Demystifying pet food formulas that promote an “optimal urinary pH”

By Sophie Lavallée M.Sc., Agr.

 

SophieMany cat and dog foods are now formulated to control urinary pH levels, but what is an optimal urinary pH? Pets whose urine is acidic (a urinary pH of 6.0 to 6.5) are less likely to develop struvite crystals. Their likelihood of developing calcium oxalates also decreases when their urinary pH is in the 6.3 to 6.9 range1.  Studies show that a urinary pH of 6.5 is optimal for minimizing urinary tract problems in pets. What’s more, drinking plenty of water dilutes urine, which can help prevent urinary tract problems in both pets and people.

So how can you determine the effect of a pet food formula on your pet’s urinary pH? Simply look at the ingredients and guaranteed analysis found on the bag. Some ingredients help alkalinize (increase) urinary pH, while others help acidify (decrease) it. The following table is a helpful guide.

 

Pet Food components Effect on cat urine
Lowers the pH Neutral Increases the pH
Carbohydrates  X
Fibre

X

Fat  X
Protein

X

Ash  X
Mineral oxide (e.g.: zinc oxide)  X
Carbonated minerals (e.g.: calcium carbonate)  X
Sulphated minerals (e.g.: magnesium sulfate)  X
Chlorided minerals (e.g.: potassium chloride)  X
Phosphate minerals (e.g.: monosodium phosphate)  X
Chelated minerals (e.g.: proteinate)  X

Source: Aldrich, G., 20082 

As mentioned, water is essential to the health and vitality of all living beings. It dilutes urine and helps prevent urinary tract problems.  Giving your pet access to clean water and a balanced diet is the best way to promote an optimal urinary pH and to reduce urinary tract problems down the line.

We hope this information on urinary pH has been helpful to you. Feel free to contact us should you require further information.

References:

  1. Case, L.P., D.P. Carey, D.A. Hirakawa and L. Daristotle. 2000. Dietary management of urolithiasis in cats and dogs. Ln: Canine & Feline Nutrition : A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, 2nd edition. Mosby Press p. 409-428
  2. Aldrich, G. Formulate feline diets for urinary tract health. Feedstuffs Vol. 80, No 53, December 29, 2008.
20 Janvier 2016