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Bladder Stones In Dogs – Types, Symptoms & Treatments

Bladder Stones In Dogs

What Are Bladder Stones In Dogs?

Bladder stones (cystic calculi or uroliths) are a collection of minerals and related substances that gather together and crystallize inside the bladder causing frequent urinary tract infections, pain, and obstruction of the urinary tract.

There are different types of stones and in dogs, it usually feature one of four types of substances: struvite, calcium oxalate, urate and cystine. Two of the most common are struvite and calcium oxalate stones. Each type tends to form under specific conditions.

Bladder stones can cause various problems for dogs, from incontinence and distress to dangerous blockages of the urinary tract.

What Are The Signs Of Bladder Stones In Dogs?

  • Discomfort/difficulty to urinate
  • Bloated or sensitive stomach
  • Bloody or Cloudy or discolored urine
  • Pungent urine
  • Abdomen Pain around the kidney area
  • Having lower energy or a reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Licking their genital area more than usual

How Are Bladder Stones In Dogs Treated?

The type of stone present advocates the specific treatment that is recommended. Based on your dog's individual circumstances, Your veterinarian will discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option.

1) Surgical removal- cystotomy

2) Non-surgical removal – urohydropropulsion (special catheter with a saline solution flushed through the bladder to expel the stones)

3) Dietary dissolution

4) Laser Lithotripsy: minimally invasive method used when the stones are smaller

Home Remedies For Bladder Stones In Dogs

We always tell pet owners an analogy, that if a house is prone to plumbing issues, the more water gets into the system, the more chance of finding where is the fault and less chance of things getting stuck.

If your dog is not a big fan of water, encourage water intake by placing water bowls, and a water fountain nearby, adding flavor to water (bone broth or chicken broth), or adding wet food to his food ration.

How To Prevent Bladder Stones In Dogs?

The best way to reduce your dog's bladder issues lies in preventative care. Your veterinarian may recommend dietary formulas (for dogs having a history of bladder issues) with the right nutritional balance to sustain good overall health

Keep the dog well-hydrated as this helps to dilute the urine and keep bladder stones in check.

Dog Breeds Affected By Bladder Stones

Dalmatian, Black Russian Terrier, English Bulldog, Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Lhasa Apso, Yorkshire Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Keeshond, Border Collie, Boston Terrier, Bull Mastiff, Mastiff, Havanese, Saluki, Basset Hound, Newfoundland, Dachshund, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Shih Tzu

Facts About Types Of Bladder Stones In Dogs

Facts about struvite bladder stones:

  • Struvite stones are most commonly found in female dogs (85%)
  • Dogs who develop struvite stones between 2 to 4 years of age (average is 2.9 years)
  • Struvite stones consist of magnesium ammonium phosphate, carbonate apatite, calcium carbophosphate, and urease.
  • Sometimes called triple phosphate uroliths- the origin of this term is due to a mistaken belief that the phosphate ion was bound to three positive ions instead of just magnesium and ammonium.
  • We emphasize that without a concurrent infection; Struvite crystalluria (struvite stones) in dogs will not be considered a problem and should not be associated with struvite urolith formation.

Facts about calcium oxalate stones:

  • Most commonly found in small breed male dogs(73% of dogs diagnosed)
  • CaOx stones occur in dogs between the ages of 5 and 12 years old
  • Calcium oxalate stones recur within three years in up to 60 percent of conventionally treated dogs.
  • The presence of oxalate Crystals is significant only if found in fresh urine.

Facts about urate stones:

  • These stones contain ammonium acid urate, uric acid, or sodium urate
  • Only 6 - 8 percent of all bladder stones are urate stones.
  • Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to form urate stones
  • The urates are common among male dogs and the age of onset is between 1 to 4 years.
  • It’s tempting to presume that any stone Dalmatian forms are a urate. (male Dalmatians 97 percent of stones were urate)

Facts about cystine stones:

  • Cystine stones are rare, but some dogs with cystinuria, a hereditary autosomal-recessive defect that prevents this filtering action.
  • Cystine stones are rare, representing 1 percent or less of all bladder stones.
  • The average age of the stone formation is 6 months to 1 year.

When To See A Vet For Bladder Stones In Dogs?

It’s, however, essential to figure out if your dog is suffering from bladder stones: when left untreated, stones can cause long-term urinary difficulties blockages, chronic urinary tract infections, and can cause irreversible damage to the bladder or kidneys

Diet And Food Suggestions For Bladder Stones In Dogs

Struvite stones:

  • A special diet don’t prevent or dissolve struvite stones
  • Higher fluid intact levels have been shown to have positive results in the disintegration of stones.
  • Feed Low-Protein, Higher-Sodium Diet
  • The low-protein diet with around 10-20 percent of daily protein intake
  • Keep your dog hydrated
  • Include Cranberries Carrots, apples, sweet potato, pumpkin

Minerals to Avoid for The Prevention of Urinary Crystals

Phosphorus-- eggs, milk, and fish

Magnesium-- vegetables, especially spinach and broccoli


Oxalate stones:

  • Diets cannot dissolve existing stones; they must be surgically removed.
  • Future stones may be avoided by providing a lower oxalate level diet
  • Avoid foods of high oxalate levels such as organ meat, brown rice, spinach, nuts, beets, green beans, sweet potatoes
  • Instead, include foods with lower oxalate levels like apples (peeled), boiled vegetables, plain cooked chicken/turkey, peas, pasta, cabbage, cauliflower, bananas, melon, etc
  • Moisten the food with water and flavor the water with low sodium chicken or beef broth

Urate stones:

  • Typically, urate stone can be both prevented and dissolved by a diet that is low in purines.
  • Foods High in Purines: Herring, Sardines, Mackerel, Trout, Legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans)
  • Foods Lower in Purines: Green leafy vegetables (except spinach), Eggs, Nuts, Muscle meats from chicken, beef, lamb, and pork.

Cystine stones:

  • Moderate-protein -low-sodium diet, reducing the cystine supply
  • Provide your dog with extra fluids


Provide a well-balanced diet and ensure your dog always stay hydrated, so they can flush out the bladder consistently. Complete prevention of bladder stones is very hard, but early identification may allow your veterinarian to regulate your dog's medications or diet before your dog requires surgery.

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