The 8 Best Dog Foods for Bladder Stones

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

Urinary bladder stones are a result of a change in the pH of your dog’s urine. This pH disturbance cannot be linked to one single cause yet, and we know that the food your dog eats can affect their health.

There is a possibility that excessive amounts of certain ingredients are causing bladder stones. Similarly, there are food options that can improve bladder health and help reduce the formation of stones. The food your dog eats has a direct effect on the acidity of their urine.

I’ve put together a list of the 9 best dog foods that, along with the right medication and care, are an ideal treatment of bladder stones. Please bear in mind that these foods are for dogs who have bladder stones. They are not part of a preventative diet and should only be feed under the direction and supervision of your veterinarian.

Best Dog Foods for Bladder Stones

1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric Content (per kg): 1242 kcal
  • Main Ingredients: Water, Chicken Liver, Chicken by-products, Pork by-products, Corn Grits
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 5.6%, fat (min.) 5.9%, fiber (max.) 2.1%, moisture (max.) 73.5%
  • Food texture/form: wet food, pate
  • Pea-free
  • Veterinary diet

The most common type of bladder stones is struvite stones, which are caused by excess mineral deposits in the dog’s urine. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO is specifically formulated to dissolve pure struvite stones and to help prevent the formation of calcium oxalate stones.

This recipe is designed to help with all urinary health issues. It has been manufactured using the Relative Super Saturation (RSS) methodology to lower the ion concentration in the dog’s urine, which is a contributing factor in stone formation. It contains less magnesium than traditional dog foods, and because it is a wet food formula, it provides extra moisture to help dissolve and flush out unwanted stones and minerals.

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2. Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric Content (per cup): 375 kcal
  • Main Ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Mill Run
  • Analysis: protein (min.) 18%, fat (min.) 13%, fiber (max.) 5%, moisture (max.) 10%
  • Food texture/form: dry food
  • Pea-free
  • Veterinary diet

Although most bladder stones are caused by urine that is too alkaline, that’s not always the case. In certain situations, lower urine pH can lead to problems. For dogs with a lower urine pH, Hills Prescription C/D Urinary Care is the solution.

Its high magnesium and phosphate content help balance the pH of your dog’s urine. Also, it provides enough calcium for growth and maintenance without delivering too much, which can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate stones.

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3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Support D Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric Content (per kg): 913 kcal
  • Main Ingredients: Water, Chicken by-products, Pork Liver, Wheat Flour, Corn Flour
  • Analysis: protein (min.) 2.5%, fat (min.) 4.5%, fiber (max.) 1.5%, moisture (max.) 82.5%
  • Food texture/form: wet food, chunks in gravy
  • Sensitive digestion
  • Low protein
  • Pea-free
  • Veterinary diet

D is for delicious in this kidney supportive formula designed for picky eaters. The soft gravy formula is calorie-dense and designed for adult dogs who’ve lost their hearty appetite, which is especially helpful for those dogs who just don’t eat much anymore.

It contains fatty acids from fish oil along with the lower phosphorus levels necessary for dogs with compromised kidneys. This veterinary prescribed meal can be served on its own or as a topper.

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4. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St Canned Dog Food

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric Content (per kg): 1041 kcal
  • Main Ingredients: Chicken, Water, Rice, Meat by-products, Liver
  • Analysis: protein (min.) 7.5%, fat (min.) 4.5%, fiber (max.) 3%, moisture (max.) 78%
  • Food texture/form: wet food, minced
  • Pea-free
  • Veterinary diet

This therapeutic diet is specially formulated for the treatment of struvite and calcium oxalate stones. It keeps the urine diluted to prevent the mineral deposits that result in crystal growth. Also, its low fiber and high moisture levels are well suited for dogs with compromised kidneys.

It is a pea-free food perfect for dogs with a sensitive digestive system. What’s unique about this dog food is that it has more protein than most therapeutic diets. If your dog is underweight, a low protein diet can be harmful, but this particular product is ideal since it keeps the dog energized and the urinary tract healthy.

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5. FirstMate Australian Lamb Meal Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric Content (per kg): 3258 kcal
  • Main Ingredients: Potato, Lamb Meal, Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat, Potassium Chloride
  • Analysis: protein (min.) 24%, fat (min.) 13%, fiber (max.) 7.5%, moisture (max.) 10%
  • Food texture/form: dry food
  • Sensitive digestion
  • Limited ingredient diet
  • Grain-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Pea-free

You may think that bladder stones are not connected to the digestive system, but there is a direct connection. Everything absorbed from the digestive system goes into the urine. Unwanted minerals can end up building up bladder stones. I believe that the safest option for dogs who are prone to bladder stones is a limited ingredient diet (L.I.D).

This L.I.D is made up of healthy, safe ingredients. It’s grain-free, gluten-free, and pea-free, which aids digestion. Moreover, it is free of magnesium, phosphate, vitamin C, and vitamin D, all of which are unsafe for dogs with bladder stones.


6. Addiction Zen Holistic Vegetarian Formula Dry Dog Food

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric Content (per kg): 3501 kcal
  • Main Ingredients: Oats, Soya, Rice, Canola Oil, Peas
  • Analysis: protein (min.) 20%, fat (min.) 9%, fiber (max.) 7.5%, moisture (max.) 10%
  • Food texture/form: dry food
  • Vegetarian diet
  • Gluten-free

There are many dogs out there with meat and poultry sensitivities and allergies. For those dogs, a vegetarian diet is the only option. It can be hard to find a vegetarian diet that is therapeutic, but this special vegetarian diet is perfect for dogs with bladder stones and meat or gluten intolerance.

This formula is plant-based yet nutritionally loaded. What makes it so ideal for treating bladder stones is the salt content. This encourages the dog to drink more water, which helps dilute the stones. On top of that, it is free of any protein that comes from meat, seafood, or poultry, which is what you need to avoid to get rid of bladder stones quickly. Low protein is also mandatory for the treatment of cystine stones.


7. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Bison Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Caloric Content (per kg): 3460 kcal
  • Main Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, Bison, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Canola Oil
  • Analysis: protein (min.) 20%, fat (min.) 10%, fiber (max.) 4%, moisture (max.) 10%
  • Food texture/form: dry food
  • Sensitive digestion
  • Limited ingredient diet
  • No corn, no wheat, no soy
  • Grain-free

This limited ingredient diet is grain-free and has no wheat, soy, or corn, which is perfect for dogs with digestive issues. Ease of digestion is always a goal for dogs who have bladder stones. It has just enough fiber to keep the dog’s insides clean without getting rid of too many fluids.

One thing I love about this dog food is the balanced ingredients containing just the right amounts of necessary vitamins and minerals. Being bladder friendly, it doesn’t contain any minerals that lead to the formation of stones.


8. Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health-The Miracle Dog Food Pre-Mix

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Main Ingredients: Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Barley, Organic Triticale, Organic Spelt, Organic Brown Rice
  • Analysis: protein (min.) 12%, fat (min.) 3%, fiber (max.) 5%, moisture (max.) 12%
  • Food texture/form: freeze-dried, mix
  • No corn, no wheat, no soy
  • Fresh whole foods
  • No by-products

Made with whole foods, free of wheat, corn, soy, and any sort of by-products, this food will quickly become your dog’s favorite. The unique freeze-dried texture is suitable for dogs who prefer kibbles but also need some forced moisture. It’s free of ingredients such as meat and dairy that could cause urate, purine, oxalate, or struvite stones. It is perfect for diluting the urine to get rid of bladder stones.

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Best Dog Food for Bladder Stones FAQs

As a concerned pet parent, you must have a lot of questions. Simply finding the right food for your affected dog is not enough. You want to educate yourself as best you can to alleviate your dog’s condition. Here are some questions and answers that I think will help.

What type of food causes bladder stones in dogs?

Bladder stones are crystals made of mineral deposits. These stones can be a result of urine that is either too acidic or too alkaline. Struvite stones are caused by foods that are high in magnesium and phosphorus. Oxalate stones can be caused by either too much or too little calcium. Urate stones are formed by purine, which is found in meat, specifically in organs meat like liver and heart.

Can a dog pass a bladder stone?

There are three treatments of bladder stones:

  1. Dissolution
  2. Non-surgical removal
  3. Surgical removal

Calcium oxalate stones do not usually dissolve, so they are removed through other methods. As for other bladder stones, the first treatment is always an attempt to dissolve the stones so that the dog can pass it via urine. Some smaller stones can be passed without needing to be dissolved.

How can I get my dog to drink more water?

Sufficient water intake is mandatory to prevent and cure bladder stones. Dogs, in general, are not very good at keeping themselves hydrated. You can encourage your fur-friend to drink more water by giving regular reminders. Keep its water bowl clean, full, and in an easily accessible place. You can also add flavor to the water by mixing in some chicken broth if your dog likes that. Ice cubes are another way to offer some hydration. Add salt to your dog’s meals so that it gets more thirsty than usual. Moreover, always praise and offer a treat when your dog drinks water so that it quickly develops a habit of doing so.

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve read all the product reviews, you know that every suggested food serves a different purpose. Although all the options are great for dogs who have bladder stones, not all are suitable for your dog.

So:

How do you finalize which one you should buy for your pet?

Read through this buyer’s guide to find out everything you need to know before making the final purchase!

Bladder Stone Diagnosis

There are different types of bladder stones, so you must know which type(s) of stones your dog has.

Your veterinarian will need to diagnose your dog to figure out what type of bladder stones your dog has. There are four main types of bladder stones:

  1. Struvite
  2. Urate
  3. Calcium oxalate
  4. Cystine

Struvite stones are usually formed in alkaline urine. Urate, calcium oxalate, and cystine stones form in acidic urine. Moreover, struvite stones are a result of excess magnesium and phosphate in the urine. Urate stones are caused by purine. This comes from D.N.A. or consumption of meat, poultry, and seafood. Cystine stones are also a result of excess protein. Calcium oxalate stones are the most complicated. If your dog eats too much calcium, the excess will turn to oxalate and form these stones. However, if there is a calcium deficiency, the body will produce excess oxalate on its own, and again, it will lead to the formation of these stones.

You need to figure out which category your dog fits in before you move onto the next step.

Ingredients: Which Ones to Avoid and Which Ones to Go For

Once you’re clear about the type of bladder stones your dog has, it is time to start looking into the ingredients on your preferred dog food.

  • Moisture level: The first factor to consider is the moisture level. It is highly recommended to go for wet food to treat bladder stones. The more water your dog consumes, the better they will be. Now, I understand that not all dogs are a fan of wet food. In that case, you can try to balance the ratio of wet to dry food. Moreover, make sure to add extra salt to your dog’s meals to encourage it to drink more water.
  • Minerals: The next thing to investigate is the mineral content. Start by going through the list of ingredients. It is common sense to understand that you need to avoid the minerals that are causing the stones and provide more of what will balance it out. For example, magnesium and phosphate should be avoided for stones caused by alkaline urine. However, these two minerals will be beneficial for stones caused by acidic urine.
  • Similarly, a balanced intake of calcium is necessary. Moreover, avoid vitamin C and D in all cases. Also, stay away from ingredients such as brewer’s yeast, cranberry products, cider vinegar, and spinach unless a vet recommends them. Higher sodium chloride is always a plus since it dilutes the urine. Potassium citrate can help dissolve calcium oxalate, so if your dog has these stones, go for foods rich in this mineral.
  • Protein: Certain bladder stones are caused by high protein and amino acid content in the urine. Meat, seafood, and poultry is mainly the cause of purine stones, also called urate stones. It should be avoided in most cases of bladder stones. Also, even if protein itself is not the cause of the stones, it may cause hindrance in their dissolution.
  • Fiber: The more fiber your dog consumes, the more moisture it will lose through feces. Go for lower fiber foods, but don’t entirely skip it. It is mandatory for easy digestion of food. However, too much fiber can cause loss of fluids, which eventually increases the urine concentration. This is also why you should prefer easily digestible foods.
  • Collagen: Collagen-rich treats should be avoided. Although collagen is excellent for building muscles and protein in the body, it can slow down the process of flushing out bladder stones.

Professional Advice

The last step is to head to a veterinarian for a heads up. Getting professional advice is always beneficial. A vet will be able to suggest a food based on your dog’s medical history, breed, age, gender, and size. If you have found a perfect match for your dog based on your research, discuss its pros and cons with the vet.

Keep in mind that bladder stone treatments are never the same for all dogs. Therefore, a vet can make a better decision as to whether or not your choice of food is preferable or not. Although most therapeutic diets are suitable for most bladder stones, do your research and consult with your veterinarian.

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