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Can Dogs Eat Cranberry Sauce? Is Cranberry Sauce Safe for Dogs?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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If you wonder if your dog can eat cranberry sauce, the short answer is yes, but there are some concerns about feeding them too much, which we’ll go over now. Cranberry sauce is a common side dish, especially around the holidays, and many people might want to give a little to their pet. Join us while we look at the benefits and concerns of feeding this tangy treat to your pet.

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Is Cranberry Sauce Bad for My Dog?

Cranberry Sauce in a Jar
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Many commercial brands of cranberry sauce are very high in sugar. Sugar can be harmful to dogs because it can lead to weight gain. Dog obesity is a major concern in America, with more than 40% of dogs over five affected. Obesity can shorten your dog’s lifespan and lead to many diseases, including cancer, osteoarthritis, bladder stones, diabetes, and more. Large amounts of sugar can also lead to tooth decay and dental disease, so it’s best to avoid it when possible.


Cranberries contain copper, which can be harmful to some dogs with liver disease. An excessive copper builds up in the liver can cause the disease, and some dog breeds, including the Labrador and Dalmation, are especially prone. Therefore, dogs with any liver problem should not eat cranberry sauce.

Other Ingredients

While most cranberry sauces only contain cranberries, sugar, and pectin, which is the primary ingredient in Jell-O, some brands can contain additional ingredients, like grapes, raisins, and currents. These additives are not good for your pet and can cause gastrointestinal distress, dehydration, tremors, and acute kidney failure. We recommend reading the ingredients before purchase to make sure there are no harmful ingredients.

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Is Cranberry Sauce Good for My Dog?


Cranberries, like most fruits and vegetables, contain fiber. Fiber can help regulate your dog’s digestive system and reduce constipation and diarrhea frequency by adding more bulk to the stool, and liquid to the intestines. Fiber will also help your pet feel full longer, reducing the frequency of eating and helping to maintain a good weight.

Low Calories

Plain cranberries are very low in calories and make a healthy snack. Unfortunately, most sauces add plenty of sugar, and we don’t recommend purchasing a sugar-free brand because they usually substitute harmful chemicals that can be even more dangerous.

Close up of beautiful dog eating from the bowl
Image credit: dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock


Cranberry sauce will provide your dog with plenty of carbohydrates that they will turn into energy.

Vitamin C

There is also plenty of Vitamin C in cranberry sauce. Vitamin C is helpful to dogs in many of the same ways it helps humans. It can help prevent respiratory illness, bacterial infections, and illness. Vitamin C can also help prevent cancer and will help boost the immune system. It’s also a natural antihistamine that can reduce the effects of seasonal allergies.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant in cranberry sauce that is essential to your dog’s diet. It helps boost the immune system and removes free radicals that can damage cell walls.

Vitamin K1

Vitamin K1 helps with blood clotting. It’s essential for healing wounds, and many doctors prescribe it to dogs with bleeding disorders often caused by liver failure. Veterinarians also use it to treat dogs that have ingested rat poison.


Manganese is an essential element that allows for the proper use of proteins and carbohydrates. It also helps with the production of fatty acids and many other processes in the body. Excessive phosphorus and calcium in the diet can prevent your dog from absorbing manganese completely.

Cranberry Sauce in a bowl
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere

Do Cranberries Help With a Urinary Tract Infection?

A long-standing urban legend is that cranberries can help clear up and prevent urinary tract infections and help with bladder and kidney stones and discomfort. However, scientists need to run many more studies need to obtain a definitive answer, so most experts recommend using cranberries as a supplement only and advise owners to continue using any prescribed medication.

How Can I Feed My Dog Cranberry Sauce?

We recommend feeding your dog whole cranberries instead of sauce when possible. If your dog insists on eating the sauce, we recommend purchasing a brand that only contains cranberries, sugar, and pectin. A tablespoon per day should be more than enough but remember to introduce new foods slowly to make sure your dog can tolerate them without vomiting or diarrhea occurring.

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We hope you have enjoyed our in-depth look at the safety of providing this holiday food to your pet and found the answers to any questions you had. If your dog eats some without you looking, it will be fine, and it can also be beneficial to your pet in small amounts as long as there are no extra ingredients. If you have learned something new and feel a little more at ease, please share this guide to feeding your pet cranberry sauce on Facebook and Twitter.

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