Has your darling dog been diagnosed with a UTi (urinary tract infection) or does he struggle a bit getting outside on time? The first thing most people recommend when this happens is Cranberry juice or pills made from cranberry extracts. But even though our pets are like our own special humans, do cranberry supplements for dogs work?
Cranberries are red berries, typically grown in the USA although available around the world. They are quite tart to eat raw and are often used as a sauce accompaniment to turkey. Most berries are made into juices, jams and dried as snacks.
A cranberry offers a variety of vitamins and minerals the most prolific being Vitamin C and Manganese. Native Americans used them in a medicinal way to treat various ailments and in the late 1800’s doctors noticed an effect on the urinary excretion of hippuric acid after eating cranberries which was believed to be because of the benzoic acid in the fruit. This was supposed to improve the infection but that’s now been proved to not be the case.
Although there is no medical evidence to show that cranberries have any effect on a bladder infection in humans some clinical studies still show some preventative benefits.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infections tend to come from harmful bacteria that haven’t been flushed out the the body in the normal way because it manages to stick to the bladder wall and get a chance to multiply.
Studies have been done on dogs as to the effectiveness of Cranberry extract on the prevention of UTI’s. It was found that it lowered the harmful bacterial growth stuck in the urinary tract and the dogs had less recurring issues. It’s believed that the proanthocyanidin-A in cranberries has an important role in this.
Does the Vitamin C in cranberries help?
Cranberries are full of natural goodness with antioxidants which help to boost your dogs immune system. With minerals manganese and copper as well as fiber, vitamin C, E and K there are definite benefits in this fruit. Together with the Proanthocyanidins these plant chemicals work to help to prevent the bacteria sticking around and forming colonies.
Any studies done to test whether cranberries are an effective treatment for urinary health in humans or dogs have not been able to find scientific evidence to prove it for a fact.
That’s not to say that cranberry supplements aren’t going to work on your dogs, too many people have seen benefits in their pets and recommend it. Even veterinarians suggest it to pet owners.
Are natural cranberries safe for dogs?
You might be wondering if it’s safe for you to give your dogs cranberries to snack on especially when they are in season.
Cranberries are usually safe for your dog to eat in moderate quantities, but you might have problems getting your dog to eat them as they are quite tart. My dogs don’t seem to want to bother with berries.
If you make your own cranberry sauce and want to try giving it to your dog you should be ok if it is plain and you know there is nothing untoward added.
If you purchase your cranberry sauce, make sure you check the ingredients, as many can have a lot of sugar added which can cause stomach upsets. If your sauce has alcohol or grape juice added, be aware that both toxic for dogs.
My mantra is “If in doubt, don’t”
If you eat dried cranberries as a snack and want to share them with your dog, a small amount should do no harm, but be careful if they come mixed with other dried fruit like raisins which are toxic to dogs.
Cookies with added cranberry
If you want to give your dog a cranberry treat that you’ve made yourself, try these cookies.
Don’t go overloading your dog with cranberries though as they may have issues if you give them too many. Like some other fruit and vegetables, cranberries have oxalates.
On the whole most people and pets don’t have any problems with this but it can cause problems if too much is eaten, like increasing the risk of kidney stones or even bladder stones developing.
It’s obviously much easier to give your dog cranberries in the form of a supplement, because then you’ll know that you are giving the right amount each time. This makes it much easier to give on a daily basis so you can keep on boosting their immune system.
What do you need to look for in a cranberry supplements for dogs
Check the ingredients and make sure that they don’t contain any added sugar. If you buy your cranberry supplements from reputable companies that manufacture specifically for dogs, then you should be ok.
They are probably made with cranberry extract and other active ingredients but shouldn’t contain any additives or preservatives.
Do cranberry supplements for dogs have side effects
The supplements themselves are the right amount for a dog if you follow the instructions so should be quite safe to take. If your dog has any other health conditions you should consult your veterinarian to be on the safe side.
It might not be prudent to give supplements when your dog is pregnant. If your dog is taking medication for a liver complaint or pain killers then the supplements can negate the effects of any current medication.
How often should I give my dog cranberry supplements
Most cranberry supplements for dogs are meant for daily use to get the best health benefits. Providing your vet has no issues with you giving a supplement then you need to decide what’s easiest for your dog to take.
Some cranberry supplements come in liquid drops which you can add to water or into the dog food. There are also chewy treats that are flavoured with meat so your dog is more inclined to eat it. Here is a selection of some of the most popular choices.
Cranberry concentrate – to flush bad bacteria
Organic Marshmallow Root & Astragalus – include antibacterial & anti-inflammatory properties
Bite size cranberry chews – Organic Licorice Root, D Mannose, & Nettle Seed to detox the kidneys.
No byproducts – great for allergy prone dogs
Proprietary canine custom formulation – holistic nutritional vitamin boost
Cranberry fruit extract with ACV – for urinary health
Stops UTI’s fast – prevents bacteria from multiplying.
All natural ingredients – Cranberry and natural plant-based herbs.
Liquid drops – easy to dispense with dropper, into water or onto food.
Improve kidney and bladder strength – keeps pH levels balanced and healthy
Premium ingredients – Cranberry, D-Mannose, Marshmallow root and Echinacea
Active ingredients – Cranberry Extract, Echinacea, Calcium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) and Astragalus Root.
This Cranberry product comes in powder form or soft chews
Supports a healthy urinary tract and overall bladder function.
The bottom line is that there are no clinical studies that back the use of cranberry supplements for dogs. They are not harmful when taken in the recommended amounts and if your dog is taking medication make sure you check with your vet first.
On the other hand, giving a tasty treat with enough natural ingredients for bladder and kidney support which are also useful for keeping UTI’s at bay and preventing stone formation seems a no brainer.
If you still have any doubts read some of the reviews for these products to see the results owners are seeing with their pets.