When Morgan (Normandy’s
Captain Morgan) was neutered at the age of 6 months, we followed up on
a suggestion from his breeder and requested a urinalysis even though
there were no outward signs of a problem. The reason the breeder
suggests this is to ensure that the puppy and the food are compatible
and no crystals are being formed in the urine.
A true experience by
Copyright 2007 Sharon Highfield - All Rights Reserved
(not to be copied without permission of the author
The pH of Morgan's
urine was 7.8 and he had a significant number of struvite
crystals. He was put on Hill's c/d kibble. However, he did
not tolerate the change in diet very well and had loose stools with
some vomiting. I really felt uncomfortable about changing his
diet from his high quality holistic puppy kibble that contained no
ingredients to cause an elevated pH. So I investigated
I purchased swimming
pool dipsticks which are inexpensive and include a pH reading.
Out of curiosity, I tested the bottled water I was giving Morgan to
drink. The pH of the water was 8.4. Normal or neutral pH is
7.0. Every brand of 500 ml bottled water that we were buying for
us and giving to Morgan had a pH of 8.4. I started to add chicken
broth to Morgan's water to encourage him to drink more. The pH of
the bottled water mixed with chicken broth was 6.8. His urine pH
dropped immediately. It was then that I realized that it was
probably the bottled water that was causing the elevated pH which leads
to struvite crystals.
I started to give
Morgan distilled water to drink which is pure water with no minerals
and a pH of 7.0. However, there is a lot of controversy about the
benefits of distilled water. Some feel that it is "dead" water
since there are no minerals in it.
I found a good quality
bottled spring water that has a pH reading of 7.2 on my
dipsticks. Unfortunately most brands of water do not include the
pH on the label so it can be a question of trial and error and/or
I am convinced after
my experience with Morgan, that the pH of drinking water should be
examined as well as diet for dogs that develop crystals or
stones. Morgan did not tolerate Hill's c/d well and he refused to
eat Waltham’s SO. The pH of Morgan's urine continues to be
reduced with the change in drinking water. He now drinks filtered
tap water which has a pH of 7.2. We have two water “stations”,
one on each floor of our house to encourage him to drink more and flush
out any potential crystal formation.
My current vet said it
was good to let Morgan eat the fruit and vegetables that he loves.
Those that are high in vitamin C are acidic and help to keep urine pH
down in dogs prone to an elevated pH.
I monitor Morgan's
urine regularly with testing strips that include pH and blood. It
continues to be in the desired range (around 6.5) with no signs of
blood to indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). All other
readings are in the negative range as well. Urine that is too
acidic can lead to other types of crystals and stones so keeping a
balance is important.
Morgan has training
pads available at all times and also “goes” outside. Most
importantly, he never has to wait to urinate.
Morgan remains problem