Cranberries are a popular human fruit, especially around the holidays. So if you’re wondering if your dog can eat cranberries with you, the answer is yes! With limitations, of course. While cranberries are safe for dogs to eat, and sometimes come in certain dog food recipes, there are some risks and considerations to be aware of.
Let’s take a look at how cranberries can fit into your dog’s diet, how much you can give them, and what to avoid.
The small but mighty cranberry is considered a superfood, with health benefits that help give the immune system a boost thanks to the fruit’s high antioxidant levels.
Cranberries are also jam packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help keep both humans and pups healthy like:3
- Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, and K
Add in the dynamic duo of proanthocyanidins (a polyphenol) and D-mannose (a naturally occurring sugar) that aid in bladder health and help prevent urinary tract infections, and you’ve got quite the powerful berry.4,5
Your pup can enjoy these cranberry health benefits alongside you in moderation.
While cranberries are loaded with health benefits, there are some considerations to be aware of when it comes to feeding them to dogs.
Fruit in general is very acidic, and cranberries in large amounts can cause an upset stomach in dogs. The high sugar content in cranberry sauce or juice can also upset your pup’s stomach and be problematic for dogs that have diabetes or sugar sensitivities. You should avoid cranberry products that have xylitol in them, too, as this artificial sweetener can be toxic to dogs.
If you’re feeding your dog cranberries mixed with other ingredients, make sure those foods aren’t toxic to dogs. There are plenty of human foods that dogs can eat, but there are foods and seasonings you’ll want to avoid — some of which we’ll touch on in the rest of this guide.
Treats, which include human foods like cranberries, should only make up approximately 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.6 The amount of cranberries dogs can have will also depend on the size of the dog. The smaller your furry friend, the smaller the portion size.
As a general rule of thumb, your dog can consume approximately 1 – 2 cranberries per 10 pounds of weight. Talk with your veterinarian to see how much is safe for your dog.
Yes, dogs can eat raw cranberries if they’ve been washed and de-stemmed. Look for fresh organic cranberries that are a deep red color and firm; they’ll be healthier than pale soft fruit.
Since cranberries can have a tart taste, try cutting them up and topping your dog’s food with them, or cooking them down with a little bit of water and mixing it in with their food. Be careful of feeding your dog cooked cranberries that haven’t been prepared by you as they may be mixed with toxic ingredients like brandy, raisins, currants, or large amounts of sugar.
Dried cranberries can also be a great treat for dogs as long as they are prepared without added sugars and aren’t mixed with any other fruits toxic to dogs, like raisins you might find in a trail mix. Always check the label on the package to be sure.
Dried cranberries are just a wrinkly version of a raw cranberry, so feed your dog the same amount you would if they were raw.
The quintessential holiday cranberry sauce probably adorns your table along with turkey and other holiday foods. While your dog can eat cranberry sauce, it’s probably not the healthiest way for them to eat cranberries, especially if your dog has diabetes or sugar sensitivities.
Whether you make cranberry sauce from scratch or grab it from a can, keep the portions small for your dog. When opting for canned cranberry sauce, check the label for sugar, xylitol, or other harmful ingredients mixed in before feeding it to your pup. They’ll thank you later with all of the slobbery kisses and tail wags when their tummy is happy.
Similar to cranberry sauce, cranberry juice is okay for your dog to have in small quantities, barring there’s no other harmful ingredients mixed in like grape juice.
Check the label to make sure that it’s 100% juice — not a mix or a cocktail — with no added sugars. Since you’re just getting the sugary juice and not the good dietary fiber that comes with eating the actual fruit, this is probably a cranberry option you can pass on.
Cranberry supplements are safe for most dogs and can be found online or in stores. They’re usually given to help with bladder and urinary tract health. Find a supplement made specifically for dogs because they won’t include potentially harmful ingredients that could be in human cranberry supplements.
Talk with your vet before giving your dog any supplements to make sure it’s beneficial for their health and to get the correct dosage.
The best ways to feed cranberries to dogs are forms of raw, dried, or frozen cranberries. Remove any stems before you feed them to your dog. Since they’re a small fruit, cranberries can be a choking hazard. Cook them down, make a puree, or cut them into small pieces so it’s easier for your dog to eat.
If you opt for juice, make sure it’s 100% cranberry juice with no added sugar, and make sure there are no toxic ingredients if you choose to give your dog cranberry sauce.
If your dog has never had cranberries before, start with a small amount in their food and watch for an upset stomach or allergic reactions. Pet emergencies can wreak havoc on your bank account, but pet insurance may cover some of those unexpected costs. See if a dog insurance policy from MetLife Pet Insurance can help, and get your free quote today.1,2