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Dealing with Bladder Stones in Dogs

Updated on March 17, 2014
Gallstones in dogs
Gallstones in dogs | Source

On a visit to the vet with my schnauzer, Misty, I encountered a Shih Tzu which had no choice but to take a little leak on the clinic's floor.

Bloodied urine was, of course, an unpleasant sight. More so was the little dog, trembling in what must have been extreme discomfort.

Bladder stones can be as serious a problem in canines as they are in humans. They have the same causes and painful effects in both, but are treatable, especially if spotted early.



‌A dog which has developed bladder stones will likely experience painful obstruction in its urinary tract. This leads to the inability to pass urine and the accumulation of toxic chemicals that will potentially damage its kidneys.

Bladder stones are more common in females than in males, and the latter experiences them more painfully. They are more often found in breeds like the miniature schnauzer, llhasa Apso and the Bishon Frise.

How do bladder stones form?

  • There is a sudden increase in minerals when urine has become to acidic or alkaline
  • Crystals develop, then amalgamate
  • Stones eventually form.


Bladder stones begin with a sudden increase in minerals. These amalgamate into little crystals and eventually, stones, which gradually increase in size.

When urine is too acidic or alkaline, different stones begin to form. The idea is to keep the ph level fairly neutral by feeding a balanced diet to your dog. Bacterial infections in the urinary tract can also alter the Ph balance of urine and cause crystal, then stone formation.

Dogs which have problems metabolizing and breaking down minerals will also develop stones.

Signs of bladder stones include..

  • Painful urination
  • bloody urination
  • can be felt by a vet


A dog with bladder or struvite stones may find difficulty urinating because of the pain caused by the stones.

In many cases, dogs may not exhibit any signs of bladder stones at all. They can be felt by a vet if they aren't too painful, but a clearer sign is urine the color of read port wine.

Foods according to Ph Level

Acidic Foods
Alkaline Foods
Toxic foods that should be avoided
Macadamia Nuts
Dairy products
Yeast dough

Bladder stones in pets

You prevent the occurrence of stones with...

  • a diet balanced in Ph
  • monitoring the Ph levels of your pets
  • cranberries and probiotics


A host of preventive measures can be put in place to ensure that stones do not develop.

Identifying the type of stone

Recognizing the type of stone the dog suffers from can help in the prevention of its recurrence. Identifying its nature, whether it's a struvite stone or otherwise, can indicate the likelihood of its recurrence.


As it does with ours, a dog's body functions optimally at a neutral to slightly alkaline Ph level. Foods too acidic and conversely, to alkaline in content lead to the build up of stones. A diet high in phosphorus, magnesium and protein, which usually lead to the build up of uric acid and stones, should be avoided.

A look at the table provided will show which foods have acidic and alkaline content. The aim should be to feed a diet as at neutral a Ph level as possible.

Meats like chicken and turkey can be fed to your dog, when balanced with alkaline addition, they should avoid a list of foods listed on table I have provided.

Monitoring of Ph levels

Testing strips can be used to monitor a dog's Ph level. They can be placed under a dog's urine stream.

Alternatively, a dog's urine can be collected in a cup and sent for testing occasionally to monitor the Ph level of his diet.

Cranberries and probiotics

Cranberries are good for urinary tract infection. They may not remove stones, but can prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract and forming new ones.

Probiotics introduce good bacteria that is essential in combating urinary tract infection.

MMy dog, Cloudy
MMy dog, Cloudy | Source

Which surgical procedure would you opt for to remove stones?

See results


A few treatment options are available for treating dogs with bladder stones, though maintaining.a healthy, Ph balanced diet is always the best way to beat recurrence or recurrence of these nasty build ups.

Surgical removal

This option is the most recommended, especially if the re are many big stones. This is achieved via a procedure known as cystotomy, which involves a surgeon making an incision in the wall of the urinary bladder. It will allow him to take a closer look via a cystoscope.

Non surgical removal

A surgeon may suggest a non-invasive method of surgical removal known as urihydropulsion. This is a process where stones are excreted under sedation.
This iprocedure is usually recommended for smaller stones.

Dietary dissolution

The stones can be removed by a special diet formulated to dissolve them. This is different from the diet to maintain a healthy Ph balance.


Stones are dangerous and painful for the bladder, but can be removed.


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    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Jo!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks very much !

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, DDE!

    • theBAT profile image

      theBAT 3 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this. Are commercially packed dog foods safe enough not to cause bladder stones? I can imagine how uncomfortable it is for dogs to have such disease. Nice hub.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Ouch...those stones must have caused a lot of pain. It's really hard to see your dog struggling to wee but just can't manage it. Our little Corgi-Jack Russell cross suffered terrible with stones, he travelled to the Grenadines a few years ago with us, at that time there wasn't a permanent vet based on the island so I had to improvise. I fashioned a catheter and drained a lot of fine gravel like small stones from the bladder and was rewarded with the biggest smile. A very useful and informative article, well done as always.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Bill!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Eddy!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      She woods her thanks, Rebecca!

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 3 years ago from USA

      Very interesting and helpful. I have a La-Chon so this was very helpful. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Poor things, I had no idea and without an informed owner what trouble they could be in! Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very important information for dog owners, Michelle. Thank you!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting and well shared hub on bladder stones inside our beloved pets who would have even thought of this happening. The helpful facts enlightened me.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      interesting an very useful as always Michelle.


    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very informative! I didn't realize dogs could get bladder stones. Cloudy sure is a cutie!

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 3 years ago

      on cananing off stones mid