Rupert is a gorgeous 5 year old Cockapoo who according to his owner is highly intelligent, very active and a very happy dog (with the shiniest coat we have ever seen). His owner started him at the age of 13 weeks on a 100% plant-based diet. He has eaten Benevo dry and wet food along with Yarrah for the last 5 years. His owner is diligent about brushing his teeth daily which has resulted in him having flawless white teeth that when he chipped an incisor, the vet could not find a match white enough to replace it with!
His owner made contact with me as she was very concerned about his recent illness. Rupert suffered from an extremely painful urinary tract infection and blood in his urine which ultimately led to him needing surgery to remove a stone from his bladder.
The crystals had joined to form a very spiky and painful looking stone as shown in the image that definitely needed removing as any bladder infection can lead to long term kidney failure in dogs.
All plant-based diets in dogs, whether dry foods or homemade (with no supplements), tend to be alkalinising which means that your dog’s urine will have a pH above 7 instead of below as is normally found in dogs on a meat-based diet. This means that your dog is more prone to developing a urinary tract infection, which unfortunately also results in the right environment in your dog’s urine to develop crystals that can join and become stones.
The condition is very painful and debilitating for your dog and as in Rupert’s case; it is very worrying as he needed surgery to remove the stone which in itself is risky surgery and can be life threatening if the kidneys become involved.
“Carnivores and omnivores excrete acidic urine as the catabolism of protein produces nitrogenous waste but, as plant proteins have a higher pH, the urine of herbivorous animals may be more alkaline (Knight and Leitsberger, 2016). The raised pH increases the susceptibility of urinary salts crystallising into predominately struvite stones causing urolithiasis (bladder stones) (Tion et al. 2015)”
What is the solution to prevent these problems?
There thankfully is a very simple solution to preventing this problem from recurring and help treat Rupert. His devoted owner felt she was always doing the right thing by feeding him Benevo wet and dry as well as Yarrah and supplementing with cranberry powder, but it was just not enough to correct the alkaline urine.
Benevo, Yarrah, Ami, Lukullus, V-Dog, Lily’s Rainbow Stew tins and Veggiepets do NOT contain a vital addition to the food called methionine. Methionine is a sulphur amino acid that is found naturally in all meat products and has to be supplemented in a plant-based diet to ensure that it is balanced. It is the one ingredient that will acidify not only the urinary tract environment, but also the gut microbiome which enables better absorption of nutrients as well as enabling urinary tract health.
Rupert’s owner is unable to homecook due to time constraints and that is the first bit of advice I give as the balanced recipes recommended are made using supplements that contains the valuable addition of methionine as well as added natural plant-based Vitamin D3 for a healthy immunity, zinc and Vit B for a healthy skin, and taurine for heart health.
Please note that these supplements are NOT to be used on foods such as Benevo dry or Lily’s Kitchen tinned food, they are ONLY to be used on HOMEMADE wholefood diets or you can overdose on other important added nutrients.
A wet homemade balanced diet also provides more necessary moisture that is needed with any bladder infection or inflammation – especially in dogs that do not like to drink. There are natural urinary acidifiers such brown rice, oats, corn, lentils, brussel sprouts, asparagus, peas, yeast, vitamin C and cranberry powder that can be used in a homemade diet with the addition of VegDog or V-Complete supplement.
As Rupert’s owner wants to feed only a dry food, the solution has been to start him on a diet that is 100% balanced with the addition of this vital amino acid. The only plant-based foods that contains additional methionine, are Solo-Vegetal, Greta and Green Crunch.
To recap – in order to maintain a healthy urinary tract environment in your dog, all the plant-based foods that are available in the UK can be fed, but their diets MUST be supplemented by the addition of a HOMEMADE DIET with the powder supplement.
If you have no time to homecook, then feeding your plant-based dog exclusively on SOLO-VEGETAL, GRETA or GREEN CRUNCH is enough to keep them 100% healthy!
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