What is Purine?

What is Purine?
Purine is a natural organic compound found in the nucleus of plant and animal cells. There are two categories – Endogenous (ones created by the body) and Exogenous (ones that enter the body via food).

Exogenous purines are metabolized by the body.  These are broken down by the liver, and the excess is called uric acid. Most uric acid dissolves without issue into the blood and then the kidneys filter it to remove it from the body. If there is too much uric acid in the blood for the body to process it can form crystals, which then can lead to kidney stones and other issues.

A low-purine diet will help limit the number of purines in the body and reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood.

What foods have a high or low purine content?
High purine foods
Meats such as offal (liver, brain, kidney, heart) and game meats such as venison are high in purine. Some seafood – for example, sardines, herring and mackerel also have high levels and certain vegetables such as spinach, green peas and legumes (lentils and chickpeas) have a moderate to high level of purine within them.

Gravy is also included on the list of foods with a high purine content.

Moderate purine foods
Most poultry including chicken and turkey have a moderate level of purine in them. Fish such as salmon, cod, whiting, haddock, pollock, hake and halibut also have a moderate level.

Low purine foods
Root vegetables are generally low in purine, these include carrot, potato and parsnips. Rice and eggs also fall into the low purine category.
When feeding a low purine diet for dogs, you should consider feeding more digestible meat, such as chicken or fish.  Feeding additional foods from the table should be discouraged and fresh drinking water should always be available for your dog.

Should you feed a low-purine diet?
Some breeds of dog require low purine dog food based on a genetic or inherited issue. Dalmatians, for example, have a genetic condition that means they will usually benefit from a low purine diet. Other breeds such as the Beagle, Bulldog, Basset Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Miniature Schnauzer, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier and Dachshund (amongst others) can be prone to urinary issues, so at some point may require a low purine diet.

Dogs with illnesses such as Leishmaniasis, or those who have suffered, or are predisposed to suffer, from urolithiasis (urinary stones) may be advised by a vet to seek a low purine diet.

Low purine does not necessarily mean low protein, and a high-quality diet will often be the best way to keep a healthy dog happy.

Naturediet’s Feel Good Chicken, Feel Good Fish, Feel Good Grain Free Chicken and Purely Chicken utilise ingredients such as chicken and fish, which may be lower purine alternatives to ingredients such as lamb or beef, so may be suitable options to consider. However, please note that we don’t manufacture prescription diets and that none of our foods have been developed specifically to be low in purine.

If you are considering changing your dog’s diet, especially for medical reasons, you should always consult your vet.