The culprits in urate stone formation are purines, a type of organic base found in plant and animal tissue. As dietary purines degrade, they form uric acid, which is best known in human medicine for its connection to gout, a sharply painful form of arthritis.
In susceptible dogs, purines trigger the formation of urate stones. Whilst these stones are pretty rare, susceptibility to them is prevalent in certain breeds. Affected breeds are Dalmatians, English Bulldogs, Russian Black Terriers, Large Munsterlanders, Weimaraners, German Shepherd Dogs, Giant Schnauzers, American Staffordshire Terriers & Australian Shepherds. Miniature Schnauzers & Yorkshire Terriers also develop them because of their tendency to have portosystemic shunts, which are abnormal blood vessels that bypass the liver, predisposing dogs to urate stones.
As with all stones, it is vital that your dog drinks plenty of water & can urinate regularly. For this reason, we highly recommend adding lots of water to your dog’s food. This helps dilute the mineral content of the urine & makes it less acidic.
The key to keeping urate-forming dogs healthy is to feed them a low-purine diet. Without the purines that trigger urate stone formation, even susceptible dogs can lead normal lives.
Similarly, because urate stones only develop in acidic urine, an added prevention strategy is to feed lots of low-purine foods that also have an alkalizing effect – this invariably involves restricting the protein in the diet because protein tends to acidify, whereas grains & vegetables tend to alkalise.
Low purine, low protein prescription foods are therefore often recommended to help alkalise the urine, but many dogs simply refuse to eat them & many owners are nervous of restricting protein on a long-term basis.
With this in mind, we have put together a list of our foods which contain predominantly low-moderate purine ingredients. Because potatoes & sweet potatoes are very low in purine & have an alkalising effect, we have favoured recipes which rely heavily on these ingredients when coupled with moderate-purine proteins such as duck, turkey & lamb. It should be noted however that these are not low-protein diets, but for dogs that won't eat prescription foods they may provide a compromise.
Common High Purine ingredients found in dog food/treats/supplements to be avoided: salmon, liver, sardines, peas, soy, brewer’s yeast, alfalfa
Common Moderate Purine ingredients found in dog food/treats/supplements to be fed in moderation: barley, brown rice, oats, white fish, turkey, lamb, duck
Common Low Purine ingredients found in dog food/treats/supplements: cheese, eggs, white rice, sweet potato, potato, corn
(Please note that we are not vets. The information given here is intended as a general guide & should not replace the directions received from your vet)