Integrating Custom Homemade Recipes into Medical Programs for Dogs with Struvite Urinary Stones and Crystals
What We Know About Struvite Urinary Stones
95% of dogs with struvite urinary crystals and stones have an underlying chronic urinary tract infection. These patients will not benefit from dietary management. They require aggressive antibiotic treatment and follow-up urine cultures.
Only 5% of affected dogs have “sterile struvites” not associated with bladder infections. These are the dogs that will benefit from low protein diets that help prevent struvite crystal and stone formation in the bladder.
You may notice your dog having difficulty urinating or other irregular urinating behaviors.
Which Ingredients Matter
Our dog food recipes for struvite crystals and stones have a calorie distribution of - Protein 14%; Fat 38%; Carbohydrates 48%, which is considered favorable for struvite patients. The percentages show that these recipes have less 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.
More Than Just Diet
Your dog’s diet is only one tool for struvite crystal and stone management, it is not a substitute for a comprehensive veterinary treatment plan. Treatments with salt or urine acidifiers may be recommend by the veterinarian.
Constant veterinary lab monitoring is essential in a veterinary management plan for struvite 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. It is not uncommon for patients on diets for struvite crystals to develop calcium oxalate crystals in their urine so veterinarians may recommend urine acidifiers as part of the management program.
Don’t Use this Recipe If
Because struvite dog food recipes are low in protein they should only be used for dogs with confirmed sterile struvite cases.
If your dog has other conditions needing conflicting dietary restrictions (inflammatory bowel disease/chronic enteropathy, short bowel syndrome or cancer) Healthier Homemade recipes for struvite crystals or stones may not be appropriate.
Low protein diets should also be used with caution in male dogs with struvite stones that have not been surgically removed.
The diet may promote the dissolution of struvite 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
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 struvite program includes taurine supplementation for this heart protecting amino acid.
Each Starter Kit includes a nutrition data fact sheet, so you and your veterinarian can see that all of the required 42 daily essential nutrients are in the meals prepared with our recipes, when used as directed. Commercial prescription diets, especially kibble, may be unappealing. Freshly cooked meals make a difference!
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.