What causes a UTI/urine crystals in dogs?
Sometimes bacteria (which can be from poo) can accidentally enter the urinary tract (this is more common in females because of their anatomy) where they can cause a UTI. Another trigger for a UTI can be when a dog has to cross their legs for too long: putting off going to the toilet for extended periods can concentrate the urine and increase the risk of a UTI as well as crystal formation. Anything that irritates the urinary system, including crystals, can set off a UTI.
There’s a bit of a genetic element to this too, some breeds are just at a higher risk of urinary problems than others. For instance, it’s a fact that a number of small breed dogs including the Miniature Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier and Dachschund are more susceptible to struvite crystals.
The pH of the urine is important in determining urinary tract health too. Dog’s urine should be slightly acidic, so at a pH of about 6.5 to 7. If it goes above neutral (pH 7), this increases the chance of struvite crystal formation. Specific ingredients in the diet like grains and certain groups of vegetables can raise the pH of urine and cause problems.