Stella is a 2-year-old, healthy Bichon Frise mix, except for a second urinary tract infection (UTI). The only symptom I noticed was that she had to urinate more than usual. But she goes quite often normally. The last one lasted five weeks and included crystals. There were four urinalyses — the last showing oxalate crystals and the one before struvite. She was put on Royal Canin SO* and after only one week, all was clear. I am curious as to how quickly this food worked.
Anyway, I do not want her to continue on this food (it’s been a month). I want a nutritious, well-balanced diet to feed her and don’t know what to choose and/or supplements to add. Thank you for your consideration.
– Rachelle, New Jersey
Urinary tract infections in dogs are usually secondary to another underlying issue, although they can occasionally just get a primary ascending urinary tract infection because of squatting to urinate in a dirty place or because of a recent bout of diarrhea (in female dogs). Otherwise, if she is getting recurrent UTI’s, I would be suspicious of some underlying cause. Possible reasons include hormonal problems with the endocrine system, such as diabetes and Cushing’s syndrome, a urinary tract abnormality, such as a persistent hymen, ectopic ureter or a urethral sphincter disorder, or a problem within the urinary system, such as bladder or kidney stones or an infection in the kidneys.
With any urinary tract infection, it is important to treat it for a long enough period of time with the correct antibiotic that the infection can resolve. A urine culture should be performed, which tells the doctor specifically which kinds of bacteria are present as well as which antibiotics to which they are sensitive or resistant.
After treatment with an appropriate course of antibiotics, the urine culture should be rechecked to ensure that the infection has completely resolved before antibiotics are discontinued. In addition, blood testing and imaging (such as an X-ray, ultrasound or scooping) of the urinary tract may be necessary to rule out other underlying problems that could be causing the urinary troubles. If the underlying cause is not addressed, there is nothing that will keep the infections from returning.
The Royal Canin SO diet works by increasing water intake to help dilute out the urine, changing the pH of the urine to prevent the growth of crystals and stones. It has restricted levels of certain minerals that can contribute to stone and crystal development and it has high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, which help mediate inflammatory responses. If she has a condition that predisposes her to development of urinary crystals and/or stones, a diet like this is often recommended so she can live comfortably with a healthy urinary tract.
If there is another underlying reason for her UTI’s, there may or may not be a benefit in long-term feeding of this diet. In order to determine the best food to feed your dog, first try to find out the source of her recurrent urinary tract infections. With any urinary health issue, the most important factors are to make sure your dog is drinking lots of water to help keep the urine dilute and to flush things
out of the urinary system.
Canned foods do have a higher water content than dry foods and may be a better choice; however, encouraging water drinking by moistening dry dog food or offering a fountain to drink water from are other options. Cranberry supplement is another suggestion that may help dogs similar to how it helps people with lower urinary tract infections, by reducing the ability of bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary system.
*The above is the independent opinion of a veterinarian and not that of i Love Dogs. i Love Dogs makes no claims, warranties, or has any opinion, express or implied, about any products other than its own.