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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Cranberries? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries

Our dogs eat a variety of goodies. Some of them are part of their routine diet, while others are occasional snacks we provide them. However, some fruits and veggies are not good for dogs, and we should really know which ones are safe, and which ones aren’t.

So which category do cranberries fall under? The good news is that cranberries are safe for your dog to eat, but there are a few things worth knowing about. Read on to find out the dos and don’ts of feeding your dog cranberries.

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Dogs Can Eat Cranberries Occasionally

Dogs can eat fresh and dried cranberries, but they might not be interested in them. Cranberries can be used in certain dog food recipes and supplements, but it’s rare to find a dog that will want much to do with a fresh cranberry.

First, cranberries are quite bitter and not incredibly appetizing for your pooch. However, every dog is different. Some of them might gravitate towards the taste of raw cranberries, while others will want nothing to do with them.

The bottom line is that regardless of how your dog feels about the taste, they are perfectly acceptable for consumption. However, like anything else, you will want to ensure your dog gets the appropriate portions to avoid any gastrointestinal upset.

Another important factor to be aware of is the small size of a cranberry, which could pose a choking hazard for a small dog, so if you have a cranberry-loving pup, make sure they are eating their fruit, not inhaling it.

Beautiful Vizsla dog in the woods
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

How About Cranberry Sauce or Dried Cranberries?

Cranberry sauce might be a Thanksgiving favorite that is delicious to the whole family. But can your dog have it? As long as it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients, it isn’t going to hurt your dog. However, it is extremely high in sugar content and should never be offered regularly. Dried cranberries are even higher in sugar, as all the moisture content has been removed, and they are usually sweetened.

Raw Cranberries 100g Cranberry Sauce 100g Dried Cranberries 100g
Calories 46 kcal 159 kcal 308 kcal
Sugar 4.27 grams 31.8 grams 72.6 grams

Can Dogs Drink Cranberry Juice?

As we mentioned, the taste of cranberries can be quite bitter or tart, so they usually have sugar added when they are prepared for human enjoyment. This also applies to cranberry beverages. The majority of cranberry juices are actually “juice drinks”, which means they contain a lot of other additives to improve the flavor, and a lot of sugar too, so they are not a good option for dogs.

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Benefits of Cranberries for Dogs

You might be aware that cranberries are excellent for urinary tract health. So, what gives them that property, what other vitamins and minerals are in cranberries, and how do they impact your dog’s overall health? Here’s a peek.

  • A-type Proanthocyanidins: First and foremost, A-type proanthocyanidins are the component in cranberries that prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. This aids in optimal urinary tract health.
  • Vitamin C: Unlike humans, dogs are able to synthesize their own vitamin C. However, this is one time where you can’t have too much of a good thing! An added dose of vitamin C helps protect the immunity and aids in organ function, and any excess is just excreted in the urine.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K is responsible for making proteins that are vital for blood clotting and building bones.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. It also promotes healthy skin and coat.
  • Fiber: Added fiber in your dog’s diet will help regulate their digestive tract. Avoiding both diarrhea and constipation, added fiber helps the system run smoothly.
  • Iron: Iron helps the body make hemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
  • Calcium: Calcium is essential for maintaining bone health, but it also plays a vital role, helping nerves carry messages between the brain and body.
  • Potassium: Potassium and sodium work together in your dog’s system to provide normal fluid levels inside and outside the cells.

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The Downside of Cranberries for Dogs

As with anything else, when they’re upsides to something, there are also problems. As long as you’re portioning correctly, you shouldn’t have any real problem with your dogs eating cranberries. However, if they have too many, it can impact them negatively.

Sugar Content

One of the primary reasons that your dog shouldn’t have an overabundance of cranberries is due to the sugar content. Dried cranberries have a much higher sugar content than raw cranberries, so be mindful when you’re portioning.

child hands holding pile of fresh red cranberries
Image Credit: FotoHelin, Shutterstock

Stomach Upset

Because cranberries are highly acidic, they can cause stomach upset if you give your dog too many. If your dog has a very sensitive stomach, it might not take quite as many to cause a problem. So be mindful of your particular dog when allowing them to indulge.

Calcium Oxalate Stones

Surprisingly, if your dog consumes too many cranberries, it can actually lead to problems in the urinary tract. While you’re likely giving your dog cranberries to improve urinary health, it can actually cause calcium oxalate stones in the bladder.

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Cranberries for Urinary Health

If your dog has frequent urinary tract infections, your vet might recommend getting a supplement that contains cranberries. These supplements can help your dog regulate their urinary tract and avoid unnecessary antibiotics.

As we talked about earlier in the article, cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins that prevent bacteria from sticking to the uterine wall. Regular consumption of cranberries can help a dog with urinary tract problems reduce the risk of potential infections.

Cranberry Supplements for Dogs

There are a wide range of urinary tract supplements available to buy to help your dog’s urinary health. If you are thinking about starting your dog on a cranberry-based supplement, talk to your vet first to make sure you are selecting one that is right for your dog. They can be helpful for dogs prone to urinary tract infections, but may not be right for others.

For example, if you have a breed that is predisposed to developing calcium oxalate stones, such as the Shih Tzu, Miniature Schnauzer, Lhasa Apso, Bichon Frise or Yorkshire Terrier, cranberry supplements may not be a good choice.

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Conclusion

Now you know that your dog can have cranberries in moderation, but there’s a good chance they won’t like them. If you want to give your dog any cranberry supplements, talk to  your veterinarian first to ensure you’re giving your dog a safe and effective product that is right for them. Cranberries can be a great preventative to protect your dog from certain bladder infections, but could be harmful to others.

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Sources

Featured Image Credit: Julia Metkalova, Shutterstock

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