Dog in a field of cranberries

Key takeaway

Cranberries, dried cranberries, and cranberry sauce are considered safe for dogs in moderation. However, raw cranberries are typically the safest option because they don't contain added sugar or other potentially dangerous ingredients. In addition, while cranberries are non-toxic, they're not necessarily healthy for dogs.

Cranberries, dried cranberries, and cranberry sauce are non-toxic to dogs, but that doesn't mean they should be part of their regular diets. Cranberries are safe when fed in moderation but contain high amounts of sugar. Additionally, some forms of cranberries contain more sugar than others. 

Can dogs eat cranberries? Technically, yes, but even though cranberries are non-toxic, they're not exactly healthy or safe, depending on the dog. Cranberries and dried cranberries are typically safe in small amounts in moderation for healthy dogs. This article will discuss the different types of cranberries that are safe for dogs, whether or not your dog should eat cranberries, and healthy alternatives. 

Types of cranberries that are safe and unsafe for dogs

Which Types Of Cranberries Are Safe For Dogs?

Overall, most types of cranberries are safe for dogs. However, they're only safe in moderation. Eating more calories than they need based on age, weight, and current health could lead to weight gain, obesity, and associated illnesses like diabetes in dogs. Additionally, you should monitor your dog while they're eating raw cranberries because they can be a choking hazard for small dogs. 

Can dogs eat dried cranberries? Dried cranberries are safe, but feeding them to your dog carries risks. Some dried cranberries are packaged with other dried fruits like raisins, which are toxic to dogs.1 Dogs can also eat cooked cranberries as long as they're not sweetened with added sugar. 

Can dogs eat cranberry sauce? Cranberry sauce is not a  safe option, as cranberry sauce often contains added sugar, which can lead to obesity or cause blood sugar spikes, which can be dangerous for dogs diagnosed with diabetes. Cranberry sauce may also be prepared with additional ingredients, including grape juice and artificial sweeteners, both of which are toxic to dogs. 

Meanwhile, cranberry juice should be avoided because it contains added sugar and virtually no health benefits for your pet. In addition, some brands of cranberry juice may also contain sugar substitutes and other potentially toxic ingredients. 

One thing to keep in mind is that all of these options have sugar since cranberries are naturally high in sugar. While raw and dried cranberries typically have less sugar content than cranberry sauce, too much sugar in your dog's diet, no matter where it comes from, can be dangerous to their health. 

Fresh or frozen cranberries are the best option for dogs because they're not prepared with added sugar. However, treats should never exceed 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake because it can lead to weight gain and obesity. Therefore, if your dog already gets treats throughout the day and is eating their regular meals, they shouldn't have any cranberries unless you give them fewer treats throughout the day to give them a cranberry allowance. 

Should You Feed Your Dog Cranberries?

Cranberries are safe in moderation, but are cranberries good for dogs? Even though cranberries contain vitamins and antioxidants, dogs won't benefit from additional vitamins because they're already getting everything they need from their regular diet. If your dog is healthy and a small cranberry snack won't affect their health, they can have a cranberry as a snack every so often. Still, it's not necessary to regularly feed them cranberries, and it could be potentially dangerous if you don't monitor their calories. 

Always talk to your vet before feeding your dog something new to ensure it's safe for them. Some dogs should not eat cranberries, especially those on restricted diets. Of course, it's perfectly safe if a healthy dog steals a cranberry off your plate or you want to share one with them every now and then. Cranberries fed in moderation are a safe treat for dogs. However, some dogs can have a reaction to them. 

Eating too many cranberries can cause GI issues because they contain high amounts of sugar and fiber. Additionally, all dogs react to foods differently. Your dog may have a more sensitive stomach and get diarrhea from a single cranberry, while other dogs may not experience any digestive issues at all. 

So, should you feed your dog cranberries? Ultimately, your dog doesn't need to eat cranberries, so there's no reason to, but sharing your snack with them won't cause toxicity. If you choose to feed your dog cranberries, monitor them to ensure they won't choke on them. If you have a small dog or a toy breed, consider cutting the cranberries into smaller pieces for them to enjoy. In addition, your dog should be monitored after consuming cranberries to ensure they won't have a negative reaction. If your dog starts experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, call your vet for guidance..

While cranberries are technically safe for dogs, they can cause GI issues, so in most cases, it's best not to risk how your dog feels to feed them cranberries. Instead, there are safer fruits and vegetables you can share with them that contain less sugar and are gentler on their stomachs. 

Other fruits dogs can eat

Alternative Fruit & Veggie Treats

Some fruits and vegetables are toxic to dogs, and there are many foods dogs can not eat. For example, you should never feed your dog grapes or raisins. Meanwhile, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are safe and even healthy for dogs, with less sugar than cranberries. These include:2 

  • Apples: Apples are a healthy choice for dogs, but they still have relatively high amounts of sugar. However, they're low in protein and fat. When feeding your dog apples, always remove the pit and seeds, which contain trace amounts of cyanide and can be toxic to dogs in large quantities. 
  • Bananas: Bananas are another healthy snack in moderation because they're low in calories and high in potassium and fiber. Unfortunately, bananas have high sugar content, so they should be given as a treat in moderation. 
  • Blueberries: Blueberries are a superfood that are delicious alternatives to regular dog treats. Many dog foods contain blueberries because they're packed with antioxidants.
  • Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is another popular fruit you can share with your dog. It's packed with nutrients and relatively low in calories. 
  • Carrots: Carrots are a nutritious low calorie snack for dogs that's high in fiber and can support eye health.
  • Cucumbers: Cucumbers are the ultimate snack for dogs because they're low in calories and contain zero carbs, fats, or oils. They're also 96% water, making them a great choice in hot months when your dog might need a little extra hydration. 
  • Green Beans: Green beans are often recommended for weight management in dogs because they're low in calories and high in fiber.
  • Mango: Mangos are a sweet snack packed with vitamins. However, you should always peel them and remove the pit to avoid choking hazards. Similar to cranberries, mangos are high in sugar, so they should only be given to your dog in moderation.
  • Oranges: Dogs can eat oranges, but most aren't interested in citrus fruits because of their strong smell. If you're going to feed your dog orange wedges, peel them and remove the seeds. 
  • Peaches: Peaches are another healthy option for dogs. However, the pit contains trace amounts of cyanide, so always remove it and toss it in the trash before sharing peaches with your pooch.
  • Pears: Pears are another sweet treat for dogs, but again, you must remove the seeds and pit before sharing them with them. 
  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin is beneficial for dogs because it supports healthy skin and coat and improves digestion. Many vets recommend pumpkin as a natural remedy for diarrhea and constipation.
  • Pineapple: Chunks of pineapple are safe for dogs and make a delicious treat on hot summer days. 
  • Raspberries: Raspberries should be avoided or fed in very small amounts. Similar to cranberries for dogs, they contain sugar, but unlike cranberries, raspberries may contain trace amounts of xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are another healthy fruit snack for dogs, but they contain sugar, so they should only be served in moderation. 
  • Watermelon: Watermelon is a perfect summer treat for dogs because it contains 92 percent water. Of course, always remove the rind and seeds before sharing this snack with your dog. 

FAQs

How many cranberries can I give my dog?

Cranberries and other treats should not make up more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake. Additionally, cranberries should only be fed to dogs in moderation; they should not be a daily treat or given to dogs in large quantities. If you'd like to know the exact serving size of cranberries for your dog, talk to your vet, who can put together nutritional guidelines to help you monitor and track your dog's calories. 

Cranberries cannot treat dog UTIs

Can dogs eat cranberries for a UTI?

In the human world, many people believe cranberries can maintain a healthy urinary tract. However, cranberries are not an effective treatment for UTIs in dogs or humans, and there's no exact dosage specified for how much cranberry either a dog or a human should have to treat UTIs. 

Ultimately, there's no supporting evidence that cranberries can treat UTIs in dogs, so there's no replacement for medical treatments like antibiotics. Because UTIs are especially painful for dogs, you should contact your vet immediately if you believe your dog has an infection. 

Are dried cranberries good for dogs to eat?

Dried cranberries are non-toxic, but your dog doesn't need them as part of their diet to stay healthy. Instead, you can opt for treats made for dogs or healthier alternatives to cranberries that contain less sugar. 

Senior dog owner cooking while two dogs watch

Final Notes

Are cranberries bad for dogs? No, they're non-toxic. Are cranberries good for dogs? Not necessarily. Since cranberries contain sugar, they're not the healthiest snack for your dog. Of course, if your dog steals a cranberry off your plate, they shouldn't experience any side effects. However, feeding your dog large quantities of cranberries can cause GI upset with symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

Ultimately, your dog's diet should contain all the beneficial nutrients they need to support their overall health. 

If you're worried about your dog's diet, consult a Dutch-affiliated vet for online dog nutrition and diet advice to help you learn about the best types of foods for your dog. So whether you're interested in learning more about raw diets for dogs or choosing the best dog food, we've got you covered. Schedule your first Dutch televet appointment today. 

References

  1. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Cranberries?” American Kennel Club, 17 Nov. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-cranberries/.

  2. “Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can't Eat.” American Kennel Club, 24 Mar. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fruits-vegetables-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/.