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What Foods to Avoid for Pets With Struvite Crystals in Their Urine

By Jacqueline Trovato ; Updated July 27, 2017

Struvite stones are one of the most common bladder stones in dogs and cats. They typically form because of urinary changes that happen when bladder infections occur. However, according to veterinarians at the Marva Vista Animal Clinic in Los Angeles, struvite crystals require an alkaline pH in order to form; they cannot form in acidic urine. So keeping your pet’s urine slightly acidic by feeding him the proper diet will prevent the formation of struvite crystals. In many cases a cat or dog with struvite crystals will be prescribed a special diet by the veterinarian.

How to Feed Your Pet to Prevent Struvite Stones

Ask your veterinarian for advice and suggestions regarding your pet’s diet to help you control struvite stone formation. Any changes in your pet’s diet should be monitored closely by your veterinarian.

Foods to Avoid

Avoid foods with grains rather than protein. Foods made with grains (corn/wheat/rice etc.) create alkaline urine in dogs and cats that makes them susceptible to struvite stones.

Don’t give your pet alkalizing foods such as apples, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, beans, potatoes, pumpkin, millet, honey, alfalfa, non-distilled vinegar (organic apple cider vinegar), squash. Many fruits and vegetables will alkalize the urine. So check with your veterinarian before feeding your pet any fruits or vegetables.

Don’t give your pet high-oxalate foods such as beet greens, rhubarb, spinach, beets, raw endive, dandelion greens, okra, kale and sweet potatoes. Calcium oxalate crystals can also form in the bladder causing problems for your pet. They tend to affect more males than females.

Water and Acidic Foods are Important

Increase your cat's or dog’s water intake. The less concentrated the urine, the less likely struvite crystals will form.

Feed your pet an acidic diet with animal-based protein sources. This will help to maintain the acid in your pet's urine that is necessary to avoid the buildup of struvite crystals. Avoid a diet that is vegetarian or cereal-based and likely to cause alkaline urine, which promotes struvite crystals. Instead, you should feed your pet acidic foods such as chicken, beef, eggs, fish, pork, cottage cheese, yogurt, rice (brown and white), beans, nuts, and seafood.

Make homemade food for dogs with chronic bladder stones. If you must use processed foods, use canned foods, which contain large amounts of water, rather than dry foods. Homemade foods can include low-fat cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, cooked long-grained or brown rice, and chicken fat or canola oil. You can substitute tuna in water or cooked lean ground beef for the cottage cheese, and potato or macaroni for the rice. If your veterinarian approves, you can add raw or slightly steamed vegetables such as carrots to provide an added bit of nutrition.

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