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Can dogs eat cranberries?

Can dogs eat cranberries?

“Here’s a Thanksgiving tip. Generally, your turkey is not cooked enough if it passes you the cranberry sauce.” – Joan Rivers

Most people associate cranberries with holiday times like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s a little round, red berry that is native to North America. Beloved by some and despised by others, the tart flavor of the cranberry is a controversial fruit among the humans. But what do the dogs say? As the owners of Labradors, Hounds, Doodles and other food gobbling dogs may know, sometimes your dog gets into and eats something they shouldn’t. If they happen to eat a few cranberries, worry not! Cranberries are not toxic to dogs and actually pack a lot of great health benefits for our perfect pups. 

Close-up of cranberries and leaves Cranberry in closeup cranberries stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Nutrition facts

Amount per 100g

Calories: 46 kcal

Total Fat: 0.13 g

Total Carbohydrate: 12.2 g

Dietary fiber: 4.6 g

Sugar: 4.04 g

Protein: 0.39 g

Water: 87 g

Calcium: 8 mg

Iron: 0.25 mg

Potassium: 85 mg

Vitamin A: 3 mcg

Vitamin C: 13.3 mg

Health benefits of cranberries

Cranberries are a superfood that are also pet friendly! They are truly one of the best supplemental foods that you can give your dog and here’s why:


Probably the most notable benefits of cranberries is that they are packed with antioxidant and inflammation fighting compounds. Cranberries are one of the best food sources of ursolic acid, a plant compound with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and potential anti-cancer effects.

According to a quote by Nutrition Source at Harvard University, “Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. In making this sacrifice, they act as a natural "off" switch for the free radicals. This helps break a chain reaction that can affect other molecules in the cell and other cells in the body.” 

Think of antioxidants in certain foods like cranberries as a kind of  dietary superhero in the fight against inflammation. While antioxidants are beneficial in reducing inflammation, they are best utilized as a preventative measure. This is because antioxidants reduce and repair the damage inflicted by free radicals before a severe inflammatory reaction even occurs. As a result, antioxidants may play a role in preventing heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Preventing UTIs and other bacterial infections

In addition to antioxidants, cranberries also contain other bioactive plant compounds that have health benefits. One of these is called proanthocyanidin and is actually the polyphenol compound that gives cranberries their bright red color.

In addition to acting as an effective antioxidant and repairing damage caused by free radicals, proanthocyanidin also has natural antibacterial benefits. Studies have shown that it may help prevent bacteria from attaching to the inner surface of the bladder and urinary tract, causing an infection.

The housewife prepares the food and the dog The housewife prepares the food and the dog dog cranberries stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Better poops and gut health

In addition to antioxidants, cranberries are also high in fibre and water. This makes it a great fruit to help support doggy digestion and reduce the risk of constipation. So what actually is fibre? Fibre is a carbohydrate ingredient that contains a high proportion of slowly digestible or resistant starch. This type of starch is still digestible but it takes digestive enzymes longer to break the starch down for absorption. This means that fibre lasts longer in the gastrointestinal system than nutrients like protein or rapidly digestible starches and thus keeps dog’s feeling full. Fibre also has other health benefits aside from just promoting satiety. It is a major constituent in the maintenance of a healthy microbiome. Studies have shown that the microbiome is directly related to immune function and inflammation. As a result, it could help decrease the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Increased dietary fibre has also been shown to help reduce blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, as well as supporting. 

How much cranberries feed your dog

Feeding instructions for dogs varies when it comes to cranberries. Whole or dried cranberries are good for dogs. They are quite tart so your dog may not actually eat them on their own. If you want to add cranberries to your dog’s diet, try and mix 2-4 in with their regular food. 

Avoid giving your dog any Thanksgiving cranberry sauce as the extra sugar may not be very good for them. However, you can make your own dog-friendly cranberry sauce that is healthy and actually makes it easier to mix the cranberries in with your dog’s food. See the video below for a demo for dog friendly cranberry sauce!

Wooden bowl full of fresh cranberries
Wooden bowl full of fresh cranberries

View Sources

Good Food. (2023). "Top 5 health benefits of cranberries".,%25%20carbs%2C%203%25%20protein.,can%20cause%20an%20upset%20tummy.

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February 20, 2024
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