Can Your Dog Eat Cranberries This Holiday Season?

Should you share cranberries with your dog?

Ah, the humble cranberry - commonly called a superfood, this tart, penny-sized fruit contains large amounts of nutrients and antioxidants. Also being a rich source of vital vitamins and minerals (think Vitamin C, E, and Vitamin K1), these nutrient-dense berries tout all sorts of health benefits for humans, including preventing specific types of cancer, lowering blood pressure, improving eyesight and heart health (bye-bye heart disease!), and most commonly known, cranberries can lower the risk of urinary tract infections, or UTIs. And now that it's Fall, we just can't get enough of the versatile and popular cranberry.

But is it safe to feed cranberries to your furry best friend? Read on to get the 411 on everything cranberries and dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

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The short answer is yes. You can feed your dog cranberries. But that doesn't mean you should make this tart treat a regular appearance in your dog's diet. As with most human foods, only feed in moderation; large amounts of cranberries for your pup can lead to an upset stomach and other risks, too. (Trust us, no one wants that!) Pups can have cranberries, fresh to dried, but keep them away from the trail mix. Trail mix tends to have many other ingredients that are harmful to your pup, like raisins. Also, due to their size, small dogs may have a hard time eating the treat.

So, giving them as dog treats here and there is the way to go, folks - you and your pooch will thank you.

But Are Cranberries Safe for Dogs?

As we all know, the cranberry is a versatile little fruit - from cranberry juice to the cranberry sauce next to your Thanksgiving turkey, cranberries are a popular addition to the dining table. However, while it is said that cranberries are non-toxic for your four-legged friend, please be aware: not all types of cranberries are safe for your pooch - only fresh cranberries/raw cranberries, dried cranberries, and plainly-cooked cranberries are safe for your dog to eat.

Let us stress again: only in small quantities. Avoid cranberry juice and cranberry sauce for your furry friend, as they are loaded with added sugars and thus high in sugar content and should not be included in your dog's food. Also, many sauces contain sweeteners like xylitol which are toxic to your dog. Pro-tip for dog owners: look carefully as often cranberry dishes and products are mixed with grape juice and raisins, which are highly detrimental to your dog's health. If you can find organic unsweetened cranberry juice or cranberry extract, you can add that intermittently into your pup's diet.

Are There Any Benefits of Cranberries for Dogs?

Despite all the warning signs, small quantities of the tart treat can indeed be beneficial in dog food. (Try mixing one or two in their kibble!) Yes, raw cranberries and dried cranberries in moderation can provide your pooch with some welcomed health benefits. Loaded with antioxidantslike Quercetin, cranberries can provide your four-legged friend with an improved immune system. It also contains essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, manganese, and the all-important vitamin C, which helps decrease inflammation and boost the immune system.

Cranberries also contain a rich source of potassium and dietary fiber, which helps lower the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases. Cranberries can also reduce tartar buildup. Cranberries also contain proanthocyanidins, which are known to slow the growth of e.coli in the gut. Some pet owners use cranberries to help their pup's bladder health, but eating too many cranberries can lead to calcium oxalate stones. Hence, it is best to stick with cranberry supplements if your pup has a UTI. Save cranberry treats for special occasions. There are also many other berries, like blueberries, that are great for your pup's health.

This article was originally published on October 20, 2020. 

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