Can Dogs Eat Cranberries? (Nutritional Guide)
A dog, they say, is man’s best pal. For us, humans, dogs are simply amazing. Dogs do so much to put a big smile on our faces. Be it barking at the unannounced guest or visitor at our house, craving for food while we eat, or simply welcoming us from work with a big bark to let us know they missed us. Due to our closeness with dogs, we like to treat our dogs with five-star treatment in terms of food. We often shop for delicious human treats and snacks as a way of showing our love for dogs. While this is a noble gesture and comes from a good heart, not every food we enjoy is safe for dogs. Thus, on our list of foods that dogs cannot eat, where will we put cranberries? If you have ever asked yourself ‘Can dogs eat cranberries?’ or ‘Are cranberries good for dogs?’ then this article is for you. We will explore and discuss misconceptions, health benefits and how much is too much when it comes to cranberries.
Misconceptions About Dogs And Cranberries
Do Cranberries prevent or help treat urinary tract infection (UTI) in dogs? It is widely accepted that indeed cranberries help treat UTI in humans. That being said, there are a lot of misconceptions, especially among dog lovers, that feeding dogs with lots of cranberries can help fight and prevent urinary tract infections in dogs. However, this is not true. Cranberries consist of a substance that can help prevent E.coli bacteria from developing and attaching to your dog’s bladder wall, but it should be noted that not all infections in dogs are caused by E.coli bacteria.
Can Dogs Eat Cranberry Sauce?
Cranberry for dogs can be served in many forms such as cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is good for dogs only if it is served in small quantities. Cranberry sauce has a high level of sugar intake which can cause gastrointestinal upset. Additionally, it contains additives, grape juice and raisins, which are also harmful and toxic to dogs.
As you can see here, it is a definite no-no to overfeed your dog with cranberry sauce as it is dangerous for your dog. The safest option is to stick with very small quantities and only feed it occasionally.
So What Are the Cranberry Health Benefits For Dogs?
Quite obviously, we understand that cranberry holds significant health benefits for us humans, but when answering the question ‘Can dogs have cranberries?’ we need to be sure that these human health benefits do not turn into health risks for our dogs. So now let’s discuss the health benefits for dogs.
- One of the main nutrients in cranberries is antioxidants. Antioxidants provide support to the dog’s immune system and are also useful in decreasing inflammation. Antioxidants in food play a vital role in protecting our bodies and keeping us healthy. Similarly, antioxidants in dog food help reduce allergies and prevent skin diseases in dogs.
- Cranberries are also rich in vitamin C, E, fiber and potassium which are essential vitamins and minerals for your pooch.
- Cranberries contain additional fiber, which can help reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases.
- Cranberries may help to alleviate tartar, prevent cancer and reduce bacterial infections in dogs.
Are Cranberries Bad For Dogs?
If you still have a niggling doubt and you’re wondering whether cranberries have any associated health risks for dogs, then your doubt will now be confirmed. Here’s why.
Cranberries just like fruits are very acidic, and too much acid in your dog’s diet can affect your dog’s urine pattern. A highly acidic diet is also a likely cause of kidney stones or bladder stones in dogs. This is because feeding your dog with a large number of cranberries that are highly acidic will alter the PH of the dog’s urine. A normal PH range among dogs is between 6.5 to 7. High acid urine in dogs causes calcium oxalate which are typically small sand-like grains, to gather and turn into hard rock formations. The dog’s urethra can become clocked or blocked if the dog tries to pee and the stones begin to clear out of the bladder. A blocked urethra is fatal and will require urgent medical attention. However, this medical emergency can be prevented with a moderate dosage of cranberries.
Most people tend to mix dried cranberries with other dried fruits such as raisins, but raisins are highly toxic to your dog. Also, mixing cranberries with too much sugar and other acidic fruits like grape juice can potentially harm or affect your dog.
Eating in moderation is one of the best pieces of advice a doctor will give you if you want to stay healthy and fit. This principle also applies to dogs. It is safe to feed dogs cranberries, but it should be done in moderation or in small quantities to prevent your dog from having an upset stomach.
How Much Cranberry Is Too Much?
Knowing ‘how much is too much’ is vital to a dog’s health. Consult your vet to help you determine how much cranberry you should give to your dog and how often. The amount of cranberry you should give will probably depend on your dog’s age, breed and weight.
In case you are looking for cranberry alternatives for dogs, try the list below.
Again moderation is crucial in all of these cases.
In summary, yes, dogs can have and eat cranberries. If you have any difficulty in knowing how much cranberries you should give your dog, a visit to your local vet will help you to know the right amount for your particular dog. Just remember, feeding your dog with cranberry dog treats is exactly that – a ‘treat’ and therefore should not be given too often. Turning it into an everyday habit could possibly send them to the emergency room. So be warned.