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Dried cranberries are a popular addition to baked goods, trail mix, and on their own. If your dog is drawn to anything you eat, and you’re chowing on a handful of Craisins, you might be wondering if dogs can eat cranberries too. In fact, they can! Cranberries are healthy for dogs to eat in small amounts. Dried cranberries are a great alternative to raisins, as well, which can be toxic to dogs (it’s true.)
Cranberries are antioxidant-rich fruits that can help boost your dog’s immune health and decrease inflammation. They’re high in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, along with being low in calories, so they make a wholesome little snack for dogs and people alike. Cranberries can also help combat a canine urinary tract infection, as they can in humans. What’s more, cranberries are good for your dog’s teeth, cardiovascular system, and eyesight.
Keep in mind that dogs don’t need sugar! Certain commercial dried cranberries aren’t as ideal as others because of the added sweeteners. See: the Craisins mentioned above. If you’re giving your dog dried cranberries, it’s better to avoid the most sugary brands in favor of plain or lightly sweetened varieties. Even so, a few sugary dried cranberries are perfectly fine for your dog to eat.
Add a handful of dried cranberries to homemade dog treats for a touch of wholesome sweetness. This is a great recipe!
Cranberry Coconut Shortbread Treats for Dogs
Yield 24 large treats
Coconut is a popular ingredient for dogs and people. It boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as making your dog's coat shine. Cranberries are packed with healthy antioxidants and vitamin C.
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/3 dried cranberries (look for unsweetened or low-sugar)
Preheat oven to 325ºF
- Toast dried coconut for 5-10 minutes or just until golden on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Cream coconut oil for about 2 minutes in a stand mixer or just until fluffy.
- Add the flours and baking powder and continue to mix on low.
- Add egg and vanilla.
- When a nice ball of dough is formed, mix in cranberries and toasted coconut until just combined.
- Roll out dough about 1/4 of an inch thick. It will be delicate to work with until baked and cooled.
- Cut into simple shapes, use a spatula to transfer to baking tray if necessary.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until just starting to brown around the edges.
The shortbread will be delicate until cooled, so let the treats cool on the baking tray.
Courses Winter Treats
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Other ideas for giving your dog cranberry include:
- If your dog likes them plain, add a few to their kibble as a topping.
- If your dog doesn’t like the taste of dried cranberries themselves, you can purchase treats infused with cranberry or give your dog canine cranberry supplements, which are proven to reduce UTI symptoms and improve bladder health.
- Cranberry juice is one easy way to share the fruit with your dog. But check the label carefully and avoid brands that have added sugar content (that’s most brands, so you have to hunt around). It’s best to buy organic, unsweetened cranberry juice, even if it is a bit sour. Dogs shouldn’t eat added sugars.
- Fresh cranberries can be served as-is, in small amounts. But some dogs may not gobble them up because of their strong taste.
- Cranberry powder can be sprinkled on your dog’s food. Be conservative, read the label, and only add small amounts to your dog’s food.
When giving your dog cranberries, keep servings small. If your dog has eaten a large number of dried cranberries—say, a whole bag of Craisins!—he may experience diarrhea or stomach upset. Even so, cranberries aren’t toxic or highly dangerous to dogs. Any symptoms should pass within 24 hours. Certainly, call your vet if you have any concerns.
For More Information
We offer a collection of articles on foods that are healthy or dangerous for dogs to eat, covering everything from grains, fruits, and vegetables. You might also be interested in reading “Can My Dog Eat Cranberries?”