Along with being a Thanksgiving staple, cranberries are known for being a superfood when it comes to human health, thanks to their high level of nutrients and antioxidants. But can your furry best friend have this delicious fruit?
Can My Dog Eat Cranberries?
It's always better to lean on the side of caution when introducing new foods to your dog's diet; feeding potentially toxic foods to our pets simply isn't worth it. Luckily, cranberries are safe for dogs to eat. In fact, they posses several nutritional benefits for dogs as well as humans: they support immune system health, cognitive function, are anti-inflammatory, and keep allergies and skin problems at bay. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Cranberries also help to lower the risk of the disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, and cancer.
Cranberries and UTIs
For many of us, a UTI is often simply solved by a quick trip to the grocery store for some cranberry juice. This is because cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs) which prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Similarly, cranberries can help to prevent canine UTIs by balancing bladder PH levels and helping the bladder function properly.
Some common canine UTI symptoms to look for include:
- starting and stopping frequently while urinating
- whimpering in pain, or refusing to urinate altogether
- licking the urinary opening
- dribbling urine, which could be a sign that your dog wasn’t able to completely empty his bladder outside
- abnormal pee patterns, like urinating more frequently or in strange places around the house
- bloody or cloudy urine
- fever, which could indicate that the UTI has spread to other areas
While regular cranberry consumption can help to prevent bladder issues, it should be noted that cranberries should not be used as an alternative to medical treatment (for humans and dogs alike). Once a UTI occurs, the best route is to talk to a medical professional—in this case, the vet—who will prescribe the proper medication and antibiotics to rid your furry friend of his UTI. My dog Bella, had a UTI a few years ago and it was a very scary sight to see blood in her urine. She was also having trouble urinating and just wasn't feeling well overall. So, if you notice any of these symptoms, don't be hesitate to contact your vet ASAP!
Can Cranberries Cause Problems for My Dog?
Alcohol and large amounts of sugar can also be dangerous for your dog, so avoid sharing any prepared cranberry dishes with your dog, including cranberry juice.
Cranberries should be fed to your pup in moderation (yes, even the plain ones). As with any other treat, too much could result in an upset stomach. Veterinarians advise against giving large amounts of cranberries to your dog on a regular basis, as too much could lead to the development of calcium oxalate stones (rock-like mineral formations) in his bladder due to their high level of acidity. If your pooch is especially susceptible to bladder or kidney stones, it may be best to if cranberries are an occasional treat rather than a regular part of his diet.
It’s never a bad idea to consult with your vet before introducing new foods into your pup’s diet. Every dog is different, and there’s no “one size fits all” formula for how to feed cranberries to your pup.
Michael | Googipet CoFounder