For hundreds of years people around the world have used cranberries to treat pain and discomfort caused by urinary tract infections (UTIs). But it was only in the last few decades that scientists understood why cranberries helped. It turns out that these little red berries contain powerful proanthocyanidins (PACs). These special antioxidants stop bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract and from causing infection. Since the bacteria can’t stick around, they’re flushed from the system.
Turns out what’s good for us, is also good for our pets. Many dogs and cats are prone to UTIs. Look for these signs of a UTI in your pet:
- frequent trips to the litter box
- light pink urine
- excessive thirst
- frequent trips outside
- signs of discomfort when urinating
- excessive thirst
If you think your pet has a UTI, see your veterinarian right away for a treatment recommendation. If your pet is prone to chronic urinary tract or bladder infection, your vet may recommend giving your pet a cranberry supplement to help maintain a healthy immune system and support urinary tract health. Cranberry supplements can be especially valuable as a maintenance therapy for dogs and cats that have recurrent UTIs.
You’ll find a range of cranberry supplements on the market. In addition to cranberry extract, many of these supplements also contain other beneficial ingredients including herbs and vitamins. Formulations vary, but the most popular are powders and chewables.
Paxon is a popular chewable cranberry extract supplement for dogs, while Cranberry Plus and CranMate are labelled for use in dogs and cats. Potassium Citrate Plus Cranberry combines the urinary tract benefits of cranberry with micro-encapsulated Potassium Citrate for the prevention of urinary stone formation and is available in chewable tablets and granules.
While cranberry supplements don’t require a prescription, you should talk with your veterinarian before giving this – or any — supplement to your pet. Some cranberry supplements can alter the efficacy of other medications so you need to be aware of how the supplement affects any medications your pet is already taking.
Do you give your dog or cat cranberry supplements? What results have you experienced? Your thoughts are valuable to us, so please share them in the comments section below.
Three cheers for the cranberry!