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Can Dogs Drink Cranberry Juice? Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Cranberries are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and other much-needed nutrients. They are super tasty, and they are considered to be a superfood for us humans. There are many reasons why we drink cranberry juice, but what about Fido?

The short answer is that yes, he can eat cranberries, and there are many reasons why he should. But you should not allow your dog to drink cranberry juice.

This short but sweet guide will take you through everything you need to know about why he shouldn’t drink cranberry juice and the consequences of drinking it, as well as the alternatives that could benefit him and what to do if he drinks too much of it.

So, whether it’s Thanksgiving time or a urinary tract infection that’s got you wondering whether dogs can drink cranberry juice, we’ll answer all your questions and more.

Divider 1Why Cranberry Juice Is Bad for Dogs

cranberry juice
Image Credit: Shirley810, Pixabay

It’s worth noting here that cranberries (in moderation) are safe and healthy for dogs, but it’s the juice part that isn’t.

Cranberries themselves are made of 90% water, and the rest is carbohydrates and fiber. They also contain vitamins C, E, and K1, as well as manganese and copper, which are all essential for a healthy diet.

Cranberry juice seems like an easy way to get all that goodness into Fido’s system, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, cranberry juice is bad for dogs for several reasons.

Firstly, ready-made cranberry juice often includes the juice of other fruits and berries, some of which are incredibly toxic to dogs. Grapes, for example, are often used in cranberry juice because they are sweet and cheap. Grapes and raisins are super poisonous and can lead to kidney failure and death.

Secondly, cranberry juice is packed full of sugar. Not only natural sugar from the fruits but also added sugar to make the bitter cranberries taste sweeter. And again, high doses of sugar are toxic to dogs and can lead to other health concerns such as diabetes. It may also contain xylitol, which is a low-calorie sweetener that can cause liver failure in our four-legged besties.

Thirdly, Veterinarian, Dr. Marie Haynes, warns that too many cranberries can lead to calcium oxalate stones in Fido’s bladder. A few cranberries themselves couldn’t lead to this, but several big gulps of cranberry juice every day could.

So, as you can see, cranberry juice is out of the question for Fido.Divider 4

Why Would Owners Feed Cranberry Juice to Their Dog?

Cranberry juice is a popular home remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs) for us humans. As many as 14% of dogs are affected by UTIs in their lifetime, and many dog owners find themselves wondering if it could benefit their dogs too.

Cranberry juice is thought to lower the acidity of urine in the bladder, which reduces discomfort. But this is a myth. In fact, cranberry juice contains substances that prevent Escherichia coli from attaching itself to the urinary system in their body. And it is this that causes the discomfort.

Unfortunately, not all UTIs are caused by this bacteria, so cranberries could be useless in fighting your dog’s UTI. This is why it is always important to discuss your dog’s individual needs and find a suitable remedy for him, with your vet’s advice.

Sick dog on pillow
Image Credit: PickPik

Cranberry Juice Alternatives

If your pooch is suffering from UTIs, or you just fancy trying cranberries as a healthy treat, here are the alternatives to cranberry juice.

Whole Cranberries

Many high-quality kibbles often list cranberries in their recipes, so you can be sure that cranberries are safe for dogs to eat. A small handful of cranberries as a treat every now and then is a safe treat for dogs. And this way, he’ll get the health benefits mentioned above.

Cranberry Tablets

Cranberry tablets are a safer way to treat UTIs because they contain all the goodness and none of the harmful ingredients that juice does.

But, just because they are readily available on the internet to buy doesn’t mean that they are right for your dog. Always discuss supplements with your vet to make sure that they will benefit your pooch.

Image Credit: Pxhere

Signs of Poisoning

If your dog has accidentally come across your glass full of pre-packaged cranberry juice and had a sip, he’s likely going to have a bad tummy for the next 24 to 48 hours. If he has had more than just a mouthful, or you know that the juice contains grape or xylitol ingredients, you need to contact your vet straight away.

Here are some of the main signs of poisoning in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Excessive thirst/urination
  • Pale gums

Divider 3The Wrap Up

What you should take from this is that your dog should never drink cranberry juice. Do everything that you can to keep these items out of his reach.

A handful of cranberries as a treat is perfectly fine for Fido. They are incredibly nutritious, but be sure to feed them in moderation.

If you are looking at cranberry juice as a remedy for a UTI, discuss this with your vet beforehand. Not only might it not help Fido at all, but you could do further damage.

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Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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