this weekend has been scary for both baden and I. there was a corgi meet up in San Francisco so we headed down there on Saturday and i noticed baden was happy but acting really sluggish and was marking everything he could. there was a point where he wanted to play fetch but he ended up just laying down which is not like him at all. then thats when he marked again i noticed the blood in his urine.

headed back to the car on the phone with my vet and said to bring him in immediately. when i brought him in even his vet knew he wasnt feeling well as hes usually very chipper. so the tests confirmed he has struvite crystals in his urine and is put on a special diet for a few weeks and then its back to more testing. if the tests come back great then i can put him back on his regular food but if not then this will be a long term dog food.

all this happened just recently after i switched him from natures logic (got too expensive) to orijen. she said to not feed him orijen because of how high the protein is and is making his urine not acidic enough to break down the crystals.

has anyone had this experience with orijen? its such a top rated food i am a little shocked.

if he does not have to be on prescription food for the rest of his life is there a better kibble or canned food you can recommend?

after reading a few articles online im concerned as some say go low protein while others say go high protein so insight would be great so i calm my nerves lol

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Origen's is very high in protein, the adult food is 42% protein on a dry matter basis, which would not be good for a dog with bladder stones.  The first line of treatment with bladder stones is to put them on a prescription food-  Royal Canin and Hills are the main ones.   Depending on the type of stone- some stones can be cured by diet alone, some stones will need surgery.   Royal Canin Urinary SO, which is a good script food for the condition, if I recall correctly is around 15% protein on a dry matter basis. (my last Corgi had stones and was on SO for his last 3 years)   So if your dog is predisposed to bladder stones - I think your vet will tell you to stay away from Origens for good.  Its not necessarily bad food - its just bad for your dog  and any other condition where you need to keep the protein normal or low.   And while I may be chastised for saying this by the advocates of a raw diet - a lot of reputable vets, especially the specialists, will tell you to stay away from these higher protein dog foods even for healthy dogs, these vets advocate that adult dogs should be on nothing higher than 24-25% protein on a dry matter basis.  They agree to stay away from the low quality brand foods - but the new fad foods as they call them with increased protein can cause more harm than good. 

My current Corgi, Katie, was diagnosed with a liver disease and needed to lower her protein from a raw diet to something 25% or lower at age 5 1/2 months.   I found  Fromm's Adult Gold - which is a very high quality food and its at 25%. She loves the food and her liver is currently in good shape after a year on the food.  After you finish the script food talk to your vet about the protein level he/she advises then head off to the pet food store or check around on line - and check protein levels.   Be sure to check protein on a dry matter basis.   Here is a link to an on line calculator for dry matter basis

thank you for the info! he is currently eating royal canine SO for crystals but the ingredients make me cringe (just personal preference) i looked at the back of both bags and SO is 18% protein vs. orijen which is 38% so theres a big difference. i will ditch the orijen because its not worth feeding it to him if its going to cause more damage than good. i wouldnt mind putting him back on natures logic but it just keeps hiking up in price but i do love the look and price of Fromm

Dog food packaging labels can be  misleading when it comes to understanding percentages of an ingredient.  That number you see on the package i.e. -38% on Origen has to be converted to dry matter %.   Read the label and see if the percentage is stated in dry matter- I didn't see that on Origen.   If not you need to apply the dry matter formula.  Science Diet dog food will express food on the package in dry matter making it easier.  Most other foods don't - why I don't know -something to do with dog food regs-  Sounds confusing - yes, but its easy if you apply the formula in the link I referenced in my last post.  Its simply a matter of factoring in the moisture content of the product.  Most dry foods are about 10% moisture.  Plug the 38% protein and the 10% moisture content into the calculator and it does the work for you.  

What I really like about Fromm's is if you go to their web page - they take it one step further which is a calculation called Technical basis and that number is right on the web page for each food-  Dry matter and whats on the package are the ideal and minimums.  Technical basis is when they take a bach of food and test it to see whats really there.  That's really the number you need to look at when you have a dog with a specific illness and need to control a specific ingredient.   For some foods all of the numbers are pretty close - for others there is a wider variance - its all dependent on the moisture content - especially when you get into wet food where the moisture content ranges anywhere from around 70% up to around 85%.  

Fromm's also has several nutritionists on staff that are very helpful.  I talked to them when locating food for Katie- they were beyond helpful - and they know a lot more than mosts vets about nutrition and what dog food contains.   I also like the fact that Fromm's has been around for over a 100 years and has only had one recall - and it was a voluntary self monitoring recall about minor problem with a new canned food not having the nutrition content stated on the label.  No dogs got sick or had ill effects.    Plus the nutritionist I talked to explained all of the above to me in language I could understand.   

Good luck with Baden -  try not to worry - crystals in urine are common and sound very scary but most often not life threatening or serious.   Changing the diet is the answer in most cases.   And having had a senior dog on the script food -which sounds awful - really wasn't bad - Thumper loved the food and did well on SO.  

thank you so much for all the info! it really cleared up the labeling on the dog food for me. im also very happy to hear that about Fromm because the prices and quality of kibble seems great and the fact they have had only one recall is very reassuring.

after talking to my vet she said if his test comes back with good results and if i do want to switch him then she suggested the honest kitchen as its dehydrated and he needs as much water in his diet as possible but for kibble ill defiantly go with Fromm, if he dosnt like the honest kitchen.

but of course that all depends if his tests comes back good 

I went through the same thing with Wynn Rebecca.Little did I know that taking him off it was NOT an option. I switched my other 2 from TOTW to Fromm's chicken and rice as it has a very good rating and NO recalls for anything. I don't know if you've ever checked out Dog food advisor but it's a great place to look at everything from ratings to ingredients and any recalls on the product. I wanted a food low in carbs since Corgis can add extra weight. My new vet couldn't get over how slim Wynn was when she met him. She had never seen such a  trim Corgi and asked what I did. I told her "serving size"...keep a good watch on Baden as I don't know if this is usual or not but I took Wynn in for an ultrasound to see if he had more stones and it is bladder cancer. I also know that some people have made their own food for this but not sure exactly what it was made out of.

Jane, I am so sorry to hear about Wynn, that is awful.   I just did a quick google search and thought Rebbeca might find this article helpful in understanding crystals in urine and bladder stones.


im so sorry about what is going on with Wynn! is he getting better?? i had them do an ultra sound on him just to be sure and thankfully no stones, yet. the crystals were very abundant in his sample so they had the potential to form but thankfully i caught in time. still though, my heart shattered when i seen him pee blood :'(

i also like a low carb food because at one point baden was 40 pounds (i know, shame on me!) but hes now 30 pounds and solid muscle thanks to me having more free time to take him on hikes and such. he did so great on natures logic but i jut cant afford a 15 pound bag that costs almost $75 :/ if the tests come back good though im going to try the honest kitchen as he needs more water in his diet. he dosnt drink much unless hes playing for a long time so i think it will do the trick (hopefully)

This is all very good information! Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this subject.  Its always one of those things that niggles the back of my mind.

I feed raw for normal feedings and origen as everyday training treats.  I'm changing this regime based on this information!  I've always been concerned that Jeli could develop crystals - she had recurring UTIs as a baby puppy, and that's how I ended up on a raw diet in the first place.  I don't know why it helped, other than more moisture in the food, but I did a lot of research and raw was recommended as a cure.  And it did seem to cure the situation.  For the past 3 years she has been fine, however in the last month she just had another one pop up.  I had been on vacation for two weeks and feeding her only kibble, so maybe the lack of moisture in the diet?  In any event, I'm going to figure out how to lower the protein levels in her diet.  Not sure how to do that and maintain the raw diet, but at least with her training treats I can balance it out a bit.

Do you know if giving a cranberry supplement helps with reducing the chance of crystals?  I'm putting her back on cranberry to reduce the chance of a UTI. 

hi Susan. as far as cranberry pills working i have had positive results with my cat, yoda, because he used to get infections and crystals often. they have it in powder form or pill form and it has kept him clear for over year. they also have a supplement from solid gold heres a link : so you can still feed raw but add this to his food. another option is to use a bade mix of dehydrated food like grandma lucy's and you can add whatever meat you would like and still feed raw.

hope this helps :)

That stuff looks like the answer! I've been using cranhealth chews from Fosters, but I like that this is mixed with blue berry and says it addresses crystals as well as bladder infections. What I find a little odd though is that I thought the more acidic the urine, the greater chance of crystals. This product indicates the opposite. Calls for more research! Lol.
I checked all the food I have in the house and it's all high in protein, except for the bag of Fromms, which is at ~25%. I have a bag Origen and Arcana and they are both 35%+.
Thanks for the link and all the info!

your welcome! im glad i could help.

from what i understand if the urine is acidic then it dissolves the struvite crystals and helps it not be alkaline and this powder helps with that. in some cases though if the urine does not have enough alkaline then oxalate, urate, or cystine crystal formation happens.

in both our cases the berry powder will prevent UTI's and stop struvite crystals from forming

Second opinion. I know this sounds like a broken record, coming from moi: but whenever you have a question in your mind, whenever you're faced with a serious health issue, whenever you're looking at vast amounts of $$$, ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION.

Ruby the Corgi Pup was diagnosed with struvite crystals during the UTI episode, which occurred while she was a little puppy. Eventually one vet informed me that a few crystals are normal with some dogs.

She did improve significantly on the special dog food. Even though you may be less than perfectly thrilled with the ingredients, don't panic. Ruby did just fine on the PD and eventually recovered. Eventually I was able to shift her off the prescription diet. She did not have stones at the time, and the crystals (several years later) have not developed into stones. Yet.


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