Every dog owner has experienced eating a snack and having their pooch come up to beg for a taste. It can be stressful if you’re not sure whether your snack is safe for them. While dates are great for humans, you may be wondering can dogs eat dates as well? And do they have any benefits for your pup?
The short answer is yes, dogs cat eat the fleshy part of a date- but they seeds or pits inside should definitely be avoided if possible. Most dogs will poop out the seed if swallowed but may cause discomfort. These pits are not toxic as they are in cherries and other pitted fruits.
You may have been fearful if your dog got into the cupboard and ate several dates, concerned they are dangerous. While for the most part the fruit of the date is ok for dogs, however eaten in large quantities it might cause intestinal distress or diarrhea.
This article will help you learn everything you need to do before feeding your dog a date.
What Are Dates?
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree. This tree is native to the Middle East, and dates have been part of this region’s cuisine for thousands of years. They can be eaten anywhere from fresh to partially dehydrated. They are incredibly sweet, and you may find that smoothie shops or healthy bakeries will advertise using a sweetener made from dates.
Dates are packed with fiber and vitamins. They are also low in fat, with high sugar content. This makes them a favored healthy sweet treat among humans. Given that dates are a favored treat for many humans, this can lead to dog owners wondering can dogs eat dates.
The answer to this is yes. Dates can be a great treat for dogs. Many dogs love how sweet they are. If you want a treat that your dog will love without a high fat content, dates can be a great option. You should obviously be careful, but dates can be a great high-value treat for training.
Are There Positives to Dogs Eating Dates?
There are many positives to giving your dog dates. While they should only be a treat thanks in part to the high sugar content, dates are very healthy for dogs when fed in moderation. Dates are naturally high in fiber and vitamins. This makes them healthier than many treats you can buy in the store.
The sugar content(consisting of sucrose, fructose, and glucose) means that your dog will have more energy. This means that giving dates as a treat can give your dog more energy for high-energy activities like running or playing. If you lead an active lifestyle and like having your pooch with you, dates can boost your dog’s energy for a long run.
Given the high fiber content dates can be good to add as a treat for a constipated dog. Dates also contain vitamins like potassium and Vitamin A. These vitamins can help with heart health and arthritis. Other fruits can be good treats. This article from the AKC goes over a few things that also cover dates like sugar content and pits.
Are There Negatives to Feeding Dates?
While dates can be a healthy treat, they shouldn’t be given as a part of the regular diet. Dates are very high in sugar, and a high-sugar diet is bad for dogs. The fiber can also cause minor digestive upset. You should consult your vet before adding anything new to your dog’s diet.
Also, be sure that if you do decide to give your dog a date as a treat, you give only a small amount and watch for any signs of digestive upset. Adding anything new to a dog’s diet can cause digestive troubles. This is not exclusive to dates and should be practiced with any new food or treat.
Dogs who are overweight or diabetic also shouldn’t be given dates. Much like humans, a high-sugar treat can cause problems to get worse. Dogs with dental troubles should also not be given dates thanks to the high sugar. Watch out for the pit as well since they can cause choking.
You should never let your dog eat any kind of pit since many contain substances like cyanide. If you want to check if a food is safe, this simple checker can help. This slideshow from WebMD goes over many foods your dog can’t eat. It gives some good tips that fit dates like avoiding too much sugar.
How to Feed Your Dog Dates
If you think your dog would enjoy the occasional date as a treat, or you want to give treats that have dates as an ingredient, you should follow certain steps to keep your dog happy and healthy. If you intend on feeding treats where dates are an ingredient, you need to watch out for any reaction to the new food and keep in mind that your dog shouldn’t have too much sugar.
Should you want to feed your dog whole dates as a treat, there are steps you should take. The first and most important is to be certain that the pit has been removed. The pit or seed can cause choking or intestinal blockages in your dog. You can remove the pit by slicing into the date and pulling out the small pit.
The next thing is that you should only feed a small bit of date to start. Any new food can cause digestive distress, so you should introduce anything new carefully and stick with one new food at a time. If your dog enjoys dates and it doesn’t cause any digestive problems, you should still be cautious in how much you feed your dog. One or two dates a day should be the maximum.
However, if you know your dog is overweight or might be diabetic, dates and any other high-sugar treat should be avoided. Much like humans, the high sugar content can worsen dental conditions or wear down enamel.
Many types of dates can be fed to dogs. Softer dates will likely be more appreciated, and you can select one with a lower sugar content to help reduce sugar in your dog’s diet. Be sure to check the package to ensure the dates have no additives.
Added sugar, preservatives, or flavorings can be very bad for dogs. Also, some artificial sweeteners like xylitol are toxic to dogs. Never feed anything containing them to your dog.
Medjool dates are the most commonly recommended for dogs and are some of the most common types of dates. You can find these in the produce section normally. You may also find dates in the dried fruit section. Be sure these don’t have any added ingredients if you intend to feed them to your pet.
Dates are best as a single treat that is given rarely. They can be a good high-value treat for training if your dog loves them. Just cut the date into smaller pieces so you don’t feed more than 2 dates in a day. They can also be a great treat to give your dog an energy boost before intensive play or exercise.
When You Should Not Feed Pets Dates
You should not feed dates to dogs that are overweight or diabetic. The sugar will worsen these conditions. Dates are also not a good option for dogs with dental issues. Since dates will give an energy boost, they might not be good for an already energetic dog.
Also, if your dog has any digestive reactions to dates, do not keep feeding them to your dog.
Dogs that are already experiencing digestive trouble like diarrhea should not be fed dates or any other fruit. This can worsen symptoms.
Anything with fruit should be given in moderation. While dogs can eat fruit, they are still primarily carnivores and need their diet to be made mainly of meat.
Types of Recipes with Dates for Dogs
Many dog treats use dates as an ingredient. Many more include a sweetener made from dates to make the treats more appealing to dogs. Oatmeal is a popular combination with dates, as well as peanut butter. If you love making homemade treats for your dog and want to add dates, there are many great recipes online.
This peanut butter and date cookie is vegan and is also safe for humans to eat. If your dog loves peanut butter, these soft cookies are great as a treat.
You can also play around with fruit treats and swap out one fruit for dates instead. Just pick something with a similar moisture level. Any recipe that encourages you to pick your dog’s favorite fruit can be used with dates.
FAQ About Feeding Dates and Fruits to Dogs
Are fruits safe for dogs?
Some fruits are safe for dogs and can be part of a healthy diet. Make sure they don’t have pits and check the specific fruit. Dates, many berries, apples, and watermelon are all safe fruits for your dog. Be sure to never feed grapes or raisins since they can cause kidney failure. Always use a food checker like this one to be sure a fruit is safe for dogs. Dogs aren’t human, and their digestive system isn’t identical to ours.
How Much Fruit Should I Feed my Dog?
Fruit should be kept as a treat since it can cause a digestive upset like diarrhea. A few bits of fruit a day won’t hurt and can give your dog an added boost of vitamins and fiber as part of a healthy diet. A few berries a day are fine, or one date. Remember that fruit is a treat only and shouldn’t be fed as a meal or a major component of one.
Are There Any Signs I Should Watch for when Feeding my Dog Fruit?
The main things to watch for when feeding your dog new fruits are allergic reactions and digestive upset. Always watch for any change in behavior or appearance when feeding any new food. Your vet can give you a better idea of what symptoms to look out for.
Can you Feed Too Many Dates?
Like all foods, it is possible to overindulge in dates and other fruits. The key signs are digestive upset in the short term. In the long term, too much fruit can cause weight gain and diabetes in dogs. Unlike humans, dogs are not meant for fruit to be a large part of their diets. Much like eating sugary foods in humans, dogs can suffer dental issues if they eat lots of sugary food like fruit too often.
What Should I do if I Give too Many Dates?
You should stop feeding your dog dates immediately. If you see any signs that worry you, take your dog straight to your vet. Your vet can treat any allergic reactions or make a plan if your dog is gaining too much weight thanks to fruit.
Dates can be a great treat for dogs when given in moderation. Just be sure to remove the pit before you give any to your dog. If you love making your own treats for your pup, dates are a good ingredient to add sweetness without adding sugar.