You already know that cranberries are great for you — in fact, they’re commonly referred to as a “superfood.” But can you share a few with your dog? The answer to that is yes, you can feed your dog cranberries without fear. In fact, not only are they safe for dogs to eat, they’re just as fantastic for them as they are for you.
Are Cranberries Safe for Dogs?
There’s a reason that you’ll see cranberries in so many high-end dog foods: They’re one of the healthiest things that your dog can eat.
They’re loaded with antioxidants; in fact, out of 20 common fruits, cranberries boast the highest levels of phenols, which can do everything from preventing cancer to slowing down aging.
Cranberries are fantastic for your pup’s gut health. They promote the growth of healthy bacteria, which can help your dog fight off disease, digest their food more efficiently, and even boost their mood. They protect against intestinal inflammation, which can lead to a whole host of afflictions.
Dogs with frequent urinary tract infections should definitely be given cranberries, as they can help reduce their recurrence. This not only provides relief, but it can also limit the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Honestly, there are too many health benefits to cranberries to list them all here. Suffice it to say, these berries are excellent for your dog, so you should try to work them into your pup’s diet if at all possible.
Are There Any Downsides to Feeding My Dog Cranberries?
There are a few, yes. Not all forms are equally suitable for your pooch. Some, like cranberry sauces, can be loaded with sugar, which is something that your dog should eat sparingly, if at all.
Even plain cranberries should only be fed in moderation, as they can give your dog an upset stomach if they eat too many. All the gut health benefits go out the window if your dog is experiencing a bad case of diarrhea because you stuffed them full of cranberries.
These berries are extremely acidic as well. If you feed your dog too many, all that acid can build up, causing kidney stones. That’s extremely painful for your dog and expensive for you, so you want to avoid that outcome if at all possible.
Another thing to watch out for is what else might be in the cranberries you’re feeding your mutt. They can sometimes be mixed with raisins, which are deadly for dogs, so check the ingredients label before you give Fido a handful.
While you’re reading the label, check to make sure that there aren’t any artificial sweeteners like xylitol inside either. Xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs. It’s not likely to be in raw or dried cranberries, but it may be present in cranberry-flavored items or juices. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
How Can I Convince My Dog to Eat More Cranberries?
As mentioned above, many high-end dog kibbles already have cranberries mixed in with the other ingredients, so it may be as simple as switching your dog to a better food. If you can’t find one that your pup will eat or that will fit your budget, though, there are other things you can do to get your mutt munching on cranberries.
Some dogs love the taste of these fruits, so you might get away with just offering your pooch a few of them or mixing them in with their kibble. That’s certainly the easiest way to do it.
If your dog turns their nose up at them, it’s going to be hard to change their minds. Cranberries have a noticeable flavor, so you’re going to have your work cut out for you sneaking them past your pup.
Again, you should probably just look for a kibble that they’ll eat.
What’s the Verdict? Are Cranberries Safe for Dogs?
Yes, cranberries are safe for dogs. Not only are they safe, in fact, but they’re incredibly healthy, as they’re packed with antioxidants that can protect your dog from cancer, urinary tract infections, and digestive issues.
Don’t just pour them down your pup’s throat, though. They’re best eaten in moderation, or else you run the risk of kidney stones or upset stomach.
All in all, cranberries are a great treat for your pup. As a matter of fact, they’re incredible for humans too, so go ahead and have a few yourself (unless they’re already mixed in with your dog’s kibble, of course).