Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

As you are preparing a holiday meal, snacking on trail mix, or enjoying dinner, your faithful companion is most likely looking at you with the saddest of all puppy-dog eyes, hoping that you will drop a morsel for him to enjoy.

As you look at the cranberries you’re using to make that cranberry sauce or the dried cranberries in your trail mix, you wonder if they are okay for your four-legged friend to eat.

You want to keep your dog safe, but you also know that cranberries, loaded with antioxidants, provide several health benefits to humans.

Can your dog enjoy the same benefits from this tiny red berry?

Are cranberries safe for dogs?

Cranberries are safe for dogs in moderation. Dogs can eat them in raw, cooked or dried forms. The next time you are preparing a dish with cranberries, you can feed one to your dog without worrying.

Some brands of dog food use cranberries as one of their ingredients as they provide several health benefits. Check the pet food labels the next time you are at the grocery store or look at the label of the kibble in your home to see if your dog is already getting some cranberries in her diet.

How should I prepare cranberries for my dog?

Cranberries may be given to your dog raw, cooked or dried. Because cranberries are rich in fiber, you should limit the number of cranberries you give your dog to avoid causing loose or watery stools. Your dog may also experience an upset stomach if fed too many.

Try to avoid giving cranberries that are mixed in with other dried fruits. Cranberries are often found in snacks with raisins, which are toxic to dogs. Avoid cranberries prepared in dishes with high sugar content as sugar can cause an upset stomach and other issues in dogs.

Introduce your dog to just one or two cranberries at first to see if he’ll like them. Look for any adverse reactions. If your dog is fine, it is okay to give a few more to him as long as they are eaten in moderation. However, treats like cranberries should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet.

What are the benefits of giving my dog cranberries?

Cranberries are a highly nutritious food that can provide your dog with several health benefits.

For starters, they are rich in fiber. Eating a healthy amount of fiber can lower the risk for several health problems such as certain gastrointestinal diseases, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Cranberries are also a great source of vitamin C and potassium. They promote dental health by inhibiting acid production which reduces gum disease, tartar and plaque buildup. Additionally, they increase bladder health because they contain proanthocyanidin, an ingredient that prevents bacterial buildup on the bladder wall.

What are the risks of feeding my dog cranberries?

While cranberries are not toxic to dogs, too many of them can lead to loose stools and gastrointestinal upset. If your dog is having diarrhea, vomiting or struggling to go outside to use the bathroom, she may have overindulged.

To be on the safe side, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian before feeding your dog cranberries.

Can cranberries help my dog if she has a urinary tract infection?

Cranberries have the added benefit of promoting bladder health. While many people reach for cranberry juice to help treat their urinary tract infections, can cranberries help your dog?

The effectiveness of treating UTIs with cranberries is up for debate. Cranberries can be a supplement to help treat UTIs, but should not replace the prescribed medical treatment from your veterinarian. Eating excessive cranberries may lead to calcium oxalate stones developing in your dog’s bladder. Discuss the risks and benefits of using cranberries with your veterinarian to avoid adverse effects.

Can I give my dog cranberry sauce?

While you may want to give your dog a taste of cranberry sauce, especially at the Thanksgiving table, it is better to forgo letting your dog lick up the sauce. Cranberry sauce is high in sugar which can cause gastrointestinal issues in your furry friend.

Instead of giving your dog cranberry sauce or another sugar-based cranberry treat (such as a tart), give him a raw cranberry instead.

Can I let my dog drink cranberry juice?

Cranberries themselves can be beneficial to dogs, but giving your dog cranberry juice is not the best idea. As with cranberry sauce, cranberry juice is high in harmful sugars. Some cranberry juices pose the additional risk of being mixed with juices from other fruits, some of which are toxic to dogs. Cranberry-grape juice is an example of this.

What other fruits and berries can I feed my dog?

Because dogs’ digestive systems are different than humans, it can be helpful to have a list handy of the fruits and berries your dog is able to eat and which ones your dog should avoid. You want to keep your dog safe while still being able to feed him treats he will enjoy.

Safe Fruits and Berries

  • Apples — Just don’t let your dog eat the seeds.
  • Blueberries
  • Mango — Make sure your dog doesn’t eat the pit or skin.
  • Oranges — These should be peeled and deseeded.
  • Peeled Bananas
  • Pears — Without the peels and cores.
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries — Remove any leaves and stems.
  • Raspberries
  • Seedless Watermelons
  • Coconut
  • Blackberries
  • Pitted Peaches

Unsafe Fruits and Berries

  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Plums
  • Avocados
  • Un-pitted Cherries
  • Persimmons

When questioning if you should give your dog a type of fruit or berry you are unsure about, never assume it is safe. Call your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control if your dog has ingested something you are unfamiliar with.

Final Thoughts

  • Cranberries in raw, dried and cooked forms are safe for dogs in moderation.
  • Check with your veterinarian before adding cranberries as a treat to your dog’s diet.
  • Slowly introduce cranberries to your dog’s diet to see how many she will tolerate.
  • Cranberries are rich in fiber and antioxidants, providing many health benefits for your dog.
  • Giving your dog too many cranberries can result in gastrointestinal upset. Treats should make up only 10% of your dog’s caloric intake.
  • Avoid giving your dog cranberries that are part of high-sugar foods. Cranberry juices and sauces should be avoided.
  • Cranberries are one of many fruits and berries that are safe for dogs to eat. Be familiar with which fruits are safe and unsafe for your companion.

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