Dr Tracy Douglas
Your guide to this article today is by veterinarian Dr Tracy Douglas
Published 14:13 pm

Dates are rich in vitamins and minerals and have been proven to be very good for consumption. Most people eat these tasty fruits because of how sweet and chewy they are, thus, it has been incorporated in many dishes across the globe. But the question is, is it safe for your pet to eat? Are dates good for dogs or should they be kept away from them and why? Let’s fill you in on what dates really are and if your dog can eat them.

Feeding dog

What Are Dates?

Dates are chewy sweet fruits that are widely cultivated and eaten in different parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, Northern Africa, South Asia, the United States and more. The delicious fruit is packed with vitamins like A, C, and B. It also contains dietary fiber, calcium, iron, protein, magnesium, and potassium. Dates contain a lot of sugar which gets higher as the fruit ripens and by the time it’s ready to be consumed, the fruit will have a wrinkled and plump skin with a slightly glossy appearance. At this stage, you can enjoy your dates as a snack on its own or even add it to your baked or cooked foods for extra sweetness. Dates are the perfect alternative for regular sugars in your recipes and a lot healthier too. You can also turn dates into syrup or use them in making healthy juices.

Truly, there are a lot of things that can be done with these fleshy fruits and a lot of people are making the most of it, including pet owners. Notably, most pet owners love to slip most of the food they are having to their dogs but while we encourage such gestures that provide a platform for bonding, there are certain human foods that dogs shouldn’t be allowed to eat. Are these sweet dates one of them?

Can Dogs Eat Dates?

The simple answer here is yes, your dog can eat dates. Dates are the best option for when you want to give something sugary to your pet. By eating a handful of these sweet fruits, your dog’s body will be nourished with at least seven grams of fiber, two grams of protein, as well as potassium, magnesium among other nutrients that are nothing less than fabulous for the body.

Fibre, which is found in high quantity in dates, can help with digestion and the fruit also controls blood sugar levels, even though it is very sugary. Again, a lot of antioxidants can be found in dates and they improve the overall health of the body by preventing certain chronic illnesses from forming. Health challenges like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and even diabetes are threatened by these antioxidants.

While dates are absolutely safe and nutritious for dogs, there are other things to consider as the introduction of some new food in their diet may lead to stomach upset. Additionally, because dates contain a lot of sugar measuring up to 16 grams per date, dogs should not eat them in large quantities at a time as they are supposed to keep to a mostly sugar-free diet. Thus, it is good to give dates to your dog but limit the quantity to one or two at a time and study how they react to it as too many dates can pose a problem to your furry friend.

Notably, there is confusion between raisins and dates. The former looks like dates and they are not safe for dogs to eat because they are made from dehydrated grapes. Even the smallest amount of grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs which can be fatal.

Before you feed dates to your dog, make sure you get rid of the pit, a hard seed found when you slice the fruit open. While the seed does not contain any poisonous substance, it can lead to choking or cause a blockage in the intestines. So, to avoid these mishaps from happening, it is best to remove the pit before giving your dog the sweet treat. If it’s the first time your dog is trying a date, start off small by giving him a single date and watch how his body reacts to it.

How to Know Your Dog Has Eaten More Dates Than Required

Consuming too many dates means having a lot of sugar in their body which can make your dog hyperactive. Imagine giving your already active dog more reasons to jump around. The effect can make them jittery, distressed and leave them dehydrated. Digestive distress might also occur and subsequently lead to nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Also, a spike in the dog’s blood pressure is a likely result of having too many dates. You might also notice bloodshot eyes or some strange behaviors, as well as a loss of appetite and even weight gain.

To avoid these anomalies from happening, regulate the number of dates you give your dog instead of leaving it up to them to decide when they have had enough.

Dates on a wooden table

What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?

Nutritionists will always tell you to eat your fruits and vegetables and it’s very common to see pet owners giving their dogs a treat while they enjoy some of these tasty fruits. However, not all fruits that are good for the owner is good for the dog. Cherries have been found to be toxic to cats and dogs, and as aforementioned, you don’t want your dog to have even the smallest amount of grapes and raisins as they can cause kidney damage. You can also add citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and grapefruit, as well as persimmon to the list of fruits to avoid giving your dog as they can upset his stomach.

Notwithstanding, there are many fruits that don’t pose any threat to a dog as long as they are eaten in the right amount. These fruits include bananas, apples, strawberries, oranges, kiwis, blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, cucumber, mangos, peaches, pears, pineapples, raspberries, and watermelons.

Generally, fruits are known to have a lot of sugar, thus, they should be given in moderate quantity, especially for overweight dogs. Before giving your dog these tasty treats, remember to remove inedible parts of the fruits.

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Dr Tracy Douglas
General Practice Veterinarian, currently working at the Glenwood Veterinary Clinic, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dr. Douglas began her veterinary career as a Veterinary Nurse in Highton Veterinary Clinic, Highton Victoria, and then as an Emergency Veterinarian in Uintah Pet Emergency, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tracy is particularly interested in surgery, neurology and internal medicine, which gives her a well-rounded knowledge on animal health and well-being. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Melbourne, while her undergraduate bachelor of science is from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

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