Cranberries are not Just for Christmas

by | Food & Feeding | 0 comments

I suppose if you’re not used to feeding your dog fresh food, the thought of cranberries for dogs might seem a little alien. Most people don’t eat cranberries, right? So why on earth would you feed them to your dog? Except cranberries have a lot to offer man’s best friend. And not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Cranberries are particularly rich in antioxidants in addition to their acknowledged usefulness in treating dogs suffering from urinary tract infections. So read on, and hopefully we can persuade you to start adding cranberries to your dog’s diet on a regular basis!

About cranberries

The cranberry is a species of dwarf, evergreen flowering shrub belonging to the genus Vaccinium along with other berries including blueberries and bilberries. Native to North America, cranberries have a long history of use by indigenous peoples as both a food and a dye. They introduced them to early settlers and the rest, as they say, is history!

Nutrients in cranberries

Traditionally, cranberries have a long history of medicinal use. Largely known for their benefit to urinary health, they were once also used to treat a wide range of stomach bugs and other digestive issues. But it’s still their prowess at tackling urinary tract infections for which cranberries are best known.

These bright red, tart little berries are a rich source of vitamin C. They’re also a good source of vitamins E, K and B6, which is also known as pantothenic acid).

Cranberries are also a rich source of manganese, as well as containing trace amounts of iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and dietary fibre. So just as they’re good for humans, cranberries for dogs are not without their benefits either!

Benefits of cranberries for dogs

Some believe that cranberries are beneficial to dogs in terms of reducing tartar and plaque build-up. Cranberry extract is certainly used in some brands of toothpaste so there may be something in that theory. They are certainly low in calories so they might also be of benefit for any dog need to lose a little weight.

But there’s so much more to cranberries than that. Because they only seem to come into the conversation at Thanksgiving and Christmas time, we tend to lose sight of the fact that cranberries are rich in antioxidants. Particularly kaempferol, quercetin and ursolic acid. Which means cranberries for dogs can also be beneficial for any dog suffering from allergies because quercetin is a natural antihistamine often referred to as ‘Nature’s Benadryl’.

Cranberries are also said to have cancer-fighting properties and they are being investigated for their benefit to dogs suffering from canine cognitive dysfunction.

And then again of course there’s those painful and debilitating urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries make it more difficult for bacteria to cling to the walls of your dog’s bladder. While cranberry juice is best avoided and cranberry sauce out of the question for a dog, fresh cranberries or cranberry supplements are perfect for any dog suffering from occasional or regular urinary tract infections.
And at the same time as improving bladder health, they can also lower the risk of gastrointestinal disorders.

Instantly improve the health of your dog with healthy home cooked dog food. Step-by-step guide complete with recipes! Ready for immediate download.

Benefits summary

So summarise the benefit of cranberries for dogs. The can be useful for any dog suffering from:

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Urinary Tract Infections
Peridontal Disease

Final thoughts

Just one word of warning though. Too many cranberries could in theory cause your dog a tummy upset. I’ve never had a problem with my own dogs but I believe it can happen. Ideally, feed only fresh cranberries, and they should never make up in excess of 10% of your dog’s overall diet.

If you do feed dried cranberries, one further word of warning. Make sure they’re not pre-mixed with the likes of raisins which are toxic to dogs, or other dried fruits which may also be harmful to the health of your dog. And do not give your dog pre-made cranberry sauce or shop-bought cranberry juice which are likely to contain sweeteners.

Those concerns aside, as a canine nutritionist, I am all in favour of feeding your dog cranberries little and often.

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Better Food, Better Health

4 out of 5 dog health problems can be cured or improved purely with a healthier diet. No vet intervention, no expensive medication, just fresh food.

When it's been scientifically proven that fresh food is healthier and life expectancy greater, why would you feed your best friend anything else?

Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Share This

Share this post with your friends!