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Copyright 2007 Laurie Mann

What I found out about

Sharon and Morgan - Photo Copyright 2007 Sharon Highfield

Music: Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel)
(Midi Sequence from

Crystal Control
A true experience by
Sharon Highfield

Copyright 2007 Sharon Highfield - All Rights Reserved
(not to be copied without permission of the author

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.

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 alternative measures. 

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 internet research. 

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 free!

Meet Morgan

Copyright 2007 - Sharon HighfieldCopyright 2007 - Sharon Highfield


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