The secret of cranberries and maintaining a healthy urinary tract has been passed down from generation to generation. It is now not so much a secret and could be said to be general knowledge. I bet the majority of you have been told to drink cranberry juice when suffering from a bladder infection. But, are cranberries really all that effective for treating urinary tract infections (UTI) and can they be used for canines?
Little research has been done on the effectiveness of cranberries on canine urinary tract health, BUT a lot of research has been done on humans. Of all the reading I have done for canines on cranberries, it seems that most veterinarians are using the human research to shed light on canine health. In addition, it seems that a lot of canine owners are praising the benefits of cranberries for helping their furry family members.
There does seem to be some confusion on how cranberries help with UT health. It is often told that cranberries help by lowering the PH in urine, thus making it more acidic and killing off the bacteria. However, this seems to be just a wives tale passed on from generation to generation. In fact, it looks like cranberries help by making it difficult for bacteria to attach to the bladder wall tissue. If the bacteria can't attach, they can't multiply and just float around until they are flushed out with urine. It should also be noted that cranberries are not very effective in curing an already blazing urinary tract infection. You need antibiotics for that. Cranberries are helpful for maintaining a healthy urinary tract. This, in turn, reduces the chances of an infection. If your dog has chronic bladder infections, it is wise to work with your veterinarian to find out why. It could be a diet issue or an anatomical issue. As always, if you are supplementing your dog, you should always let your veterinarian know. Some medication and supplements don't work well together.
Aside from helping with UT health, cranberries are...well, like most berries... super healthy. They are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. In addition, they have abundant minerals and antioxidants. A daily dosage would be as follows:
- Cats and small dogs: 100mg/ 3 times a day
- Medium dogs: 200 mg/ 3 times a day
- Large dogs: 300 mg/ 3 times a day
- Giant dogs: 400 mg/ 3 times a day
- Can Cranberry Help To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection?, Pet MD, http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2013/nov/how-cranberry-can-be-used-to-prevent-urinary-infections-dogs-31002
- Cranberries For Preventing Urinary Tract Infections, PubMD.gov, Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23076891
- Cranberry For Animals, Animal Wellness Magazine, Donamor, Audi, http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/cranberry/