What are urine crystals in dogs?
Your dog’s urine naturally contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. When these become concentrated, they can sometimes come together with other minerals to form crystals. Although dogs can be perfectly healthy when they have crystals in the urine, they may be at increased risk of developing bladder and kidney stones.
A stone in the urinary system is painful and can be dangerous-imagine a rough-edged, little rock squeezing its way through those narrow and fragile tubes. Not only is that eye-wateringly painful, but it can also damage the tubes as it passes through. Just to make things more complicated, there are a few different types of stone, each with their own causes and treatments. The most common stones are made of struvite and calcium oxalate. Dogs can also get stones made from uric acid, calcium phosphate, silica and cysteine. Small dogs seem to be the most prone to urine crystals and stones. It’s thought that one reason for this is their lower thirst drive when compared with larger dogs. Drinking plenty of water helps to flush the crystals through the system so a dog that doesn’t drink enough is already at risk of a problem.
Urinary crystals can also cause irritation and lead to a urinary tract infection (UTI) which means an infection anywhere from the kidneys through to the bladder. Our quick guide will help you get to grips with how to recognise a urinary problem in your dog, how to get it sorted and what you can do to help maintain their urinary health.