter. Water helps a lot. PH alone also isnt as important than knowing the PH and the specific urine gravity. (should be less than 1.020)Lisa FMember
My 25 lb Chihuahua mix has been urinating in the house. She can’t hold her urine over 4 hours. I have had urine tested a month ago and she had a UTI and bacteria in urine she was prescribed antibiotics for 14 days. She did well and stopped peeing in house for about 3 weeks then it started back up again. I brought in another sample and was told it was high in PH, contained crystals, inflammatory cells, but no bacteria. Tomorrow she is going in so they can take the urine directly from her bladder. I’ve been told she has a recessed vulva that could contribute to frequent UTI’s. She is not overweight despite her breed mix.. she was recently on a diet and went from 30 lbs back to 25 by feeding a LID diet and green beans. she is now at a healthy weight for her size. Doctor also told me probably good to put her on Hill’s prescription diet and she can NO longer have any vegetables or other food. She loves eating her veggies, apples, sweet potato etc.. I don’t want to stop that. Hill’s doesn’t look as healthy as her current food either. The vet also said she thinks that the no grain diet could be a culprit, exact opposite what I’m reading. I’m concerned for her and rather her be on natural supplements such as cranberry or vit C to help correct her PH levels.
Ask the vet if an x-ray is indicated to rule out bladder stones, they can have more than one type at the same time.
Supplements are not intended to cure, treat, or prevent any medical condition. In fact, they can sometimes cause harm.
I think listening to a veterinarian that has examined and diagnosed your dog and knows the dog’s history would be wise. Bladder stones often have a genetic component.
Your dog has a serious condition that requires the expertise of a veterinary professional.
Prescription dog foods are specially formulated as part of the treatment for specific medical conditions. It’s not just about the ingredients, it’s about trying to prevent your dog from having continued problems.
Also, you may want to discuss with your veterinarian, about the possibility of medications that might help. I’m not talking about food supplements/scams.
Did you try the search engine here to look up “bladder stones”.
Some recent research on cranberry:
“Evidence Update- Cranberry Extracts and Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs”
April 12, 2016
My cavalier King Charles spaniel has a struvite crystal/stone and a ph of 9. She is on antibiotics and has the Royal canine SO food. She has only been on a raw food diet of Stella and Chewy’s frozen raw. We’ve added only 1/6 of a cup of the Royall Canine to her raw for 3 meals to transition her and she already has diarrhea from it. She’s never had the byproduct crappy ingredients in big brand kibble before. Any advice? The runs are not from the antibiotic. She’s been on them before for previous UTIs with no problem.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by Cheryl P.
Maybe a more bland diet (boiled chicken and rice) and the prescription food would work the best for her right now, at least until you get this serious condition (bladder stones) stabilized. I would go by what the veterinarian that has examined the dog advises.
BTW: Antibiotics do tend to cause diarrhea (side effect for dogs and people). Talk to your vet, depending on the severity of the symptoms, he may choose to prescribe a different antibiotic.D SMember
I did a bit of research on UTI’s in dogs, going to treat one of our corgis with this as many women use it and it works very well. D Mannose with or without cranberry extract seems to work very well for both dogs and cats for UTIs. The cranberry keeps the urine acidic and the D Mannose keeps bacteria from sticking to the tract. These are pretty popular on Amazon. Half pill for small dogs and cats daily, whole pill for medium dogs up to 40lbs. Some people treat with antibiotics first and then give this daily, humans usually take it every few hours for a day to 3 days to treat and then take it daily. Drink lots of water to flush out the bacteria. Each time urine leaves the body more bacteria leaves too. https://smile.amazon.com/Cranberry-DMannose-Urinary-Tract-Support/dp/B00FPZFNBQ/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
It is my understanding that it may help prevent UTIs, but it does not treat or cure them.D SMember
D Mannose treats and cures mine, a lot of women say the same thing in the reviews- there’s several thousand human reviews on there, and a lot for the dog one too. This is the first time I’ve used it for a dog though I don’t see why it would be much different. I use the test strips, same ones the dr uses, to check before and after. So far this corgi loves the doggie ones listed above, the first day she wouldn’t eat it without it being in food. The next day on she has snatched it out of my hand and crunched them up like a cookie begging for more. I’m amazed because she is picky. Even raw meaty beef bones (totally organic from a steer we raised and butchered) she takes in her igloo to hoard and takes a few bites now and then. I think it depends on the bacteria and how you treat them. Once a day would not cure a UTI. But several throughout the day, possibly 2 days if it is very severe would in many cases. You can tape a baggie to the dog’s hind end and take her for a leash walk to collect urine and test it with a pregnancy test or test strip. D Mannose only works on UTIs caused by bacteria(about 80% of UTIs are from E coli bacteria). If the UTI is from something else (about 20% of them are) then D Mannose would not work. If you read the Amazon reviews for human D Mannose there is a lot of info about treating both typesMargaret HMember
I think trying NYC grass-fed dog food may help. Your dog is choosy I guess when comes to food so may be this one can help.Pam CMember
My 12 pound miniature dachshund had surgery yesterday to remove 3 large bladders stones. Vet says they were struvite. Put her on the Hill’s Prescription k/d – which I do not care to continue. Vet says to leave her on it for life. Is there any alternative? I would love a homemade recipe to cook for her and to add supplements instead. Help!!
Did you check the search engine here? https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/bladder+stones/
See my posts, adding water, frequent bathroom breaks go a long way.
Listen to your veterinarian, or ask for a referral to a specialist. The dog needs to be stable for at least 6 months to 1 year before you even think about making diet changes.
Often there is a genetic component, bladder stones return (50% of the time)
This is not a do it yourself project. There is nothing wrong with prescription food.
PS: Most supplements are scams, but discuss with your veterinarian, there are prescription medications that may be more effective for prevention of bladder stones (stubborn cases).
Let the dog recover and see how the follow-up appointments go. Best of luck.
Hi Pam C-
If you are interested in homemade recipes, check out this website: https://secure.balanceit.com/
I have formulated a few free recipes on this site and use their supplement to balance them. I only feed it to my dogs a few times per month, but boy do they love it!
I think they may be able provide you some help with formulating a recipe that is good for dogs with urinary issues. You may need permission from your vet to formulate a recipe for a medical condition, however. I think it would be worth it if you are up to it!
I have a cat that had a blockage and almost died. It is a scary thing! Like Anon mentioned, adding as much moisture to the diet is extremely important! As well as frequent bathroom breaks. I feed him mostly canned food now and even add a little water to that. I’d keep her on the prescription food for at least 6 months and see how she does if you are not going to go the homemade route.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by crazy4cats.
I use Solid Gold Berry Balance. It is available in a powder or soft chew. I also recommend Canine Caviar which is Alkaline balanced. They have kibble and canned food and treats. Both Solid Gold and Canine Caviar are available on Chewy.com or from independent pet retailers. I see a holistic vet and she recommended the berry supplement.HoundMusicMember
“She is currently on Nature’s Recipe Grain Free kibble and since I switched her to grain-free a few months ago her mood dramatically increased and she has so much more energy so I want to keep grain free.”
Of course she has more energy! Amino acids are a main source of energy for the body. Grain free foods normally contain extreme amounts of protein that would not even be necessary for a working dog or brood bitch, so the dog is obviously going to have more energy to burn. That, however, does not necessarily equate to better health.
If I am not mistaken, struvite stones form in an acidic urine, so Vitamin C supplements and a high meat diet are the last things you want to give this dog, because both contribute to higher urine acidity; whereas grains and other complex carbs tend to lower the acidity. Another problem of grain free feeds is the high mineral content, which can contribute to kidney/urinary problems in susceptible dogs.
My advice would be to temporarily use one of the prescription diets. Forget the ingredients. It is the quality, bioavailability and nutritional content of a feed that truly matters. Then find something you are comfortable feeding that has around 24-26% protein, and that should give you a very equal balance of grains to meat. That alone will naturally lower the dog’s urine acidity and hopefully prevent recurrence.Dawn MMember
Laura L you posted a loong time ago about Vit C for high urine ph and crystals…If you see this, can you tell me what kind and how much Vit C was used? Would like to mention it to my vet. Thanks so much!
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