Are all types of dates safe for your dog to eat? Find out if this dried fruit snack humans love can be shared with your pup along with any risks and benefits of doing so.
CAN DOGS EAT DATES?
Dates, especially smaller varieties, have a similar appearance to raisins and therefore often get dismissed as a food that isn’t safe for dogs to eat.
While raisins (and grapes) are foods to avoid feeding your dog due to their toxicity when consumed, dates, however, are perfectly safe for dogs.
Dates have absolutely no correlation with raisins. They’re the fruit of the date palm tree whereas raisins are dried grapes.
There are many varieties of dates especially in the middle east where they originated but the most common one to U.S. markets is the medjool date shown here.
Medjool dates are the largest date and often softer than other varieties. They’re used often as a dried fruit component for things like muesli or to naturally sweeten baked goods.
You can even make delicious date spreads as an alternative to honey or maple syrup.
Whichever variety of date you have on hand, rest assured it’s safe for your dog to eat.
HOW MANY DATES CAN DOGS EAT?
As a fruit naturally high in sugars, it’s best to exercise strict moderation when giving your dog dates.
Dates should be approached as a “once in a while” treat. We give one or two maximum to our medium/large breed dogs.
For any smaller dog, adjust the serving size appropriately and cut the date in half or quarters if needed.
Excess consumption of dates can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea due to the fiber content and sugar high energy rush to boot!
ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO FEEDING MY DOG DATES?
The main thing to be aware of when feeding your dog dates are the pits. Often times dates are sold with the pits still intact inside.
Make sure to slice the date in half and remove the pit before sharing with your pup or, simply purchase pitted dates which are widely available.
Date pits can become a choking hazard to dogs if swallowed, especially smaller breeds. The same applies to feeding dogs cherries. The flesh is perfectly safe but the pits (and stems) can pose a problem with that fruit as well.
ARE DATES GOOD FOR DOGS?
As long as your pup isn’t suffering from blood sugar issues or diagnosed with diabetes (one date has about 16g of naturally occurring sugar), dates are absolutely a healthy food for them to enjoy on occasion.
They contain vitamins C and A as well as an array of the B vitamins. They’re also high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper and iron among other minerals.
Some claim a date or two can help dogs suffering with constipation because of the high fiber content.
Related – feed your dog fennel to aid in digestion or an upset stomach.
They’ll also contribute a good dose of antioxidants such as flavanoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid that can help protect cells from free radicals when given to your dog.
Think your dog would love a date or two as a treat?
Here are a few ideas for how to feed dates:
- use date halves as training treats
- stuff with a nut butter (make sure to select one with “clean” ingredients and no added oils or sugar) such as peanut butter
- finely chop and sprinkle on their food
If your dog loves dates, they may enjoy some mango as well, another intensely sweet dog safe tropical fruit you can share together!