Cranberries provide a variety of health benefits that aren’t limited to humans. You may be aware that they can aid with urinary tract problems. But it turns out they’re capable of much more. Cranberries for dogs are incredibly beneficial.
We don’t advocate serving cranberry sauce with your dog’s turkey necks. You don’t want to feed him that much sugar.
The usefulness of cranberries has been recognized by commercial dog food manufacturers. Kibble manufacturers include them in foods, but only in trace amounts that are unlikely to be beneficial.
However, there are other ways to offer cranberries to your dog. So let me give you some background on cranberries… and why you should feed them to your dog.
The History of Cranberries
This isn’t something you really need to know… However, I believe cranberries have a fascinating history.
Tens of thousands of years ago, it all began. Glaciers disappeared, leaving hollow earth behind. The glaciers left behind ponds that were filled with sand and other debris. This resulted in ideal growing conditions for cranberries, which we now refer to as cranberry bogs.
Wild cranberries have been consumed by Native Americans in North America for over 12,000 years. They ate fresh or dried cranberries. They also prepared pemmican, which is a combination of dried fruit, meat, and animal fat. Pemmican may have been the first energy bar in the world.
And they were aware of the health benefits of cranberries back then. They utilized them to treat fever, swelling, and seasickness, among other ailments.
Health Benefits of Cranberries for Dogs
Cranberries are mostly water; almost 87% water to be exact. So you’d think they wouldn’t have a lot of nutrients. But you’d be wrong.
Cranberries contain some important vitamins and minerals including:
- Vitamin C – supports immune health, skin, muscle and bone, wound healing
- Managanese – important for growth and metabolism
- Vitamin E – important antioxidant, supports immune health
- Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) – essential for blood clotting
Cranberries are also high in …
- Fiber – for gut health and immune support
- Anthocyanins – antioxidants that support immune and brain health
- Quercetin – helps with allergies, joint pain
- Proanthocyanidins – polyphenols that help with urinary and gut health, heart disease, cancer
Your Dog Needs Antioxidants
Antioxidant is a word that gets thrown about a lot. But what exactly are antioxidants?
The body’s oxidation process is similar to rust in a car. It’s a natural aspect of growing older. Free radicals are produced as a result of the aging process.
Free radicals are a byproduct of the body’s metabolism. Toxins like medications, chemicals, and some foods are other sources. They accumulate in your dog over time.
Although free radicals are a normal component of the body’s activity, too many of them might harm your dog’s cells. As a result, he ages more quickly. It can even cause DNA damage.
All this damage can lead to degenerative diseases including:
Because they take electrons from other molecules, free radicals can spread quickly. That’s oxidation. And then the oxidized molecules turn into new free radicals which spread rapidly.
So you can see why antioxidants in your dog’s diet are so vital. In fact, diet is the only way to control oxidation.
Antioxidants in foods can help stop free radicals from multiplying. But you won’t find antioxidants in the meat you give your dog. They only come from plants. Fruits, and especially berries like cranberries are rich sources of antioxidants.
Antioxidants In Cranberries
There are a variety of antioxidants available in cranberries:
These are the pigment that give cranberries their bright red color. They’re a flavonoid polyphenol which is one of the major antioxidant groups in plants.
Research shows that anthocyanins have many health-boosting properties.
In one study anthocyanins in cranberry juice helped increase antioxidant capacity in animal organs.
Research also shows anthocyanins support the immune system. Their extensive medicinal abilities can help prevent:
- Heart disease
- Cognitive issues
- Vision loss
- Neurological issues
Condensed tannins is another name for them. They’re called “offense and defense molecules” since they’re polyphenols. This is due to their high antioxidant content.
You’ve heard cranberries can help avoid and even manage urinary tract infections (UTIs)?
Research shows that cranberry proanthocyanidins can help prevent UTIs.
Cranberry proanthocyanidins also support your dog’s gut microbiome. Studies show their antibacterial properties can stop E. coli colonizing in the gut.
Research also shows cranberry proanthocyanidins have anti-cancer effects.
Another flavonoid antioxidant found in plants is quercetin. Many plant foods, including cranberries, contain quercetin. Apples (particularly the peel), berries, and peppers are also good sources.
Quercetin is a strong antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidative stress. It’s crucial for reducing inflammation. As a result, it can aid in the prevention of a variety of inflammatory disorders.
And it’s a potent antioxidant in helping control allergies. In fact, it’s known as Nature’s Benadryl for that reason.
Cranberry Supplement Dosage For Dogs
Or, if you buy a cranberry supplement made for dogs follow the label instructions.
Otherwise, use these amounts:
- Small dogs, 100 mg, 3 times a day
- Medium dogs: 200 mg, 3 times a day
- Large dogs: 300 mg, 3 times a day
- Giant breeds: 400 mg, 3 times a day
Are Cranberries Dangerous for Dogs?
In general, natural cranberries are very safe for dogs in moderate amounts. Start out slowly to avoid any digestive upset.
But there are a couple of important cautions.
- Cranberries may interfere with anticoagulant drugs.
- Check with your vet if your dog’s taking blood-thinning drugs. Cranberries could increase bleeding risk.
- Cranberries may cause oxalate crystals or stones.
- Some veterinarians warn of a risk with cranberries. They say oxalates in cranberries may increase the risk of oxalate stones.
So we did some research. And there’s a direct conflict ….
A study at the University of Capetown found that cranberry juice may help manage calcium oxalate stones.
If your dog is prone to oxalate stones, proceed with caution. Or, at the very least, consult your holistic veterinarian before administering cranberries. Overall, giving your dog cranberries is a terrific suggestion. This is especially true if he has a history of urinary tract infections.
Anthocyanins: natural colorants with health-promoting properties
Quercetin For Dogs: Nature’s Benadryl
The Truth About Dog Food And Supplements – Dogs Naturally
Fruit Polyphenols: A Review of Anti-inflammatory Effects in Humans
Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach – PMC
Berry anthocyanins as novel antioxidants in human health and disease prevention
Anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich extracts: role in diabetes and eye function
Cranberry Proanthocyanidins are Cytotoxic to Human Cancer Cells and Sensitize Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer Cells to Paraplatin – PMC
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