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Can Cranberries Cure Canine Troubles?

close up of cranberries

Is autumn's most popular berry good for your dog? The answer may be "YES." But before you add cranberries to his food bowl this Thanksgiving, you should know a few things about this berry's canine health benefits and limitations.

For centuries, people have used cranberry fruits and leaves as a natural remedy for a variety of health problems, including urinary disorders, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver disease. It now appears that this potent berry might even be useful in treating some ailments in dogs as well.

Canine urinary problems and cranberries

Urinary tract and bladder infections (UTIs) are fairly common in dogs, particularly spayed females. These infections occur when bacteria enter the urethra and bladder. If your dog is urinating frequently and with pain, or his urine is cloudy, blood tinged, foul smelling or dark, a UTI could be the cause. UTIs can be serious if they recur or if they travel to the kidneys and are left untreated.

While there is little evidence that cranberries can cure a UTI in progress (these must be treated with antibiotics), some holistic vets do recommend cranberry as a preventive measure for dogs prone to UTIs. Here's how the cranberry works: Bacteria thrive in alkaline urine (high pH), and the berry increases the acidity of urine making it less hospitable for bacteria to grow. It also appears that cranberries have the ability to prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, thus diminishing the chance of an infection occurring.

Cranberry therapy

If your dog has recurring urinary tract problems and you are interested in cranberry therapy, consult your veterinarian first. Your vet knows your dog best and will advise you if he or she thinks cranberry therapy should be used.

Always remember that a painful urinary tract infection can only be treated with an antibiotic. But for prevention of your dog's recurring urinary problems, you may want to consider a cranberry supplement. As with all medications and supplements, consult your veterinarian before giving cranberry in any form to your dog.

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall


    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
     

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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