Cranberries bring to mind delicious holiday meals and yummy trail mixes. If you want your dog to join in the fun, you might wonder if cranberries are a safe treat to share. Or maybe you put some popcorn and cranberries on your Christmas tree and didn’t realize it would make a tempting snack. Don’t worry—cranberries are good for your dog in moderation. They can make a delicious and healthy snack.
However, it’s important to be careful when feeding your dog cranberry products, as they sometimes have dangerous additions that can harm your dog.
Is Fruit Healthy for Dogs?
Dogs like to eat, and they need a meat-based diet to stay healthy. But that doesn’t mean that they should eat only meat. In fact, a small amount of fruit and vegetable content can be good for your dog. Dogs are facultative carnivores—that means that their digestive systems are built to live from meat, but there are some types of plants that can be healthy for them too.
Although dogs don’t do well with all plants, some fruits can be great snacks. They are also a great source of vitamins, so many dog foods have a small amount of fruit in them. Dogs have different tastes—some love eating whatever fruit they can get, while others might only like specific fruits. A few dogs won’t like fruits at all. Cranberries are fairly tart, so your dog might not like the taste.
Benefits of Cranberries
There are some health benefits to eating cranberries for your dog. They are high in lots of vitamins that your dog needs, including vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and manganese. They also contain fiber, which is good for your dog’s immune system and digestion. Finally, they are full of antioxidants that support your dog’s brain health.
Tips for Feeding Cranberries
If you want to feed your dog cranberries, there are lots of options. Whatever you choose, moderation is key. A few fresh cranberries or their equivalent is plenty for your dog. You can feed your dog fresh cranberries. This is a great option for many dogs, but you should make sure that your dog can swallow it without choking. If it looks too big, cut them up. Frozen and thawed cranberries are safe as well.
Another option is dried cranberries. These are smaller than fresh, so they can be good for dogs that are likely to choke on fresh berries. They are also easy to store. Fresh cranberries are safe for dogs, but you should beware of other possible cross contamination, since they often come mixed in with trail mixes or other kinds of dried fruit, including raisins.
Cranberry juices, sauces, and purees can be a safe treat depending on what is in them. Avoid cranberry foods that have added sugar, lots of additives, or other ingredients that might harm your dog.
Cranberry vs Grape and Cranberry Safety
Although cranberries are safe for dogs, it’s important to be careful when feeding your dogs cranberry products. That is because many cranberry products also contain grapes or current. Grapes, raisins, and currents are highly toxic to dogs, and even eating one can cause kidney failure. That means if you’re unsure, you should always check the ingredient list and hold back if it isn’t clear.
Many dried cranberries are sold in a mix with raisins and currants. You might also see cranberry juices and sauces that include some grape juice. Because grapes are so dangerous, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also avoid any products that have added sweeteners or other ingredients you aren’t sure of. At best, these will be less healthy for your dog, and at worst they could be harmful.
Overall, cranberries are a pretty healthy choice for your dog. Although you should really only feed him a couple, if your dog gets into a bag of cranberries it’s not likely to hurt him. They are full of healthy vitamins and other great ingredients that can be good for your dog’s diet, and many dogs love to eat them too. Just watch out for grapes hiding in processed cranberry foods.
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