Can Dogs Eat Cranberries and Dried Cranberries?

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Introduction

We often like to slip our doggos delicious human treats because we love them and want them to have a tasty surprise. While giving our pups yummy food is a way we show our love and comes from a good place, often, doing this can be dangerous. 

Dogs have different digestive systems than people, so the yummy human-treats we like can be harmful to them. It's important to know what treats are okay to share with your pup, how much of them is okay, and what foods you should absolutely stay away from.

How do cranberries fare on that list, you might wonder. While your dog should never eat a ton of people food, it's proven that cranberries (raw, dried or cooked) are an okay treat to give your pup in moderation. Stay away from cranberry sauce and cranberry juice, though. These can be high in sugar and other ingredients that might be harmful for your dog. 

Cranberries can be a delicious treat for your dog, and when given in moderation, can be a healthy, disease-fighting, immune system boosting snack. 
It is possible to feed your pooch too many cranberries, though, so it's important to know what signs to look out for that might indicate your doggo has snacked on too many cranberry treats. Check out our guide below to get a bit more familiar with why cranberries can be a healthy treat, how many your dog should eat, and how you can tell if your dog has had too many cranberries. 

Signs Your Dog Has Overindulged in the Cranberries

Overall, feeding your dog cranberries isn't a big deal. Because they're not toxic, they can't harm your pup in any extreme way. It is possible to feed your dog too many cranberries, though. 

Doing this can cause your dog some serious discomfort and some gastrointestinal episodes that aren't fun for them (or for you, the cleanup crew). To avoid this from the start, talk to your vet before adding cranberry treats into your dog's diet.

If you do choose to feed your pup cranberries, keep a look out for signs that might indicate they've had too many cranberries. For example, if your dog is having irregular bathroom issues, that's the first solid sign that something could be off. If they are struggling to make it outside to use the bathroom, have diarrhea, loose or bloody stool, or are vomiting, that's a good indicator you should take it easy on the cranberries. Look out for irregular behavior, laziness, weakness, and overall fatigue as well. 

Body Language

Here are a few body language cues that might imply your dog has had too many cranberries:
  • Panting
  • Low tail carriage
  • Drooling
  • Lack of focus
  • Dropped Ears
  • Head bobbing
  • Pupils dilated

Other Signs

A few more signs to look out for that might indicate your doggo ate too many tart treats are:
  • Vomiting
  • Bowel Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of Appetite

The History of Dogs and Cranberries

Cranberries have been a food staple for humans for many, many years. Because they grow in the water, it is unlikely that they were a major part of the diets of ancient wolves. However, berries that had washed ashore may have been consumed by the canines of times passed.

Also, humans that housed dogs in their communities may have also shared these small fruits as yummy treats - even in times past!

Cranberries are still a popular human health snack that lots of dog owners want to share with their pups - this is especially prevalent around the holidays. The good news is, in moderation, cranberries are okay! Because they're not toxic to dogs like similar fruits (grapes, raisins, etc), they can be given to your dog in small doses. They can even offer certain health benefits. 


The Science Behind Cranberries and Dogs

Cranberries are rich with antioxidants that help support your doggo's immune system and can even work to help decrease inflammation. Antioxidants play a major role in keeping people healthy, and they also help keep dogs healthy, too. They can help provide improvements in cognitive function and even help your dog alleviate allergies and skin problems. 

Cranberries are also low in calories and high in things like vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. With extra fiber, your dog can lower the risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases. Adding a few cranberries to your dog's diet can help reduce tartar and plaque buildup, fight bacteria, prevent cancer, and even help your dog's bladder health (though, there's not an overwhelming amount of research and evidence that supports bladder health in pups). 

Though cranberries aren't toxic, you still want to make sure you're monitoring the number of cranberries your dog consumes. If your pup eats too many, it's likely that the cranberries can upset their stomach and they get sick. 

Additionally, cranberries are highly acidic, and if your dog consumes too many acids, you could alter their urine and potentially give them kidney stones! Stick with your vet's recommendation, and be especially cautious if you have a tiny dog. Talk with your vet about how many cranberries your dog should be given and keep an eye on how often you feed them to your pup.

Training Your Dog to Not Overindulge

Dogs will be dogs, right? Even if you have your pup pretty well trained to stay away from treats and food unless you're giving it to them, they do have noses, and often, those noses can lead them to trouble. 

If your dog knows that you give them cranberry treats every now and again, and they can sniff their way to where you keep the cranberries, you'll want to make sure those treats are secure. If not, they might get into them and eat too many, upsetting their stomach and their digestive tract. 

Making sure your dog has a good handle on simple obedience commands is going to be super-helpful when it comes to preventing overindulgence. Your dog should be well-trained and familiar with commands like "no," "drop it," and "leave it." That way, if you catch your dog about to eat a bunch of cranberries they know they shouldn't be eating, you can say "drop it" and save them the bellyache. 

Train your dog that treats only happen on your command. You can encourage this mindset by asking them to perform certain commands before you give them their cranberry treats. 

How to React if Your Dog Overindulges in Cranberries:

  • Call your vet!
  • Take your pet outside frequently - they're likely to have an upset stomach.
  • Secure the cranberries in a different spot in your house where your dog can't reach them.
  • Give medicine as instructed by the vet.
  • Make sure your doggo has plenty of water.