It can be frustrating when your dog’s bladder becomes inflamed, and there is a significant amount of blood in your dog’s urine. Crystals in dog urine can cause excruciating pain.
So, it is important to monitor the situation and address any possible causes for this condition. You also should know how to treat crystals in dog urine naturally to prevent this condition from reoccurring.
This article has everything you need to know about crystals in dog urine or bladder stones in dogs. The information and advice come from expert veterinarians who have been treating animals for years.
Types of urine crystal in dogs
A common urinary tract disorder for dogs, crystals are also known as “stones” or “staghorn calculi.” Crystals occur when the urine becomes concentrated and forms solid minerals, which are either acidic or alkaline. This is what causes the urine to become cloudy in appearance.
Here are the types of urine crystals in dogs:
There are various causes of bladder stones in dogs, but struvite stones are the most common. Struvite stones form when the pH in the urine becomes too alkaline.
This causes minerals like magnesium and ammonium to combine with ammonia to form struvite crystals.
Dogs with struvite bladder stones must be fed a diet high in calcium and phosphate levels to reduce their chances of developing more stones in the future.
The most common symptom of calcium oxalate bladder stones in dogs is recurrent, painful urination.
Dogs with calcium oxalate bladder stones may also experience difficulty or straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and the need to urinate more often than usual.
The five breeds most likely to develop calcium oxalate bladder stones are:
- Tibetan Terrier
- Shih Tzu
Urate (Ammonium Biurate)
Dalmatians, Jack Russel Terriers, and Bulldogs, experience urate crystals due to a genetic condition. Urate stones are composed of compounds called purines, found in DNA. Liver shunts often produce this type of stone, with liver disease prevalent among dogs and cats.
The purines found in meat, organs such as liver and heart, fish, and seafood can be dissolved if pet owners put their animal on a low-purine diet combined with medication.
What causes urine crystals in dogs
There are many reasons that can cause bladder stones in dogs.
- Lack of water intake
- Kibble-only diet
- Lack of liquid in food
- Low magnesium intake
- High phosphorus intake
- Continuous high-protein meals
- Current health diseases
- Excessive consumption of commercial food
Signs of urine crystals in dogs
Many dog owners do not know what urine crystals are, let alone the importance of detecting them in your pet.
Crystals are made up of urine salts and water, forming needle-like particles that are concentrated in the bladder or urinary tract.
Here are a few things that can confirm your dog has urine crystals.
- Your dog will whine while urinating or stop peeing halfway
- You will notice small particles in your dog’s urine
- When your dog urinates, the urine might seem cloudy or whitish
- Your dog will often lick its genitals
- The area surrounding your dog’s genitals might seem abnormal
How to treat crystals in dog urine naturally
If you spot any of the warning signs, consult a vet as soon as possible. UTI and kidney stones are not complicated, but they can be fatal if left untreated.
However, there are many ways to prevent urine crystals naturally.
Feed a healthy diet
Do you know how long it takes a dog to digest food? It matters to improve your canine’s health. A healthy diet plays a significant role if you want to keep your dog healthy and active.
Many people buy a big bag of dry dog food and call it good. The reality is commercial food does not fulfill the nutrition your dog requires.
Give healthy treats
Choose the best healthy snacks to give your puppy other than a healthy diet. Some pet owners love to spoil their pups when it comes to treats.
There are hundreds of brands to avoid because they manufacture treats that are high in sodium, protein, and other types of fats, which can cause bladder stones.
Worried about what to give your dog, talk to your vet.
Consider a raw diet
Some studies show that raw diets are best for dogs. However, you have to talk to your vet if you plan to give your dog a raw diet.
Some kibble or dry dog food lacks nutrition and hydration, a primary culprit of urine crystals in dogs. Make sure your dog gets enough water.
The average dog drinks about 2 cups of water per day. If your dog doesn’t drink enough water, it may be more likely to develop bladder stones.
Dehydration is the most common cause of bladder stone development in dogs. Provide your dog with plenty of fresh, clean water.
If your dog seems to struggle with drinking enough water, ask your veterinarian about options for increasing their daily intake of fluids.
Spay or neuter
More dog owners choose to neuter or spay their pets to prevent the possibility of developing bladder stones.
Dogs that are neutered or spayed t have a lower risk of developing bladder stones. This is why many veterinarians recommend getting your pet neutered or spayed if they haven’t already.
Can bladder stones kill dogs?
Urine crystals can be a significant risk for dogs. Urine crystals result from not drinking enough water and urinating too often.
When these urine crystals form, they can harm the kidneys. If your dog’s kidneys are damaged, they will not function properly. If left untreated, kidney damage can lead to kidney failure and death.
Tips for dogs with urine crystals
If your dog suffers from urine crystals, here are some tips to help.
- If your dog hates drinking water, try buying those flowing water bowls for dogs. Those bowls can make your dog more interested in drinking water.
- Give your dogs baths on hot days. Doing so will help your dog cool down its body faster.
- Apple cider vinegar works like a charm for dogs with a UTI. Try adding a little apple cider vinegar in their water. Caution: Do not leave the apple cider vinegar water for more than 5 hours.
- If you struggle with giving your dog medication to treat the condition, try hiding the pill in their favorite treat.
Common questions about urine crystals
Is pumpkin good for dogs with bladder stones?
In season, a pumpkin can make a great snack for your dog, but are they good for dogs with bladder stones? Eating too many pumpkin seeds can cause kidney stones, so be sure to limit them to just one or two.
Dogs with bladder stones should not eat pumpkins, as they are high in purines, which may exacerbate the issue.
Is watermelon good for dogs with bladder stones?
A common misconception is that watermelon is safe for dogs with bladder stones. In fact, watermelon contains high levels of citrulline, which can cause bladder stones.
Veterinarians say dogs with bladder stones should not eat watermelon.
Are carrots good for dogs with urinary problems?
Are carrots good for dogs with urinary problems? Yes, you read that correctly. Carrots can help your dog’s urinary system stay healthy and function well.
This is because carrots contain Vitamin A. The vitamin has been found to help relieve bladder spasms and soothe irritation. So, the next time your pet gets a bladder infection, give them a carrot to chew on!
Understand crystals in dog urine
Make your dog drink plenty of water which will help flush the crystals from the body, and apple cider vinegar which helps break down urinary tract infections.
When treating crystals in dog urine naturally, make sure you do not feed your dog anything salty or acidic.
Constantly monitor what your canine eats and drinks. Try to keep your pup on a healthy diet and monitor its daily water intake.
Emma Rosy has extensive experience writing about pets. She’s been a freelance writer for more than three years and runs the Mesdog Lover website with her younger brother. As a dog owner, she wants to share her experience as a responsible dog parent with other dog lovers.