Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

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Cranberries are among the usual things we serve during Thanksgiving Day. One way or another, your pet might have come across these berries. If you also personally like them, it’s possible that your dog has already tasted them before. We know certain berries are good for dogs.

Still, there are a few berries that we cannot share with our pets because of safety concerns. So do cranberries belong in the safe type of berries for Fido? Read this when you are tempted to share these bright red and tart berries with your pooch.

Cranberries: Dog-Friendly or Not?

In case your dog has gobbled down a few pieces of those berries, keep calm because there is nothing in them that will cause poisoning in dogs. Cranberries are definitely safe for our furry little friends. However, it is normal for a dog to turn up his nose at cranberries. They have a slightly bitter taste, that’s why we always add some sugar when we incorporate them into dishes.

They have a slightly pungent taste so your dog may not find them inviting. The sweet variety of cranberries is not yet readily available. As of 2015, breeders are still experimenting in producing the “Sweeties” or the mildly sweet varieties of cranberries.

With regard to this fruit’s taste, there is a big possibility that your dog will resist it the next time he smelled or tasted it in his food. If your dog hates it, accept that and just offer him other safer fruits. Apples, bananas, and berries are the fruits most dogs love.

The Risk in Feeding Cranberries to Canines

In large amounts, cranberries can create calcium oxalate stones in your dog’s bladder. These stones are actually minerals that differ in size. Your pet could have stones as small as sand and some as large as gravel. Bladder stones normally occur in canines with diets that contribute to the high acidity of the urine.

Bloody urine is a common indication that a dog has calcium oxalate bladder stones. If the bladder walls are already inflamed, your pet could suffer from dysuria or painful urination. In such case, it’s important to limit Fido’s cranberry portion.

Are Dried Cranberries Safe for Dogs?

Like their fresh counterpart, the dried versions of these berries will be okay for dogs. But take note that you should only give them in small amounts. Otherwise, your pet will be sick. Consuming too many of these berries has been associated with a mild gastrointestinal upset. Your pet could suffer from diarrhea if he accidentally ate excessive amounts of these berries.

Be cautious when giving him dried cranberries, though, as there are snacks that are mixed with other dried fruits, including raisin. As most of us already know, raisins are a big no-no for canines as they can be poisonous to them. In fact, even a small amount of raisins can cause problems in dogs especially in small breeds.

How About Cranberry Juice?

The juice of cranberries is not something you can safely share with your buddy. Cranberry juice is subject to a high sugar content. A cup of unsweetened cranberry juice has as much as 31 grams of sugar. While there are organic brands that only use pure cranberry, there a few that contain more sugar than other carbonated beverages like soda.

Like the juice, the cranberry sauce which we often use as syrup for waffles and pancakes may also contain high amounts of sugar. The sugar content of this type of food can cause stomach problems in dogs especially if they consumed a large quantity. Avoid giving this to your pet at all costs.

A small amount of cranberry sauce on your dog’s pancake would surely not hurt. But make sure you checked if it does not contain anything that could leave your pup with an upset stomach. Make it a habit to check the labels mostly when buying canned cranberry sauce. Some of the brands out there may contain ingredients that are not friendly to dogs.

Consider the fact that there are recipes of cranberry sauce that uses rum as an ingredient. Rum, just like any other alcoholic beverage, should not be given to pets even in the slightest amount. They are considered toxic to dogs and could put your pet’s life at risk.

What Are the Benefits of Cranberry to Dogs?

When fed in moderate amounts, your dog could possibly gain from the health benefits of cranberry. Here are a few good reasons why it’s a wholesome addition to your pet’s diet:

  • It is an anti-inflammatory. Because of its ability to prevent inflammation, it is a very healthy option if you are looking for foods that can prevent many types of inflammatory diseases in dogs.
  • It can support a healthy digestion. Cranberries also come with digestive tract benefits, which make them a wholesome choice for Fido’s gut. It is capable of balancing the bacteria in the digestive system.
  • It is known for its anti-cancer properties. One of the many good things about cranberries is that they contain Quercetin. These substances are potent enough to stop the growth of cancer cells in the body.
  • Cranberries improve eye health. These berries are packed with vitamins and minerals that reduce the symptoms associated with macular degeneration. They also come with nutrients that are known to prevent the development of cataracts.
  • They are great for Fido’s dental health and can even freshen up his breath. According to studies, cranberries are loaded with proteins that can inhibit the build-up of acid in the teeth. This serves as the mouth’s protection from bacteria your dog is exposed to.
  • They are good for the brain, being among the berries that can help protect the brain against neurological damage. This can be a nice treat for senior dogs because they are the ones more prone to seizures and brain tumors.
  • These berries are a great source of antioxidants. Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, which are considered more powerful antioxidants than Vitamins C and E. These antioxidants are proven effective in preventing cancer and other diseases in humans. There is no proof that it will do the same for dogs because there is no evidence that pertains to it but we can’t deny that there is a possibility.
  • They may help canines with urinary tract issues. As with people, pets are also prone to developing urinary tract infections or UTI. Cranberries are a popular staple among UTI patients. This is because these berries are capable of making the urine more acidic, which keeps E.coli bacteria at bay. Aside from that, cranberries also have proanthocyanidins that serve as a barrier to certain bacteria that may enter the urinary tract.

Cranberry Recipe for Dogs

If your pet does not like cranberries but you want to offer him some because of their many health benefits, you can incorporate some in his food. Here is a dog-friendly recipe you can do with cranberries:

Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Dog Cookies

  1. In a blender, pulse a piece of fresh ginger and half a cup of water until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add one cup of fresh cranberries into the mixture. Pulse a bit more until you see only small pieces of berry.
  3. In a mixer, pour the ginger and cranberry mixture then add a cup of pumpkin puree.
  4. Put in half a cup of melted coconut oil and around 1/4 cup of flax seed previously combined with half a cup of warm water.
  5. If you have cinnamon, you can also add around 2 teaspoons into the mixture. Pulse until everything is well-combined.
  6. Put 4 cups of rolled oats into the mixture. Stir nicely before adding 2 cups of whole wheat flour then 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Combine well.
  7. Gradually add 2 cups of brown rice flour while stirring the mixture. It should have a thick consistency.
  8. Roll out the dough in a lightly floured surface.
  9. Cut using cookie cutter of your choice.
  10. Place on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.

Conclusion

As a rule in feeding anything to dogs, practice moderation to prevent problems such as gastrointestinal upset. If this is the first time your dog tries cranberries, observe how he reacts to them. Any new food in their diet can cause dogs to display symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. If anything like this occurred, don’t give him cranberries again.

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