One way to determine if your dog has crystals in its urinary tract is if you notice a change in your dog’s urination habits. Your dog could be urinating more frequently than usual, the urine could be bloody, or it could dribble. If your dog is straining to urinate, that is a sign of crystals or stones. Take your dog to the veterinarian if you think it has crystals because if left untreated, the crystals could block urine flow and lead to death. This condition is treatable if you follow certain steps.
Take your dog to the vet. Depending on your dog's condition, your vet might need to unblock the urinary tract and empty the dog’s bladder. Although surgery is not the usual treatment, it could be the only way to help your dog.
Often the crystals will dissolve if you feed your dog a special diet recommended by your vet. Your dog must remain on this diet until the crystals are completely gone, which is between four and 16 weeks.
Do not feed your dog anything besides the vet-recommended diet. Meat, liver, vitamins, calcium, cereal and vegetables are particularly bad during this time.
Always provide plenty of clean, fresh water. Sometimes crystals develop in the first place because the dog is not getting enough water. Bacteria also can be a factor. That is why you must provide clean water daily.
Even if you provide water, your dog might not drink it. To get your dog to consume more water, mix water with its dry food, or add beef or chicken broth to the water. If your dog is clicker-trained, click and reward when it drinks water. (Remember to feed only vet-recommended foods.)
Male dogs are more likely to get crystals than are female dogs, and small dogs are more likely to get crystals than are large dogs. Breeds that are susceptible to crystals are Welsh Corgis, Miniature Schnauzers, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Pekingese and Yorkies. Other breeds prone to crystals are Beagles, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Cairn Terriers and Scotties.
If your dog does not get to urinate enough because of confinement or does not get enough exercise or water, your dog could get crystals.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.