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Cystine Urinary Crystals in Dogs

Integrating Custom Recipes into Medical Programs for Dogs with Cystine Urinary Crystals and Stones:


What We Know about Cystine Urinary Crystals and Stones

It is uncertain why certain breeds of dogs (English Bulldogs, Bull Mastiff, Newfoundland, Dachshund, and other bully breeds) are prone to the accumulation of cystine crystals and stones in their urine.

Dogs with Cystine Urinary Crystals or Stones may experience pain while urinating, blood or pus in the urine, cloudy urine, or increased urgency to urinate.


Which Ingredients Matter 

Reduction of total dietary protein, using meats low in cystine and other sulfur-containing amino acids helps prevent the crystal formation that leads to cystine stones in the bladder.

Our dog food recipes for cystine crystals and stones have a Calorie Distribution of - Protein 14%; Fat 38%; Carbohydrates 48% which is considered favorable for Cystine patients. The percentages show that these recipes haveless meat protein than normal diets (which range from 24%-52%). Less protein reduces crystal and stone formation in the urine, helping to reduce the symptoms listed above.

Because of the restricted ingredients, low protein recipes should NOT be fed to normal adult dogs or puppies.


 More than Just Diet 

Your dog’s diet is only one tool for cystine crystal and stone management, it is not a substitute for a comprehensive veterinary treatment plan. Treatment may include a medication called 2-MPG and a urine alkalizer called potassium citrate. 

Constant veterinary lab monitoring is essential in a veterinary management plan for cystine patients.  It is recommended that urine be monitored every 3 months for the first year on the diet and then every 6 months for the life of the patient.

Bladder x-rays to ensure stones are not being formed should be performed yearly as well. Detection of calcium oxalate or struvite urinary crystals is common on these diets. Veterinarians may recommend urine acidifiers if oxalate counts become too high.



Don’t Use this Recipe If 

If your dog has other conditions needing conflicting dietary restrictions (inflammatory bowel disease/chronic enteropathy, short bowel syndrome, or cancer) Healthier Homemade recipes for cystine crystals and stones may not be appropriate.

Low protein diets should also be used with caution in male dogs with cystine stones that have not been surgically removed.

The diet may promote the dissolution of cystine stones that could result in stone shrinkage sufficient to cause stones to be passed into the urethra and lodge at the penis bone and block urination. This can be a life-threatening condition and require emergency surgery. 

These are among the things we will engage with your veterinarian, before beginning to formulate your recipe.


What You Can Do 

Since low protein diets are not a favorite for dogs, “Food Fatigue” is common in patients on these diets. We recommend the generous use of condiments:

·        Bacon grease

·        BBQ sauce

·        Teriyaki baste

·        Catsup

·        Honey

These toppings along with appetite stimulants may help to keep your dog interested in eating.


Is it Balanced and Complete? 

Although Healthier Homemade dog food recipes exceed AAFCO and NRC daily nutrient requirements and meet the minimum NRC requirements for protein and the sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cystine) to ensure adequate taurine production, we prefer to err on the side of caution.

The Healthier Homemade urate program includes taurine supplementation for this heart-protecting amino acid.


Each Healthier Homemade Starter Kit includes a nutrition data fact sheet, so you and your veterinarian can see that all of the 42 daily essential nutrients are in meals prepared with our recipes when used as directed.

Commercial prescription diets, especially kibble, may be unappealing. Freshly cooked meals make a difference!


Click here to learn about recipe programs that are available for dogs suffering from Cystine Urinary Crystals.

Dr Ken Tudor, veterinarian who created Hearthstone Homemade


Founder of Healthier Homemade for Dogs

Dr. Ken Tudor is a recognized expert and leader in the field of pet nutrition and fitness. In addition to co-founding a national campaign to help fight dog obesity, he developed a pet weight management program and served on the American Animal Hospital Association task force to develop their Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.