Animal Clinic of Kalispell - March 2023




widely in quality. Not all “chicken” is the same, which can explain many of the price differences you see in the pet food aisle.

Many pet owners are worried about byproducts in their pet food, but it’s much less of a concern than people think. A byproduct is anything left over in a manufacturing process “not used for human consumption.” That definitely does not make them “bad”; in fact many so-called

THE CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER STONES IN DOGS Does your dog always seem to need to urinate? Are they prone to indoor accidents if they don’t go every hour or so? The culprit could be bladder stones, a health problem that can fly under the radar for years. “Sometimes, these big dogs have 30 bladder stones the size of a quarter,” Dr. Clark says. “It’s amazing they have any space for their urine at all.” Bladder stones can grow for years without affecting a dog’s behavior or health. Female dogs often pass their bladder stones through urine before they grow large, but the same stones can get caught in a male dog’s urethra. Unable to urinate at all, these dogs usually require emergency surgery. Generally, there are two types of bladder stones. Struvite stones are more common and typically associated with chronic bladder infections or a diet that is insufficiently acidic. In non-emergency situations, a high-pH diet can sometimes dissolve these stones without surgery. The other type is calcium oxalate stones, which thrive in acidic urine and are related to genetics and metabolism and less to diet..

byproducts are very healthy. Instead of carefully eyeing the ingredient list on each package, I encourage people to research the company. The best pet food companies have veterinary nutritionists on staff, and they’ll advertise that fact. I also advise clients to look for foods with a “guaranteed analysis” of their nutritional components. If you have questions about whether your dog food stacks up, these numbers will help your veterinarian make that assessment.

That said, the best food is the one your pet will eat, is balanced, and you like to buy. It can be difficult to know what to believe regarding pet food. Ask us and we’ll give you

our recommendation!

– Dr. Jevon Clark

Once resolved, struvite stones can often be managed through a diet that creates a balanced urine pH. The quality of food you feed your dog matters, which is why we recommend premium diets like Hill’s Prescription Diets among others, which we know have been tested. Dr. Clark notes that some foods targeted toward urinary health are too aggressive and can inadvertently promote calcium oxalate stones while preventing struvite ones, so we generally avoid those brands. As for calcium oxalate stones, Dr. Clark says, “You’d hope surgery would cure them. But about 40% of dogs will get them again. It’s very frustrating. In some patients, we check every year and find they’re making more stones.” In these cases, regular monitoring is the best course forward. You can keep your dog as healthy and comfortable as possible by watching for signs of bladder stones. Frequent urination and incontinence issues are often subtle but telltale signs. Meanwhile, if a dog stops being able to pass urine, consider it a veterinary emergency and seek immediate care.


2 cups baby spinach

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1 cup chopped celery 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

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1 cup water

3 pears, peeled and chopped

Ice (optional)


1. In a blender, add spinach and water and blend until smooth. 2. Add all remaining fruit and vegetables. Blend for about 1 minute until smooth. 3. Pour the mixture into a silicone mold or ice cube tray. 4. Freeze for 3 hours or overnight until firm. Pro Tip – You can also freeze half of the mixture and the rest can be enjoyed as smoothies right away. If you are making a smoothie, add a bit of ice to the blender before serving and blend just enough to break the ice apart. Pour right into your pup’s bowl!

“Some dogs are sneaky,” Dr. Clark says. “They have infections, and they don’t show signs.” Your best defense is behavior monitoring, regular checkups, and a healthy diet.



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