Integrating Custom Recipes into Medical Programs for Dogs with Urate Urinary Crystals and Stones
What We Know About Urinary Crystals and Stones
A genetic defect in certain breeds of dogs (Dalmatians, English Bulldogs, Black Russian Terriers) interferes with amino acid metabolism causing excessive amounts of urate elimination in the urine. This results in urate crystal and stone formation.
You may notice your dog having difficulty urinating, urinating frequently, or having blood in their urine.
Which Ingredients Matter
A low protein diet, emphasizing certain proteins can aid in the prevention of urine crystals and stones.
Our dog food recipes for urate crystals and stones have ingredients and a calorie distribution of - Protein 14%; Fat 38%; Carbohydrates 48% which is considered favorable for urate 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.
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 urate crystal and stone management, it is not a substitute for a comprehensive veterinary treatment plan. Treatment with a medication called allopurinol may be recommended by your veterinarian for the breeds listed above.
Constant veterinary lab monitoring is essential in a veterinary management plan for urate 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 alkalizers or acidifiers if oxalate or struvite crystal 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 urate urinary crystals and stones may not be appropriate.
Low protein diets should also be used with caution in male dogs with urate stones that have not been surgically removed.
The diet may promote the dissolution of urate 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 urate 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 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.