Cranberries are surely our favorite fruit and hence make the best part of Thanksgiving celebrations. We humans consume cranberries as a sauce, juices, and dried forms for adding further taste to casseroles and desserts. For your information, the fruit belongs to North America is usually cultivated over an area of 40,000 acres in the northern United States as well as Canada.
Cranberries are often called a superfood because of the high antioxidant ratio and beneficial nutrients. Due to this high nutrition, cranberries are healthy to consume. High nutritional value is not the only benefits of Cranberries; rather, these are also low in calories. A half cup of cranberries contain only 25 calories. Isn’t is great? With this, consumption of this superfood is associated with a decrease in urinary tract infections, prevention of cancer, an improvement in the immune system, and a decrease in blood pressure. Cranberries are saturated with vitamin C, vitamin A, and Vitamin K. They also contain proanthocyanidins, which are antioxidants and can help in the prevention of many diseases and cancers.
Is cranberry safe for dogs to eat?
The answer to the question is YES. Cranberries for dogs are safe to use and healthy to consume; but moderation is the key. If used in excess, this superfood might become toxic for your buddy.
Giving excessive amount of cranberries to your dog may result in stomach upset. Also avoid giving prepared cranberry dishes and juices to your dogs as they may contain other foods like sugar, alcohol, raisins and grapes, which are potentially toxic to dogs.
Why is Cranberry Good for my dog?
As said earlier, Cranberries are high in nutrition and its primary ingredients include dietary fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6.
The vitamin C present in cranberries is a potent natural antioxidant. It is involved in reducing the damage caused by free radicals. It also helps in the absorption of iron from food, boosting the immune system, and making collagen for the healing of wounds.
In dogs, cranberries help in boosting the immune system and decreasing inflammation. Since, they are high in vitamins, fiber, and potassium, and it has low calories, they make a great snack for dogs. According to veterinarians most benefits of cranberries are associated with the prevention of urinary tract infections. However, there are other health benefits too such as better oral health, better eyesight, and many more. See the details below:
What are the benefits of cranberry for dogs?
Cranberries pose many incredible health benefits for dogs. These include:
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) prevention
- Prevent Plaque Build-Up on Your Dog Teeth
- Anti-Oxidant for your dogs
- Brain’s Health
- Improve Dog’s Eyes Sight
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Stomach Ulcers
1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) prevention
Dogs and cats are also prone to infections in the kidney, bladder, and urinary tract. It is a prevalent condition caused due to poor diet, especially in kibble dry food. These infections can be prevented with the use of cranberries. As they say, precaution is better than cure; it is good to avoid infections because once they happen, the dog is most likely to get the infection again. So, if your dog is showing any sign of pain or inflammation during urination, take a note and start giving them cranberries, a perfect remedy.
Cranberries are known to be one of the most common natural prevention of urinary tract infections and struvite stones. This fruit looks very small, but despite its size, it actually is very beneficial for the health of your dogs if fed in a proper dosage. You can feed your dog with cranberries as a daily supplement for overall improvement in health. Phytochemicals present in cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking on the walls of the urinary tract, thus, helping in preventing urinary tract infections.
When the dog urinates, this free-floating bacteria get flushed out of the body. It is due to the anti-microbial properties of cranberries that they prevent UTIs. If in dogs, urinary tract infections persist, it may lead to the development of struvite stones. Cranberries also reduce the chances of struvite stones development.
Please take a note that cranberries can’t be used to cure a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) if it is already present in your dog or cat. They can be used as incredible supplemental therapy. Using cranberries daily will prevent future urinary tract infections or reinfections, and help your pet to stay healthy and happy.
2. Prevents plaque build-up on your dog’s teeth
Dental plaque is known to be the primary reason behind tooth decay. Dental plaque is actually the accumulation of bacteria growing on the surface of the dog’s teeth. This plaque usually results in dental diseases, teeth loss, reduced appetite, bacterial infections in the bloodstream, and infections in internal organs. To save dogs from having these problems, Cranberry is used as a prevention.The chemicals in cranberries, including flavonoids and polyphenols, help in the reduction of the chances of plaque development on teeth.
The phytochemicals present in cranberries help improve the oral health of dogs by reducing the production of acids and bacterial growth in the mouth. This also hinders the development of plaque on teeth.
3. Acts as anti-oxidant for your dogs
The high levels of antioxidants present in cranberries make this food a super savior. The basic anti-oxidants present in cranberries include polyphenols, which help in the regulation of gene product production in dogs. Many physiological and pathological processes are controlled in this system. Polyphenols fight with free radicals and keep them from developing into cancer, heart disease, or any other ailment.
4. Strengthens brain’s health
The phytochemicals present in cranberries are also linked to slowing down of age-related declines, including memory, balance, and coordination in dogs. Hence, it can be said that cranberries are essential for expanding physical activities and capabilities of dogs. They are linked with the proper healthy activity of a dog’s brain.
5. Improves dog’s eyesight
The same antioxidants having so many properties are also associated with beneficial effects on eyesight in dogs. They improve the dog’s vision and prevent many eye diseases, including macular degeneration. This prevents dogs from vision loss and blindness.
6. Precludes cardiovascular diseases
Again, Polyphenols and flavonoids present in cranberries are beneficial for the cardiovascular system and blood circulation in dogs. According to a research, these anti-oxidants help in relaxation and dilation of blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. This helps in the improvement of heart and cardiovascular functions.
7. Cuts down chances of stomach ulcer
Since cranberries are rich in dietary fibers, vitamin A, B1, B2 and vitamin C, and minerals, they are involved in the reduction in chances of ulcer development. A small dosage of cranberries provided regularly to dogs cuts down the chances of developing ulcer in the stomach. Ulcers are majorly caused due to poor and nutrition-less diet in dogs. Cranberries fulfill the needs of many nutrients required by the body and help in ulcer prevention.
How many cranberries should I give to my dog?
Always remember to feed your dog cranberries in moderation. Either you give raw, cooked or dried cranberries, they should not be over-dosed. You should totally avoid giving cranberry as a sauce or juice to dogs because these things might contain sugars or some other ingredients which are somehow harmful to dogs. Some dog food recipes also include cranberries due to their high nutrition. So if your dog food has cranberries in it, you might not need to give it separately. The amount of cranberry you give to your dog is exceptionally critical; because too much of a good thing is not too good. High doses of cranberry are associated with adverse effects on your dog.
Can a dog overdose on cranberry?
Yes. Feeding a large amount of cranberries to your dogs might cause stomach related problems. To avoid this kind of problems, better consult a veterinarian. If you want your dog to enjoy cranberries without any health-related issues, then you should give dosage moderately and per the advice of the Vet. Although, these are a superfood, cranberries pose severe risks for overeating. The overfeeding of cranberries sometimes leads to the development of calcium oxalate stones in the urinary bladder. So, instead of making it part of regular meals of dogs, give cranberries as a treat to dogs or spice up your treat with cranberries. There are some dog treats that are infused with cranberries, and you can use them. Cranberries as treats are perfect to be used daily without any fear of adverse effects on health.
How to give Cranberry to my dog?
Cranberries are used in different concentrations and formations for the dogs. Some of these dosage formations and concentration are discussed here.
1. Cranberry Extract
Cranberries can be given to dogs in the form of cranberry extracts. Different studies were conducted on giving cranberry extract to dogs. In a research, dogs with chronic urinary tract infections were given cranberry extract in small amounts for 60 days. It was observed that the dogs, who were given this extract, did not develop any signs of urinary tract infections. The urine of these dogs was analyzed, and it was revealed that the population of harmful bacteria in the urinary tract was deficient, thanks to cranberry extract. However, it should be noted that cranberry extract can be used as a prevention to urinary tract infections rather than a treatment. Before administration of any such extract to your dogs, you must always consult a veterinarian.
You could read our article “The Best Cranberry Supplement For Dogs Review” if you looking the best cranberry supplement in the amazon/online market.
We have discussed it earlier that cranberry juice contains sugars and sometimes grapes, which are not suitable for dogs. If you feed your dogs with sugars through cranberry juices, there is a chance of weight gain, heart diseases as well as diabetes. So never allow your dogs to take any grape or raisin related item as food.
If you are advised by the veterinarian to give cranberries to your dogs, the prescription would probably be for cranberry extract or supplements in the form of capsules or pills. Although fresh cranberries are very safe for consumption by dogs, they mostly do not like them. If you visit a local pet health store, you will be able to find many cranberry products. But, if you want your dog to start taking these supplements, advice from a vet is very necessary. Also, if you are going for cranberry supplementation, look for pills that come with no sugar and other toxic additives for dogs.
With these forms of Cranberries, there are two other forms that should be avoided:
1. Dried cranberries
You should not use dried cranberries for your dogs. The reason behind it is very simple, the dried cranberries have excessive sugars added to them during the dehydration process. Estimates suggest that a single serving of dried cranberries has around 20 grams of sugar, the same amount of sugar is available in a glass of soda. Remember that the saying “a little amount of sugar does not hurt” does not stand this is not true in the case of dogs. According to studies, it has been observed that dogs have a consistent blood sugar level when they are on a diet, which has a low glycemic index. So, a sugary diet is always a no for dogs for maintaining proper glucose levels.
2. Cranberry Sauce
Just as dried Cranberries, Cranberry sauce is not made for your pups. This sauce not only contains sugar not required by dogs but also some food additives and ingredients that are rather toxic for dogs.
It is known that cranberry sauce or mixed berry concoction or cranberry juice cocktails constitute grapes, grape juice, or raising. All of these three ingredients are highly toxic to dogs and pups.
The source for grape toxicity has been well researched, and it is observed that there is a chemical in the flesh of the grape, which is harmful to canines. Although, this chemical is still a mystery, in any case, you do not need to give grapes or cranberry sauce to your pups. Do not take a risk, because prevention is always better than cure.
Safety measures to avoid Risks of Cranberry
Every good thing has some cons, and the same is the case with cranberries. This superfood is highly acidic. If your dog consumes a large number of cranberries, the pH of his urine might lower and start to change. The pH of the urine of a healthy dog is neutral or is very low acidic from 6.5 to 7.0. If the pH of urine lowers, and the urine becomes acidic, urinary calculi or bladder or kidney stones can grow quickly. Stones are formed due to the presence of calcium oxalate. Small grains of calcium oxalate and pieces of sand combine and form hard rocks like formations. Now, when the dog tries to urinate, stones might get mobile and obstruct the urethra, leading to severe problems that may require a surgery or become fatal too. So remember to always stick to small doses that are good to go. And before administering any cranberries, get recommendations from the vet. He can also help you in deciding the proper cranberry dose for your dog.