Best Dog Food for Bladder Stones (2021 Reviews)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Blue Buffalo Adult Dry Dog Food
“Blue Buffalo Adult Dry Dog Food is suitable for dogs with bladder stones as it has a variety of non-beef recipes. It is made with healthy and wholesome ingredients to help fight infection and maintain urinary care.”

Best Value for Money: Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat
“Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat keeps you on the budget while providing healthy meal for your pup. It contains antioxidants that dogs with bladder stones would benefit from.”

Best for Puppies: Merrick Grain Free Puppy Recipe
“Merrick Grain Free Puppy Recipe contains everything that a puppy suffering from bladder stones needs. It also contains DHA, which is necessary for brain and eye development of your little pup.”

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Bladder stones can be an extremely painful condition for your dog. They form when excess minerals in your dog’s bladder crystallize and become too large to pass through. 

Feeding your pet the best dog food for bladder stones can help prevent it from happening! Here’s our top ten.

Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 6-lb
DIAMOND NATURALS Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food with Wild Caught Salmon 15lb (9422_15_DND)
Merrick Grain Free Puppy Chicken Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food (4 lb)
Our Grade
Our Rating 97/100
Our Rating 95/100
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
Healthy, wholesome ingredients
Very affordable in comparison to others of its quality
Contains DHA for eye and brain development
Feature 2
Variety of non-beef recipes available to avoid purines and allergies
Contains multiple superfood ingredients packed with antioxidants
Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support from a young age
Best Overall
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 6-lb
Our Grade
Our Rating 97/100
Feature 1
Healthy, wholesome ingredients
Feature 2
Variety of non-beef recipes available to avoid purines and allergies
Best Value for Money
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
DIAMOND NATURALS Skin & Coat Real Meat Recipe Dry Dog Food with Wild Caught Salmon 15lb (9422_15_DND)
Our Grade
Our Rating 95/100
Feature 1
Very affordable in comparison to others of its quality
Feature 2
Contains multiple superfood ingredients packed with antioxidants
Best for Puppies
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Merrick Grain Free Puppy Chicken Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food (4 lb)
Our Grade
Our Rating 92/100
Feature 1
Contains DHA for eye and brain development
Feature 2
Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support from a young age
Sources researched
16
Sources researched
Customer reviews
15,240
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
17
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

Best Dog Food for Bladder Stones in 2021

Blue Buffalo Adult Dry Dog Food

Premium Option

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Healthy, wholesome ingredients 
  • Variety of non-beef recipes available to avoid purines and allergies 
  • Includes a weight management recipe for heavier dogs 
  • Added LifeSource Bits for immune system health

CONS

  • Slightly pricey 
  • If you don’t store it in an airtight container, the kibble may go stale

Blue Buffalo Adult Dry Dog Food dog food would be suitable for dogs with either common type of bladder stones (struvite and calcium oxalate stones). 

It’s quite possibly one of the best dog foods in the commercial market for urinary care. 

Although dog food to prevent bladder stones is non-existent, this pet food will help reduce the chances of them forming. 
They get a thumbs-up for their inclusion of LifeSource Bits, which will not only improve urinary health but immune health too.

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Healthy and Wholesome 

The ingredient list is filled with real food ingredients. One of the best things about this dog food is that there are three recipes available, none of which contain beef (which is high in purines that contribute to bladder stones). 

It contains a moderate amount of protein, 10% moisture, balanced magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus levels, good Omega fatty acids, and even glucosamine

Keep in mind that dogs with bladder stones, especially struvite stones, may need an immune boost, especially if they’re prone to urinary tract infections. The LifeSource Bits in this dog food are a balanced blend of essential vitamins and minerals, and help fight infection and maintain urinary care.

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat

Best Value for Money

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Very affordable in comparison to others of its quality 
  • Contains multiple superfood ingredients packed with antioxidants 
  • Contains DHA (for eye and brain health, and makes it suitable for puppies too) 
  • Only 337 calories per cup of this dog food

CONS

  • No variations in flavor if your dog gets bored with this one

If you’re on a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t feed your pup one of the best dog foods for bladder stones. 

Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat is our Best Value option, and its great quality ingredient list makes it good at preventing stone formation and preventing a mineral imbalance, which causes bladder stones. 

We’d recommend it for pet parents who are pinching pennies, and for dogs who need skin and coat boost along with urinary care!

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High Quality, Low Price

This dry dog food contains an abundance of superfood ingredients. These provide a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals, which is essential for good urinary health. 

Dogs with bladder stones (whether struvite stones, urate stones, or calcium stones) would benefit from the antioxidant-packed mix of ingredients. 

Antioxidants help fight infections in the urinary tract, preventing stone formation from bacteria. It also contains DHA, which means it’s not only suitable for adult dogs, but for puppies too. 

The only possible downside is that there aren’t other flavors available, so your dog may get bored!

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Puppy Recipe

Best for Puppies

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Contains DHA for eye and brain development 
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support from a young age 
  • A good calcium/phosphorus ratio for well-paced growth 
  • Suitable for small and large breed puppies

CONS

  • If you’re avoiding the beef flavor for the high purine level, there’s  only one flavor option

It’s less common for puppies to suffer from bladder stones, but it does happen. If your puppy needs some help overcoming bladder stones, the Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Puppy Recipe could be one of the best dog foods for them. 

Even if your puppy hasn’t shown signs of bladder stones, it’s never too early to start looking after their urinary health! Diet is the first step, so choosing one of the best dog foods from an early age is essential. 

This dry dog food is comprehensive enough to prevent or reduce the chances of a number of health issues.

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Everything A Puppy Needs 

If your puppy is suffering from bladder stones, this food is high in moisture (11%), contains only great quality, wholesome ingredients, has managed mineral levels, a decent protein count for a growing fluffball, and is well-balanced. 

It’s a good choice for maintaining overall health, and in turn, urinary health. If your little one is sensitive to purines (which a vet may have to figure out for you), then you can avoid the beef flavor. 

If not, then your puppy has their choice of chicken or beef. Both are grain-free, for extra easy digestion.

Blue Buffalo Weight Management + Urinary Care

Best for Seniors

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Recipe specific to urinary health and weight management 
  • Contains L-carnitine which helps seniors regulate their energy levels 
  • Contains cranberries, which are known for their urinary care properties 
  • High-quality ingredient list

CONS

  • You’ll need a veterinary prescription for this dog food, so you can’t just buy it off the shelf 

Although the Blue Buffalo Weight Management + Urinary Care isn’t specifically for seniors, if your senior dog needs some help with bladder stones and keeping a healthy weight, then this dry food would be a great choice. 

Keep in mind that seniors don’t expend as much energy as younger adult dogs do. This pet food has a lowered fat count, but keeps a high protein count. If your oldie’s bladder stones are caused by too much protein, you may need to find another food, though, as this one has 30% protein.

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Seniors dogs struggling with a bladder stone need a food that offers urinary care as well as general immune system care and managing weight. It’s natural to slow down and become less active, and this food gives seniors all they need. 

It is a little pricey, but that’s not unusual for a veterinary diet. You will need a prescription though, so if your senior has bladder stones, double check with your vet if they could go onto this food. 

Your oldie will get a dose of immune-boosting vitamins, Omega fatty acids, and L-carnitine, which helps with energy metabolism.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food

Best Limited Ingredient & Low Protein

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Low in protein for dogs who need less protein in their diet 
  • A wide variety of flavors available, to suit every dog’s taste 
  • Varying protein counts across flavors (but all fairly low) 
  • Limited ingredient formula helps make digestion easier

CONS

  • The formula of this dog food has changed, so if your dog has eaten it before, they won’t be getting quite the same thing

Dogs struggling with bladder stones who need a low-protein diet or a limited ingredient diet for sensitive stomachs, Natural Balance L.I.D. Dry Dog Food is a good choice. 

They have a range of flavors, all lower in protein than average, and all with fewer ingredients than average to minimize the chance of both bladder stones and allergies. 

It’s also easy to avoid beef if necessary, and the complete and balanced recipe means your dog’s mineral levels should stay constant and not lead to stone formation.

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Lower in Protein 

Less protein means less strain on the bladder and kidneys. That can help reduce the chance of UTIs, which can lead to struvite stones. Small struvite stones occur  naturally in the bladder, but when the kidneys can’t filter things properly, they can turn into large bladder stones. 

If your dog has seen the vet for this type of bladder stones, considering a lower-protein food is a good plan. Even with other types of bladder stones, a low-protein, limited ingredient food such as this would be beneficial as it’s complete and balanced without excess stuff in it.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dog Food

Best Canned Food

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Good quality, real meat is the main ingredient 
  • Can be added to kibble, used as a treat, or fed on its own 
  • No artificial ingredients, by-products, or low-quality fillers 
  • Various flavors available for dogs who may be picky eaters

CONS

  • Contains carrageenan, which is considered to be a low-quality thickening agent

It can be hard to find a good quality canned dog food, but the Blue Buffalo Adult Wet Dog Food is pretty decent. It’s recommended for dogs who need extra calories, can’t eat dry food, or need a bit more moisture in their diet than just their normal water intake. 

It’s never recommended to feed your dog only wet food. But a great quality, healthy wet food can be a good addition to your dog’s regular dry food meal, and add some extra nutrients if they need it.

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Real Food Ingredients 

Made from wholesome ingredients with nothing artificial in it, the only thing that’s considered low-quality is carrageenan, which is a thickener. 

With four flavors to choose from, it’s easy to avoid any problem ingredients. The added moisture (78% in wet food) can help with diluting the urine and may even help dissolve smaller bladder stones before they become a problem. 

With 496 calories in a serving of this canned food, you’ll need to make double sure that this fits into your dog’s daily calories, otherwise your dog may end up a little pudgy! Obesity can worsen all health problems (including bladder stones) so make sure to feed them accordingly.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties

Best Raw Food

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Minimally processed, so no nutrients are lost 
  • Various recipes available, so there’s something for every dog 
  • Contains 100% organic fruits and vegetables 
  • Complete and balanced for all life stages

CONS

  • Fat and protein content may be too high for some dogs 
  • Moisture content isn’t very high

Choosing to change your dog to a raw diet has plenty of health benefits. Allergies decrease, digestive issues are reduced, and there’s also a possibility of helping to prevent bladder stones. 

If your dog likes their meat and is active enough to work off a high fat count, then trying Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties could be a great first step into raw.

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Raw, Healthy Nutrition 

There are ten different recipes in this range, which makes it perfect for picky eaters. Note that each recipe has a different protein and fat count, but they’re all high – so high, in fact, that these dinner patties would not be suitable for an inactive pup who can’t work off the calories. 

The bonus of raw food is that it’s  minimally processed, so there’s hardly any added minerals. Your dog has less risk of a mineral build-up leading to bladder stones.

Wellness Core Natural Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken

Best High Protein

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • High in protein for dogs who need to maintain muscle 
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints 
  • High levels of Omega fatty acids 
  • Available in grain-free or whole grain

CONS

  • No flavor variation

Large breed dogs who are energetic and active but just happen to have a bladder stone problem would do well on this kibble. 

Wellness Core Natural Dry Dog Food is high in protein and fat, which needs an active pup to work it off. It also contains a good level of joint supplements, which large breed dogs need to keep their joints strong. 

On this kibble, your dogs bladder stones are likely to improve and they’ll get a nice immune boost as well.

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Good Nutritional Value 

With 34% protein and 16% fat, this kibble will provide a great amount of energy to dogs who need it. 

It does that with healthy ingredients and great added supplements. You’ll find high Omega 3s and 6s to give your dog’s coat a shine, joint supplements to keep them strong, and a balance of vitamins and minerals to prevent your dogs bladder stones from getting worse, or from new ones forming. 

If your dog has a sensitive tummy, you can choose between grain free recipes or whole grain.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St Dry Dog Food

Best Prescription Diet

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Moderate to low protein count 
  • 12% moisture, one of the higher 
  • Backed by veterinarians ad nutritionists 
  • Combats existing stones and helps stop new stone formation

CONS

  • Contains corn, gluten meal, and by-product meal 

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary Ox/St Dry Dog Food kibble has been created with bladder health in mind. As one of the many therapeutic diets out there, this dog food is suitable for any life stage dog who needs help preventing stone formation. 

Dogs with sensitive tummies may not do well on this kibble, though, as it contains corn, gluten meal, and by-products. We usually don’t advocate foods that contain low-quality ingredients, but this one has seen much success.

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Veterinary Formulated 

Although it’s not grain-free and may upset some tummies, there’s no denying the popularity of this kibble. 

It’s made specifically to help dissolve struvite stones, and reduce the chance of any kinds of stones forming in the future. 

Veterinarians and nutritionists back this kibble, so it’s entirely possible that it may work well for your dog, if they aren’t prone to food allergies. 

You’ll need to provide your vet’s details when you buy it, as it needs a prescription.

The Honest Kitchen Dog Food

Best Moisture Content

Overall Score85%
Criteria 185%
Criteria 280%
Criteria 380%
Criteria 470%
Criteria 570%

PROS

  • Added water to your dog’s daily intake 
  • Range of different flavors to choose from 
  • Nutrient levels suitable for all life stages 
  • Made in the USA

CONS

  • No added supplements, like joint help

If your dog needs more water in their diet, the The Honest Kitchen Dog Food is a great alternative to regular canned food. While canned dog food does provide a good amount of moisture, this one is even healthier than most. 

It’s a super option for seniors, dogs who can’t crunch hard kibble, or just as a warm snack when needed. It’s also great for dogs who may have a sensitive stomach.

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Human-Grade Meal 

This stuff is human-grade, which means you could sit next to your dog and eat from the same bowl! It’s grain-free, low-calorie, high-protein, and contains no by-products, artificial ingredients, or preservatives. It’s available in whole grain too. 

Simply add water and serve! It’s a fantastic way of diluting the urine to help dissolve small stones that may be lurking. 

The only downside is that it contains no added supplements, vitamins, or minerals. On the bright side, that means it’s easier to maintain a balanced mineral count. The chances are larger of suffering a vitamin deficiency, which is easily remedied using supplements.


Causes of Bladder Stones in Dogs 

Ammonium-Producing Bacteria 

There are different types of bladder stones, and one of the most common are called struvite stones. Small struvite stones are quite normal in urine, but when they stick together, that’s when dangerous and painful stones are formed. 

These are usually caused by urinary tract infections and bacteria in the urine that produces too much ammonia. As a result of this, the urine pH increases and causes these crystals to stick to each other. 

Increased Calcium Content 

Calcium oxalate stones are formed when there’s too much calcium or oxalate in your dog’s system. Excess minerals are excreted in the urine, but when there’s a large amount of them, sometimes they bind together in the bladder. 

Calcium oxalate stones have nothing to do with the pH of the urine – rather, they tend to form when the diet is incorrect. 

Increased Oxalate Content 

Oxalate is found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds. In the body, they connect to minerals and form compounds, most of which end up being excreted in the urine. 

A high-oxalate diet, though, can lead to oxalate binding with calcium and forming calcium oxalate crystals, which in turn, lead to calcium oxalate stones. 

High Acid Levels 

Food that is too acidic (or dog food containing acidic ingredients) can contribute to the formation of urate stones. 

This can alter the pH of the urine, which can have some nasty health effects. The increased pH can also lead to urate stones forming as minerals interact with each other in an acidic environment. 

Increased Level of Purine 

You may never have heard of purine, but it’s an organic compound found in many foods, most abundant in beef and legumes

It’s a compound that the body needs, but too much of it can cause the buildup of bladder stones. It’s worth looking at a low-purine dog food if this is a problem for your dog. 


What To Look In A Good Dog Food For Bladder Stones 

Natural Ingredients 

A dog food containing all-natural ingredients is a great foundation. Synthetic ingredients can cause complications, especially in a dog that’s already struggling with health issues. 

Your dog’s body is designed to break down natural food. When you feed them something that’s not natural, it can trigger an autoimmune response. This can lead to allergic reactions that can lead to your dog either struggling with skin and coat issues, or digestive issues. 

You want to see real food ingredients on the list. But they should also be high-quality ingredients – even though they’re natural, you should avoid corn, wheat, and soy, for example. 

High Moisture Content 

Bladder stone formation can be accelerated by not having enough water in the diet. In addition to that, dog food that is high in moisture is more easily digested. 

Most dog food has a moisture level of between 6 and 10%. Obviously, if you’re looking for a high moisture food, you should be considering those of 8 to 10%. 

If your dog has the calories and isn’t on a weight management diet, you may consider adding a canned food to their diet. These are much higher in moisture than dry kibble. Never feed them only canned food, though! 

Managed Protein Levels 

Too much protein in your dog’s diet can put strain on the kidneys, which reduces their ability to filter out toxins or excess minerals. Depending on the type of protein your dog’s food contains, it may also be increasing their purine level. 

It’s not necessary to drastically drop the protein content of your dog’s food, or put them on a strict low-protein diet. It’s still necessary for muscle building and maintenance. 

But a lowered-protein diet could help here, especially if you’ve tried other measures to reduce bladder stones and they haven’t helped. 

Complete and Balanced 

“Complete” means that your dog gets everything they need from their dog food. “Balanced” means that everything is in the right portions and amounts. 

In this case, a complete and balanced diet is essential. A mineral imbalance is often what causes bladder stones. 

A diet that isn’t balanced could cause these imbalances. A diet that isn’t complete could be lacking in minerals, which does exactly the same thing and throws mineral balances out of whack. 

The best dog food for bladder stones needs to contain all your dog needs in adequate amounts. 

Managed Mineral Levels 

Often, commercial dog food  brands add extra vitamins and minerals to their recipes. That means that on top of what your dog is getting from the real food ingredients, they’re also getting vitamin and mineral supplements. 

It’s important to make sure these added vitamins and minerals don’t push the levels too high. High levels of calcium, especially, can become a problem quickly. 

The kidneys and bladder can only excrete a certain amount, and when they’re working too hard, they are going to become ineffective. That’s when high mineral levels  turn into bladder stones. 


Foods to Avoid and Ones to Go For When your Dog has Bladder Stones 

Food makes a bigger difference to bladder stones in dogs than you may realize! The best dog foods for urinary health can reduce or even prevent bladder stones, even in a dog who has suffered with them his whole life. 

Choose a Therapeutic Diet 

A therapeutic dog food has been formulated specifically to help with certain health conditions. In this case, a therapeutic diet would be one to improve urinary health or specifically to prevent or reduce bladder stones. 

You may know therapeutic diets as prescription dog foods. It’s a good idea to ask your vet about prescription or therapeutic diets before just deciding on it. 

They’re often also limited ingredient diets, which can help immensely to reduce the chances of low-quality ingredients being included in the recipe. This can also help lower purine levels, protein levels, and excessive minerals. 

Try Home-Cooked 

The beauty of a home-cooked dog food is that you can make sure there’s nothing unnecessary added to it. The downside is that there’s no way of testing the levels of vitamins and minerals in it to know if they’re appropriate. 

Generally, if you feed your dog natural, high-quality foods, their urine pH shouldn’t be disrupted. But we do recommend that if you choose to cook at home or go raw, you do it with advice and support from your veterinarian. 

Also, try to avoid legumes and beef if you do decide to feed your pet this way. 

Be Careful With Treats 

When you put your dog on a new dog food specifically to combat the formation of bladder stones, you can’t feed them treats that will have the opposite effect. Make sure the treats you choose to feed your dog are as healthy and high-quality as the dog food. 

Try to choose a treat that’s rich in omega 3 fatty acids, as these can help prevent and reduce bladder stones in dogs. It’s recommended to avoid rawhide, bully sticks, and any treats that have a high level of collagen in them. 

Of course, make sure the treats also contain all-natural ingredients! 


Questions & Answers

What Role Does Diet Play In Treating Bladder Stones? 

Diet can be a huge factor when it comes to preventing the formation of bladder stones. But how effective is a change in diet when it comes to treating bladder stones? 

If your dog already has bladder stones, then choosing one of the best dog foods specifically for this condition can help ease their pain and discomfort, balance the mineral levels in their body again, and reduce the chances of them developing new bladder stones. 

Depending on the type of stone, a different diet may be necessary. That’s why it’s essential to take a visit to the vet before making the decision to switch dog food. 

Dogs with struvite and calcium oxalate stones will benefit from natural ingredients and a healthier diet. Anything further than that needs a bit more research into the type of stone in order to use dog food as part of a treatment plan. 

Once your vet has established the type of stone, you can move forward. The vet should be able to advise you of a suitable therapeutic diet for your dog to follow. 

Can Dogs Pass A Bladder Stone?

Technically, yes. But keep in mind that passing a bladder stone can be extremely painful, and it can also do some internal damage if the stone is large or rough. 

If you suspect your dog has bladder stones, your vet is the best person to speak to about options. 

In the best case scenario, the stones can be dissolved by increasing your dog’s water intake and changing their diet. 

In the worst case, surgical removal may be the best option to get rid of stones in the bladder. Thankfully, surgical removal is  a safe and effective way to remove bladder stones in dogs. 

If your dog does pass a bladder stone, you should get them to a vet to determine what type of stone it is, and whether any damage was caused. This can help detect and fix any health issues that could pop up directly related to the passing.


Conclusion 

Choosing to feed your dog the best dog food for bladder stones could be the difference between a happy, healthy dog and a sore, uncomfortable, miserable one! 

It’s worth noting that there’s something for everyone here! For those looking for something that goes easy on the wallet, our Best Value for Money option is every bit as good as the others. 

No matter what your situation, there’s a way to improve your dog’s life by making sure they’re eating the best dog food possible. 

Try one of these today – we’re sure you (and your dog) won’t be disappointed!

Mike Powell

Mike is an avid dog lover and writer. He’s based in Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in a household surrounded by pets. He’s been a dog owner all his life and he uses this extensive experience of having dogs as part of his family to share valuable, practical tips to improve other people’s dog parenting experience.