Cranberries are native to North America. They are farmed on approximately 40,000 acres across the northern United States and Canada.
Cranberries are a healthful food, due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. They are often referred to as a "super food." They're rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and they contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), an antioxidant that may help prevent a range of diseases.
Are Cranberries Safe for Dogs?
The simple answer to the questions, can dogs eat cranberries? Is yes, they can.
In moderate amounts, cranberries are safe for dogs.
However, you might really want to ask whether or not your dog will actually want to eat cranberries in their natural state.
The answer to this is probably a resounding no.
Think of your own puckered lips and wide eyes when popping a handful of fresh cranberries in your mouth. Cranberries are undoubtedly tart!
Cranberry Extract For Dogs
In a study published by the American Journal of Veterinary Research, dogs with chronic UTI issue were given a small amount of cranberry extract for 60 days.
All the dogs treated with the cranberry were free of urinary tract infections during the study. Also, urinalysis concluded that harmful bacteria in the urinary tract reduced significantly in number.
The cranberry worked as a preventative, not a cure. But, this is good news for you if your dog has frequent UTIs, especially since results looked good after only 30 days of treatment.
Cranberries For Dog UTI
If you want to give your dog with recurrent UTI issues cranberries, then speak with your veterinarian first. Make a quick appointment so a urinalysis can be completed. Also, alert the professional on what you intend on doing.
The nasty bacteria strains targeted by the immune system and cause the infections include E. coli, Proteus, and Staphylococcus species.
Cranberries are also helpful in stopping bacteria from clinging to the wall of the bladder. This is extremely important when it comes to preventing a UTI. If bacteria cannot hold onto the lining, they cannot multiply, thrive, and build into a nasty infection.
A flavonoid or antioxidant called proanthocyanidin is responsible for this.
Proanthocyanidins work very simply by making the bladder wall slippery and forcing the microorganisms to flush their way out of the body with the rest of your dog’s urine.
How Many Cranberries Can Dogs Eat?
Cranberry extract can be given to dogs and so can soft chews, capsules and pills. A whole bunch of cranberry supplements for dogs can be found online or at your local pet health store. Your veterinarian may also have some good advice on the best product for your pup.
In your quest to find the best supplement, you may wonder, how much cranberry should I give my dog? Actually, this is a very important question.
There really is, “too much of a good thing” when it comes to cranberries and your dog’s urinary health. In fact, too much cranberry can lead to a very bad thing.
Cranberry Dosage For Dogs
You likely understand that cranberries are highly acidic. If your dog consumes too many acids, the pH of his urine starts to change. A typical and healthy dog will usually have pH neutral urine with a value between about 6.5 and 7.
When the urine becomes acidic, urinary calculi can grow. This scientific sounding name really just refers to the formation of bladder stones. Bladder stones are a lot like kidney stones that form in humans due to the buildup of minerals.
In dogs, calcium oxalate is the substance that develops into stones. Small grains, like pieces of sand, collect and build rock hard formations. If your canine tries to urinate and the stones start to move out of the bladder, the urethra can become obstructed.
An obstructed urethra is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention. Your poor pup many even need surgery!
You can avoid serious swings in urine pH with a conservative administration of cranberry. Small doses can do a world of good, so stick with the recommendations of the extract bottle.
If you have a small dog, then a 100 milligram supplement once a day may be more than enough, while larger dogs may need up to 400 milligrams.
Your veterinarian can be a great resource when trying to decide on the perfect dose for your canine companion, so do not hesitate to ask.
Benefits of Cranberry Supplements for Dogs? – A Conclusion
In conclusion, dogs can benefit from cranberry extract as well as supplements, powders, chewable pills, and other types of dog friendly products.
However, you need to make sure that you are not giving your dog a whole lot of the tart berries each and every day or some serious complications can arise.
If you have any questions about your dog, the prevention of UTIs, or the dosage recommendations for your Shih Tzu or St. Bernard, then a quick trip to the vet is a good idea.