Urinary tract disease in dogs: How to recognize it?
Urinary tract disease causes the formation of bladder stones, small, sharp, crystals that form in your dog’s urine. In most cases, these crystals are the size of a grain of sand. These bladder stones irritate the wall of the bladder and your dog’s lower urinary tract. Naturally, this is very unpleasant for your dog. However, in many cases, this ailment is treatable.
Recognizing urinary tract disease in your dog: the symptoms
If you suspect that your dog has urinary tract disease, you can keep an eye out for certain symptoms. Although your dog may not experience all of the symptoms below, combinations of these symptoms are common.
- Urination in small amounts
- More frequent urination
- Urinating indoors
- Blood in the urine
- Straining, or even prolonged straining, to urinate
- Painful urination
Causes of bladder disease and stones in your dog
Urinary tract disease in dogs can have various causes. The most common of these results in bladder stones made of struvite and calcium oxalate. If struvite is the culprit, then in dogs this is almost always caused by a bladder infection. Therefore, it is important to also treat the bladder infection and not just the bladder stones themselves. If the bladder stone is made of calcium oxalate, then the cause is usually bacterial. In those cases, the stone is formed in highly concentrated urine. To determine the precise cause of your dog’s bladder stones, have your veterinarian test the urine.
Reducing the risk of urinary tract disease with the right diet
A special pet food has been developed to relieve and prevent (as much as possible) urinary tract disease and the formation of bladder stones: SANIMED Anti-Struvite. This effective anti-struvite diet contains low levels of struvite-forming compounds (magnesium, phosphorous and protein). This pet food makes your dog’s urine more acidic, bringing the pH level down to between 6.0 and 6.4. This dissolves the existing struvite stones and prevents new ones from forming. On average, your dog’s struvite stones will dissolve after 1 to 3 months on an anti- struvite diet.
Additional urinary tract health tips for your dog
Although urinary tract disease is often treatable, prompt action is critical. When you decide, in consultation with your veterinarian, to treat your dog’s urinary tract disease with special food, such as SANIMED Anti-Struvite, it is essential to refrain from giving your dog any other additional food. Treats can adversely affect the acidity of the urine. In addition, encourage your dog to drink more often. Provide more frequent, smaller meals daily, to minimize fluctuations in urine acidity. And, the numbers don’t lie! Measure the acidity of your dog’s urine regularly, preferably at the same time every day (acidity levels fluctuate throughout the day). Do this once every 2 to 4 weeks. If the pH value rises above 6.5, it is a good idea to have your veterinarian examine the urine.