Last week, we talked briefly about acid-base balance. Today’s topic ties in directly with that – urine pH. Normal urine pH should be between 6.5 and 7.0. A pH measure of 7.0 is neutral – neither acid nor alkaline.
One of the things your veterinarian evaluates when performing a urinalysis for your dog or cat is the pH. Most often, urine pH is high (between 8 and 9) when there is a bladder infection. (Remember, a high pH is alkaline; alkaline is the opposite of acid.) Mildly acidic urine maintains a healthy bladder and kills many bacteria.
Urine pH can also be too acidic. Commonly, pets fed diets designed to prevent bladder issues have very low urine pH, on the order of 5.0.
Unfortunately, imbalanced urine pH, regardless of whether it is too high or too low, predisposes to the formation of bladder stones (different stones in different pH environments). It is customary veterinary care to surgically remove bladder stones – increasing the client’s expense and the pet’s discomfort. Therefore, the goal is to maintain urine pH in the optimal range of 6.5 to 7.0 thus avoiding bladder stones, costly surgery and pet discomfort.
An important thing to remember is that urine pH is a measure of the whole body’s acid-base balance. If the urine pH is not in the normal 6.5 to 7.0 range, then the patient is out of balance. Unbalanced body pH can result in digestive issues, leaky gut, inflammation, shedding, and even cancer.
The great thing is how easily urine pH can be tested at home. The pet owner can buy pH strips, online or from the drugstore, and test pet urine pH. Look for pH strips that provide results in 0.5 increments in the 4.5-9.0 range.
If you determine your pet’s urine pH is out of balance, the next step is to correct that imbalance. For 80% of pets, the correction is as easy as feeding a balanced diet of whole foods, rather than processed foods. For the other 20% of pets, the treatment needs to be individualized and may include things like digestive enzymes, even stomach acid, or treating internal Candida infections, and leaky gut. An integrative veterinarian can be very helpful in correcting acid-base imbalances in pets.