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Are Cranberries Healthy for Pets?

Are Cranberries Healthy for Pets?

               Cranberries are popular this time of year and their sweet-tart flavor is tasty. But, can we share them with our pets? And do they have any health benefits? Read on!

               Cranberries are generally safe for cats and dogs, so it’s ok to share. But, feed in moderation. Dogs and cats could experience stomach upset if they eat too many cranberries and dried cranberries and sauces have a lot of sugar, so feed sparingly.  Fresh cranberries can also be a great occasional snack for birds, bearded dragons, hamsters and guinea pigs. Avoid cranberry juice for pets.

               Do cranberries have any health benefits for pets?  Fresh cranberries can be a good source of fiber and vitamin C for birds and some reptiles and pocket pets.  Cranberry extract is reported to help reduce urinary tract infection in both people as well as dogs and cats. How do cranberries reduce bladder infections?  It is though that compounds in cranberry juice, particularly a group called proanthocyanidins, interfere with the attachment of some bacteria to the lining of the bladder.  These compounds appear to affect some strains of bacteria, but not others, so cranberry products may not help with bladder infections in all cases.

Cranberry extract products such as the Nutramax brand Crananidin appear to be safe, though stop use if your pet develops stomach upset during use.  However, there is little scientific evidence at this time that cranberry extracts are truly effective in reducing urinary infections in dogs and cats.  More research is needed.  So, while cranberries and cranberry supplements are safe for most pets, don’t rely solely on these products if your pet has urinary issues.

               So, go ahead and enjoy those holiday cranberries with your favorite pet, but remember, no cranberry juice and feed cranberries infrequently and in small amounts!

               This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital serving Red Lion, York and the surrounding communities.