Fresh and dried cranberries are popular human snacks. Many owners may want to share these with their dogs, especially around Thanksgiving. But can dogs eat cranberries safely?
The answer is both yes and no. Fresh or cooked cranberries, when plain, are not inherently toxic for dogs. When fed in moderation, they are generally safe and may even have some health benefits. Like many human foods, however, cranberries do pose some health risks for dogs.
Are Cranberries Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Both fresh and dried cranberries are safe to feed to dogs in small quantities. Whether your dog will like this tart treat is another question. Either way, moderation is important when feeding cranberries to dogs, as with any treat, as too many can lead to an upset stomach.
Dried cranberries sometimes come mixed with other dried fruits, like raisins. Grapes (and raisins) are very toxic to dogs; even a few can cause health problems. Prepared cranberry dishes are also risky, as are any grape/cranberry juice blends and cranberry dishes with sugar or alcohol.
Can Dogs Eat Cranberry Sauce?
Cranberry sauce may safe for dogs in small amounts, but there are some additional risks. Cranberry sauce is high in sugar, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, and some recipes include grapes, raisins, or currants, which are toxic to dogs. Recipes that use brandy are also problematic, as alcohol is toxic to dogs, as well. Feeding plain cranberry sauce in minute quantities is probably safe for your dog, but it is a good idea to monitor your dog after feeding any new food item for signs of intestinal upset or allergic reaction.
Can Cranberries Help Dogs With UTIs?
Many Americans believe that cranberries can help fight and prevent canine urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, there have not been enough studies done with dogs to confirm this, so doctors strongly encourage clients to use cranberry as a supplement and not as a replacement for proven medical treatments.
Veterinarian Dr. Marie Haynes warns that feeding large amounts of cranberries to dogs can lead to the development of calcium oxalate stones in their bladders. As with any treat or supplement, feed cranberries in moderation and under the guidance of a veterinarian to avoid this and any other risks; also ask your vet about the best cranberry supplements on the market.
Cranberries are generally safe when fed in moderation, but there are other fruits and veggies out there that have more benefits for dogs and fewer risks. Check out this list of fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs or talk to your vet about the best options for your dog’s health.