Can Dogs Eat Dates?

I work as a senior editor at one of the most widely read national newspapers. After an exacting and devitalizing day at work, I feel like sinking in bed right away, when I get home.

However, there is one being whose fluff, paws and drooling tongue reinvigorates my strength. Yes, you guessed it right; I am talking about my dog, Bailey.

Bailey is a 4 years old red retriever that is active, friendly, and cheerful. He is one of my best friends in the whole wide world. He and I have a great time together. We go out for walks, play fetch and even go for picnics by the beach.

Another thing common between Bailey and me is a love for food. Although he tries to sink his teeth in all human foods, dates are something he fails to resist. Although I don’t deny him a date or two, I often ask myself, can dogs eat dates?

Let’s find out.

Are Dates Safe for Dogs?

To reach its full potential, all your canine needs are a fair share of high-quality dog food. However, a few extra items can have supplementary benefits for your four-legged pooch.

To provide your dog with vitamins and minerals, there is nothing better than fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables serve as a worthy substitute to the fatty dog treats available in the supermarket, or your local pet store.

With that being said, it is crucial to keep in mind that there are some foods your dog can’t eat. A dog’s digestive system isn’t quite the same as us humans’. Therefore, it is incapable of processing and digesting some of the foods we eat. Some human foods are toxic and can prove harmful to your dog’s health.

One food item that is considered the bone of contention among all dog owners is dates. A date is a sweet and delicious fruit that is excellent for you when you crave something sugary. But can dogs eat dates?

To answer this question, yes dogs can eat dates, for they are entirely safe for them. Not only is this sweet fruit easy to digest, but it also contains all the nutrients that are advantageous to a dog’s health. Nonetheless, most dog owners are concerned whether or not dates are safe for their dogs.

But why does this confusion takes place? It only happens because of the dates’ strong resemblance to raisins. Raisins are not at all healthy for dogs. They are made by dehydrating raw grapes. Unlike dates, grapes are not safe for dogs, because most of the time, they result in kidney failure.

Luckily, dates are not related to grapes in any way and belong to an entirely different genus of fruits. Dates grow on the date palm trees and are dehydrated only for preservation.

Normally, dates are bigger than raisins and have a dark brownish color. Another thing that distinguishes dates from raisins is the pit.

A pit is a big seed found right in the middle of a date. The pit is hard, and therefore cannot be chewed or digested, which is why it is removed from the date before it is eaten.

Are Dates Beneficial for Dogs?

If you want to treat your good fuzzy boy, dates are a good substitute for most dog treats. If fed in moderation, dates are healthy and refreshing for dogs and do not make dogs sick. Luckily, they are free from all sorts of allergens.

Furthermore, dates are rich in fiber, which is a necessary nutrient for your dog’s digestive tract. Besides ensuring the functionality of your dog’s internal system, dates help avoid illnesses like constipation and diarrhea.  

Moreover, the right dose of fiber contributes to the maintenance of a healthy blood sugar level in dogs. Fiber discourages the absorption of glucose, which reduces obesity and controls weight.

For your dog to remain healthy and fit, it must not feed on unnecessarily fatty foods. Just as they do to humans, fatty foods result in clogged arteries among dogs. The dog-treats available in the marketplace are notoriously fatty. It is the fat content in them that provides your dog with an instant boost of energy.

As discussed earlier, dates are a healthy substitute to dog treats because they provide the same amount of energy, without any harmful trade-offs.

Dates have in them glucose, sucrose, and fructose. These sugars are healthy for dogs and keep them active and playful. A single date contains around 65% of these natural sugars, which is all your dog needs for an energy boost.

When it comes to your dog’s cardiovascular system, dates keep a dog’s heart-healthy. Also, the potassium present in dates manages a dog’s blood pressure and keeps it under control.

Despite being small in size, dates are packed with vitamins and minerals. These minerals and vitamins strengthen your dog’s immune system, which helps them fight various diseases and ailments. Some minerals, such as zinc, contribute to healthy teeth and bones in dogs and also contribute to bone development.

Why Are Dates Good for Your Dog?

By now, you must have understood the health benefits of dates for dogs. Now, let’s discuss why can dogs eat dates in detail.

Strong Immune System

One of the biggest challenges for dog owners is to keep their dogs free from diseases and illnesses. Although dogs have a healthy immune system, still they need something to back it up with. Dates contain vitamin C, which helps strengthen your dog’s natural immune system. A date or two now and then will allow your dog’s immune system to fight infections and foreign agents.

Strong Bones

To stay healthy, a dog needs to have stronger bones. The zinc, iron, and copper found in dates are necessary for your dog to have a strong and healthy skeletal structure. A dog that gets a proper and balanced diet doesn’t necessarily need a boost for its bone health. However, a little boost of the right nutrition only serves as an added advantage for your dog’s bones.

Improved Digestion

The high fiber content found in dates is welcomed by dogs suffering from constipation, indigestion, and similar stomach issues. The fiber content in dates is especially necessary for older dogs, for they have a somewhat disturbed bowel movement, compared to the younger ones.

Increased Energy

Being rich in vitamins and minerals, dates are a great source of energy. The healthy sugars and carbs found in dates provide dogs with the instant boost of energy they need, whenever they feel low. Similar to the previous point, an extra boost of energy is good for older dogs, compared to younger ones. Younger ones are already playful and energetic and rarely require an extra push.

What Are the Healthy Nutrients Found in Dates?

Now that we have discussed the health benefits of dates for dogs let’s unveil the nutrients found in dates and how they benefit dogs.

Fiber

Dates have in them nearly 7 grams of fiber. Fiber is beneficial to a dog’s health for the following reasons.

  • It makes your dog feel full and less hungry.
  • It improves your dog’s digestive system and facilitates bowel movement.
  • Eliminates the possibility of illnesses like constipation and diarrhea.
  • Controls the level of blood sugar in dogs.
  • Improves stool frequency.

Protein

Another essential nutrient found in dates is protein. Dates contain nearly 2 grams of protein, the benefits of which are mentioned below.

  • Creation of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones.
  • Maintenance, improvement, and strengthening of the immune system.
  • Repair and maintenance of tissues and muscles.
  • Contributes to the proper functioning of the body.
  • The amino acids contribute to healthy skin and fur coats in dogs.

Iron

One of the most necessary nutrients for dogs is iron. Dates contain 5% (RDI) of iron, and its benefits for dogs are mentioned below.

  • Contributes to blood synthesis
  • It helps in the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
  • Hemoglobin carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
  • Contributes to several enzyme functions in a dog’s body.
  • Iron allows your dog to make the most of the foods it eats.
  • Iron also keeps your canine in good shape.

Copper

Dates are a key source of copper having more than 17% (RDI) of it. But how is copper vital to a dog’s health? Let’s figure that out.

  • Copper is involved in the production of melanin. Melanin provides your dog’s fur with the right color tone.
  • Also, copper contributes to the formation of bones, connective tissues, and collagens
  • Copper allows a dog’s body to absorb minerals like calcium and iron.
  • Fights aging and make your dog appear young and fresh for long periods.
  • Copper produces antioxidants that fight free radicals that cause aging.
  • It is a critical player in the formation of red blood cells.

Potassium

Dates contain 20% (RDI) of potassium. Here are some health benefits of potassium for dogs.

  • It provides your dog with stronger bones.
  • It provides your dog with a healthy nervous system and influences its cognitive functions.
  • It helps your dog digest food.
  • It contributes to your dog’s heart health.
  • It helps a dog’s muscles to strengthen and grow.
  • It regulates the contractions of the heart and muscles and dogs.
  • It helps in the activation of nerve impulses.
  • It helps regulate the balance of fluids.

How Many Dates Can My Dog Eat Regularly?

Dog owners are often confused about how many dates are safe for their dogs if eaten regularly. The answer to this question is simple; whether its dates or anything else, it must be fed in moderation.

The best thing you can do is keep the dates away from the reach and sight of your dog. If your dog is aware of the fact that dates are treats, it will try to much on a date or two while you are not around.

Due to their sweet taste, eating dates regularly might make your dog a little picky. Therefore, it is better to train your dog when to eat and what to eat. It is alright if your dog has become a little picky, and doesn’t enjoy it usual dog food. Just provide them with their dog food, at mealtime. If they don’t like it, that is fine. Once the dog is hungry, it won’t be as picky as it is now.

Even if our dog gets hold of a few dates, they must be trained well enough to follow the basic demands like “stop” and “no.”

Although dates are healthy for your pooch, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you make dates a part of their diet.

  • Dates contain a significant amount of fiber which every dog requires. However, too much fiber has its downsides as well. Excessive amounts of fiber might increase your dog’s visits to the toilets. Also, too much fiber can make your dog’s stool go out of control and even cause diarrhea.
  • Despite the healthy nature of sugar found in dates, too much sugar can be bad for most canines. A dog’s digestive system is designed in a way that is not conducive to sugar. Too much sugar can make your dog obese, which in some cases leads to diabetes.
  • The pit is a hard seed right in the middle of a date. It is tough for a dog to chew, and if swallowed, can make a dog choke. If they pass through the throat, they can still block your dog’s intestines. When feeding dates to your dog, make sure the pit has been removed.

It is better not to feed too many dates to your dogs regularly. If they ask for it, only give them a date or two occasionally.

Can I Feed My Dog Treats with Dates?

Now that you know the answer to can dogs eat dates, let’s get creative with how you can feed dates to dogs.

Remember, you are not bound to feed only raw dates to your dog. Using some creativity, you can make some yummy dog treats combining dates, oatmeal, and carrots. The ingredients you will need are as follows.

  • Half cup filtered water
  • Half cup unsalted peanut butter
  • Two tablespoons of finely chopped dates
  • One cup of finely grated or chopped carrots
  • Two teaspoons of baking powder
  • Half cup of unsweetened instant oatmeal
  • One and a half cup gluten-free flour

With all the ingredients at your disposal, here is what you need to do.

  • Turn the oven on; make sure it’s preheated up to 325F.
  • Taking a mixing bowl, and combine it with baking powder, flour, and oatmeal. Mix them thoroughly, and make a well in the center.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, water, dates, and carrots, and mix them.
  • Pour the peanut butter mixture into the well you made in the previous mixing bowl containing flour and oatmeal.
  • Mix them into a thick dough.
  • Flatten the dough over a floured surface, and make sure it is a quarter-inch thick.
  • To cut the treats, use a cookie-cutter.
  • Place the treats over a parchment paper unrolled over a baking tray.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, until they are dry and crispy.
  • Before you serve, cool them down for half an hour.

And there you have it. Your date and carrot dog treats are ready to be served.

Signs Your Dog Likes Dates

Here are a few signs your dog likes dates.

They lick their lips and drool every time they see it.

The mere sight of it leaves them with raised ears.

They eat it quickly and impatiently.

Signs Your Dog Dislikes Dates

Let’s take a look at a few signs your dog doesn’t like dates.

Eating dates makes them sick and nauseous.

No matter how hard you try to feed them dates, they will not have them.

They eat it very slowly and sometimes drop more than they consume.

My Dog Just Ate a Lot of Dates, What Do I Do Now? 

Here are a few signs your dog has consumed a large number of dates.

  • Choking on date pits
  • Weird bowel habits
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increase in blood sugar
  • Stomach issues
  • Hyperactivity
  • They seem obese and lethargic

First of all, if your dog has eaten too many dates while you weren’t around, here is what you need to do.

  • For an expert opinion, contact a vet right away.
  • Take your dog to the bathroom, more frequently than you would usually do. Or else the dog will make a mess in the house.
  • Make your dog lie down and relax, as long as the date situation continues.
  • Try to comfort your dog as much as possible.
  • If your dog has a sugar high, it is better to them out for a walk.

Conclusion

To answer the question, can dogs eat dates? Yes, dogs can eat dates, but dates must be fed to them in moderation. Before you feed your dog a date or two, make sure to remove the fit, for it can make your dog experience a choked esophagus or intestine. If your dog has eaten too many dates, take it to the vet right away, and try to make it relax.