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Calcium Oxalate Stones, Crystals in Dogs Cats – Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, Prevention


In this article…

  1. Threat Rating to the Health of Your Dog or Cat
  2. Common Signs, Symptoms
  3. Bladder Crystals and Stones (Uroliths) v.s. Kidney Crystals and Stones
  4. Cause and Treatment – a Synopsis
  5. Understanding PH Levels
  6. Inflammatory Diets – Crystal and Stone Forming and Aggravating
  7. Prescription Dog and Cat Food for Bladder and Kidney Stones – Health Supporting or Health Threatening?
  8. What a Diet Should Be Comprised Of
  9. Prevention

 

1.0 Threat Rating to the Health of Your Dog
or Cat

1.1 When is This Not an Immediate Emergency
If your dog or cat has either crystals or stones that are not completely blocking the uretha preventing or completely stopping the flow of urine (your dog or cat is still able to urinate) then the condition can normally be treated and remedied with the use of medicines and/or diet. You need to make an appointment to see your veterinarian.

1.2 Make an Appointment As Soon As Possible

A dog or cat that strains to urinate (no flow) and then passes a heavy flow of urine may have just passed a stone. You should have you dog or cat examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you can find the stone keep it and bring it to the veterinarian for analysis.

1.3 This IS an Immediate Emergency – No Time to Wait!


If your dog or cat is not able to urinate at all – blockage is complete, this indicates that the urethra is completely plugged. This is a life threatening emergency! You need to get your dog or cat to a veterinary clinic/hospital right away.

  • Complete obstruction of the urethra can:
  • Cause the urine to back-up into the urinary tract and cause kidney failure;
  • Back-up can also cause the bladder to:
  • Stretch to the point of rupturing;
  • Or damage the bladder’s muscle tone thus creating incontinence.


2.0 Common Signs, Symptoms of CaOx
Stones (Uroliths)

2.1 Bladder Stones

2.1.1 Visible Symptoms
Some dogs and cats will not exhibit any outward signs, others may exhibit one or more of the following:

  • Blood in the urine also called hematuria (caused by crystals inflaming the lining of the bladder);
  • Cloudy or foul smelling urine;
  • Frequent urination;
  • Increased thirst;
  • Excessive licking of the genital area;
  • Fever;
  • Lethargy;
  • Pain when urinating – may cause your dog to cry, yelp;
  • Pain in the lower back or bladder area;
  • Passing only a few drops of urine at a time;
  • Puss in the urine;
  • Restlessness;
  • Straining to urinate, but often not passing any urine;
  • Urinating in places that are not his/her normal place to urinate – noticeable in house-trained dogs;
  • Urine may be tinged red or burgundy in colour;
  • Urine smells like rotting eggs (sulphur) – may indicate a cystine stone;
  • Walking with loins in crouched position.
  • As bacteria often resides with the stones, urinary tract infections can also ensue.
  • If a stone plugs the ureters – agitation, severe pain and straining – this is an emergency, you need to get to a veterinary clinic right away;
  • If blockage occurs depression, vomiting and uremia (kidney also known as renal failure result).

2.2 Kidney Stones

  • Kidney stones are less common than bladder stones;
  • May cause sudden onset of colic (whimpering, crying);
  • Intermittent blood in the urine;
  • If a stone plugs the ureters – agitation, severe pain and straining – this is an emergency, you need to get to a veterinary clinic right away.
  • If blockage occurs depression, vomiting and uremia (kidney also known as renal failure result).

2.3 Symptoms That Require Testing to be ‘Seen’

  • Hypercalcemia – excessive calcium in the blood;
  • Hypercalciuria – excessive calcium in the urine;
  • Hyperozaluria – excessive oxalate in the urine.

You can learn about other types of uroliths in this article

3.0 Bladder Crystals and Stones vs.
Kidney Crystals and Stones

Bladder crystals and eventually stones usually form when a dog’s or cat’s bladder is not able to empty properly. An inflammatory diet promotes the formation of bladder stones as inflammation can lead to issues with the proper emptying of the bladder. Bladder stones are also known as:

  • Urinary tract stone disease;
  • Urinary calculus disease (calculis – stone, is the plural of calculi – stones);
  • Ureteral stones,
  • Ureteral calculi;
  • Urinary calculi;
  • Urinary stones;
  • Urolithiasis, and;
  • Struvite.

The type of stone your companion animal has can only be 100% determined upon surgically removing the stone. However your veterinarian may make an educated guess based on:

  • Abnormalities revealed by blood test;
  • Age;
  • Breed;
  • Crystal type as seen in urine,
  • Presence of infection;
  • Sex;
  • Urinary pH levels (normal healthy range is: 6 to 6.5, 7 at most);
  • And if available, x-ray which may show stones as a white circle. Some stones cannot be seen unless dye is injected into the bladder.

Different stones require different treatments which is why it is important that your veterinarian identify which type of stone your dog or cat has.

Kidney crystals and eventually kidney stones (also called nephroliths) tend to form for other reasons such as ingestion of dry dog food and insufficient moisture leading to a lack of fluids to wash away mineral deposits in the kidney. Over time as additional crystals form they may bond together and form a stone. The presence of stones also increases the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Occasionally a kidney stone will pass and become lodged in the ureters (tubes that lead to the bladder).


Kidney stones can become very damaging when the stone blocks or limits the flow of urine from the kidney.

4.0 Understanding CaOx Crystals and
Stones, Cause and Treatment – a
Synopsis


4.1 Calcium Oxalate (CaOx) Stones

 

4.1.1 Cause

  • Calcium oxalate crystals and stones occur in the upper urinary tract (the kidneys) and the lower urinary tract (the bladder).
  • CaOx stones are one of the most common types of stones that occur in domestic dogs and cats;
  • Most CaOx stones are found in the kidneys;
  • Small breed male dogs are most affected by this type of stone;
  • This type of stone is usually identifiable by use of an x-ray.
  • Typical causes include…
    • Processed dry food diet;
    • Lacks daily exercise;
    • Is neutered;
    • Is overweight;
    • Is on anti-inflammatory medication such as;
    • Cortisone type medication, i.e. Prednisone;
    • Is on diuretic medication furosemide (dogs with congestive heart failure);
    • Has Cushing’s Disease;
    • Has hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood);
    • Has abnormal levels of nephrocalcin (acidic glycoprotein normally present in urine – glycoprotein inhibits calcium oxalate crystal formation);
    • Is on anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed for conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, skin inflammation and itch due to allergies, etc.


4.1.2 (Dog) Breeds Most Prone to CaOx Stones:

  • Bichon Frises;
  • Cairn Terriers;
  • Chihuahuas;
  • Dachshunds;
  • Keeshonds;
  • Lhasa Apsos;
  • Miniature and Toy Poodles;
  • Miniature and Standard Schnauzers;
  • Maltese;
  • Mixed breeds;
  • Parson Russell Terriers;
  • Papillions;
  • Pomeranians;
  • Samoyeds;
  • Shih Tzus;
  • West Highland Terriers;
  •  Yorkshire Terriers.


4.1.3 Treatment

  • Stones that are not growing or causing problems(termed ‘clinically inactive’) may not require surgery;
  • For males with reoccurring stones an urethrostomy (rerouting of the urines path) may be done;
  • If the root cause of stone formation is a disease condition such as Cushing’s disease or Hypercalcemia, action should be taken to treat the root cause;
  • If a dog has CaOx crystals in fresh urine but no stones than monitoring should be undertaken.


4.1.4 Diet

Diet plays an important part in managing crystal and stone formation:

  • The diet needs to be alkalized;  
  • The diet should be rich in low-oxalate foods;
  • The diet should not be protein restrictive.
  • See section 5.0 below for dietary recommendations.

5.0 Understanding PH Levels

5.1 Neutral pH
A pH of 7.0 is neutral which means that it is neither acidic (acid) nor alkaline (base).

5.2 Normal Healthy pH Level

  • A healthy dog or cat will have a neutral to slightly acid urinary and blood pH level;
  • Ranges in between 5.5 to 7.0 are considered normal;
  • Dogs and cats that are fed a good raw or homemade diet typically have a pH between 6 and 6.5 – close to neutral;
  • Dogs and cats that are fed (exclusively) a dry processed food diet typically have a pH level that is in the lower range of ‘normal’ so their pH is more acidic;
  • Disease loves an acidic environment, dogs and cats with acidified pH levels below normal are more likely hosts for disease and parasite infestations.


5.3 Acidic v.s. Base = Alkalinty v.s. Alkaline

  • Alkalinity (acidification) means that the pH is less than 7.0 = acidic
  • Alkaline means that pH is greater than 7.0 = alkaline


5.3.4 Contributors to the Acidification of Blood and Urine

Toxic and acid forming foods like:

  • Processed sugars. i.e.;
    • Cane sugar;
    • Beet sugar;
    • Pasturized honey;
      • Organic raw unpasturized honey is not a processed sugar, is not acidifying and has many health benefits;
  • Refined grains;
  • Factory farm – also known as concentrated animal feeding operations – CAFO produced meats and dairy;
  • GMO organisms.

5.3.5 At-Home Monitoring of pH

You can purchase home pH testing kits from a pharmacy to monitor the pH level of your dog’s or cat’s urine. This is recommended when dealing with active urinary tract stones and monitoring for the redevelopment of stones.

  • To obtain an accurate reading:
  • pH testing should always be done in the morning prior to feeding;
  • Fresh urine must be used for the test;
  • You can hold the pH tape (litmus paper) in the urine stream;
  • You can collect a little of the urine in a container and then dip the tape into the container;
  • Obtaining the urine from your cat may be more difficult than from a dog. You may need to devise a special litter box in order to divert/catch some of the urine in a second container underneath the litter box.

6.0 Inflammatory Diets – Crystal and Stone
Forming and Aggravating

Why do so many dogs and cats end up acquiring urinary tract stones…

The big culprit is diet…Well, as you read above a small percentage of our companion animals do have a metabolic genetic predisposition which can cause the formation of stones. But, for the most part the greater percentage of companion animals fall victim to the development of stones due to the modern day commercial pet food diet. The stones are from due to acquired issues rather than because of genetic issues.

Even those companion animals that acquire stones as a secondary condition from an illness (such as Cushing’s disease, a condition in which the pituitary gland releases excess adrenocorticotropic hormone – ACTH) may still fall into the category of acquired rather than genetic predisposition as the triggering secondary diseases are often caused by inappropriate diet.

Dogs and cats that are on an exclusively dry food diet – particularly those that are on a high-carbohydrate grain-in diet that is low in good source protein can end-up with a very out-of-balance pH that is not found in dogs on a more species appropriate diet. High carbohydrate grain-in diets that are also low in good source protein, high in poor source Omega-6 fatty acids and low in moisture create inflammation. While it is important for all dogs and cats to be on an anti-inflammatory diet – an inflammatory diet can really create additional suffering and damage for a dog or cat that has crystals and stones.

Many of the commercial dog and cat food,  dog and cat food, treatsand dental chew are grain-based, meaning that these products don’t just contain a little grain, instead the bulk of the product IS grain. Some of these products also contain refined sugars – which are also inflammatory.


Grain is the seed of grass.
The actual blade of certain grasses is part of a dog’s and cat’s natural diet.  In their natural state a dog and cat may ingest minimal amounts of predigested, unprocessed whole grain when consuming small prey. But have you ever observed a dog or cat eating copious quantities of the grass seeds? No, just the blade of grasses. Dogs and cats are not evolved to derive the majority of their daily food intake from grains. Cats are true carnivores, and dogs are omnivores with their main requirements being meat protein, then fat.

Cats’ and dogs’ digestive systems were never intended to digest and eliminate highly processed dry food, their digestive and eliminatory systems where evolved to function with a diet that was unprocessed – natural and high in moisture content (fresh meat). Dry foods can actually lead to clinical dehydration.

Grains, particularly highly processed cereal grains (i.e. corn) are inflammatory. By default, the very nature of processed dog and cat food is carcinogenic as in the process of making the food both meat and legumes are cooked once and often twice at very high temperatures. Cooking meat and legumes at high temperatures – particularly for long periods of time creates chemical changes in meat and legumes, resulting in carcinogenic properties within the food. You can read about that here.

Grains get converted (by the body – cat, dog, human) very quickly to sugar.
This creates elevated insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels are linked to most chronic degenerative diseases – including diabetes and premature aging. In the absence of sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids (a natural anti-inflammatory for body and brain) the impacts are even more significant, you can read about that
here.

Since the 1950’s (when grain-in processed dry dog food gained popularity) the greed of the pet food industry superseded the actual requirements of our companion animals, and the result has not been good for our dogs and cats. In-fact prior to the popularization of processed dog food – back when dogs people food’ and people ate real food dogs lived twice the lifespan that they do today. Golden Retrievers are a good-bad example. Golden’s are now known as the ‘golden cancer dog’, with a life expectancy averaging between 8 to 10 years. Prior to the 1950’s a Golden’s average life span was 16 to 18 years of age.

Understanding the above creates a solid foundation upon which proper diet can be understood and the formation of non-metabolic caused stones avoided.

Don’t put your faith and trust in the pet food manufacturer, do your research –

The claims of many pet food manufacturers, that their processed dry food is…

  • *Nutritionally complete – not even the most expensive products;
  • *Species appropriate;
  • *All natural;
  • *Wholesome;

Is not an assurance of safety or quality as the terms  – nutritionally complete, species appropriate, all natural, wholesome; are completely unregulated and therefore have no legal and binding meaning. The manufacturer can and in many cases does use these terms despite the fact that the food may contain multiple toxins, carcinogens and is not nutritionally complete, wholesome or all natural. To label dry food as species appropriate defies objective logic.

I have reviewed many dry foods from around the world and have not seen one dry food that could claim to be nutritionally complete. A good example of the failure to be nutritionally complete can be seen by analyzing the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids provided by dry food products. To be nutritionally complete in respect to delivering the right balance of Omega 3 to 6 fatty acids a food would have to provide 2 parts Omega-3 to every 1 part omega-6. Check the dry food you are currently feeding your dog or cat – I guarantee the Omega balance is out.

Another popular and very misleading term used on product advertising and promotion is the  word ‘probiotics’. Processed dry food products are not capable of providing viable *probiotics. The pet-food industry as pertains to dry food is scamming pet owners. You can  read here to understand more about probiotics and why it is impossible for dry food to contain viable probiotics.

Don’t depend on  AAFCO (a non-governmental organization consisting of animal feed lobyists and manufacturers), or on the FDA, Health Canada, etc. as all of these organizations permit many toxins (for example read here), carcinogens and other inappropriate food-stuffs to be included in dog and cat food and health are products (for example read here).

*Popular terms but not regulated terms in the pet food industry – meaning that manufacturers can state that their food is any or all of these terms, but they do not have to prove it, and certainly do not have to conform to a standard that might represent the term. And just to note – wet dog food fares no better.

7.0 Prescription Dog and Cat Food for
Bladder and Kidney Stones – Health
Supporting or Health Threatening?

7.1 Overview, at Issue – Health Supporting or Health
Threatening?
A little further below are several of the most popular veterinarian prescribed dry dog foods for dogs with urinary and renal tract issues including bladder and kidney stones. Each manufacturer’s product also has a version for cats. These products are expensive and are only available for purchase through a veterinary practice (office, hospital). Although the pet food companies that make these veterinarian prescribed foods claim that these foods will help your dog or cat – these foods (examples below) can actually make your animal’s condition worse. These foods would not be good for a healthy dog or cat, let alone a dog or cat with serious health issues. These foods are inflammatory, packed with toxins and carcinogens and sparse on nutrition. They are also very low in protein. Having read the preceding section of this article you have seen that most uroliths (stones) do not require a meat protein restricted diet – instead the diet may simply require that certain types of meat protein be minimized while other types remain at a normal intake level.

Each of these products contain corn and corn derivatives. The majority of North American grown corn is genetically engineered to produce Bt (Bacillus thuringienses) toxin. Bt is a bacterium that is used as a biological pesticide. Bt kills bugs by making their stomachs explode. The Bt that has been genetically engineered to reside in the corn is not destroyed when the corn is harvested. Studies now show that Bt toxin is able to survive the journey through the digestive track and can make your cat and dog allergic to a wide range of substances. One of the reasons that so many dogs and cats are becoming allergic to a wide range of foods and environmental triggers…

  • Take a look at the ingredients;
  • Re-read the dietary requirements for treating and preventing the various types of bladder and kidney stones as provided further above and below;
  • Go look at the ingredient list on the food you are currently feeding your dog or cat – if the list is similar or the same to the contents of the example prescription foods below, your dog’s, cat’s health may be at further serious risk;
  • I am adding links to some of the ingredients – you can go to the link to understand just how harmful this ingredient is for a healthy dog or cat, and worse for a dog or cat fighting disease and illness. I am also including additional notes in green text after some ingredients…

Immediately below I am providing a high-level summary of the dietary requirements for CaOx stones. You can also go back to the earlier sections of this article to see the condition requirements in detail. You can also go to section 9.0 to see detailed dietary recommendations. This should assist you in assessing if these foods are really appropriate to support the treatment and resolution of bladder and kidney stones as well, the overall health of your dog and cat…

Calcium Phosphate and CaOx
Dogs and cats that have Calcium Phosphate or Calcium Oxide (CaOx) stones should not be on a protein restricted diet. The diet should consist of appropriate good source: protein, fruits and vegetables, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, select carbohydrates and if grains must be included only specific grains, digestive enzymes, viable probiotics and a high intake of moisture rich foods and appropriate fluids.

 

7.2 Example Prescription Diets for Renal Issues including Urloliths/Stones

7.2.1 Example One
Hill’s Prescription, Product ‘Canine Urinary Tract Health’
Whole Grain Corn (this is GMO corn – causes the growth of tumors, high in pesticide residue, endocrine disrupting, serotonin suppressor, immune system suppressor, known carcinogen and additional health destructors, it is very low in nutritional value and is a very inexpensive bulk filler), Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid) can be from D4 sources (dead, diseased, dying and disabled animals), rancid fat and highly questionable quality as it is usually from the end production of restaurants and human food processing. Source of mixed tocopherols is usually GMO high pesticide residue oils, Chicken By-Product Meal by-product is beaks, claws, legs and any other part of the chicken that cannot be used in human-grade food, so it is used in pet food instead), Soybean Meal, (this is GMO soy – high in pesticide residue, endocrine disrupting, known carcinogen and additional health destructors), Corn Gluten Meal(from GMO corn), Soybean Mill Run (again GMO soy), Chicken Liver Flavor (artificial flavour – contains toxins), Lactic Acid, Calcium Sulfate, Soybean Oil, Flaxseed, Iodized Salt (stone enabling for some types of stones, meant to increase fluid consumption by making dog thirsty for other types of stones), L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.
Carbohydrate 47. % critically high and from very poor source.
Protein 22.3%very low and from poor source, not suitable for long-term use. Fat 22.1%the breakdown of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids is undisclosed, which indicates that it is for off the correct balance, poor source, critically low, damaging if fed long-term
Crude Fiber 2.7%
Phosphorus 0.6%
7.2.2 Example Two
Hill’s Prescription Diet, Product ‘Canine Renal Health’

Brewers Rice(a by-product left-over from the processing of rice for human consumption – it is very low in nutritional value and is a very inexpensive bulk filler),Pork Fat(preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid) can be from D4 sources (dead, diseased, dying and disabled animals), rancid fat and highly questionable quality as it is usually from the end production of restaurants and human food processing. Source of mixed tocopherols is usually GMO high pesticide residue oils, Dried Egg Product (Is not the same as ‘egg’. Egg Product comes the waste product from egg grading facilities, egg breaking facilities, and hatcheries, dried egg product is the egg waste that has been turned into a dry powder product. It is found in low-grade dog food), Flaxseed, Corn Gluten Meal(from GMO corn), Chicken Liver Flavor (artificial flavour – contains toxins),Powdered Cellulose(an inexpensive filler made from wood pulp, it increases the column of the food but has no nutritional value and can be contaminated with toxins. The pet food manufacturer can save up to 30% of the cost of using better ingredients by using powdered cellulose),Lactic Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Beet Pulp, L-Lysine, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt (stone enabling for some types of stones, meant to increase fluid consumption by making dog thirsty for other types of stones) , Calcium Sulfate, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Vitamin E Supplement, L-Threonine, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, Magnesium Oxide, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary
Carbohydrate 59.9%poor source carbohydrates, critically high – inflammatory
Protein 14.3%poor source, critically low, damagingly low if fed long-term
Fat 19.5%the breakdown of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids is undisclosed, which indicates that it is far off the correct balance.
Crude Fiber 2.4%
Phosphorus 0.2
7.2.3 Example Three
Royal Canine, Product ‘Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Dog Food’
Brewers Rice(a by-product left-over from the processing of rice for human consumption – it is very low in nutritional value and is a very inexpensive bulk filler),Corn(this is GMO corn – causes the growth of tumours, high in pesticide residue, endocrine disrupting, serotonin suppressor, immune system suppressor, known carcinogen and additional health destructors, it is very low in nutritional value and is a very inexpensive bulk filler), chicken fat, chicken meal, natural flavors, Dried Egg Product (comes the waste product from egg grading facilities, egg breaking facilities, and hatcheries, dried egg product is the egg waste that has been turned into a dry powder product. It is found in low-grade dog food),Corn Gluten Meal(from GMO corn), salt (stone enabling for some types of stones, meant to increase fluid consumption by making dog thirsty for other types of stones)  , Powdered Cellulose(an inexpensive filler made from wood pulp, it increases the column of the food but has no nutritional value and can be contaminated with toxins. The pet food manufacturer can save up to 30% of the cost of using better ingredients by using powdered cellulose), potassium chloride, fish oil, calcium carbonate, potassium phosphate, calcium sulfate, taurine, choline chloride, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), trace minerals [zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid.
Carbohydratethe manufacturer doesn’t even list the percentage of carbohydrates – however they are poor source critically high.
Crude Protein (min) 14.00% poor source, critically low, damagingly low if fed long-term
Crude Fat (min) 14.00% out of which the Omega-3 fatty acids are poor source, critically low, damagingly low if fed long-term
Crude Fiber (max) 4.60%
Moisture (max) 10.00%

7.2.4 Example Four

Product Purina ‘Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Canine Formula Dry’
Ground Yellow Corn(this is GMO corn – causes the growth of tumours, high in pesticide residue, endocrine disrupting, serotonin suppressor, immune system suppressor, known carcinogen and additional health destructors, it is very low in nutritional value and is a very inexpensive bulk filler),Brewers Rice(a by-product left-over from the processing of rice for human consumption – it is very low in nutritional value and is a very inexpensive bulk filler), egg product (Is not the same as ‘egg’. Egg Product comes the waste product from egg grading facilities, egg breaking facilities, and hatcheries, dried egg product is the egg waste that has been turned into a dry powder product. It is found in low-grade dog food) ,beef tallow preserved with mixed tocopherols (source of Vitamin E) can be from D4 sources (dead, diseased, dying and disabled animals), rancid fat and highly questionable quality as it is usually from the end production of restaurants and human food processing. Source of mixed tocopherols is usually GMO high pesticide residue oils, sugar (stone enhancing inflammatory,increases Omega-6 levelswhich in the absence of enough Omega-3 causes inflammation of brain cells, low serotonin levels, decreases PS levels, causes diabetes and is a trigger for cancer, causes dental problems, dogs do not require sugar in their diet!), dried whey, sodium caseinate, calcium carbonate, vegetable oil (from GMO sources, high in pesticides, endocrine disrupting, cancer causing, immune system suppressing),animal digest, potassium citrate, potassium chloride, fish oil, choline chloride, salt (stone enabling for some types of stones), ferrous sulfate, vitamin supplements (E, A, B-12, D-3), zinc oxide, riboflavin supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity) toxic to kidneys, liver, mucous membranes, repeated or prolonged ingestion can produce damage to target organs, carcinogen and mutagen,calcium iodate, sodium selenite.
Carbohydrate, 56.94% poor source carbohydrates are critically high and inflammatory
Protein, 14.40% poor source, critically low, damagingly low if fed long-term
Total Omega-3, 0.27% poor source, critically low, damagingly low if fed long-term
Total Omega-6, 2.51% poor source
Phosphorus, %0.26%
7.2.5 Additional Analysis the above Examples

Protein

  • All of these foods are very low in protein…
    • CaOx Stones – dogs and cats with CaOx stones should maintain a high intake of protein and low oxalate foods and a high intake of moisture rich foods and fluids.
    • Cystine Stones – dogs and cats that have cystine stones need to be on a restricted intake of cysteine and methionone rich protein foods and should have a high intake of moisture rich foods and fluids. 
    • Struvite Stones – Dogs with struvite stones should maintain a high intake of protein, a low intake of carbohydrates, especially starchy carbohydrates and should have a high intake of moisture rich foods and fluids. 
    • Uric Acid Stones – dogs and cats with Uric Acid stones need a low purine diet; 
    • And should have a high intake of moisture rich foods and fluids.
Fats
Good source purified  omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very important for the health of your dog and cat – the Omega fatty acids provided in these dog foods are of highly questionable quality and the percentage of Omega-3 fatty acids are critically low.
Grains and Other Fillers
Grains as noted further above are inflammatory, crystal and stone forming and species inappropriate and should not be part of a dog’s or cat’s diet.
Moisture
  • A dog’s and cat’s digestive and elimination system IS NOT designed to digest, process and eliminate dry food, it is evolved to process moist food;
    • While dogs and cats are omnivores the largest portion of their daily food intake was – ancestrally, raw real meat protein – a substance that is high in moisture;
    • When the renal system (bladder, kidney and liver) are forced to process and eliminate food with little moisture content these organs must work harder – which prematurely wears the organs out;
    • As well, in the absence of moisture minerals can build-up and then crystallize in the bladder and/or kidney – this is how bladder and kidney stones are formed;
    • Dry dog and cat food is lacking in moisture;
    • During digestion and elimination the dry food actually robs the body of moisture as any moisture I the gut is absorbed by the dry food;
    • The example prescription dog food formulas provided above are very high in bulk fillers which require even more moisture to process.
Toxic Loading
  • These example foods are also very, very high in toxins;
    • Your dog’s and cat’s kidneys and liver is his/her natural detoxer;
    • These organs were not designed to take the toxic load forced upon them by the inappropriate ingredients that make up these foods;
    • These foods create to large a toxic burden (load) on the dog’s system;
    • The end result is a build-up of toxins in the body that cannot be eliminated, worn-out organs, immune system suppression and further illness.
7.2.6 Tested on Dogs and Cats…You bet these products are…but not quite the way you may be assuming…
It is well known and well documented that Hill’s and Purina practice cruel and lethal testing on cats and dogs – for which there is no excuse. There are so many humane alternatives – a proven fact as many other pet food companies have chosen to adopt these more humane and effective research methods. And where are Hill’s and Purina getting their ‘research cats and dogs from? Well there are only three sources – 1) facilities that breed these companion animals just for this purpose, 2) from pound seizure, or 3) from the dog’s or cat’s faithless owner, who has tired of looking after the dog or cat and rather than surrender their dog or cat to a no kill shelter or rescue group, instead decides to surrender their animal to lethal research testing facility. Not only will these foods not support your own dog’s or cat’s health they also rob other dogs and cats of their life – in the most cruel  of ways. I will leave you to determine what drives these companies to produce the products they sell – concern for your dog’s and cat’s well being, or greed and avarice. It deeply disturbs me that so many dogs, cats and their loving people suffer due to the lack of ethics of the pet food industry.
7.2.7 At This Point You May be Wondering Why Your Veterinarian Prescribes These Products…
Many of you will be wondering why your veterinarianwould prescribe something that was not good for your dog or cat and charge you a lot of money for that product. The answer is very simple…
Practitioners of modern medicine also called allopathic medicine (human, canine, feline, etc.):
Allopathic veterinarians are not taught to understand nutrition or analyze the contents of food or medicine in a thorough or objective fashion. While studying veterinary sciences at university veterinary students get one week (out of an entire four year university course) to ‘study’ and ‘learn’ about nutrition. During that week the majority (if not all) of the material studies is supplied to the university by the big pet food manufacturers.
Your veterinarian (unless he/she is a practitioner of CAM – conventional and alternate medicine) is:
  • Well trained to understand and expertly perform standard and emergency medicine;
    • Modern medicine is designed to address illness and disease post development;
    • Modern Medicine is designed to react to and treat acquired conditions, it is not designed to strategically enable and maintain overallhealth and well being.
8.0 CaOx Bladder or Kidney Stone (or
Crystal) Diet
Go Organic as much as you possibly can…

Dogs and cats that are suffering from bladder and kidney stones have a renal system that is already taxed and stressed. It is important to limit – as much as possible, their exposure to ingested toxins, for this reason organic sourced food can really help you further reduce the load on your dog’s or cat’s system…

8.1 Fluids – for all Stone Types
 

Offer plenty of appropriate fluids, along with water as noted below offering dome variety will help encourage your dog and cat to take-in more fluids…

Drinking Water
  • Used distilled water only;
  • No tap, mineral or well water unless you distil it.
Broth  
  • Add broth to the meal and/or offer a bowl of broth next to the water bowl (don’t leave the broth out for more than 15 minutes as it must be refrigerated to avoid spoiling;
  • You can use the recipe for homemade broth provided in this article;
  • The broth can also be frozen in ice cube trays and provided as a treat;
  • Don’t use commercially made broth (even organic broths) unless you are sure that the ingredients do not contain salt, sugar, artificial food coloring etc.
Tart Red Cherry Juice
  • You can offer your dog or cat a little tart red cherry juice on a daily basis:
  • Use only unsweetened, no sugar or artificial sweeteners;
  • Tart red cherries contain antioxidant compound called anthocyanins that have been identified as having a high antioxidant capacity and are inflammation reducers – comparable to well known pain medications such as aspirin. 
 Cranberry Juice
  • You can offer your dog or cat a little cranberry juice on a daily basis:
  • Use only unsweetened, no sugar or artificial sweeteners;
  • Cranberry can help prevent bacteria from attaching to the lining of the stomach and urinary tract;
  • Cranberries also contain the anti-inflammatory reducer anthocyanins;
  • Cranberry gains efficacy if it is provided two to three times a day rather than just once a day;
  • Fresh cranberries (as opposed to extract of cranberries as found in juice, or powdered as found in supplements) offer greater potency for supporting liver and cardiovascular health;
  • Try putting whole fresh or frozen thawed cranberries in a blender with a little orange juice to make a puree for your dog or cat – this can be mixed into some food.
  • Caution – remember for Cysteine stones do not use cranberry, uselemon instead.
8.2 CaOx Stones – Diet Requirements

Years ago it was thought that a diet of restricted protein and phosphorous was key to reducing the risk of Calcium Phosphate stones and CaOx stones – however this approach is a) outdated and, b) incorrect.Further research showed that the former approach was wrong as:

  • Restricting dietary phosphorous increased calcium absorption thereby increasing the risk of stone formation;
  • Higher levels of protein reduced the risk of kidney stones.

Research has proven dogs and cats that are prone to forming CaOx stones:Should not be on a diet that restricts calcium, phosphorous or protein;Should not be on a diet that is high in carbohydrates;Should be on a diet that is high in good quality protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and moisture/liquid.

8.2.1 What the Diet Should Consist Of
8.2.1.1 Moderate oxalate foods can be included in
moderate amounts
:
  • Fruit
    • Blackberries, blueberries, clementines, mandarins, oranges (no grapefruit) – preparation is important to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients – read about that here.
  • Vegetables
    • Carrots, celery, potatoes – preparation is important to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients – read about that here.
  • Legumes (Pulses)
    • Adzuki, kidney, pinto beans.
  • Grains or Squash
    • Go grain-free which is what I prefer and use squash rather than grains, or:Use bulgar, brown rice or oatmeal.
8.2.1.2 Low Oxalate foods can be included in
            unrestricted amounts
:

  • Seeds:
    • Coconut, flax seeds (ground), pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds;
  • Fruit;
    • Apple, apricot (fresh); banana, cherries, cranberries, lemon, melons (all types), nectarine, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, raspberries, strawberries, Saskatoon berries, thimble berries – preparation is important to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients – read about that here.
  • Vegetables:
    • Asparagus, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, cabbage (and fresh sauerkraut), cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce – romaine, red leaf, green leaf, frizzy, radicchio; string beans (all colours), kelp, sweet bell peppers (all colours), zucchini – preparation is important to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients – read about that here.
  • Legumes (Pulses):
    • Black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, split peas;
  • Herbs:
    • Basil, garlic, sage, spearmint, rosemary.
  • Dairy:
    • Cottage cheese, cheese (not processed cheese), kefir, yogurt;
    • Egg;
  • Meat:
    • Red meat – i.e. beef, bison, lamb;
    • Poultry – i.e  chicken, turkey, duck;
    • Fish – i.e. mackerel, salmon, sardines;
    • Organ meats (i.e. liver) – in moderation.
  • Fat:
    • Omega-3 fatty acids;
    • Norwegian Krill oil;
    • Wild Alaskan Salmon oil;
  • Omega-6 fatty acids.
    • Coconut Oil;
    • or one of the following…

      • Flaxseed Oil;
      • Hempseed Oil;
      • Olive Oil;        
      • Sunflower Oil.
  • Grains, or Squash 
    • Go grain-free which is what I prefer and use squash rather than grains, or:Use wild rice.
 
8.2.1.3 Ensure you include some of these foods (on a
daily basis), that are rich in:
Magnesium
Banana, dairy, the following unrefined whole grains – buckwheat, bulgar, oats, wild rice; pumpkin seeds, mackerel, beans as listed further below.

Potassium

Acorn squash, banana, fish, yogurt.

Vitamin B6
Banana, chicken, salmon, herbs/spices – basil, garlic, sage, spearmint, rosemary, turmeric; turkey.

 

9.0 Prevention

A properly designed diet is essential…

  • A homemade diet is the best choice as you can control the type and quality of ingredients.
  • A good quality commercial raw dog or cat food diet comprised of quality ingredients and augmented with essential supplements is also a very good choice.

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:

  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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5 comments

  1. I have read and re-read this article trying to understand what diet is appropriate for my dog whose urine has high ph. He is a 4 year old neutered Pomeranian. He is an agility dog. He has always been fed high quality organic home cooked or raw commercial diet. I preferred home cooked because he sometimes has trouble digesting raw. The vet told me to keep him on 75% meat and 25% veggies. His annual tests all normal until a few months ago in June, his urine result was high ph with some crystals. Additional test was ordered by the vet to test if his kidney is functioning normally and it is. The vet put him on cranberry extract supplement and told me to lower protein ratio. The vet didn’t tell me how to balance the diet other than lowering the protein ratio so I started cooking according to your grain free recipe. My Pom has also been taking fish oil, probiotic and coconut oil on a daily basis. In the end of August after taking cranberry supplement for almost two months, his urine tested very normal with no sign of crystal at all. The vet said we could take him off cranberry then retest in a couple of months. We just had a urine test done and his ph is high again with crystal presence worse than in June. So he is back on cranberry and vet told me to lower protein ratio to 60%. Also told me to limit calcium intake. Re test in one month. In one month if ph still high then X-ray should be taken to rule out stones. Here I am trying to make sense of the diet part. How is lowering protein help in this case? Reading your article confirms that it does not. Since my goal is to lower his urine PH level, can I follow the exact same substitutions to your normal grain free diet? Thank you for all the very informative articles. Theresa

    • Hi Theresa,

      The veterinarian should not have told you to take your Pom off of the cranberry…as if leaving them in his diet would cause harm. In-fact my ten dogs – none of whom have stones get finely minced cranberries everyday.

      As you noted lowering protein is not recommended but in some cases changing the source of the protein may be required. Lowering calcium intake is also not normally recommended – as doing so can create the condition for crystal formation. I am not sure if you read this article as well http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/09/bladder-kidney-stones-in-dogs-cats.html as it provides information on other stone types – please read it. It will help you understand where your veterinarian is making mistakes so you can avoid falling in to them.

      Theresa you are on the right track, read the other article and put the cranberry back in his diet, continue to feed based on my grain-free recipe as you were before.

      Cheers Karen

    • Also add additional fluids to his meals – as noted in section 8.1 of the article above.

    • Thank you Karen for such quick response. I do add liquid to his food. I guess I will have to add more. One thing vet was telling me that being on high quality meat based diet my poms urine shouldn’t have high ph. Meat should make urine acidic. Other than saying that she can’t offer me any explanation as to why. He is back in cranberry supplements as of today, Hopefully the crystals will be gone soon. Thank you again!

    • An extract from my other article http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/09/bladder-kidney-stones-in-dogs-cats.html helps to explain this…
      Pomeranians are one of the breeds noted- under several of the stone types covered in the article, as having a genetic pre-disposition to those types of stones indicated.

      In addition there can be many other contributing factors which can tax his renal system making it more difficult for his system to ‘clean-house’ efficiently. Toxic loading from other sources (over vaccination, chemical-based insect and pesticide preventatives, exposure to chemicals from shampoos, from chemical -based household cleaners, exposure to seed dust from GMO crop planting, minerals in the water, etc.

      Hope he gets better soon :>)

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