With the fall season in the air, we are all eager to get our favorite seasonal treats in our bellies. Naturally, your four-legged friend will be at your side begging for a taste. This year, when you are whipping up the holiday cranberry sauce, it is important to know whether or not it is safe for Sparky. In this article, we are going to go over everything you need to know about cranberries for dogs.
Table of Contents:
- Are Cranberries Good for Dogs?
- Nutritional Benefits of Cranberries for Dogs
- Cranberries for Dogs: Side-Effects
- How to Feed Your Dog Cranberries
Are Cranberries Good for Dogs?
Cranberries are a popular human treat in baked goods, trail mixes, or simply dried. For people, cranberries are a popular source of antioxidants. So, are cranberries good for dogs as well? In short, the answer is yes. However, like any human foods, cranberries should be administered to dogs in moderation.
Specifically, dogs can safely enjoy raw, dried, or cooked cranberries. Additionally, it is important to steer clear of any potential added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Dogs have no physiological need for sugar, so it does nothing but increases their chance of unhealthy weight gain. That being said, keep cranberry juice and cranberry sauce out of Fido's diet.
Nutritional Benefits of Cranberries for Dogs
In addition to being safe for dogs to eat, cranberries are actually a healthy nutritional treat. Cranberries contain a unique blend of nutrients that pack a powerful health boost for our beloved fur babies.
When it comes to nutrients, antioxidants are royalty in the health world. Antioxidants actively improve immune system function and help combat disease and unsavory free radicals. Better yet, antioxidants help decrease painful inflammation. In other words, antioxidants can actively prevent illness and alleviate pain in your pup.
Moreover, antioxidants have been known to calm canine allergies and alleviate various skin problems. Finally, the bountiful antioxidant has one more impressive quality. Antioxidants can actually improve cognitive function. All hail antioxidants!
Fiber is an essential nutrient for a healthy body. Specifically, fiber is a wonderful aid to gastrointestinal issues. As you may know, fiber is a great regulator of healthy bowel movements. Whether your dog is constipated or dealing with diarrhea, fiber can help promote GI homeostasis.
Furthermore, fiber is a great way to encourage a healthy weight for your pup. Fiber-rich foods like cranberries, make your dog feel full for longer. In turn, your dog will not overeat and gain unhealthy excess weight.
Better still, adding fiber to your dog's diet has been known to lower the risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Ever wonder why your parents were always trying to force-feed you bananas as a child? Turns out, cranberries (like bananas) are chock-full of the powerhouse nutrient potassium. Interestingly enough, potassium is actually considered an electrolyte because it helps retain a healthy level of vital fluids in the body. Moreover, potassium has these added abilities:
- Regulating heartbeat and muscle contractions
- Optimizing healthy nerve and cognitive functions
- Boosting metabolism and efficient absorption of nutrients
- Promoting healthy muscle growth
- Encouraging normal heartbeat and cardiac blood flow
- Increasing bone density (hello strong bones!)
So maybe when you are feeding Fluffy some cranberries, you should steal away a few for yourself!
Vitamins and Minerals
Often times, a standard canine diet is lacking in vital vitamins and minerals. Fortunately, cranberries are a great way to fill in these nutrient gaps in your dog's diet. Specifically, cranberries contain Vitamins A, B (1 & 2), and C. Additionally, cranberries possess healthy minerals such as Manganese. This powerful combination of vitamins and minerals provide the following benefits:
- Boosts immunity and ability to combat bad bacteria
- Promotes a healthy urinary tract
- Treats and prevents bladder infections
- Improves vision
- Prevent plaque build-up and reduces tartar
- Treats painful stomach ulcers
- Lowers high cholesterol
Cranberries and Dogs: Side-Effects
With a pretty positive list of benefits, you are likely waiting for the ball to drop. Luckily, we are happy to report that, when given in moderation, cranberries are pretty side-effect-free. To reiterate, it is important to only give your dog plain raw, dried, or cooked cranberries. That is to say, stay away from cranberry sauce, cranberry juices, and added sugars (like in Craisins!).
On the other hand, if your dog overindulges in cranberries an upset tummy is not entirely uncommon. Furthermore, cranberries have a high level of acidity. To explain, when acidic foods are over consumed, the risk of kidney stones developing increases. Talk to your vet today about how many cranberries are safe for your dog's size and unique belly.
How to Feed Your Dog Cranberries
If you have ever eaten cranberries yourself, you are likely familiar with their signature tart, sour taste. As you may imagine, sour isn't exactly a familiar taste to dogs. Therefore, while feeding your dog cranberries (raw or dried) on their own is an option, that doesn't necessarily mean they will like it. Fortunately, due to the health benefits for dogs, there are a number of cranberry infused canine products available.
Canine Cranberry Food and Supplements
Due to the impressive nutritional benefits of cranberries, there are multiple canine products available utilizing the tart treat. For example, you can purchase cranberry infused dog food, treats, and supplements.
As an illustration, here at Pet Honesty we proudly offer a CranBladder Health Supplement specially curated with your beloved dog in mind. In addition to the healing power of cranberry, the CranBladder Health Supplement is expertly crafted with the following healthy ingredients:
- Marshmallow root - Promotes a healthy Immune system and urinary tract
- Echinacea - Supports immune system strength
- D-Mannose - Helps address bad bacteria
Better yet, these tasty treats are safe for dogs of all sizes and breeds. We recommend one chew a day for dogs under 25 pounds. For dogs 25-50 pounds, we suggest 2 daily chews. Finally, for dogs 75 pounds or more, three daily chews are ideal.
Homemade Cranberry Dog Treat Recipe
For the hands-on dog parents out there, you can also opt for a homemade approach. A quick trip down the Google rabbit hole will yield countless results for homemade cranberry dog treats. However, many include oats or other grains, which add zero nutritional value for our four-legged friends.
On the other hand, The Dog People have put together a fun and simple grain-free cranberry dog treat recipe.
In addition to being grain-free, this recipe also has the added bonus of additional healthy ingredients. To make 24 sizeable dog treats, you will need:
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries (double-check they have zero added sugar in the ingredients)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup dried coconut (again, unsweetened with zero added sugar)
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- *Optional: 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, simply plain pumpkin)
In particular, coconut oil is a beneficial sidekick to cranberries in this recipe. Coconut oil has a number of nutritional benefits for dogs. Such as:
- Improving digestion
- Enhancing the absorption of nutrients
- Preventing dementia by promoting healthy brain function
- Reducing pain (due to its anti-inflammatory properties)
- Strengthening bones
Additionally, choosing to include pumpkin in your treats will further enhance their health benefits. Specifically, pumpkin can:
- Promote healthy urinary tract function (double whammy when paired with cranberries!)
- Encourage digestive homeostasis (hello, fiber)
- Maintain a healthy canine weight
Now that you have your nutrient-rich ingredients assembled, let's get to baking!
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF
- Toast coconut flakes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 5-10 minutes (until golden brown)
- Thoroughly mix coconut oil, almond flour, coconut flour, and baking powder (*and pumpkin)
- Add egg
- Once the dough is formed and evenly mixed, add in coconut flakes and dried cranberries
- Evenly roll out dough to roughly 1/4 inch thick.
- Use a cookie cutter of your choice to shape cookies (You can't go wrong with a classic bone!)
- Bake treats for 18 minutes, giving you a warm brown color on the edges of each treat
- Once completely cooled, give to your dog and prepare to get some grateful kisses in return!
Cranberries for Dogs: In Closing
We all want our beloved fur babies to live long and healthy lives. What better way to achieve this than by feeding them tasty, nutrient-rich treats like cranberries?! Cranberries contain healthy fiber and powerful antioxidants to keep your dog in tip-top shape. As always, talk to your vet before introducing any new foods into your dog's diet.
From all of here at Pet Honesty, we wish you and your pup and happy and healthy day!