4 min read

Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?

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By Wag! Staff

Published: 03/14/2023, edited: 03/15/2023

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Overview

Cranberries are a tart, slightly sweet, and delicious berry. These bright red gems generally take their place on the table around the holidays in sauces and baked goods. However, they also have a multitude of health benefits and can help and treat a wide variety of illnesses and ailments in humans.

You may be wondering if dogs can eat cranberries and reap the health benefits of these tart and juicy berries. The good news is yes, dogs can enjoy these berries in smaller quantities! Though not a common ingredient in commercial dog food, cranberries can be given as an occasional treat.

Let's explore all of the health benefits of cranberries, what they can do for your pup, and how to incorporate them into their diet.



Do dogs like cranberries?

Although cranberries can have some great health benefits for your dog, the main question is whether or not your dog will eat and enjoy these very tart berries. Most dogs don't like to eat tart and tangy fruits and other foods, so it will either be a hit or miss whether they will enjoy the fruit on its own. 

If you really want your dog to include cranberries in their diet, the best way to do this may be by baking cranberries into healthy, organic homemade dog treats. This will help camouflage the flavor of the cranberries and limit the tartness of the fruit. 

However, some dogs may really enjoy eating cranberries on their own! If your dog does enjoy munching on these tangy red berries, they will quickly let you know. They will generally eat them without any hesitation, wag their tails in excitement, pace around the kitchen waiting for more, be alert like they are waiting for more berry treats, raise their ears, or even bark at you for another bite!



cranberries growing on the vine - Can Dogs Eat Cranberries

Health benefits of cranberries for dogs

Cranberries provide a host of benefits for our furry friends. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of cranberries for dogs.

Guards against inflammation

Cranberries contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. These properties can help stop and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like E.coli, H. pylori, and other GI pathogens that can make your dog very sick. 

Protects teeth

Surprisingly, cranberries are also very good for your dog's teeth and help keep them pearly white and healthy. Cranberries contain certain proteins that prevent too much acid production to help the teeth and mouth fight against the buildup of harmful bacteria. This will help to keep your pup's breath fresh and much less stinky. 

Helps prevent cancer

Cranberries also contain a high concentration of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. Many recent studies have found that cranberries can interact with cellular signaling cascades. This can help to regulate transcription factors in the body and affects the microRNAs (miRNA) within the body. MiRNA is able to control the physical and pathological processes that can take place in the body (i.e. the development of certain cancers). 

Cranberries have been shown to help prevent and stop the development and progression of cancer, so including some of these powerhouse berries in your dog's diet is a potentially great way to inhibit the formation of some cancers. 

Fights UTIs

Lastly, the most common use of cranberries in human and animal diets is for their ability to prevent urinary tract infections. The cranberry will act as a natural cleanser within the body and flush out any harmful bacteria lurking in the urinary tract. Although cranberries and supplements are not recommended for actually treating a UTI, they can be a great tool for prevention if your dog is prone to such infections. 



How much cranberry can I give my dog?

Despite the numerous health benefits of cranberries, giving your pooch too many can cause an upset stomach from the acid in the fruit, so make sure you are limiting their intake every day. Medium-sized dogs can enjoy a few cranberries per day, and larger pups can have a bit more. If your furbaby is smaller, one or two berries will do. 

While cranberries are not toxic to canines, you’ll want to make sure your dog isn’t experiencing signs of gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting or diarrhea. Always give your dog cranberries in small quantities.

 


bowl of cranberry sauce

Can dogs eat cranberry sauce?

You can give your dog plain cranberry sauce that simply consists of cranberries and water. Do not feed canned cranberry sauce and jellied cranberry sauce to your pup, as they are high in sugar and may contain grapes, raisins, or currants which are all toxic to canines. Cranberry sauce with brandy is also a no-no. When sharing cranberry sauce with your dog, the safest option is one that you’re making from scratch with fresh fruit.



Can dogs eat dried cranberries?

Like fresh cranberries, dried cranberries are safe to feed to dogs in moderation. However, most dried cranberries are loaded with sugar, so always check the label and make sure the brand you buy doesn’t have added sugar, or a sweetener like xylitol which is toxic to dogs. Look for dried cranberries that are all-natural and unsweetened.



Can dogs have cranberry juice?

Avoid cranberry juice with added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or grape juice. You can try giving your dog plain, unsweetened cranberry juice, but they probably won’t be too keen on the taste!


Dogs can have fresh cranberries as an occasional treat. When sharing dried cranberries, cranberry sauce, or cranberry juice with your pup, make sure it’s plain and unsweetened. Let your pooch have a taste, as long as it’s in moderation!


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