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Food & Diet

Can Dogs Eat Dates? Learn How To Safely Feed Your Dog This Nutrition Hero (Plus Some Bonus Recipes!)

At A Glance

Dates are rich in bioactives and offer a lot of benefits to humans. But can dogs eat dates safely, too? Dates are generally a harmless treat for dogs as long as they are given moderately and in choke-proof pieces. The amount of dates your dog can consume depends on factors such as its size, age, and overall health.

  • Dates are not toxic to dogs, but they can be a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs.
  • Like any new food, dates should be introduced gradually into a dog’s diet.

Last Updated on: October 5, 2023

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Dates are a delicious and nutritious fruit loved by many worldwide especially in the Middle Eastern regions for its sweet taste. They are stone fruits from the date palm tree that are also grown in the Mediterranean, Asia, US, and Mexico. They’re like cousins to figs and pines but with much lower water content.

These chewy, wrinkly fruits are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a popular snack for health-conscious individuals. As such, dog owners often wonder “Can dogs eat dates, too?” Well, to reiterate, the answer is yes.

But as with all other sweet fruits, it should be done with care.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and risks of feeding dates to your canine companion and how to safely feed them this fruit. So, whether you’re contemplating sharing a sweet treat with your pooch or just looking to expand your canine culinary knowledge, we’ve got the scoop on dates and how well they fare as dog snacks.

Let’s get to the pit of the matter!

Potential Benefits Of Feeding Your Dog Dates

Better Bowel Movement

Dr Andrew Miller, MRCVS, says, “Dates are full of fibre which is good for your dog’s digestive system, helping to keep their bowel movements regular and it feeds the good bacteria in their gut.”

Since dates are fiber rich, offering a few pieces to your dog could help improve their digestion and combat constipation and diarrhea. They also help manage weight and fight obesity because they help dogs feel fuller longer.

Healthier Cells

Dates contain antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids that help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. They give dogs an extra boost of protection by reducing risks of illnesses and diseases caused by damaged cells.

can dogs eat dates - infographic image

Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Dates are rich in vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B12, potassium, copper, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. They contain bioactives that help regulate hormones, promote healthy skin, reduce the risk of heart diseases, promote skeletal growth and red blood cell formation, regulate blood pressure and aid in muscle and nerve function.

Vitality Boost

A little bit of dates can help enhance your dog’s energy because of its sugar content. They have low glycemic index and high fiber content so the extra alertness they provide is more sustained, not likely to cause energy spikes and crashes unlike other fruits that are high in sugar. Still, moderate feeding is key to keep energy and blood sugar at optimum levels.

All these health benefits are boon but that does not mean dates can make up a large part of your dog’s diet.

Types of Dates

can dogs eat dates and figs - types of dates

Medjool

They’re the sweeter, larger, and caramel-like variety with a thick and sticky texture. Can dogs eat medjool dates? Like other dates, you can feed your dogs medjool provided they are cut into smaller pieces to prevent choking and are served moderately.

Deglet Noor

Also popular as a snack or dessert but with a mildly sweet taste, lighter color, and firm texture. They are often used in cooking, baking, salads, and smoothies.

Barhi

They are delightfully sweet, with a butterscotch taste and are often eaten when partially ripe with a bit of crunch.

Dayri

They have a dark brown color and are semi-dry. They originated in Southern Iraq but are now also grown in California. Dayri dates have a more balanced sweetness.

Halawi

They are amber-colored, chewy, and sweet like caramel and are popular as a dessert or snack.

When it comes to sharing this delectable fruit with your pet, it is best to stick to one or two known types, as different varieties can have varying levels of sugar.

The two types of dates considered the best for dogs are Deglet Noor and Medjool. These types of dates are soft, sweet, and easy for dogs to eat.

How Many Dates Can A Dog Eat?

Your dog may love its sweet taste and chewy texture but they can’t have as many dates as they want.

The number of dates a dog can consume depends on factors such as their size, age, and overall health. It’s best to limit dates and any other healthy treats to not more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake.

This means giving them just a small piece or two of dates, not more than twice a week.

That said, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian before feeding your dog any new food, including dates.




Are Dates Bad For Dogs?

can dogs have dates to eat - are dates bad for dogs

No, dates aren’t toxic to dogs. But you’ll agree that too much of anything, including a good thing can be bad.

There is a reason dates are called nature’s candies – they’re high on fructose, a natural form of sugar. And the fructose concentrate is more in dried dates. Therefore, giving your dog too much of this natural candy can lead to several complications, including:

  • Obesity arising from the high sugar and calorie content in dates
  • Digestive issues arising from sugar and fiber, which can cause digestive upset including diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort
  • Blood sugar imbalance that can become particularly problematic for dogs with diabetes
  • Tooth decay and gum disease

That said, don’t confuse dates – almost always available in the market in dried form – with raisins (dried grapes). Raisins are toxic to dogs while dates aren’t.

While they may seem very similar in appearance, dates are usually at least 3 times bigger than raisins which are similar in size to peanuts.

Can Dogs Eat All Parts Of A Date?

The flesh of a date is safe for dogs. And while the pit of this fruit is also safe since it does not contain traces of cyanide, the bad news is that the hard-textured pit can be a choking hazard, especially in small dogs.
And that’s not all.

Date pits can also cause intestinal blockages if swallowed. Can dogs eat pitted dates? Definitely. Pitted dates are the best option for your pet.

Ensure that dogs are fed pure dates only and not the kind in the market that comes sprinkled with sugar, or worse, chocolate. As you’d know, chocolate is toxic for dogs.

How To Safely Feed Dog Dates?

Like any new food, dates should be introduced gradually into a dog’s diet. This will help ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from indigestion or allergic reactions. And like I always advise, check with the vet’s before introducing your pet to new foods or treats.

Cutting dates into bite-sized pieces is an easy way to go about feeding dog dates. Jackie Marvel, a veterinary nurse, says, “They (dates) are not toxic to dogs, but they can be a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs. Limit the amount of dates your dog eats, maybe only reserved for special occasions.”

Dates can be mixed with our dog-safe ingredients to further enhance their flavor. Here are some easy recipes if you are considering introducing dates in your dog’s diet.

Date Treat

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, peanut butter, and chopped dates. Mix well.
  • Add water and mix until a dough forms.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
  • Place the shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool before serving.

Date and Yogurt Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  • Blend together plain Greek yogurt, chopped dates, and water until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or ice cube trays.
  • Freeze for at least 4 hours or until solid.
  • Pop out the popsicles or cubes and let your dog enjoy.

This is a great treat for hot summer days.

Date and Banana Bites

owner feeding the dog

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe banana until smooth.
  • Add the chopped dates, oat flour, and egg. Mix well.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
  • Place the shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool before serving.

In a similar vein, you can make dates and carrot/apple treats.

Date and Chicken Jerky

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200°F (95°C).
  • Cut the chicken breast into thin, even slices.
  • Place the chicken slices and chopped dates in a bowl and mix well.
  • Place the chicken and date mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 2-3 hours or until the chicken is completely dry and crispy.
  • Let cool before serving.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Date and Sweet Potato Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the grated sweet potato, chopped dates, oat flour, and egg. Mix well.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool before serving.

Mix together cooked and mashed sweet potato, dates, and flour to form a dough. Roll into bite-sized balls, then bake for 20-25 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Can Dogs Eat Dried Dates?

While dogs can eat dried dates in moderation, fresh dates are a better option. Dried dates have a higher concentration of sugar – about 70% mainly in the form of glucose, fructose and a bit of maltose and sucrose.

Excess of these can lead to weight gain, obesity, and elevated blood sugar.

Can Dogs Eat Dates and Figs?

Yes but in moderation due to their high sugar content. Also, cut them into small pieces to avoid choking, and serve them without the pits and stems as they pose choking hazards and stomach upset. You should also watch for any allergic reaction.

Can Dogs Eat Dates and Coconut?

Some recipes combine these two and they are generally safe to feed to your dogs but again, always in moderation and in small slices. Coconut is high in saturated fats so make sure to serve it only minimally.

Can Dogs Eat Dates Without Seeds?

It’s actually the safe way to feed your dogs so go ahead and remove the seeds (pits), then slice them down to smaller pieces to prevent choking risks.

Now that you know that dogs can eat dates safely if served right, you can add it to their diet as an occasional snack. Dates are a delightful treat that’s like chocolate to humans, but without the toxicity to dogs.

Dates are a healthy and wholesome treat for canines as their bioactives help promote dog health and longevity. A few small pieces can make them less prone to diseases and more energized and alert. A healthy dog is a happy dog and a few, occasional dates contribute to optimizing their health in sweet and delightful ways!

 

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.


Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.