Dates are one of them foods that humans either love or hate, there is not any in-between. With dates being a somewhat sugary treat for humans can dogs eat dates as well though? The answer is yes, they can.
Can Dogs Eat Dates?
So, yes, dogs can eat dates, the amount of nutritional value found in a date is surprising, which will be great for your dog’s overall health. A lot of people confuse raisins with dates, although that could not be further from the truth.
Raisins are toxic to dogs, the reason why they are toxic is that they come from dehydrated grapes. Grapes are toxic to dogs because they can cause kidney failure. You should never give your dog grapes or raisins, not even one.
Dates however are not made from grapes, as I am sure you already knew, they are a completely different type of fruit. Dates come from a date palm tree, which is then dehydrated, preserved, and stored.
You can easily tell the difference between grapes and dates as their appearance looks completely different.
Another way you can tell the difference between a raisin and a date is the size. Dates have pits inside them, which need to be removed before eating. At the end of the day if you are truly not sure, then it is not worth risking it and just put them in the trash.
Health Benefits for Dogs
Dates can be a great treat for dogs, especially if you are using it as a reward for training. As with anything though, dates need to be given in moderation and only on a treat basis. Dates are considered to be generally free of any allergens, but all dogs are not the same. Below we list some benefits of giving your dog dates.
Even with dates being a small-sized treat they are filled with quite a few different vitamins and minerals, which is always good for your dog’s immune system. Helping your dog have a good immune system that helps them fight off diseases and infections a lot easier.
The minerals you can find in dates are iron and zinc, which can help your dog have better bone development.
Dates have several vitamins in them from A, B (1, 2, 3, 5, and 9) and C which is great for a dog’s health. There is not that much human food that can offer that many vitamins for a dog.
Dates are a great fiber source just not for humans but also for dogs. They can help the dog’s digestive tract and help keep them regular, so they do not suffer from diarrhea or constipation.
A healthy amount of fiber is important for all dogs as it can help maintain their blood sugar levels. Which can help slow down the glucose absorption levels. This can help prevent certain serious illnesses like diabetes or weight gain, which could lead to obesity in your dog.
Dates are known to be high in glucose, sucrose, and fructose. These are natural sugars that can help boost a dogs energy levels. Now you may not want your dog’s energy levels to go any higher, but if they are known to run around all the time, this may help them.
Roughly between 60% – 70% of a date is made up of the above natural sugars. You must not forget though that there are 16 grams of sugar in one date. This is a lot of sugar, so moderation is key when giving dogs dates. Dogs mainly have a sugar free diet, too much sugar can give your dog diarrhea or digestive problems.
Please check out the below table showing what you can find in dates. The table is from the USDA FoodData Central Database. You can see they do have a rather high content of sugar, which as mentioned is not needed for dogs. Although they do offer a good amount of protein and fiber.
100g Serving of Dates
|Total lipid (fat)||6.25g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||67.5g|
|Fiber, total dietary||10g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||15g|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||1.25g|
When it comes to your dog’s heart health, dates can help with their cardiovascular system. They also have high levels of potassium, which is great for your dog’s blood pressure.
How Can Dogs Eat Dates?
Now dogs are known to just eat anything, so most dogs should not have a problem with eating dates, especially since they have a sweet smell. But as with anything you feed your dog, you need to make sure it is safe for your dog to eat.
Just because it is relatively healthy for a dog to eat, it does not mean that your dog can personally eat them.
When feeding a dog anything new, you need to make sure you feed it to them in a very small portion and see if they react any different to it.
If they are ok and had no reaction to the date, you can increase the quantity slowly, while keeping the amount you give the dog in moderation.
The first thing you should do is remove the pit from the date. You should find the pit in the middle of the date, they are not toxic or dangerous to dogs, unlike other seeds, like from apples.
They can be a possible choking hazard for your dog though, especially if they like to inhale anything they are given.
Another thing that could happen is that the pit gets stuck in your dogs’ intestinal tract. Which can cause your dog some serious pain if they have a blockage and will struggle to go to the toilet.
You should then cut the date up into smaller portions. This will help with keeping the moderation down when you are giving him treats and helps to stop it be a choking hazard.
Can I Feed My Dog Too Many Dates?
Yes, you can, even though they are healthy for your dog to eat, it does not mean you can feed them dates on a daily basis.
If you think of it like this, your bag of dog treats are healthy for dogs, but you do not feed them the whole packet, do you? You should only feed your dog, dates on a treat basis, or rewarding good behavior, that is it.
Not to mention that the dates are very high in sugar, feeding your dog too many dates can make them very excitable. Which can lead to them becoming dehydrated or jittery easily. If your dog is diabetic, we do not recommend feeding your dog dates at all.
Another thing that could happen is your dog can have diarrhea. Do not forget humans use dates to help their stomach if they are struggling to go to the toilet.
Lastly, if they eat too many dates, they can gain weight and if not careful become overweight. Which leads to many serious health illnesses down the line.
Refined sugar is largely empty calories. If you’re constantly giving your dog sugar, they can gain weight, which can stress joints and lead to other problems down the road.
“Heart disease, joint problems, lethargy, and difficulty breathing from the additional weight on the chest wall are just a few of the other problems that can result. In general, even if your pet avoids these diseases for a while, quality of life is decreased (less energy, less interest in playing, etc.) when he is overweight,” says Neely.
Read the original article – PetMD
The key is moderation, dates are healthy as long as you only give them in small portions on a treat basis.
Are Dates and Prunes the Same?
No, they are not. Dates and prunes are often mistaken as the same type of fruit but that could not be further from the truth. Prunes are actually plums that have been dried out. Prunes are grown on a date palm tree, not dried out like a prune.
Dates are largely grown and produced in hot climate countries such as Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Check out the below video from the Discovery Channel showing how dates are grown and harvested. Please note a lot of farms will not climb the trees but actually use a cherry picker to bring down the fruit.
Overall, dates are a great treat for dogs to have, as long as they are only a treat. There are many worse foods out there that you can give your dog, so dates are up there being a good one. Not to forget all the vitamins and minerals found in a date, which are great for a dog’s health.