Cranberries are one of those tart berries that offer numerous health benefits to people, including treating and preventing UTIs. If you like the sweetness and tartness of cranberries and they are your favorite healthy snack, you’re probably wondering what would happen if your dog had some!
So, can dogs eat cranberries? Yes, dogs can eat fresh and dried cranberries in moderation, as treats. These tiny red berries are low in fat, but high in fiber that supports stomach health and good digestion. While dogs can eat raw, cooked, frozen, or dried cranberries avoid feeding cranberry juice and sauce to your dog.
Keep on reading if you’re planning to feed your dog cranberries! In this article, we’ll explore all the risks and benefits of cranberries and tell you what is the best way to feed this berry to your dog.
Are Cranberries Good for Dogs?
Cranberries are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Whether they are raw, cooked, frozen, or dried your dog can eat cranberries as treats.
A cup of raw cranberries contains 46 calories, 0 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein. These small fruits are also an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which can boost your dog’s immune system and help it fight diseases.
And let’s not forget that treating and preventing urinary tract infections is one of the best-known uses of cranberries! Cranberries have antibacterial properties which is one way they help stop E. coli bacteria from clinging to the cells lining the urinary tract wall.
Benefits of Cranberries for Dogs
Adding cranberries to your dog’s diet can boost their immune system and improve their overall health. When fed in moderation, cranberries can offer the following health benefits to your dog:
1. Cranberries Can Boost Your Dog’s Immune System
Small and sour cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant involved in many functions within your dog’s body.
Vitamin C supports a strong immune system, making your dog more adept at fighting diseases. It is also involved in skin, bone, and muscle health and supports wound healing.
2. Cranberries Promote Digestive Health
These red berries are rich in dietary fiber which supports proper digestion and better nutrient absorption. Fiber also helps lower the risk of gastrointestinal diseases, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes.
3. Cranberries May Help Fight Cancer
Cranberries are chock full of antioxidants that help reduce the damage caused by free radicals and slow tumor growth in some cancers (source). Some of the antioxidants found in cranberries include anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and quercetin.
One study on rats found that cranberry extract helped reduce heart damage caused by chemo drug doxorubicin (source). While studies into cranberry cancer-fighting abilities are still in early stages, many are underway, and there is much to be hopeful about.
4. Cranberries Can Improve Bladder Health
As mentioned earlier, cranberries are well-known for their ability to treat and prevent urinary infections caused by E. coli. Feeding cranberries to your dog can reduce the risk of painful and recurrent UTIs and improve their bladder health.
The way cranberries help with UTIs is D-mannose, a type of sugar that improves the symptoms of urinary tract infections. While there is some D-mannose in cranberries, you’re better off buying cranberry supplements to treat your dog’s UTI.
5. Cranberries Promote Dental Health
Cranberries contain proanthocyanidin, a chemical compound found in many plants which prevents harmful bacteria in the mouth from sticking together.
This means that eating cranberries can reduce tartar and plaque buildup in your dog’s mouth. Thus, preventing the development of periodontal disease.
Risks of Cranberries for Dogs
While there is no doubt that cranberries are extremely healthy for dogs to eat, they should be offered only as treats! Feeding too many cranberries can pose some risks for dogs, including:
1 High Sugar
Like many other fruits, cranberries are naturally high in sugar which can be problematic for most dogs (source). While eating a few cranberries here and there won’t cause any harm to your pooch, eating too much at once can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Due to their high sugar count feeding dried cranberries as dog treats regularly can cause your dog to gain weight. Obesity is a serious problem for millions of dogs and their owners and you don’t want your pooch to be a part of that statistic.
2. Gastrointestinal Upset
While dogs can eat small amounts of cranberry sauce, too much can cause gastrointestinal upset. Cranberry sauce is also high in sugar and can cause constipation or diarrhea when fed in large quantities.
Also, don’t forget that some recipes call for raisins, grapes, currants, and brandy all of which are toxic to dogs. To be on the safe side, you might want to stick to plain cranberries for your dog and leave cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner.
How Many Cranberries Can I Give My Dog?
Before you start feeding your dog cranberries, talk with your veterinarian. If your vet believes that your pooch can benefit from eating cranberries they will also tell you how much to feed your dog based on their size, age, activity level, and overall health.
Generally speaking, small-sized dogs can eat one or two cranberries per day, while medium-sized dogs can have a few more. Large and giant dog breeds can have up to eight cranberries a day as treats.
When feeding cranberries or any other human foods to your dog make sure that they don’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
How to Feed Cranberries to Your Dog?
There are so many different ways you can feed cranberries to your dog, as long as they enjoy the tart flavor! Popular ways to feed cranberries to dogs are:
- Feed fresh cranberries as treats
- Mix fresh cranberries with dog food
- Feed frozen cranberries as refreshing summer treats
- Make a smoothie using cranberries, bananas, and blueberries
- Mix cooked and pureed cranberries with your dog’s food
- Make homemade treats using cranberries, almond flour, coconut flour, and pumpkin puree
Cranberries are completely safe for dogs to eat and can be beneficial for their overall health when fed in moderation! If your dog enjoys the sour flavor, feed them raw, cooked, or dried cranberries as healthy treats.
If your dog suffers from a urinary infection caused by E. coli it can benefit from taking cranberry supplements. They are a far better option for treating and preventing painful UTIs in dogs than raw or dried cranberries.