Mad About Berries

Can Dogs Eat Dried and Fresh Cranberries?

Dogs are so favored by their owners that they wish to give their pets whatever they want.

However, they have to keep in mind that when it comes to food, they should observe extreme caution. Although dogs wish to eat everything their owner eats, the owner should know that not every human food is good for dogs.

For example, cranberries are so tasty and healthy that dog owners would love to share them with their dogs to let them enjoy the taste. But they should hold back and think about whether cranberries, fresh or dried, are good for their dogs?

Published: April 23, 2022.

fresh cranberries

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

Well, the answer to this question is yes as well as no. This is because cranberries are not toxic to dogs and our furry friends can eat them in moderation to enjoy their taste as well as some health benefits.

However, dog owners should also remember that cranberries pose certain risks for their beloved pooches.

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Since they are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, cranberries are believed to be a superfood.

Calories: ½ cup of cranberries contains merely 25 calories, and hence they are a great snack for overweight or obese canines.

Vitamins: Cranberries contain vitamins B1, B2, C, and E that boost the immune system and protect the heart. They also help in growth and help regulate metabolism.

Cranberries also contain vitamin K which helps in blood clotting.

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Note: Vitamin C is not needed by dogs because dogs’ body can make their own vitamin C.

Antioxidants: Cranberries are high in antioxidants that offer a big health boost to dogs. Free radicals are formed in the body due to stress, illness, and several other factors.

They cause cell oxidation and thus weaken the immune system, and make the body weak and susceptible to several degenerative diseases like cancer, arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, kidney disease, diabetes, vision loss, dementia, neurological issues, and more.

Antioxidants fight free radicals, thus protecting the body from these hazards.

Some potent antioxidants found in cranberries include:

Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are flavonoid compounds and offer attractive red, blue, and purple colors to fruits and vegetables.

Anthocyanins in cranberry juice have been proved to help increase the antioxidant capacity in animal organs. Research has also shown that they support the immune system. Their broad therapeutic abilities can help prevent several degenerative diseases.

Proanthocyanidins: These antioxidants also offer fruits and vegetables blue, purple, and red colors.

They are members of the family of polyphenols. They are 20 times more powerful than vitamins C and E, and also contain antibacterial properties. They prevent the bacterium E. coli (a chief suspect in several urinary infections) from adhering to the bladder wall, thus helping prevent bladder diseases and kidney stones, and thus improving bladder health.

Proanthocyanidins even improve dental health by preventing plaque and tartar accumulation on the surface of dogs’ teeth.

Quercetin: Quercetin fights inflammation, allergies, and hypertension.

Polyphenols: Polyphenols are reducing agents that work with vitamins C and E, and other antioxidants, and thus protect the body against free radicals, inflammation, heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, and some cancers.

Minerals: Cranberries contain minerals like iron, manganese, and potassium which help in growth and metabolism. Still, potassium in cranberries is in low quantities and hence they are beneficial for canines with kidney issues.

D-Mannose: D-Mannose is a naturally occurring sugar in vegetables and fruits, and is believed to prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall.

D-Mannose cranberry supplements are supposed to help dogs with chronic UTIs. However, dog owners should first talk to their vet before starting supplements for their furry baby, besides their regular balanced diet.

Fiber: Fiber makes dogs feel full for longer and thus prevents overeating, and also, helps food and waste pass through the digestive tract more easily and efficiently.

dried cranberries

How Safe are Cranberries for Dogs?

Both fresh and dried cranberries are safe for dogs when fed in small quantities. Since cranberries are tart, a dog may not like them a lot. However, even if they like it, the dog owner should remember to offer them in moderation.

Too many cranberries can cause an upset stomach in dogs.

Dried cranberries sometimes are mixed with other dried fruits like raisins. Raisins are very toxic to dogs and especially for small dog breeds, even a few can cause big problems.

Cranberries added to other dishes or made into juices are also risky. Cranberry juice mixed with grape juice is potentially dangerous. Also, cranberry dishes containing large amounts of sugar, alcohol, and other ingredients are dangerous too.

Can Age or Size of the Dog Cause a Problem?

It’s okay to share cranberries with one’s dog if the dog likes them and can manage eating something of that size without any problem. However, if one has a small dog or a senior dog with teeth issues, they would better skip this snack.

How Many Cranberries a Dog Can Eat?

This depends on the size of the dog. A tiny breed like the chihuahua can eat only 1 cranberry, while a larger dog can eat a few more.

One’s vet is the best person to tell how many cranberries one’s dog should eat.

Is Cranberry Sauce Safe for Dogs?

When served in small quantities, cranberry sauce is safe for dogs. However, it poses some additional risks.

Cranberry sauce contains high amounts of sugar which can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Some recipes even include currants, raisins, or grapes which are downright toxic to dogs. Recipes that use brandy can also cause problems as alcohol is toxic to dogs too.

Serving plain cranberry sauce in small amounts is probably safe for dogs, but the owner should carefully monitor their dog after feeding any new food item for any signs of stomach upset or allergic reaction.

Are Cranberries Beneficial for Dogs with UTIs?

It’s a common belief in the United States that cranberries are beneficial in urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, whether they are beneficial to dogs too has not yet been confirmed yet since not enough studies are available. Therefore, doctors strongly suggest that cranberries should be fed to dogs only as a supplement and not as a replacement for proven medical treatments.

On the other hand, Veterinarians warn that feeding cranberries to dogs in large amounts can cause the formation of calcium oxalate stones in their bladder.

Therefore, dog owners should feed cranberries, like any other treat or supplement, to their pups in moderation and under the supervision of veterinarians to avoid stone formation and other risks. If they are considering serving their doggo a cranberry supplement, they should ask their vet to suggest the best one on the market.

What are the Risks of Feeding Cranberries to Dogs?

As mentioned earlier, cranberries if fed in large amounts to dogs, cause stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting. This is because cranberries are very acidic. However, one should remember that any such symptoms should pass within 24 hours. Cranberries are not toxic or highly dangerous to dogs. If symptoms persist, one should visit their vet.

Cranberries also contain oxalate. This is a compound that occurs in several foods and is formed in the body as waste material.

It’s excreted through urine. Feeding too many cranberries to dogs can increase the oxalate levels in the dog’s urine, forming calcium oxalate stones or bladder stones, that cause pain.

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Can Dogs Eat Cranberry Recipes?

Cranberry recipes often contain additional ingredients that are not good for dogs. For example, trail mixes contain cranberries, but they also include other ingredients like currants, raisins, and nuts that a dog should not eat.

Any cranberry recipe that contains grapes, grape juice, currants, and artificial sweeteners like xylitol should never be served to dogs. These ingredients are extremely toxic to pooches and can make the immediate veterinary treatment necessary.

How to Feed Cranberries to Dogs?

If a dog owner wants to let their furry baby enjoy the flavor, fresh cranberries are the best choice. However, some pups don’t like the tartness of cranberries, and many ask for strawberries or blueberries instead. The dog owner can add a few on top of their dog’s regular dog meal for an additional immune system boost.

Dog owners can also feed dried cranberries to their pup as long as it’s mentioned on their label that they have been prepared without added sugar, and are not mixed with other foods like grapes, raisins, etc. which are strict no-no for dogs.

Cooked cranberries can be another good way to serve cranberries to pooches. However, the dog owner should be careful if they haven’t cooked the berries themselves.

They should make sure they don’t add any ingredient to the dish that can be harmful to their dog and also, in case of a commercial product containing cooked cranberries, they should make sure it doesn’t include raisins, added sugar, alcohol, or other harmful ingredients.

One can serve cranberry juice to their pooch if it’s unsweetened. However, the pooch may not be very appealed with it due to the tartness.

As mentioned earlier, cranberry sauce is fine if given in moderation. But while serving a commercial cranberry sauce to their dog, one should make sure first that it contains only cranberries and no added sugar, grape juice, or artificial sweeteners.

banana mAnother way one can feed cranberries to their dog is frozen cranberries. However, first one should defrost them and then serve them to their doggo as they may pose a choking hazard, particularly to a small dog.

Cranberries are not only safe but also beneficial to one’s dog, but only when fed in moderation. These tiny but tart berries can boost the dog’s immune system, improve cognitive and bladder health, and help prevent some cancers with the potent antioxidants and other nutrients they contain.

Cranberry supplement, cranberry extract or just a few cranberries added to the dog’s diet may be helpful to dogs suffering from chronic or frequent urinary tract infections. However, the owner should first get the advice of their vet.

Although cranberries are low in calories, they should be fed to dogs in moderation because of their high acid content. Dog owners should follow the 90/10 rule for treats, i.e., only 10% of daily calories can come from healthy treats, whereas 90% of them should come from the regular balanced dog food.

Given their extremely tart flavor, cranberries may not become a favorite of one’s dog. Therefore, the dog owner should first check if their Fido likes the berries, and then serve them a few.

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