Does Raw Dog Food Create Struvite Crystals?

March 07 2024 – Amanda Monsma

Does Raw Dog Food Create Struvite Crystals?
Does Raw Dog Food Create Struvite Crystals?

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this question in a Facebook Raw Feeding group: 

“Any experience with struvite crystals in dogs and feeding raw?  My vet thinks the raw caused the crystals although he’s been eating the same food for 5 years, I began feeding open farm kibble and bam — crystals. He would like my dog on the Urinary S/O from the vet but I can’t bring myself to feed it to him, not to mention it makes him vomit.”

So naturally, I went digging to create this Instagram post.  This blog post is an extension of that post with a little more detail and nuance.

I am not a vet

And I don't propose that I know more than they do. I don't.  So before I go on, here's a disclaimer: 

All information presented on this website is for informational and/or educational purposes only.  These statements have not been evaluated by a veterinarian. This website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and is not intended to be a substitute or replacement for any medical treatment. Please seek the advice of a holistic veterinarian for your dog’s specific health concerns.
That being said, this question highlights the importance of finding a vet you trust and will be open to exploring all avenues of why your dog has an ailment, rather than stopping the conversation when you tell them you feed a raw pet food diet. 

It's not black and white, and it shouldn't be treated as such.  

The Cause of Struvite Crystals

“In dogs, struvite stones are typically caused by UTIs and urease-producing bacteria. Struvite crystals form when the pH of urine becomes more alkaline and concentrated. When these changes occur, certain substances become supersaturated and promote the growth of struvite crystals.”  Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Struvite stones can form when there is excess minerals in the urine.  Particularly excess magnesium, ammonium, and phosphorus.

Stuvite stones can form when the PH (alkaline) levels of the urine are 7.5 or higher.  Ideal PH levels for dogs is 7.0 - 7.5.  Ideal levels for cats is 6.3 - 6.6.

Struvite crystals are associated with urinary tract infections and can lead to stones if UTI’s are left untreated.

Struvite stones tend to be more common in female dogs.  In general, all dog breeds can get stones (Struvite, Urate, Cystine, Silica), but some breeds are more susceptible than others:

  • Shih Tzu
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Bichon Frise
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Dalmatians (Urate stones)
  • Newfoundlands (Cystine stones)
  • German Shepherds (Silica stones)


Below are common signs that a dog may have stones.  Difficulty peeing can be life threatening.  If your dog is having a hard time urinating, get them to a vet immediately.

  • Difficulty peeing – straining, frequent attempts
  • Pain when peeing
  • Urine leakage or odor
  • Urine odor
  • Incontinence, peeing indoors
  • Blood or pus in urine
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Licking the urinary opening
  • Abdominal pain
  • Recurring UTIs

Diet Considerations

Diets high in grains and legumes can lead to a higher PH level in the urine.

Diets high in quality protein (meat & organs) tend to produce lower PH levels in urine.  READ: Urine Trouble - Whole Dog Journal

Diets high in moisture will encourage flushing the bladder more often which can prevent stones from forming.

Diets low in moisture (kibble) contribute to stone formation, especially if the dog or cat isn’t getting enough moisture from other sources (water, kefir, bone broth).

Diet manipulation is one way to address struvite stones by adding foods that promote acidic urine.  Please consult your vet to create a plan specific for your pup.  Depending on the course of action and the severity of the stones, it can take 8 - 20 weeks for stones to completely dissolve.

Prescription kibble diets for stones are typically low in moisture and quality protein and high in carbs and legumes.  They include salt and chemicals to help promote drinking more often and lower the PH levels in the urine.

Here are some tips for those who prefer not to or can't feed a prescription kibble diet.

How to lower PH Levels Naturally

 READ: What is High Quality Protein for Dogs & Cats

  • Acidifiers: Add in natural acidifiers into their diet like: cranberries, apple cider vinegar, and fermented raw goats milk.  These items will increase the acid in the gut which will help lower the PH levels. 
  • Methionine: This amino acid is the key ingredient in Kibble Prescription diets to combat stones. It can also be found naturally in beef, pork, turkey, fish, eggs.

Feed these acidic foods for struvite crystals:

Fermented Raw Goat Milk 
Apple Cider Vinegar

AVOID These Alkaline Foods for Struvite Crystals:

All sprouts
Green beans
Sweet potatoes
Swiss chard
Fruit: bananas, apples, pineapple, strawberries

Additional Support & Prevention

Adding in a supplement like the The Easy Peesy Protocol from Adored Beast will also help lower PH levels and support your pets urinary tract system.  It is a combination of probiotics, cranberry, and herbs to naturally promote proper function of the urinary tract in both dogs and cats.

It is meant to be used during times of infection or as a preventative measure, especially for those pets who are susceptible to Urinary Tract issues.  We recommend using it a couple times a year as part of your probiotic rotation.

This YouTube video is a great conversation between Dr. Judy Morgan and Julie Anne Lee from Adored Beast giving a Holistic Vet's perspective on urinary stones.  At about 11:30 Julie Anne shares insight into the formulation of Easy Peesy - a great look into the product!


As you might have guessed, there needs to be more to the conversation than what your pet is eating when it comes to Struvite stones.  It definitely can be part of the conversation, but it's only one aspect of your pet's story.

There is a whole story to evaluate when it comes to anything health related for our pets.  My hope is that you are able to find someone who will take that whole picture into consideration.  

Thanks for taking the time to read our post!  If you have any questions or helpful insight for the #granddograwpack, feel free to leave a comment below!  Keep conversations thoughtful and respectful.  Spam and abusive messages will never be allowed here.

Amanda Monsma (she/her)


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing