Picking a dog food that is good for your pet’s urinary health can be a challenge. There’s not a lot of information available about what is needed to develop a high-quality food that helps reduce kidney stones as well as guard against them from forming in the first place.
We carefully picked ten different kinds of dog food commonly used to maintain urinary health to review so you can get a better idea of what to look for when choosing your brand. Each brand has different good and bad points, and you’ll get to see how different these foods are. We also include a short buyer’s guide, where we discuss the causes and types of stones and how to prevent them.
Please continue reading for in-depth reviews of each kind of dog food for urinary health, where we compare struvites and oxalates, protein, ingredients, and risk factors, so you can feel confident about making an informed purchase.
A Quick Comparison (updated in 2020)
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The 6 Best Dog Foods for Urinary Tract Health
Let’s take a look at the six different kinds of dog food for urinary health that we have chosen to review for you.
1. Hills Diet Urinary Tract Dog Food – Best Overall
The Hills Diet 399 c/d Urinary Tract Health Dry Dog Food won choice for the best overall dog food for urinary health. This food features a unique formula that reduces protein, magnesium, and phosphorus to help reduce the chance of your pet getting a kidney stone. The formula also reduces sodium to help prevent high blood pressure, and added antioxidants will help fight infection and reduce swelling.
Our dogs didn’t mind eating this food, and our only complaint is that you only get a small amount per package.
2. Blue Buffalo Urinary Care Dog Food – Best Value
The Blue Buffalo 801331 Urinary Care Dog Food is the food we picked as the best value. This brand is inexpensive and can help with weight management as well as urinary tract problems, making it the best dog food for urinary health for the money. The ingredients that work to promote weight loss also help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Antioxidants provide an immune system boost while B vitamins give an increase in energy levels. Chicken is the first ingredient, and it’s free of chemical preservatives.
Some of our dogs didn’t like it, and it contains a lot of peas. A recent FDA warning says that peas may be linked to heart disease in dogs, so you only want to use this food as needed.
The Royal Canin 20154574 Canine Urinary SO Dry Dog Food won our premium choice award for dog food for urinary health. It uses ingredients that work to increase the volume of urine your pet expels. It also provides a balanced diet that has less protein, magnesium, and phosphorus, to help prevent the growth of new stones. This food also lowers the pH of your pet’s urine to create an acidic environment resistant to creating stones.
Most of our dogs like this food, but it is costly and can set you back quite a bit if you want to use it long term or need to feed several dogs with it.
Also see: Dog food for liver disease – Our reviews
4. Health Extension Chicken Dog Food – Best For Puppies
Health Extension 858755000277 Grain Free Dog Food removes the extra ingredients and gives you 95% pure chicken in a can and natural preservatives. This food is for puppies, and it eliminates the guesswork of finding out which ingredients are giving your puppy a problem. Once any urinary troubles pass, it makes a great occasional snack.
This kind of food is not cheap, and many of the cans we received had dents. We also found that the food had a bad smell and scent tended to linger.
5. Nulo Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Nulo Grain Free Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food contains no corn, wheat, or soy products that can lead to digestive troubles in your pet. This brand features as the first several ingredients, and it also contains L-Carnitine so help boost the effectiveness of fatty acids like omega-3.
What we didn’t like about this brand is it has a lot of peas, which might lead to heart problems in the future. Besides that, only half our dogs would eat it, so dinner time was a struggle.
6. Purina Pro Plan Urinary Tract Health Dog Food
The Purina 3810017109 Canine UR Urinary Ox/St Dog Food is the last dog food we have to review for you concerning dog foods for urinary health. This food also has a reduced fat content and reduced salt content to keep stable blood pressure.
This kind of dog food is good for helping with weight loss, but its not the best for urinary health. The protein level in this strand is too high for dogs susceptible to struvite stones in the kidneys or the bladder. We also didn’t feel like we got very much per package, and we noticed that it gave our puppies some bad gas.
Let’s look at the essential things that we need dog food for urinary health to include.
If your pet has one or more of the following symptoms, we recommend taking them to the vet immediately to have them checked for stones.
- Your pet has suddenly started peeing where they aren’t supposed to.
- You notice your dog straining to urinate.
- Your pet always to pee but doesn’t pee much.
- Your dog spends too much time cleaning the area.
- The urine is off-color, particularly dark or red.
Bladder stones in your dog can be excruciating, and they can also be a chronic issue if you don’t find out what’s causing them to occur. An infection can cause stones, as can genetics, liver disease, and metabolic disorders that cause a high amount of calcium in the blood.
A nutrient imbalance due to an improper diet can also create stones in your dog’s bladder, and a healthy diet can help prevent stones from forming. Concentrating on improving your pet’s food is one of the easiest things we can all do to prevent stones from occurring.
Unfortunately, there are different types of stones. Each type of stone will need a different treatment and diet. Some stones are formed under high pH conditions, while others form in low pH environments. You will need to have the stone tested by a veterinarian to determine the appropriate course of action, or you could potentially make the situation worse.
One of the leading causes of stones in your pet is dehydration. Our pets just don’t drink enough, and it’ s challenging to get them to drink. One option that can help is to place more water sources around the home. Electric fountains are also a great way to encourage your pet to hydrate more frequently.
Hydration is the only universal remedy that will help with all stones.
Struvites and Oxalate
The two most common types of stones are struvite and oxalate.
Dogs typically have slightly acidic urine. In this state, a natural component of dog urine called struvite remains dissolved and presents no danger to the dog. However, if the urine becomes too concentrated because our pet hasn’t had enough water, the struvites can crystalize. Struvites will also begin to crystalize if the pH of the urine gets too high.
Protein, Magnesium, Phosphorus
Protein, magnesium, and phosphorus are the nutrients that contribute the most to the formation of struvite crystals in the urine. These crystals then bind together to form stones. Reducing the amount of these nutrients in your diet, along with diluting them with more water, is the best way to prevent the formation of stones. You must be careful, though, because these are essential nutrients that your pet requires. Reducing them too much can lead to other health problems for your pet.
Often, returning the urine to its natural acidic state can dissolve the stones without the need for complex surgery. Struvites are much the more common type of stone, but the occurrence of oxalate stones is on the rise.
The exact cause of oxalate stones is not as well known as the cause of struvite stones, but it seems that overly acidic urine that is high in calcium has something to do with it. You will need to remove this type of stone surgically unless it is small enough for flushing with a catheter. These stones do not dissolve.
Dogs that have a predisposition to this type of stone require a special diet that produces urine with a higher pH. These foods are often wet foods that are high in protein.
Oxalate stones are on the rise, and no one knows why. Some scientists believe obesity and antibiotics are the cause.
We recommend keeping a close watch on your dog’s weight and making sure they get plenty of fluids. If your dog hasn’t been diagnosed with any stones yet, keeping your pet fit and fed with a well-balanced meal that features meat as the top ingredient and doesn’t have chemical preservatives is your best bet. Don’t use grain-free food unless your pet is overweight or prescribed by a vet.
If your pet has had stones, we recommend the Hills Diet 399 c/d Urinary Track Health Dry Dog Food, our pick for the best overall. This food features reduced protein, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as antioxidants that can help fight any infections. The Blue Buffalo 801331 Urinary Care Dog Food is our pick for the best value and is an excellent choice for an overweight dog.
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Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison (updated in 2020)
- The 6 Best Dog Foods for Urinary Tract Health
- Buyer’s Guide
- Struvites and Oxalate