can dogs eat cranberries?

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

Cranberries are a tart and delicious fruit that is often enjoyed by humans around the holidays. But what about dogs? Can dogs eat cranberries too?

The good news is that cranberries are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. In fact, cranberries offer a number of health benefits for dogs, including:

  • Urinary tract health: Cranberries contain compounds that help prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, which can help prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Immune system support: Cranberries are a good source of antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system and fight off infection.
  • Skin health: Cranberries contain vitamin C, which is important for healthy skin.

However, it is important to note that too many cranberries can cause an upset stomach in dogs. So, it is important to only give your dog a small amount of cranberries, such as one or two per day for a small dog, or up to five or six per day for a large dog.

It is also important to avoid giving cranberries to dogs that are taking any medications that thin the blood, as cranberries can increase the risk of bleeding.

If you are unsure about whether or not cranberries are safe for your dog, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian.

So, can your dog enjoy this tart and delicious fruit? The answer is yes, but with a few caveats. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of cranberries for dogs, how much cranberry to give your dog, and some potential risks of giving your dog cranberries.

We will also share some tips for feeding cranberries to your dog safely and enjoyably. So, whether you are a cranberry lover or just looking for a healthy treat for your dog, read on!

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries For UTI?

A study was done on a set of 12 dogs study done on a set of 12 dogs that were prone to previous urinary tract infections.  The dogs were given some cranberry extract for 60 days.  Urine samples were taken from these dogs at 30 days and 60 days.  The test runs on these samples concluded that the bacterial adhesion to the Madin-Darby canine kidney cells, also known as MDCK Cells, was significantly reduced.  None of the dogs, who had chronic UIT issues, got UTIs during the study.  The consensus was that the cranberry extract not only improved bladder health but also may help prevent UTIs in dogs.

Cranberries can help prevent UTI

Health Benefits Of Cranberries for Dogs

Now that we established dogs can eat cranberries, the next question is can dogs eat cranberries for health benefits? If so, what are the health benefits for dogs?  Cranberries are one of those antioxidant-rich superfoods that provide many vitamins and minerals.  This superfood helps support the dog’s immune system by providing vitamins C, E, and K. 

  • Vitamin C – Also called ascorbic acid – Is essential for healthy bones, immune system, skin, and muscle tissue
  • Vitamin E – Immune system support
  • Vitamin K – Essential in forming blood clots, prevents excessive bleeding

 In addition to those vitamins, cranberries are high in dietary fiber which helps the dog regulate its GI tract.  There are also some other powerful antioxidants in cranberries that make them so unique.  Cranberries are loaded with the following antioxidants: Quercetin, Myricetin, Peonidin, Ursolic acid, and A-type proanthocyanins. 

Quercetin –

Cranberries are among the few fruit sources of this flavonoid.  Quercetin is also the most abundant antioxidant in cranberries.  This powerful antioxidant helps reduce inflammation, can reduce allergy symptoms, and also reduces blood pressure.  Antioxidants bind to free radicals in the dog’s body and they neutralize them.  Excessive amounts of free radicals in the dog’s body can lead to the activation of otherwise dormant genes.  This in turn can cause inflammation which is something we don’t want.

Myricetin –

Cranberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants called Myricetin.  According to a study published in the national library of medicine, this antioxidant is also antimicrobial, antidiabetic, anticancer, immune regulating, cardioprotective, antihypertension, and wound healing.  It truly is a super antioxidant and you should check out the study if you want more scientific information on it.

Peonidin –

This antioxidant is also found in cranberries, it has similar properties to Quercetin and Myricetin.  This chemical is also what causes the red color of the cranberries.

Ursolic Acid –

Studies have shown that this chemical can affect growth factors in animals.  It also helps to reduce inflammation specifically in the animal’s intestinal tract, which allows for better nutrient absorption.

A-Type Proanthocyanins –

This antioxidant is also known as PAC.  PAC has been found to have properties that will reduce UTIs if consumed regularly.  The exact dosage needed for a dog is not known.  Evidence does suggest that daily intake can reduce the incidence of UTIs in dogs.

Health Benefits of Cranberries

How Many Cranberries Can A Dog Eat?

Cranberries are safe for dogs to eat in moderation, but too many can cause an upset stomach. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog no more than one or two cranberries per day for a small dog, or up to five or six cranberries per day for a large dog.

Here is a table that provides more specific guidance on how many cranberries to give dogs of different sizes:

Dog SizeNumber of Cranberries per Day
Small dog (under 10 pounds)1-2 cranberries
Medium dog (10-50 pounds)3-4 cranberries
Large dog (50-100 pounds)5-6 cranberries
Giant dog (over 100 pounds)7-8 cranberries

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines. The actual number of cranberries that is safe for your dog to eat may vary depending on their individual tolerance. If you are unsure how many cranberries to give your dog, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian.

Here are some other things to keep in mind when feeding cranberries to dogs:

  • Only give your dog fresh or dried cranberries that are free of added sugar or other ingredients.
  • Cranberries should only be given as a treat, not as a substitute for a balanced diet.
  • Watch your dog for any signs of an upset stomach after eating cranberries, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or bloating. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop giving your dog cranberries and consult with your veterinarian.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Cranberries?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked cranberries in moderation. In fact, cooked cranberries may be even easier for dogs to digest than fresh cranberries. Just be sure to cook the cranberries without adding any sugar or other ingredients that could be harmful to dogs.

Here are some tips for feeding cooked cranberries to your dog:

  • Start with a small amount and watch your dog for any signs of an upset stomach.
  • Only give your dog cooked cranberries that are free of added sugar or other ingredients.
  • Cooked cranberries should only be given as a treat, not as a substitute for a balanced diet.
  • If you are unsure how many cooked cranberries to give your dog, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian.

Overall, cooked cranberries are a healthy and safe treat for dogs in moderation. Just be sure to start with a small amount and watch your dog for any signs of an upset stomach.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when feeding cooked cranberries to dogs:

  • Avoid giving your dog cooked cranberries that have been cooked in a sugar syrup or other sugary liquid. The sugar can be harmful to dogs and can cause an upset stomach.
  • If you are making your own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, be sure to leave out the sugar and other added ingredients. A plain cranberry sauce is safe for dogs to eat.
  • Cooked cranberries can be a good addition to homemade dog treats. Just be sure to use a recipe that is specifically designed for dogs and does not contain any harmful ingredients.

With a little planning, you can enjoy cooked cranberries with your dog without any problems. Just be sure to follow the tips above and consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Can Dogs Eat Dried Cranberries?

For the most part, dried cranberries are safe for dogs if you made them yourself.  If you buy a commercial product, check the ingredients for added sugar or xylitol.   The added sugar is not good for dogs and Xylitol is deadly for dogs.   If you do not know what the ingredients are, it is best to avoid them together.  In reality, it is better to feed your dog raw cranberries since the dried ones do not have all of the antioxidants.   

Can Dogs Drink Cranberry Juice?

It is best to avoid giving your dog cranberry juice. There are typically too many added sugars for it to be healthy for your dog to drink. If you happen to buy the natural kind, it may not have added sugars, however, most of the benefits for the dog come from the actual berry and not the juice.  By only letting your dog have the juice you are reducing the exposure to all of the beneficial antioxidants.  Many of the antioxidants are in the skin and seeds of the berry. 

dogs should not drink cranberry juice

FAQ: Can Dogs Eat Cranberries

Can dogs eat cranberry relish?

Yes, dogs can eat cranberry relish if it is the traditional kind. The traditional cranberry relish that is just cranberries, orange, apple, and a little sugar is edible for dogs.  Don’t panic if the dog ate some from thanksgiving dinner, it should not harm the dog.  It should not be fed to a dog regularly, the added sugar and the orange can both have some negative side effects. 

If your dog ate a lot of cranberry relish, chances are that it could experience some mild GI issues.  If this happens to your dog, monitor for dehydration and start a bland diet for a few days.  It may take a few days for the dog’s GI tract to settle down. After the issues settle, slowly transition back to the dog’s normal food.

Can dogs eat cranberry sauce? 

Dogs can also eat cranberry sauce if it does not have added spices. Avoid sauces such as cranberries with garlic. The thing to watch out for is currants and raisins that sometimes get added to the sauce.  They can both be fatal if ingested by dogs.  Other than that risk, the sugar content is too high to make it part of the normal diet.  Instead, try feeding your pet some raw cranberries.

How many dried cranberries can I give my dog?

These are not recommended since they are mostly sugar. The vitamins and minerals are no longer present after the drying process.  It can also be pretty easy to mistake raisins for dried cranberries. Be cautious if you plan to feed your dog dried cranberries.  It would be better to use fresh raw cranberries so your dog can get the added health benefits.

Can dogs eat yogurt-covered cranberries?

Dogs can eat both yogurt and cranberries.  Be sure the yogurt is plain old Greek yogurt with nothing else added.  This can actually help the dog’s GI tract by adding some probiotics.  Do not feed large amounts, the fats in milk products are not really needed in a dog’s diet.  

Can dogs have cranberry pills?

This is an absolute no if the pills were designed for humans.  A dog has much different nutritional needs and many things that are good for humans are toxic to dogs.  Avoid giving your dog any human supplements unless prescribed by your veterinarian.  They do make dog supplements that contain cranberries, these are typically safe but you should still consult your veterinarian to see if they are necessary. 

Summary: Can Dogs Eat Cranberries

  • Dogs can eat cranberries, they are non-toxic and not poisonous.
  • Cranberries offer many vitamins and minerals that are excellent for a dog’s health.
  • Dogs can eat cranberries raw, cooked, in relish, or sauces as long as they are plain. 
  • Dried cranberries are not recommended because of their look-alike (raisins), they are also high in sugar.
  • Try Broccoli, Collard Greens, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, or Cucumbers as other healthy snacks.

  Let us know if you feed your dog cranberries, have you seen any health improvements in your dog since doing so?

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