You already know the food you feed your dog is extremely important in keeping him healthy. But feeding him the wrong kind of food can cause urolithiasis, a urinary tract disease in dogs in which crystals or stones form within the urinary tract and cause irritation, pain and possibly blockage.
If your dog exhibits these symptoms, he may have urolithiasis:
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating frequently
- Blood in the urine
- Reduced appetite
- Lack of energy or interest in normal activities
Though there is no single cause of urinary tract disease, veterinarians recognize there are components that may contribute to the prevalence of the disease.
- Dogs between the ages of 2 and 10 are most susceptible.
- Both males and females get the disease with equal frequency, but males have a greater risk of life-threatening urethral obstruction from the crystals or stones.
- Small breed dogs are more susceptible than large breed dogs.
Other contributing factors can be lack of exercise, inability to urinate frequently (typical in a confined indoor dog), or reduced water intake.
Foods high in magnesium, phosphorus, protein and calcium have been linked to stone formation. Veterinarians believe feeding your dog a food with restricted amounts of these minerals can assist in the dissolution of some types of stones that have formed in his urinary tract.
And remember, any pet that has been treated for urinary tract disease runs the risk of contracting it again. Therefore, it's important to continue with the nutritional management of the disease and watch closely for the recurring symptoms.
For an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian.