The Pros and Cons to Some Human Foods: Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

The answer is yes! You can undoubtedly feed your dog a couple of cranberries!

However, cranberries should be fed to your pooch in moderation. This fruit has its pros and cons when given to pups.

Owner offering cranberries to his dog

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and cautions of dogs eating cranberries. 

Are Cranberries good for dogs?

Since we now know that cranberries and dried cranberries are safe for dogs to eat, what are the health benefits of cranberries?

Here are nutrition facts about cranberries:

Cranberries in coconut bowl
A coconut bowl filled with Cranberries

Cranberries Nutritional Facts

Cranberries have many nutritional benefits for your doggo.

For example, cranberries contain vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), potassium, dietary fiber, and d-mannose.

This human food is also high in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and quercetin. All these antioxidants help boost your pup’s immune system.

Other than those health benefits, cranberries help your dog in several different ways.

For example, cranberries are anti-cancer. This fruit may prevent or slow the growth of tumors, allowing your pooch to live longer and healthier.

Cranberries also control urinary tract infections (UTI) in dogs. E. coli bacteria cause most UTIs.

Since this tart treat has antibacterial properties, it helps prevent E. coli bacteria from sticking to the cells lining the bladder walls. 

D-mannose is a sugar that also helps prevent UTIs. You can even add D-mannose supplements to your doggo’s food to help.

The FDA has also admitted that cranberry juice and cranberry supplements may help reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs.

Additionally, cranberries help manage and balance the gut and immune health. This is all done through the antibacterial and antifungal properties of the cranberry.

Cranberries also reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing blood clotting, lowering blood pressure, reducing arterial blockage, lowering stroke risks, and reducing C-reactive protein.

Finally, cranberries prevent diabetes and promote oral health. It will control plaque and tartar buildup to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy.

Fascinating Cranberry Facts 

A North American native fruit, cranberries were enjoyed and consumed by Native Americans as far back as the 1500s.

They were called crane berries by Dutch and German settlers because their beautiful flowers resembled the head of a crane. 

A common misconception is that cranberries grow in water. They do not; they grow in bogs and marshes. Cranberries bounce and float in water because of the small pockets of air inside them.

The small fruit had many uses, including baking, dying fabric, curing meat, and healing wounds. American sailors also used it back in the day to help prevent scurvy.

Cranberries are a good source of many vitamins. The fruits have 90% water and are low in sodium, and do not contain any cholesterol.

It takes around 200 cranberries to make just one can of cranberry sauce.

How should you feed Cranberries to your dog?

Beagle dog excited for the cranberry treats
Hungry Beagle dog excited for the cranberry treats – Image source

Now that we know all the benefits of cranberries, how can pet parents add cranberries to their dog’s diet? 

There are many different ways dog owners can feed your doggo cranberries. You can give them fresh cranberries, frozen, dried, or freeze-dried, and juice.

You’ll want to stay away from cranberry sauce since it’s high in sugar and only give unsweetened cranberry juice to your pup.

Whole, raw cranberries are edible but will be tough to digest. So, it may be a good idea to puree it with any added sugar. You can also cook it with a bit of water.

You can also feed your doggo frozen cranberries as a cool, quick dog treat. Similar to the whole fresh cranberries, you can puree the frozen fruit and create ice cream. 

Dried cranberries are good for your pooch, as long as it’s unsweetened with no added sugar. 

Here’s how you can make dried cranberries without sugar:

They may also be added in trail mix, so be sure to give your pup only the dried cranberries and watch out for sneaky raisins. Those are toxic to dogs.

Freeze-dried cranberries are harder to come by, but they’re okay for your doggo as long as you find ones that have no added sweeteners. However, it’s possible your dog can get allergies to this type of cranberry.

Cranberry supplements and cranberry extract are good to give your dog to help prevent UTIs. Check the ingredients and make sure there are no added fillers or extra ingredients that could harm your pup.

Since cranberries are tart, your pup might prefer it as a topper in their dog food.

Always check with your vet before adding anything to your dog’s food.

How many cranberries can a dog eat?

Your dog can have a few cranberries or small quantities a day. However, if your pooch is a small dog, you should only give them a piece or two. If they are medium and large-sized, you can feed them a few more.

As always, there are cautions to keep in mind. Large amounts of cranberries can cause an upset stomach and may have awful consequences on your dog’s health.

When are Cranberries harmful to dogs?

Delicious and nutritious cranberries
Fresh cranberries with grapes

Cranberries are highly acidic, affecting your pup’s bladder health, and can form calcium oxalate stones, which are kidney stones.

This fruit may also interfere with anticoagulant drugs and increase bleeding risk.

Finally, watch out for too much sugar. Always be sure to get unsweetened cranberries.

As we mentioned before, large amounts of cranberries can make your dog sick. This is why you should have caution when feeding this tart fruit to your pup.

Can dogs eat cranberries that have been mixed with grapes, grape juice, or raisins?

You should stay away from these mixed bags. Grapes, grape juice, and raisins are toxic to dogs, and you don’t want to mistake a raisin for dried cranberry accidentally.

What are good Cranberry serving ideas for dogs?

Dogs can drink cranberry juice, which is low in calories and contains vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. However, it’s high in sugar. 

The juice can benefit your pup through many nutrients and antioxidants, but it can also be dangerous. The sugars and acidity can cause gastrointestinal diseases.

Cranberry sauce is also high in sugar, even jellied sauce. So, if you want to feed your pup a little at Thanksgiving, make sure it’s unsweetened and only a little bit.

Yogurt-covered cranberries can be tricky. While plain yogurt is a good treat once in a while, whole cranberries can be tough to chew and hard on the digestive system. Pureeing is the better way to go.

Homemade cranberry treat ideas for dogs

Luckily, you can make your homemade cranberry treat for your pooch, such as cranberry coconut shortbread treats for dogs.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • ⅓ dried unsweetened cranberries
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • one egg

To prepare:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, toast the dried coconut for about 5-10 minutes or until golden. 
  3. Cream the coconut oil for about two minutes or until fluffy.
  4. Add the baking powder and the flours and continue mixing on low. 
  5. Add the egg and vanilla next. 
  6. Once the dough is formed, mix in the toasted coconuts and dried cranberries until well combined.
  7. Roll out the dough about a quarter of an inch thick and cut it into shapes. 
  8. Bake for about 18 minutes or until it browns around the edges. 
  9. Let it cool and serve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Portrait of a confused dog
Image source

Are there available cranberry food and supplements for canines?

Yes, you’ll be able to find these supplements for your pup at a local pet store or pharmacy. Your vet may even sell them.

Avoid supplements with fillers and avoid chews as these will have inactive ingredients.

The dosage will depend on the dog breed and weight, so consult with your vet first.

What are good alternatives to cranberries for dogs?

If you’re thinking of feeding your dog other small berries, then you can certainly consider feeding your doggo blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries.

What are some helpful tips for buying cranberries?

When looking for healthy cranberries, be sure to look at the quality. Fresh berries will be a deep red color and firm to the touch.

Also, buy organic cranberries as they will be free of pesticides.

Check with your vet before feeding your dog cranberries

Veterinarian taking notes after checking up the dog
A happy Golden Retriever dog being checked up

There are many benefits to this small fruit, but there are also plenty of cautions to consider.

Always give your furry friend a tasty snack they’ll enjoy that will be good for them too.

Not every dog food or human food is right for all dogs. So, consult with your veterinarian before feeding your pup anything new, such as cranberries.

Have you given your doggo cranberries before? How did they like it? Let us know in the comments below!

Further reading: what other fruits can dogs eat?

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