Low purine diets, does it get any more confusing?
Purines are natural substances found in plant and animal cells that are vital to the chemical structure of genes. Purines can be found in any food group (i.e. meat, vegetables, fruit etc.), but are higher in meat and fish, than other food groups.
Speaking with many dogs owners, I can certainly understand their confusion. How can you put together a LOW PURINE diet that is natural and healthy for your Dalmatian, when meat is high in purines and dogs need meat?
To answer this question we need to look at why your Dalmatian is being recommended a low purine diet, and then what is actually a low purine diet for a dog?
Dalmatians are recommended low purine diets to reduce the chances of Bladder/ Kidney Stones.
Dalmatians have a genetic defect that results in excessive uric acid excreted into the urine. It then can form crystals, sludge and stones and, if large enough, can cause obstruction. (1)
THREE important pieces of information Dalmatian parents need to know are:
- Nearly all Dalmatians have the genetic defect
- Not all Dalmatians with the defect form stones
- 97% of Dalmatians who do form stones are male (females don’t need a low purine diet)
What is actually a low purine diet for a Dalmatian?
A dog is a facultative carnivore, meaning, in all aspects they are evolved to eat diets high in meat. The answer to creating a low purine diet for a dog, is not avoid meat, but to avoid HIGH purine meats and foods.
There are meats that are HIGH in purines, and meats that are MODERATELY HIGH in purines.
For example, sardines have nearly FOUR times the amount of purines as cod. Pork heart has TWICE the amount of purines as sheep heart.
How to make a low purine diet for a Dalmatian?
The recommended methods of minimising the risk of urinary stone formation are:
- A complete fresh food diet obligatory, processed dog foods are higher purine forming compounds. Avoid all HIGH purine ingredients, see here.
- Use MEAT or FISH from beef, cod chicken, duck, pork, lamb, rabbit, turkey, vension
- Dogs with a history of stones must only consume low fat meats; lean beef, cod, venison and rabbit.
- Organ meat should be liver or heart from beef, chicken or lamb. Organ meat should only make up 5% of the diet for sensitive dogs and 10% for healthy dogs (Ideally chicken liver or lamb liver or heart)
- If your dog has had issues with crystals/ stones, a low fat diet should be implemented. Using appropriate, not excessive, amounts of carbohydrates (10 – 15%) and increasing meals per day if your dog is losing weight.
- Using small amount (10-15%) of grated low purine vegetables is generally great for all breeds with a purine metabolism problem. (Avoid higher purine veggie, check here)
- Adequate hydration (some evidence suggests that bottled, distilled or filtered water can be beneficial. Techniques such using bone broth to the water to encourage more drinking can be used.
- Encourage the animal to perform frequent urination (just take them out a bit more often than normal)
- Sampson, E., 2011. OVERVIEW OF BACKCROSS PROJECT: NORMAL URIC ACID IN DALMATIANS.
- Ling GV, Franti CE, Ruby AL, Johnson DL. Urolithiasis in dogs. II: Breed prevalence, and interrelations of breed, sex, age, and mineral composition. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 1998 May;59(5):630-642. PMID: 9582969.