Many holistic veterinarians are now recommending the use of cranberries in the long-term treatment of pets who are susceptible to urinary tract infections, or UTI.
Diabetic dogs, in particular, seem to develop UTI more regularly than the normal dog population. Spayed females are also more susceptible to infections.
When a dog has a UTI, they often struggle to eliminate urine or, when they do pee, not much comes out. Sometimes blood is seen in the urine, the urine may smell stronger, or it has a dark colour. If your dog has a UTI, then seeing your veterinarian for antibiotics is essential. A urinary tract infection left untreated means your dog is uncomfortable and in pain and if the infection travels to the kidneys, then your dog is in serious trouble.
Cranberries can assist when your dog is being treated for a UTI because cranberries help to acidify the urine which helps to prevent bacteria growth.
But what about prevention? This is where the cranberries come into their own. Not only does the cranberry acidify the urine, but studies show that they have the ability to prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract and so they minimise the chance of an infection recurring.
Some owners treat their dog with cranberry powder because the juice is tart and unpalatable. Owners must be careful because lots of cranberry juices are full of sugar (that’s a warning for humans as well as pets).
I’m working on a wheat-free cranberry biscuit recipe now that will feature as the January/February special. I’ve just perfected my recipe and the latest batch is looking great – with the added benefit of no artificial colours!
In order to prevent recurring urinary tract infections, it’s also really important to ensure your dog has lots of fresh, clean water to drink and has lots of opportunities to go outside and pee. For diabetic dogs, care must be given to their daily diet to manage their blood sugars (another reason to watch the sugar content of any cranberry supplements).