How to Choose the Best Dog Foods for Urinary Health
When a dog’s normal urinary habits are markedly different, it is an indication that a visit to the veterinarian is in order. A change in urination can be indicative of a number of different issues, some of which are merely uncomfortable for the dog while others can have life altering impacts.
Among the most common problems associated with a change in urinary health are:
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney infections
- Bladder stones
- Kidney stones
- Kidney failure
Sometimes a change in an established urinary pattern is observed because the dog is advancing in age. Elderly dogs experience a weakening of their ability to contain their urine when the urge strikes to use the bathroom, meaning accidents can become a more frequent occurrence.
Some of the most common signs which indicate a dog may be struggling with an issue affecting their urinary health include:
- An increase in the frequent need for urination
- Difficulty or pain when passing urine
- An increase in drinking habits
- Frequent genital cleaning
- Bloody urine
- Restless behavior
- Poor energy levels
- Loss of interest in play
- Urine that is opaque or that has an unpleasant smell
- Urination in out of the ordinary places
- Pain in the lower back
If a dog displays any of these symptoms, it is imperative that the dog be taken to a veterinarian for a wellness exam and further testing. Most typically, diagnosing the underlying cause creating the issue with urinary health is not terribly difficult for a qualified professional to do. A urinalysis is one of the tools veterinarians often use to help get to the root cause of the problem.
Some urinary issues can be resolved simply through the use of antibiotics. Others are more serious in nature and require a different approach. But regardless of what is causing the issue, a change in diet can reap great benefits for dogs suffering from poor urinary health.
Both bladder and kidney stones are often the product of impaired urinary function. These are very painful, and if exceptionally large, they may require surgery for removal since passing them organically is not possible.
Bladder stones are often the result of diets that are too acidic in nature. To help prevent their development, many canine nutritionists recommend feeding a diet that is more alkaline with low to moderate protein amounts and added moisture to dilute the acid in the urine which can lead to stones.
Both bladder and kidney stones are sometimes diagnosed when a dog presents with a urinary tract infection or kidney infection and a regular round of antibiotics does not alleviate all of the problems a dog is experiencing.
It is also recommended that dogs with compromised urinary function consume more water to help keep the kidneys flushing toxins from the body. However, feeding canned food is another way that owners can get additional fluids into their dogs to help with restoring the body to an alkaline state.
There are also several different natural foods which can assist with achieving and maintaining urinary health. One of the superfoods to look for in the best dog foods for urinary health is cranberries, a natural diuretic that provides excellent support for the kidneys.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dog Foods for Urinary Health
Establishing how much of the best dog food for urinary health to feed a canine can be a challenging task. Experts recommend using the suggested serving sizes listed on the bag as a starting point. These values can be adjusted until the correct portion is found.
The dog’s weight and appetite will both serve as a helps in how much food should be in each meal portion. Since free feeding can easily lead to weight gain, this is strongly discouraged.
Adult dogs require a high quality diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat while puppies do best on a food comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat.
Dietary Requirements for Dog Foods for Urinary Health
As a basic rule of thumb, any diet suited to the needs of dogs with poor urinary health should be comprised of high quality ingredients from natural sources as much as possible. Limited ingredient diets are often an excellent choice for dogs with compromised urinary function as they are easy on the body and digestive system.
Whole foods are the preferred ingredients for the best dog foods for urinary health. This includes proteins which should be derived from an easily digestible meat or meat meal. By-products should be avoided; however, if a dog’s urinary health is extremely poor, a veterinarian may advise the use of a prescription diet based on plant-based proteins until the problem has been resolved.
Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives contribute no nutritional value to a diet. In addition to this, they are common allergens for many dogs. Foods containing these items should be avoided.
Healthy fats are critical in a food to ensure optimal health and wellness in dogs. These are best obtained from animal origins and can include such items as chicken fat, salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, or sardines. These powerhouse oils provide dogs with the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids they need to fuel their metabolism and encourage healthy skin and coat.
Since many carbohydrates that are difficult to digest can lead to inflammation in the body, low starch and high fiber ingredients are the preferred choice. These can come from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables though an emphasis should be placed on fruits that are not highly acidic as this can contribute to poor urinary health.
The moisture content found in a food plays a vital role in keeping urine output alkaline to support proper health. Many veterinarians recommend canned food over dry for dogs with recurring issues with stones or infections as the added moisture in these foods is a great help in reducing the amount of acid found in concentrated urine.
Probiotics help to promote excellent digestion. Foods that contain these items can be a great help in ensuring a healthy body. Though not linked to urinary health itself, glucosamine and chondroitin are powerhouse supplements that keep joints and hips in good condition.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Foods for Urinary Health
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for urinary health:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list (in non-veterinary diets)
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health
- Rich in moisture content to dilute additional acid in urine