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Dear Daisy Dog

My 4-year-old Yorkshire terrier has been operated on three times for bladder stones.

They form repeatedly, despite the fact that he eats prescription dog food formulated to prevent stone recurrence.

I suspect he is getting too much protein from the treats I give him. What kinds of treats are safe for him to eat, and how much protein may they contain?

Daisy Responds

We dogs form several kinds of bladder stones, the most common of which are struvite (composed of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate), calcium oxalate, and urate.

To prevent recurrences, dogs with a history of bladder stones need plenty of water and a prescription diet formulated for the type of stone formed.

The prescription diet for dogs with urate stones is low in protein, so I assume from your letter that your dog forms urate stones.

If that’s the case, what little protein he eats should come from non-meat sources, like vegetables, eggs and cottage cheese.

Treats, such as baby carrots or other veggie snacks, should comprise less than five percent of his diet.

Some Yorkies are predisposed to developing urate stones because they are born with a malformation of the abdominal blood vessels, called a portosystemic shunt (PSS).

Treatment options for PSS and urate stones include multiple small meals of the diet I described, surgical correction of the shunt, and medications such as lactulose and allopurinol.

The bottom line on treats and protein intake is to confirm that your Yorkie forms urate stones and then follow your veterinarian’s recommendations precisely.

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