Best Dog Food For Bladder Stones

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What Can I Do For My Dog With Bladder Stones?

Are you looking for the best dog food for bladder stones?

There are several different dog foods on the market that promote urinary health by treating and managing such disorders.

As a veterinarian, I’ve spent many hours researching and recommending the finest dog foods to help dogs avoid and treat bladder stones.

The most typical bladder stones in dogs are struvite and calcium oxalate formations. I found the various Royal Canin Urinary SO diets to be quite beneficial for treating this problem.

But this does not imply that Royal Canin Urinary SO will treat any bladder stone problem.

VIDEO: Struvite Stones and Crystals in Dogs Explained

Bladder stones are a major medical concern that needs to be addressed immediately by a veterinarian. Before feeding your dog any of these diets, please consult with a veterinary specialist

There are a number of additional brands that produce excellent urinary care diets that may be more suited for your specific dog.

What causes bladder stones in dogs?

The reasons for bladder stone formation are as different as each type of stone. The most common reasons are infection, acidity or alkalinity of the urine, concentration of the urine, the presence of other stones and cells in the urine, metabolic issues, or issues with kidney function.


There are several types of stones that occur in dogs with bladder stones. The most common being:

  • Struvite
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Urate
  • Cystine 
  • Silica

Out of these Struvite, Oxalate, and Urate stones occur in the majority of dogs.

x ray of bladder sone in dog
X-ray of a bledder stone in a dog

Cystine and Silica stones occur almost exclusively in male dogs. Some of these crystals could be dissolved while others can only be managed by a proper diet and medication. In the latter cases surgical intervention is always necessary. [1]

Struvite crystals form when urine is alkaline, while Urate and Cystine crystals form in acidic urine. Research shows that Calcium Oxalate can form in both acidic and alkaline environments.

Symptoms of Bladder Stones in Dogs

While it was shown that bigger Oxalate crystals form in acidic environments the mechanism of how this happens is still unclear.

However, the formation of oxalate crystals can be mitigated by reducing the concentration of ions and metabolites in the urine that are necessary for their formation. [2]

Silica uroliths can be prevented by diets that are low in whole grains, cereals and vegetable material.

symptoms og bladder stones in dogs

These ingredients, particularly grains and cereals commonly accumulate silica. Silica uroliths are also often associated with Calcium Oxalate.

It is therefore suggested to avoid urine acidifying, oxalate-rich foods that can increase silica precipitation and stone formation. [3]

What Ingredient In Dog Food Causes Bladder Stones?

Feeding the right dog food is even more important when your dog has urinary bladder stones. Stone formation has been linked to magnesium, phosphorus, protein and calcium-rich foods

Is Boiled Chicken Good For Dogs With Bladder Stones?

For dogs that form oxalate stones, plain cooked chicken is an acceptable treat, plus plain turkey or even hard-boiled eggs.

What not to feed a dog with bladder stones?

If you want to reduce the chances of your dog developing bladder stones, you should avoid feeding him foods rich in oxalate, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, organ meat, and brown rice.

Include lower oxalate foods like apples (peeled), white rice, meats, and fish in their diets instead

chicken free dog food

Table of Contents

8 Best Dog Foods for Bladder Stones Reviewed

Whether you go dry or wet food, one of the easiest ways for you to determine good dog food is by reading the label and looking out for the AAFCO Statement.

All of the dog foods on this list are in accordance with the AAFCO nutrient profile recommendations for dogs.

Best Dry Dog Food for Struvite Crystals

Royal Canin Urinary SO diet (standard) dry food

  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn, Chicken Fat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice Flour
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Lifelong management of struvite and oxalate stones.

This is Royal Canin’s standard struvite and calcium oxalate bladder stones therapeutic diet. 

The first three and fifth ingredients of this dog food aim to provide your dog with the necessary energy, while Chicken by-product meal is the main protein source of the diet. 

Chicken by-product meal is highly digestible and easily metabolizable. Its precise inclusion in the diet allows for your dog’s amino acid requirements to be met while keeping Struvite and Oxalate stone-forming metabolites at a low concentration.

best dog food for bladder stones

Royal Canin Urinary SO diets is also capable of dissolving pre-existing Struvite stones.

Some dogs need to be kept on this kind of dog food for their whole lives. Therefore, all Royal Canin Urinary SO dog foods is formulated to meet your dog’s mineral needs while preventing bladder stone formation. 

SO diets could also be a reasonable alternative for Silica stone prevention as silica and calcium oxalate stones often form together.  

Also available in wet food.

Royal Canin Urinary SO Small dog

Smaller dogs have a hard time chewing big kibbles.

This dog food has smaller kibbles and makes sure that your small dog is enjoying their food and benefiting from their diet.

Royal Canin Urinary SO Moderate Calorie

Overweight dogs are prone to bladder stone formation.

Since the two conditions can often go hand in hand Royal Canin made this dog food to tackle both problems at the same time.

Royal Canin Urinary SO Aging 7+

This diet is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin to protect against joint degeneration. The diet is also rich in antioxidants, that mop up free radicals produced by inflammatory processes and metabolic reactions.

Urinary SO dog foods have a moderate quantity of very high-quality protein that meets your dog’s nutritional requirements while minimizing the production of stone-forming metabolites. 

All SO diets have a wet food option that brings some excitement and provides some much-needed hydration into your dog’s diet.

Best wet Dog Food for Bladder Stones

Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Carrots, Rice,
  • Type of product: Veterinary Product
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Dissolving struvite stones

Bladder stones are collections of mineral crystals that combine together in the urinary tract.

They can cause discomfort and lead to more serious problems that require the care of a veterinarian.

Because the food your dog eats plays an important role in his or her overall health and well-being, Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians have developed clinical nutrition especially formulated to help support your dog’s bladder health.

Dogs need the right balance of minerals to maintain good bladder health. Excess minerals can encourage the formation of crystals in the urine, which can lead to the creation of bladder stones.

Key benefits

  • Designed to dissolve and reduce the risk of struvite and calcium oxalate stones
  • Controlled levels of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus for optimal health benefits
  • Enriched with antioxidants, potassium citrate, and Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Controlled fat levels and low sodium to keep your dog at an optimal weight
  • Recommended for lifelong feeding of adult dogs

Best dry Dog Food for Bladder Stones

Hills Prescription Diet Urinary Care C/D Multicare dry food

  • First 5 ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Mill Run
  • Type of product: Veterinary Product
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Struvite/ Oxalate associated chronic urinary disease treatment and management in dogs.

Whole grain corn is the first ingredient and the main carbohydrate source of the diet. 

Chicken meal (2nd ingredient), corn gluten meal, and soybean mill run (4th and 5th ingredients respectively) are the main protein sources. 

Pork fat is the third ingredient and is another major energy source. This diet has moderate levels of high-quality proteins (higher than in the S/D diet).

This diet works by promoting struvite stone dissolution and by creating an acidic and dilute urinary environment that prevents struvite and oxalate crystal formation. 

The diet is also high in antioxidants to mop up free radicals that result from inflammatory reactions in such conditions. 

The diet is intended for long-term feeding in order to manage the urinary health of dogs prone to the formation of struvite and oxalate crystals.

This dog food can also be found as canned food.

Best Non Prescription Dog Food for Bladder Stones

Royal Canin Urinary UC Low Purine dry food

  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers rice, corn, wheat, egg product, chicken fat
  • Type of product: Veterinary Product
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Urate and Cystine stones

The first 3 ingredients of the diet are the main source of carbohydrates for your dog. 

Egg product is the 4th ingredient; the diet takes advantage of the fact that egg white has a very high biological value and is therefore one of the best quality protein sources around. 

The moderate amount of protein and the low purine containing proteins in the diet ensures that the proteins absorbed are utilized by the dog and produce very few metabolites that give rise to this type of stone. 

The diet also maintains an alkaline pH in the urine which leads to the reduced formation and dissolution of cystine and urate stones.

Best Low Sodium dog Food for Bladder Stones

Hills Prescription Diet Urinary Care U/D dry food

  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn Starch, Pork Fat, Egg Product, Powdered Cellulose
  • Type of product: Veterinary Product
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Oxalate, Urate, and Cystine-associated chronic urinary disease treatment and management in dogs.

The first two ingredients of this therapeutic diet are the main carbohydrate sources of the diet.

This is followed by pork fat which also contributes heavily to the total energy content of the diet. 

Egg product is the 4th ingredient and is, as mentioned before, a high-quality protein source of high biological value. 

The fifth ingredient is powdered cellulose which is a great source of insoluble fiber and helps with the maintenance of gut health and motility and helps modulate the intestinal biome and its metabolites. 

This food is lower in protein and higher in fat than the Royal Canin UC Low Purine diet. 

The diet works by keeping the dog’s urine low in minerals and metabolites involved in stone. It also makes urine alkaline, preventing the formation and dissolving Urate and Cystine stones. 

This dog food could also be good for the prevention of Silica bladder stone formation.

This dog food is also low in sodium making it safer for dogs who also suffer from early heart disease. [4, 5, 6]

Best Urinary Care Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St Dry dog food

  • First 5 ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols
  • Type of product: Veterinary Product
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Struvite and Oxalate associated chronic urinary disease treatment and management in dogs.

As with most of the diets mentioned the first two ingredients are the main carbohydrate sources of the diet. 

This dog food uses chicken by-product meal as their main protein source and corn gluten to supplement it. 

Animal fat is the fifth ingredient and is a major energy source in the diet. The diet also contains dried egg and animal digest as protein sources, adding to the nutritional value and palatability of the diet. 

The diet’s moderate high-quality protein levels aim to reduce bacterial fermentation of protein which results in urinary stone forming metabolites. 

The diet works similarly to the other diets mentioned above by stimulating increased drinkingwater retention, and urination

It also acidifies urine and has a reduced concentration of ions and compounds whose metabolites contribute to the urinary stone formation process.

This diet also has a wet food alternative.

Best Grain Free Dog Food for Bladder Stones

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care dry dog food

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Starch, Peas, Pea Protein
  • Type of product: Veterinary Product, Grain-free
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Weight management with bladder stones

This dog food’s first five ingredients define this as a uniquely high protein urinary care diet.

Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, and pea protein are all rich in protein. 

Pea starch and pea (also a protein-rich legume) is the only carbohydrate contributing ingredients out of the first five. 

This diet relies on acidifying the urine and keeping the relative super-saturation of struvite and oxalate crystal-forming ions low in the dog’s urine. 

Clinical trials of the diet have shown that it is able to prevent the formation of both struvite and oxalate crystals and dissolve pre-existing struvite crystals.[7]

Obesity is also thought to be associated with Oxalate and Urate stone formation. 

This diet’s weight management properties could therefore help with the prevention of Oxalate stones and might also lend a hand with urate stone prevention despite its acidifying properties. [8]

This diet also comes as wet food.

Best Kidney Support for Dogs

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet KS Kidney Support Dry Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Potato Starch, Pea Starch, Peas, Potatoes
  • Type of product: Veterinary Product, Grain-free
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Dogs with chronic kidney disease.

This dog food has a low to moderate protein content (much lower than that of Blue Buffalo’s W+U diet) and is high in fat. A lower, high-quality protein content is important to protect the kidneys. 

Deboned chicken is the first ingredient and is the main protein source of the diet. Peas, the fourth ingredient, are also a source of vegetable protein. 

The diet is also richer in carbohydrates than the average Blue Buffalo formula with potato starch, pea starch, and potatoes in the top five ingredients. 

The diet also contains dried egg product as the sixth ingredient making use of its high biological value in order to decrease the protein load on the kidney while making sure to meet your dog’s protein requirements. 

Blue Buffalo KS works by keeping oxalate’s relative supersaturation low enough to prevent the formation of crystals and stones.

It also keeps the urine somewhere between slightly acidic and slightly alkaline to ideally prevent the formation of other types of bladder stones. [9]

This diet also comes as canned food.

How To Prevent Bladder Stones in Dogs

Most of these therapeutic diets work in a similar fashion.

These types of dog food work by creating a low Relative SuperSaturation (RSS) value for Struvite and Oxalate in the urine.

Increased urine dilution is also aided by the diet’s carefully controlled salt content, which promotes increased water intake and kidney filtration, resulting in greater urine dilution.

Dog foods designed to dissolve Struvite and Oxalate stones are created with a more acidic urine in mind.

This prevents stone formation by reducing urine acidity, it also protects against bladder infections by delaying stone formation. The following processes function together to keep struvite and calcium oxalate stones at bay.[10]

german shepherd licking lips eating from bowl
These types of dog food work by creating a low Relative SuperSaturation (RSS) value for Struvite and Oxalate in the urine.

Diets for treating Urate and Cystine stones function on similar principles. These diets include high-biological-value protein sources (such as egg products), low levels of purines, and little salt. [11]

Dog Food for Bladder Stones

It’s critical to figure out which type of bladder stones your dog is suffering from, since the wrong food might exacerbate the problem.

However, food for dogs with bladder stones usually has the following features in common:

  • They stimulate water intake.
  • They alter the acidity or alkalinity of the urine.
  • They achieve low Relative supersaturation levels of the stone forming substances they target.
  • They promote urinary tract health.


Stones have to be examined in laboratories in order to definitely know their composition.

Thirsty dog drinking from silver bowl
Food for dogs with bladder stones usually stimulate water intake

Diet for Dogs with Bladder Stones

There are several non-veterinary diets on the market that may help your dog avoid future urinary difficulties or stones if you’re worried he might have them.

These are generally named for their urinary protective qualities (or are targeted to certain breeds at risk of urinary blockage, including stones).

How can I get the most out of my Urinary Stone diet?

I always inform my clients that if their dog is prone to plumbing issues, the more water he drinks, the less likely it is that anything will get clogged.

The goal of this technique is to keep the relative supersaturation of stone-forming minerals and metabolites as dilute as possible.

Adding wet food to his meal ration will help get the necessary fluid into your dog’s system by disguising it as something appetizing if he is not a fan of water.

If your dog has a weight problem, you may use these foods to help them maintain a healthy weight. This could assist in the management of your dog’s weight if they have one.

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of bladder stone formation. You’re accomplishing two things at once with this approach.

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of bladder stone formation.

What is Relative Super Saturation (RSS)?

Relative Super saturation is the stuff analytical chemists fantasize about.

When chemists are dissolving a substance, the principle is frequently employed to estimate the size of crystals.

The theory is that as precipitation proceeds more slowly, the bigger the crystals produced are.

Chemist looking at blue coloured chemical in a bottle
Relative Super saturation is the stuff analytical chemists fantasize about.

However, nutritionists and veterinarians discovered a medical application for this theory. They figured that altering the diet composition might help them reach RSS levels where precipitation would be delayed as well as prevented.

At a lower rate of sand-size retention, some minerals, such as Struvite, can also be dissolved.

Low RSS values are achieved by reducing the concentration of the offending mineral in the urine (often through urine diluation) and modifying urine acidity or alkalinity.

Struvite dissolution is achieved at RSS levels of below 1 and prevented at levels between 1 and 2.5. Oxalate cannot be dissolved but can be prevented at RSS values of below 14 but ideally below 10 [121314]

Homemade dog food for bladder stones & Why my dog needs to undergo surgery if he has a struvite stone?

It is true that feeding the correct diet can help dissolve struvite stones, but they are usually removed surgically.

Stones do not melt in one go, as undersaturation is maintained, they gradually shrink, although this process can sometimes cause complications as these can then travel down the urethra and cause a blockage.

Blockages like these happen mostly in male dogs but could also happen in females. This is a serious problem and would require emergency surgery.

Dog on a vets table undergoing surgery
Stone can travel down the urethra and case complications

It is also common that stones are made of different kinds of material, you could have a struvite stone with an oxalate core, dissolving the struvite outer layer will not rid your dog from the problem.

These diets are best used for prevention and management as bladder stones are often the result of underlying chronic conditions.

The Best Probiotic for Dogs

Did you know that a dog’s gut health has a significant influence on its overall health?

A recent scientific study reports that 70% to 80% of all illness begins in the gastrointestinal tract! discover why this supplement is vital for your dog’s immune system and overall health – read our blog on: The Best Probiotics for Dogs.

Best dog food for bladder stones - the bottom line...

The above list is made up of the greatest dog foods for bladder stones available on the market today.

I’m a huge fan of Royal Canin’s urinary diets since they’ve put so much effort into them. I appreciate that Royal Canin provides struvite and oxalate diets for dogs in different ages. I’ve seen a lot of dogs struggle with them their entire lives, and it’s great to see this level of care.

Hills urinary diets are another viable alternative, and while they don’t address each stage of life, they have a lot of satisfied users.

While I have never used a Purina or Blue Buffalo urinary diet, chewy reviews are frequently positive. Unfortunately, Purina and Blue Buffalo do not provide diets for dogs with urate or cystine stones though.

As a veterinarian, I prefer to stick to tried-and-true methods. As a result, I’d utilize the Royal Canin and Hill’s brands. Above all else, I like the Royal Canin S/O and UC diets because Royal Canin has put the most effort into creating thoughtful urinary care diets.

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