How to Know if Your Dog Has Kidney Stones

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from kidney stones, which are mainly the result of the food they eat. In this article, we tell you how to know if your dog has kidney stones.
How to Know if Your Dog Has Kidney Stones

Last update: 07 July, 2019

Kidney stones, also known as nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis, are the presence of small crystals or stones, inside the kidneys; this can also occur in the ureter, bladder, and urethra.

These formations are composed of substances that result from the synthetization of food. The most common of these substances are:

  • Ammonium urate
  • Calcium oxalate
  • Struvite
  • Cystine
  • Calcium phosphate and silica uroliths

Signs that a dog has kidney stones

When a dog has kidney stones, it may not show any signs, at least at first. Here are some of the signs you should consider:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Recurrent urinary infections
  • Frequent urination (and your dog urinates small amounts every time)
  • Difficulty and pain urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling in the abdominal area

If you notice some of these signs, consult your veterinarian.

If your dog has kidney stones, it can manifest some signs that it’s suffering from this health problem. Learn to identify them.

What to do if you discover that your furry friend has Nephrolithiasis

If your dog is diagnosed with kidney stones, the treatment may vary depending on the type and size of the kidney stones. Treatments range from medication to surgery, either traditional or laser, which seek to eliminate them.

In any case, you should try to avoid a blockage in your four-legged friend’s urinary tract that won’t allow it to pass urine.

And, of course, it’s essential to provide your dog with quality food that’s consistent with their health problems.

Causes that favor the formation of kidney stones in dogs

The food your pet ingests is often decisive in the formation of these stones. This is where the minerals are obtained from, as well as the waste materials that the kidney must remove through the urine.

The following favor kidney stone formation:

  • Poor quality feed
  • Diets high in protein (meat or viscera)
  • Foods high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin C
  • Also, not drinking enough water daily can lead to urolithiasis

Other factors that can cause kidney stones in dogs

But beyond the food you give your dog, there are some other factors that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. For example:

  • While this condition is more common in adult animals, kidney stone composition varies depending on the dog’s age. Urate and struvite stones are more common in dogs from 1 to 3 years of age. Calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, and cystine stones predominate in dogs 5 years or older.
  • Male dogs are more likely to suffer from this condition than female dogs.
  • Hereditary factors, some drug treatments, urinary tract infections, and certain anatomical problems can also cause this condition.

Dog breeds that are predisposed to Urolithiasis

A dog owner walking their dog.

Some dog breeds seem to have a greater predisposition to developing this condition, such as:

  • Dalmatian
  • English Bulldog
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Newfoundland
  • Lhasa Apso
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • German Shepherd
  • Shih Tzu

Better safe than sorry

While it’s sometimes impossible to prevent your dog from suffering from kidney stones, remember that you can take some steps to try to avoid them:

  • Provide your dog with quality food tailored to its needs.
  • Ensure proper hydration by putting fresh, clean water at their disposal.
  • Allow your dog to urinate frequently. If you don’t have a yard or garden where the animal can relieve themselves, try to walk it several times a day.
  • Pay attention to any sign that indicates that something may be wrong.
  • Take your dog to the vet for regular checkups.
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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.