Q: Sassy, my 8-year-old Lab mix, has another bladder infection. After she and I left the animal hospital with an antibiotic, I thought of a question I should have asked her veterinarian: Would a cranberry supplement help?
A: A cranberry supplement probably won’t help, but it is unlikely to cause harm.
Little, high quality research has been conducted in dogs. None of the studies show that cranberry supplements effectively treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) or prevent them in dogs at increased risk.
In fact, a 2017 study of 94 at-risk dogs treated with a commercial cranberry supplement or an inactive placebo found that the cranberry-treated dogs actually had more UTIs than the placebo group, though the difference was not statistically significant.
After Sassy finishes her antibiotic, have your veterinarian retest her urine to make sure the infection is gone. If it returns later, Sassy may have an underlying problem that should be addressed, such as urinary incontinence, an anatomic abnormality or inadequately controlled diabetes or Cushing’s disease.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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