The scientific data available shows that cats on a dry diet have reduced water intake vs the cats fed with wet food. Despite this, most cats fed on a dry diet will not develop urinary stones. In some cases where the cat is predisposed to urinary disease, feeding dry pet food could influence the evolution of the disease.
Lower urinary tract disease (LUTD) is a range of conditions affecting the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) all of which cause similar clinical signs in dogs and cats. The most common causes of LUTD, are idiopathic cystitis in cats and bacterial infections in dogs. Urinary stones are also typically observed, although they are not the most frequent problem. Studies show that a diet based on dry pet food is not a primary cause of any of these problems. Actually, obesity and stress are the main factors that may increase the risk of urinary tract diseases in pets.
Healthy pets fed with dry pet food stay hydrated by drinking. However, cats are generally poor drinkers. Their ancestors lived in the deserts of the Middle East and although today’s domesticated cats are many years removed from those early ones, they do still share some of those characteristics. Apart from that, there are breeds that are specially predisposed to the formation of urinary stones. In these cases, the diet plays a key role, as it can regulate the urinary content of minerals and other substances that hinder the formation of stones. At Purina, we offer dry diets formulated to help in the nutritional management of cats with lower urinary tract disease (e.g. PURINA PRO PLAN VETERINARY DIETS UR) – your veterinarian will help you choose the best one for your pet if necessary.
In conclusion, although a wet diet would be considered the ideal option to help in the management of urinary problems, a dry food diet can also be a good alternative to consider. Moreover, a complete and balanced diet based on dry pet food can be a perfect option for cats and dogs that are not predisposed to LUTD or that are not diagnosed with any of its primary causes.