Dogs Foods That Cause Oxalate Crystals


Certain canine breeds are more likely to develop calcium oxalate stones. Sometimes the problem can be linked to genetics but diet appears to be an important factor, as well. In the past 20 to 30 years, there has been a rise in cases of calcium oxalate bladder and kidney stones in dogs. It may be possible to reduce the formation of these stones by avoiding certain dog food ingredients.

Taking dog to the veterinarian
Taking dog to the veterinarian (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Causes Of High Calcium In Urine

According to Ron Hines, DVM, PhD, an increase of calcium in the urine is a major factor in the formation of calcium oxalate stones. A diet high in salt, protein, lactose, sucrose, fructose and magnesium causes a higher urine calcium concentration. If there is less phosphorus in the diet, the urine calcium concentrate will be higher as well. A diet that is too high or too low in vitamin D can also increase urine calcium. A vitamin B6 deficiency can cause blood oxalate levels to increase.

Walking dogs
Walking dogs (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A Change In Belief

About half of the oxalate in your dog’s body comes from the food he eats. It is now believed by many veterinarians and scientists that if your dog has a higher level of calcium in his diet, his body will absorb less oxalate. The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet rich in calcium for humans who form oxalate crystals, due to this belief. This advice contradicts some veterinarian’s recommendations of prescription diets low in calcium.

Dog eating from dish
Dog eating from dish (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Dog Foods To Avoid

Commercial dog foods containing any soy products should not be fed, as soy contains oxalates. Diets that have been acidified to preserve the food can cause acid urine, which promotes oxalate stone growth. Meat and poultry byproducts should be avoided, as organ meats are high in oxalate. Any dog food that is not human grade should not be fed. Be cautious about using a commercial prescription diet for dogs; some of them contain ingredients that are no longer recommended.

Feeding dog
Feeding dog (Image: Barry Austin Photography/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Things To Try

Encourage your dog to be active; calcium oxalate levels can rise in a dog that does not exercise. Watch for situations that may cause her to be stressed; studies have found stress raises oxalate levels in rats. Vitamin E may be helpful in reducing the crystallization of oxalate in kidneys. Encourage her to drink a lot of water, which lowers urine calcium; exercise can help make her thirstier. Your veterinarian may prescribe potassium citrate, which will give your dog’s urine a higher pH. Moist foods are better than dry for dogs with oxalate stones, but dental hygiene must be carefully monitored.

Active dog
Active dog (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Breeds Most Affected

Some dog breeds are more likely to form calcium oxalate stones. Those most often affected are the lhasa apso, shih tzu, Yorkshire terrier, bichon frise, schnauzer, miniature poodle and the dalmation.

Yorkshire terriers are more susceptible to oxalate stones than some other breeds
Yorkshire terriers are more susceptible to oxalate stones than some other breeds (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

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