When it comes to giving dogs food items from the table, always start by asking, “Is this safe to give my dog?” With the holiday season just ending, many dog owners have been asking the question Can dogs eat cranberries? In this particular case, as far as cranberries are concerned, the answer is Yes, in moderation. Like many foods people feed their dogs, cranberries are a suitable treat for your pet. Just be sure you are able to monitor them afterwards. Lastly, makes sure that you take precaution to ensure you know exactly what is in the cranberries and dried cranberries you’re giving your pup.
Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?
The short answer here is Yes. In small amounts, fresh cranberries and dried cranberries are safe treats to give your dog. But before you head off to give your pooch a handful of these red, acidic berries, try giving them a single berry or two to see if they have the taste for it. After all, these small berries are very tart, and they may not appeal to your dog’s taste buds!
Are Cranberries Safe for Dogs?
Be aware of what type of cranberries you’re giving your canine. Always check the ingredients list to see if there are other added ingredients. Cranberry in canned and juice forms usually include a lot of sugar, to counteract the tartness of the fruit. In the case of dogs, there are a lot of other people foods that can make them really sick, so be vigilant in checking the labels. Grape juice and raisins are commonly added or come with dried cranberries, and grapes and raisins are incredibly toxic for dogs.1 Keep in mind, too, that if you’re considering adding a splash of cranberry juice to your dog’s food, many cranberry juices are supplemented with grape juice; again, a big no-no for your pup’s diet.
Do Cranberries Provide Any Health Benefits?
When given to dogs in moderation, there are some minor health benefits that your dog receives from eating cranberries. Raw cranberries are an excellent source of antioxidants since they contain high levels of ascorbic acid and Vitamin C.2 Just like in humans, vitamin C works to boost the immune system of dogs and helps fight off infection.3
If your pet is feeling ill and your veterinarian recommends adding some Vitamin C to their diet, small treats of cranberries can be a nice addition to your dog’s diet, but keep in mind that they should not replace normal Vitamin C supplements recommended by your vet.
In addition to the immune boost cranberries can provide, they are also common sources of preventing or relieving symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTI) in humans.4 Cranberry can prevent certain strains of bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder, but won’t necessarily fix a urinary tract infection. Currently, there is still not enough scientific evidence proving the same benefits in dogs, but one study does show that when dogs with a history of urinary tract infections were given cranberry extract, fewer bacteria stuck around. Even so, cranberry isn’t a reliable treatment, so it’s always recommend that you consult with your veterinarian to see if adding some cranberry to your dog’s diet can help in the case of a urinary tract infection. When in doubt, stick with proven medical solutions until you have time to talk to your vet.
What About Cranberry Sauce?
Similar to regular or dried cranberries, always check the ingredients list before giving cranberry sauce to your pet. Many cranberry sauces are supplemented with grape juice, which is toxic to dogs.
Additionally, many prepared cranberry sauces (even homemade recipes) call for large amounts of sugar.
And while sugar in general should be avoided with your dog, too much sugar can cause your dog to have an upset stomach, which might result in vomiting or diarrhea. Be especially careful if the cranberry sauce in question is “sugar free:” many sugar free products contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be lethal if ingested by dogs, because it may decrease blood glucose levels and result in hypoglycemia.5
Can Dogs Eat Cranberries: Great Treats in Moderation
If your dog doesn’t mind the tartness of cranberries, chances are good that your pooch will enjoy this natural treat from time to time. With many potential health benefits, cranberries and dried cranberries are readily available in most grocery stores. As with any human food, be sure to check the ingredients list of any item before giving it to your pet, and always consult with your veterinarian prior to letting your dog eat any food not specifically designed for dogs. By talking to your vet and being proactive, you can feel good knowing that your dog is enjoying a special treat and receiving potential health benefits.
For more health tips for your pet, keep reading here: