Cranberries are for life, not just for Christmas - the health benefits of this festive ingredient
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘cranberry’? Yuletide turkey and cranberry sauce, perhaps? Dried cranberries in your favourite trail mix? Or a superhero ingredient, ready to fight a urinary tract infection at a moment’s notice? Cranberries may be small, but they are su-paw mighty. Read on for more about why this ingredient is more than just a festive fruit for Thanksgiving or Christmas - and why including it in your dog or cat’s diet is a fantastic idea.
So many benefits...
The cranberry comes from the cranberry bush (or Vaccinium marocarpon), and has been used in medicinal treatments for thousands of years. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, they bring a multitude of health benefits, helping to fight bacteria, prevent cancer and improve bladder health. Full of vitamins C, E and K, as well as iron, calcium and magnesium, cranberries can give your pets an amazing boost to the immune system and help keep them healthy from head to tail!
- Vitamin C - helps to support immune health, skin, bone and muscle.
- Vitamin E - antioxidant which supports immune health in pets.
- Vitamin K1 - essential for blood clotting.
Tell me more!
Gladly! The list of benefits for dogs and cats goes on:
- Cranberries contain a high level of ellagic acid, a polyphenol known to be a powerful anti–cancer fighter.
- They can help with urinary tract infections (a common affliction of dogs and cats) by inhibiting microorganisms from adhering to the bladder and urinary tract. Not just that - they are also effective for combating constipation, bladder stones, kidney stones and other urinary tract issues. Perhaps most beneficially, they also help to acidify urine for those pets prone to struvite crystals!
- The tannins found in cranberries help reduce tooth decay and inhibit bad stomach bacteria from adhering to the stomach. By fighting the bad bacteria in the stomach, they help promote good gut health in your pet.
- Cranberries also have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation caused by arthritis.
- They also contain Quercetin (nature's benadryl), to help with allergies.
Let’s talk about Smack…
While cranberries can be consumed fresh (ground) or dried (powder), make sure not to feed your pets cranberries which have been processed with added sugars or artificial sweeteners such as xylitol - these can cause stomach upsets and be toxic for dogs. So instead of sharing the cranberry sauce with your pup, why not reach for a bag of Smack instead!
Here at Smack Pet Food, we LOVE cranberries. Our Canadian-grown GMO-free cranberries can be found in Prairie Harvest Pork, Very Berry Chicken for Dogs, Purrfect Pork for Cats and Very Berry for Cats.
Cranberries for the win
In conclusion, cranberries are pretty paw-some, and a great addition to your pet’s bowl. Of course, your pup or kitty might not even like the taste of cranberries (to each their own, right?) but if they do, it’s a great snack or meal component that can have a ton of paw-sitive benefits. So as we head into the season of giving thanks and holiday celebrations, why not let your pet enjoy this festive ingredient too!
As with any food, too much cranberry can cause issues for your pet. Start with small quantities, and always consult your veterinarian with any concerns or questions. If you’re feeding them dried, ensure that they aren’t mixed in with any raisins - grapes and their dried counterparts can be toxic for dogs, so please be sure to avoid them!