Urinary Tract Health for Cats and Dogs

Nov 03, 2021 Dan


The bladder plays a very important role in our pets’ overall health.  Unfortunately, it is often overlooked.  UTI’s, inflammation and stones or crystals are the more common issues that our pets experience when the bladder is not 100%.  More often than not, this requires a visit to your vet and can be a costly fix (not to mention the physical discomfort that your best friend will be in).

Let us look at the role the bladder plays and the importance of a healthy bladder.  What symptoms arise when the bladder is not healthy?  Why do some dogs and cats suffer from bladder issues?  What can we do to support good bladder health? 


THE BLADDER – The holding container of the body.

The bladder handles many functions.  It is the kidney’s main squeeze and best friend.  The kidneys remove waste product(urea) from the blood.  The urea travels down the tubules and into the bladder, where it is eliminated through urination.  The bladder also contributes to controlling levels of electrolytes in the body.  This is really important to cell life or death and vital hydration.

A healthy bladder in a dog or cat will contain urine that is slightly acidic.  Seven is neutral, everything above 7 is alkaline, everything below 7 is acidic.  Optimal PH for dogs and cats is between 6 to 6.5This is important and we will come back to this a little later.

Keeping the bladder healthy will keep everything else on course in a healthy pet.  When one receives a diagnosis of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), then we are buying a prescription handed over by Dr. Conventional Vet.  So, a Bladder infection can lead to antibiotics to destroying a healthy microbiome (gut health) and allowing an increase of unhealthy bacteria.  This can result in high alkaline urine, leading to urinary crystals and a compromised immune system.  

Now there is the potential for more drugs, ear infections and hotspots because the immune system is pooched, more drugs, vet prescribed food (and more on this later), more gut trauma and other health issues.

That first UTI and antibiotic use can result in a vicious cycle of poor health, numerous vet visits, more pharma and an unhappy pet.  Not to mention the stress we all experience when our pets are not 100%.


AN UNHEALTHY BLADDER – Symptoms to look for

Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Drinking more water than usual
  • Peeing in the house or outside of the litter box
  • Persistent licking of urinary openings
  • Straining to urinate
  • Crying when urinating
  • Dark or cloudy urine
  • Visible blood in urine
  • Loss of bladder control or urine dribbling
  • Inability to pass urine or passing very little
  • Vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite

Your vet is crucial in being able to find the underlying issue with the bladder.  The common health issues with the bladder are:


  1. UTI’s or Urinary Tract Infection.

Bad bacteria are allowed to propagate in a bladder where the urine is too alkaline (over 7 ph.).  The natural bladder defenses are unable to maintain the urine’s correct Ph.  When the urine Ph creeps up toward the alkaline side the urine looses it’s natural defenses and becomes a more hospitable environment for infection to occur.


  1. Cystitis or Bladder Inflammation

Cats especially can end up with chronic inflammation of the bladder.  This is a painful condition that can lead to bleeding and secondary infection.


  1. Calcium Oxalate Stones

Oxalate crystals form when oxalates are excreted in the urine.  It really hurts to pee.  They bind to calcium, which then forms the stones.  Urine that is high in calcium oxalate crystals is acidic and needs more alkaline or neutral foods.


  1. Struvite Stones

Our pets develop struvite stones when their urine is alkaline and saturated with magnesium and phosphate.  Struvite stones usually stem from bacterial infections.  Dogs and cats who produce a high concentration of urea may be more susceptible to struvite stones.



There are a variety of reasons why certain pets are susceptible to bladder issues.    

Shih-Tzu, miniature schnauzer, bichon frise, Lhasa Apso, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese and poodle crosses are known to be prone to oxalate crystals.

Dalmatians are prone to stones and need to eat low purine diets.

Dogs and cats who are spayed or neutered have fewer sex hormones and that can lead to a weaker sphincter.  This means bacteria can enter the bladder more easily and unnaturally.

Cats are especially prone to infection, inflammation and stones.  Feline urine tends to be more concentrated than urine of other mammalian species (this is why the urine of intact male cats has such a strong odour).  The fact that cats produce such highly-concentrated urine makes them more susceptible to bladder issues.  The more concentrated the urine is, the more likely it is that it may irritate the delicate lining of the bladder.

All dogs and cats that are fed a high carbohydrate, high starch, diet of highly processed kibble.  Cats are obligate carnivores and dogs are facultative carnivores.  They are designed to eat meat, organ meat and bone that has a high moisture content.  A raw fed pet drops their urine into the slightly acidic range, minimizing the potential of bladder issues.  Highly processed kibble causes their urine to become more alkaline (greater than 7ph) which may lead to infection, inflammation and crystals/stones.  

As an example, a typical prey animal for a cat is usually a mouse or rat, which consists of approximately 50-60% protein, 15-30% fat on a dry matter basis and 70-80% water.  This shows that 70-80% of the cat’s natural instinctive diet should consist of water.  A quick search of any dry cat food website about the moisture content will tell you that it is generally only 8 to 10% moisture.  Cats on a kibble diet are only consuming about 12 to 15% of their ideal daily water intake in their food.  One might think that the cat can make it up by drinking more water, but cats innately have a low thirst drive as they evolved to eat prey consisting of so much moisture.  Hence, the highly concentrated urine of felines.




  1. Feed a raw food diet that is high in protein and moisture.  Enough said.


  1. Always have fresh drinking water available.


  1. Add cranberries or a cranberry extract.  Cranberries are known to prevent development of UTI’s.  Cranberries have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.


  1. Marshmallow Root is rich in mucilage and helps to coat the mucous membranes thereby protecting delicate tissue in the bladder.


  1. Nettle leaf is a tonic herb and has anti-inflammatory properties.  It is considered a diuretic and supplies support to the kidneys.


  1. A multi-strain powerful probiotic.  At least 1 billion CFUs will supply the beneficial bacteria to establish a colony and keep bad bacteria at bay.


  1. Organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother).  Helps keep the gut in a good acidic environment and keep the bad bacteria at bay.


There are two supplements that you can consider using to help with overall bladder health.


The Adored Beast Easy Peesy Protocol Helps to support the body in the dissolution of Urinary Crystals. Supports bladder health and the creation of an environment that will discourage crystal formation. Will support the body's defence against recurring bladder and urinary infections. Can also be used once or twice a year to maintain optimal bladder health.


Thrive Bladder Support Thrive Bladder Support has Organic Cranberry Extract and D-Mannose, along with 7 other herbs and nutrients to provide bladder and urinary tract support for both cats and dogs.


The bladder is one of those things we don’t pay much attention to until it is too late.  Bladder issues can be extremely uncomfortable to our pets.  In some cases, when not properly treated, can be fatal.

The key to supporting a healthy bladder is diet.  No question.

Supplementing your pets diets to promote bladder health is easy and not that expensive.