Sad dog resting head on the couch

Bladder stones in dogs and cats

Team Walmart Pets

July 2, 2021

4

min read

It’s easy to imagine that a little stone tumbling around your pet’s bladder would cause some irritation. Apart from the discomfort, bladder stones can lead to recurrent urinary tract infections. But the real concern is that they occasionally find their way out of the bladder and into the urethra, where they can cause very painful and sometimes life-threatening obstructions.

Bladder stone symptoms

A dog suffering from bladder stones may urinate frequently and/or have accidents in the house. Sometimes the urine may be bloody. Other times, the pet can’t urinate at all. If you see your pet straining to urinate, he may be blocked — a problem that’s more common in male pets, who have a smaller urethra — which is a situation that should be treated as a veterinary emergency. 

For cats, if they meow at you on their way to the bathroom, make noise while going to the bathroom or go to the bathroom outside of the litter box, you should take them to your local vet ASAP. Especially if they’re a male cat, who are more prone to suffer from urinary infections than female cats.

Bladder stones in dogs

Bladder stones form due to several conditions, and there are different types of stones. Some breeds, like Bichons, Yorkies, Miniature Schnauzers, Dalmatians and Bulldogs are genetically prone to forming stones, while others get them as a result of chronic infections or metabolic diseases. X-rays are a good way to find out if your dog has bladder stones, although there are some kinds of stones that will not show up via this method. 

Bladder stones in cats

Bladder stones are particularly common in cats, particularly male cats. In fact, if you suspect your male cat is suffering from a bladder stone, you should take them to the vet immediately. Bladder stones left unchecked in male cats can become life-threatening relatively quickly. Sometimes, bladder stones can be avoided by increasing your cat’s water intake. You could simply try using a pet water fountain, the flowing water should draw your cat’s interest. Or you could start giving your cat some wet cat food. If your cat has never had wet food before, it’s best to start small, and slowly introduce it by mixing it in with their regular food a little bit at a time. If the wet food isn’t happening with your cat, you could try this dry food that supports urinary tract health.

Regardless of your cat’s gender, if they meow at you on their way to the bathroom, make noise while going to the bathroom or go to the bathroom outside of the litter box, you should take them to your local vet ASAP.

Treatment for bladder stones in dogs and cats

Treatment always focuses on getting rid of the stones. Large stones can be surgically removed, but it’s sometimes possible to force smaller stones out of the bladder non-surgically. Some kinds of stones can be dissolved by feeding your pet a prescription diet. Similarly, some stones can be prevented by managing their underlying conditions. 

Ask your vet about what may be best for your pet. You could try these preventives which help the kidneys of both dogs and cats.  

To keep your pet healthy all year long, no matter what life throws at them—make sure they’re enrolled with Walmart Pet Insurance to get paid back up to 90% of vet bills when they get sick or hurt.

Pet Health

Photo by Pauline Loroy on Unsplash