Urine crystals called struvites are a common urinary tract concern in both dogs and cats. They can obstruct the urinary tract and cause painful urination because the crystals resemble shards of glass. These crystals are formed in alkaline urine (ph > 7.0).
My own research of web sites and chat boards reveals that there is debate about types of foods to give pets that suffer from this condition.
Since my own pet was diagnosed with struvites, it has been a personally important topic.
(Photo courtesy Wikipedia Joel Mills 2007)
Some animals are genetically predisposed to developing struvites. Another theory focuses on the diet. Here’s where the misconceptions abound.
First of all, it is important to look at the buzzwords used in discussion of dog food and treats. These include the following terms:
- grain-free, wheat-free, gluten-free
Simply put, organic is a term applied to food products that have not been sprayed with pesticides or to animal products from animals not given antibiotics. A special certification is necessary for a food product to be called organic.
Grain-free, wheat-free, and gluten-free all describe a product that has no grains in the ingredient. Gluten is wheat protein. Many dog owners think that they need to give their dog a product that is wheat, corn, soy, and rice-free.
Hypoallergenic implies grain-free or wheat-free because many dogs have a wheat sensitivity that causes an allergic reaction and they develop itchy skin. See allergy-free dog treats for more discussion.
Then there’s the category referred to as “all-natural” which contains products without synthetic chemicals or preservatives or other things that you cannot begin to pronounce!
Wheat allergies and a tendency to produce urine crystals are not the same thing!
The comment section on many websites is rife with people who are touting wheat-free diets to control the formation of struvites. However, if you take a look at a chart listing which foods are considered alkaline and which are acidic, you will see that wheat, beans, corn, and rice are all foods that will produce acidic urine. Struvite crystals will not form in acidic urine.
Questions: Struvites or Oxalates And Dog Treats?
Do you have a question regarding dog treats and struvite crystals or calcium oxalate stones in dogs? Drop a comment below and we’ll do our best to get answers to your specific questions!