Your mom just sent 2 boxes of cranberries for Thanksgiving, but you cannot that much by yourself. So, you think of sharing it with your pup. But can dogs eat cranberries?
Short answer is yes. Cranberries are safe for dogs. But like most foods, if only you feed it to them in moderation.
In this article, we will find out why and how cranberries are good for dogs, why they like them, and how you can feed cranberries to them.
Are Cranberries Safe For Dogs?
The good news is that you can share your cranberries with your dog. Cranberries are fine for consumption when plain, with no additives or sugar.
1. Great for urinary health
Cranberries have been used for a while to prevent Urinary Tract Infections in dogs. Cranberries also contain a high amount of fiber, which helps prevent constipation.
2. Filled with vitamins
Also, cranberries are filled with vitamins such as vitamins E, K, and C. These vitamins help prevent gum diseases, degrading eyesight and accelerate the process of blood clotting after injuries.
3. Anti-cancerous properties
Cranberries in the diet can even help improve heart health and cancer. The antioxidants in them are a great source of anti-cancerous nutrients.
However, too many cranberries can also adversely affect their health. As it can upset their stomach, cause diarrhea or kidney stones.
How Are Cranberries Unhealthy For Dogs?
As we mentioned before, cranberries are NOT toxic for dogs in their raw and plain form. You can feed cranberries to your beloved fur baby in moderation. Yet, there are a few risks that you need to consider before you feed your dog cranberries.
1. Digestive Issues
Cranberries are high in fiber, and if your pup eats too many of these, they might have trouble with their bowel movement.
2. Kidney stones
Cranberries have long been used to treat kidney-related issues in dogs. But when dogs consume excessive amounts of cranberries, they may end up developing kidney stones.
Dogs prone to kidney or urinary issues must not consume cranberries in more than a minimal quantity.
3. Sugar content
Cranberry fruits are a better alternative to artificially sweetened products, yet the sugar in fruit can still be harmful when consumed in large quantities. Moreover, cranberry products such as jams or sauces might contain added sugar. This can induce an upset stomach and issues related to high sugar intake in dogs.
4. Allergies and Sensitivities
Some dogs can be allergic to cranberries, as allergic reactions are unique for each dog. Common allergic reactions include itching, hives, etc.
5. Choking hazard
Sometimes, if your dog is a fast eater, they might try to swallow their food as a whole. Cranberries as a whole, might get stuck in your pup’s throat and cause them to choke if they are too small.
Can Dogs Eat Cranberry Products?
OH MY GOODNESS! WE LOVE THIS QUESTION! Um. We think..
Cranberry fruits are a far better option than artificial cranberry products because artificial cranberry products are most likely to contain ingredients or components that are not suitable for dogs.
1. Cranberry juice
Cranberry juice has such a summery vibe to it, but it also fits very well with the fall season! A wee bit of cranberry juice may be okay for your pup until it is 100% cranberries with no added sugar.
But cranberry juice mix or cranberry juice cocktail is never safe, and neither are store-bought cranberry juices, as they most likely contain artificial sweeteners, added sugar chemical preservatives, etc.
2. Cranberry sauce
Cranberry sauce is one of our favorite sauces to add to our breakfast pancakes. But there are reasons why it tastes so good. Cranberry sauce, like cranberry juice, is not toxic for dogs but is pretty unhealthy. Store-bought cranberry sauce contains a lot of sugar and scary chemical preservatives. Dogs with diabetes or obesity issues may suffer gravely if they consume some of it.
The best option is to puree some cranberries for your pup. Any fruit in this form will be much easier to consume, and it is much healthier as long as it is plain without any added substances.
3. Dried Cranberries
Dried cranberries are an excellent snack for your afternoon cravings. But is it the same for dogs? Maybe not.
Dried cranberries might contain added sugar and other preservatives that are not healthy for consumption. And sometimes, a dried cranberry mix will most likely come with raisins, which are highly poisonous to dogs.
4. Cranberry Jam
Cranberry Jam has similar effects, such as sugar, artificial flavors, and colors. These components can be hard to digest for your sweet canine companion. Moreover, cranberry jam might even contain xylitol. Xylitol is a highly toxic (for dogs) artificial sweetener. Xylitol poisoning is a severe issue that might have adverse effects.
Why is Xylitol Poisoning Scary?
Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs because it stimulates the pancreas to release insulin when they consume it. The spike of insulin in your pup’s bloodstream causes hypoglycemia. A drastic drop in blood sugar levels eventually results in weakness, lack of coordination, tremors, potentially seizures, and, in worse cases, death (article).
Can Dogs Have Cranberry Supplements?
Yes, dogs can eat cranberry supplements. Plenty of medicated dog supplements contain cranberries to help support dog urinary health and immunity. But keep in mind never start any supplements without consulting your vet. Medicated supplements may also contain components that your pup might not need at the moment. Carelessly giving them supplements may mess with their health.
So, Can I Give My Dog Human Cranberry Supplements?
Human cranberry supplements contain elements in dosages that can only be handled by humans and also components that are specifically for humans. Dogs have fairly different nutrient requirements than humans. So, giving them your supplements is a huge NO!
How Many Cranberries Can Dogs Have?
Cranberries should not take up more than 10% of your dog’s diet, but that 10% will differ for each dog breed, depending on their size. Sometimes, you might even have to cut a small cranberry into even smaller pieces, as mini fur buddies are prone to choking on large pieces. And no matter how you feed them or whatever type you choose, portion control is the key to maintaining a proper balance in their diet.
- Extra-small dog to Small dogs (2-30 lbs.) = 1-3 cranberries
- Medium dog breeds (31-50 lbs.) = 5-6 cranberries
- Large dogs to extra-large dog (50-90+ lbs.) = 8-15 cranberries
How to Feed Cranberries to Dogs Safely?
If you still wish to feed your dog cranberries, you can totally do that. But you need to
- Choose Organic. Make sure to choose organically grown, locally sourced, harmful pesticide-free cranberries for your dog. The general amount of such chemicals should be next to none.
- Avoid sweetened or canned cranberries as the artificial preservatives, chemicals, and added sugar are hard to synthesize for dogs.
- Puree them. Some cranberries can be hard to swallow for dogs and might end up choking your dog. Pureeing them will reduce the risk of choking.
- Add it to their regular meals . Give them cranberries as their treat. You can use it while training them. That way, they get to have something healthy and tasty while exercising.
A Cranberry Dog Treat Recipe
A little cranberry treat for your dog is the best while you enjoy your cranberry fall cookies. These are healthy, tasty, and have all the goodness cranberries have in them. You can even use them as training treats for some extra benefits:
You will need:
- Almond flour
- Rolled oats
- Chopped fresh cranberries
- Lightly beaten egg
- Honey/maple syrup
- Melted coconut oil.
Now, let us get into the recipe of these delicious dog treats.
- In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour and rolled oats.
- Do not forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add chopped cranberries, lightly beaten egg, honey, and melted coconut oil to the bowl with the flour and oats. Mix together until just combined.
- Roll the dough out to a ¼-inch thick round on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut out cookies using a cookie cutter of any shape, but make sure the pieces are not too big, as big pieces can pose a choking hazard to them.
- Use these as training treats, so your pup can get the nourishment they deserve while learning all the cool new tricks.
Cranberries are an amazing treat for dogs, but only in moderation. Too many cranberries will be unsafe as they might cause tummy issues, kidney problems, and allergic reactions.
The point to be noted here is that sometimes cranberries might not even be palatable to dogs. The tart flavor of cranberries is not very appealing to dogs. So, chances are, you might not even be able to use cranberries as a treat.
But all dogs are unique anyway, so if they like it, keep their portions small and puree them before you feed them. You can include this among foods that dogs can eat and definitely add it to their regular, well-balanced meals.
Frequently asked questions
Dogs cannot have 100% cranberry juice as it most likely contains high sugar content and some other potentially toxic ingredients. While cranberry fruits are safe for dogs and can help boost immunity, cranberry juice does not have the same effect.
Dried cranberries are made by sucking the moisture out of cranberries, which concentrates the sugar in them and basically turns them into fruity candies. And almonds are just as good, but too many can be very harmful to their body. So yes, you can feed both almonds and cranberries but only in limited quantities.
Raisins (dried grapes) contain tartaric acid which is very harmful to dogs. But cranberries do not contain such elements. That is why cranberries are safer than raisins (even dried cranberries).