canine urinary tract bladder kidneys

By Dr. Jeannie Thomason

More and more dogs (and cats) are being diagnosed with kidney (and/or bladder) stones!  Although they are typically referred to as “bladder or Kidney stones”,  in dogs, they are technically known as Urinary Calculi and the condition is referred to as Urolithiasis or urinary calculi.

Are you ready to try a truly holistic approach to helping your dog with kidney stones?

You most likely found your way here to the Whole Dog and this article because you have already tried the veterinary approach to helping your dog with kidney or bladder stones but found them to be re-occuring in spite of veterinary treatment or recommendations.  Sadly, this is all too common.  

WARNING: You may find the information contained In this article and what is talked about in my books and articles, to be opposing views to conventional and even some so called “holistic” veterinary information. As an animal naturopath, I educate and practice true animal naturopathy.

Types of Stones

Struvite stones (Magnesium ammonium phosphate( are the most common type. Experimental and clinical studies have provided convincing evidence that the vast majority of Struvite stones occur following infection of the urinary tract with urease producing bacteria (especially staphylococci.) This infection results in the urine becoming more alkaline. Mineral crystals are less soluble in the alkaline environment and tend to clump together, forming stones. Studies at the University of Minnesota revealed that Struvite stones can form within 2 to 8 weeks following an infection. Some have been detected in puppies as young as 5 weeks.t

The most common type of uroliths in dogs is made up of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals.

Over the past 15 – 20 years, the incidence of oxalate stones in dogs has increased significantly! Dogs fed processed diets, especially kibble – are most vulnerable due to the fact that kibble causes acidic pH. It also causes highly concentrated urine, which further increases the chances of calcium oxalate stones formation.

Bladder and kidney stones are more and more becoming a chronic problem in both dogs and cats. It is an accumulation of magnesium amonium phosphate in their urinary tracts. This mineral compound is the cause of bladder disease and urethral obstructions in both dogs and cats. 

Please know that while veterinary medicine is all about treating or masking the symptoms, naturopathy looks at the whole animal and seeks for the underlying root cause of any symptoms and aids in sparking the animal’s own immune system to heal itself.

Are you ready to look at a Truly Holistic Approach to Kidney Or Bladder Stones In Dogs?

The first thing that needs to be understood is that the main cause of stones (or crystals) in our dogs is their diet!

The typical diet that most dogs are fed is processed kibble or canned pet food of some kind whose main ingredients include both grains and vegetables (YES, vegetables!). There has been a BIG push to include vegetables in our dog’s diet lately and the use of “plant based” protien is rapidly replacing animal protein in processed pet food.   Our dogs are carnivores and as such, unable to properly digest or utilize any nutrients (what little there are in processed food) in processed foods.

More and more dogs (and cats) are being diagnoised with kidney stones or “kidney disease” every year.  You see, the feeding of vegetables, grains and processed or cooked meats to carnivores , among causing other issues,  produces alkaline urine, which is the perfect environment for crystals and stones to easily form.

The acidity or alkalinity of the urine influences whether the crystals and/or stone constituents will dissolve or form into stones. Some stones, such as struvite, form in alkaline urine, whereas others, including calcium oxalate stones, are more apt to form in acidic urine. Please understand, that the urine pH is largely influenced by the diet and the health of the liver.

Processed pet food and especially so-called “prescription diets” are created to be low in animal protein, ash, magnesium and calcium; which are all vital nutrients necessary for proper cellular activity and balance in the body. The best way for your dog to attain these vital nutrients is via raw animal flesh, bone, organs and glands.  

Any nutrients or vitamins, etc. mentioned as ingredients in processed pet food are synthetic (man-made,  not natural occuring nutrients).  Any nutrients that may have once been present in the raw ingredients the kibble may have started out with,  have all been destroyed due to the processing and cooking of the ingredients at high temperatures. Please see the article – Cooked Vs. Raw Food For Our Dogs

Be Warned!

As mentioned above, most “Prescription/dissolution or so called preventative” veterinary prescribed diets have had the magnesium removed (along with other essential minerals) to “prevent” stones or crystals being formed, even though magnesium, calcium and other minerals are essential, especially for the nervous system!  

Simply reducing or eliminating magnesium in a processed diet will cause a host of other negative health issues. Veterinary prescribed diets for Urolithiasis are also processed with little to no animal protein in the ingredients but are very high in vegetable (or what they are now calling “Plant Protein) protein. This only keeps the dog that is on this diet, constantly battling digestive issues as well as the continued formation of more crystals and stones.

PLEASE, don’t be fooled into thinking that “prescription/low magnesium” diets are the solution, they obviously, are NOT !

Avoiding grains, vegetables and cooked foods in general and instead feeding our dogs a raw carnivore specific diet, we will optimize the urinary PH levels

Now, know this: Raw muscle meat protein creates optimal acid urine. Magnesium does’t react in acid urine, thereby significantly reducing the risk of crystal and stone formation!

I have helped (via consultation) quite a few dogs (and some cats) over the years, to naturally dissolve current stones and prevent them from returning with a regime that based on the laws of health in nature whose foundation is proper, species specific nutrition.    

A Couple of Tips:

Keep fresh filtered or spring water available for the dog at all times, and encourage consumption of water. I have found that even raw fed dogs (who get much more moisture from their raw diet than the dog that gets none in their kibble diet) will drink a little more water through out the day if they have a water filter – drinking fountian at their disposal.  There just seems to be something about the sound of running water that attracts them.

Keeping the kidneys and bladder flushed out is of paramount importance to help prevent crystals and stone formation. Feeding a raw species specific diet will provide most of the moisture content required but you can also pour a little bit of spring water in with the meal if you like.

Do not keep your dog confined for long periods of time but make sure he/she is getting daily exercise and outdoor access for urination at all times or as frequently as possible. Having the dog hold the urine can cause concentrations that encourage crystal and stone formation.Research has confirmed that this bacteria has the ability to metabolize oxalates and prevent crystal and stone formation.

Properly detox your dog

Schedule a consultation for more specific guidance and support



Copyright 2016  Updated 2020

No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author. This article is for educational purposes only. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader.

I have made every effort towards the goal of accuracy in everything on this website and in my articles. Neither I, nor anyone associated with this website in any way take responsibility for any results “positive or negative“ that may occur from reliance on the information contained herein. When one is dealing with a living, breathing organism, there are dynamics that come into play that cannot logically be covered in any one website or publication. Thus, the information provided here is for educational purposes only. It is the ultimate responsibility of yourself to make any decisions regarding the care of your animal.

These statements made herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease in animals or any human. Always consult your health care professional regarding any serious disease or injury for your animal(s) or yourself. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe any natural substances, including essential oils, for serious health conditions that require professional attention.

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