Can Dogs Eat Dates?

By Britt Kascjak

Dogs can eat dates, but moderation is the key to enjoying these sweet treats safely. Dates are low in fat, cholesterol-free, and contain no toxic ingredients. But, they are high in sugar and too much can make your dog ill. If you’re treating your dog with dates, do so sparingly.

Are Dates Safe for Your Dog to Eat?

Did your dog eat some dates and now you’re afraid that dates might be toxic to dogs? Do you enjoy dates and want to know if you can share some with your dog?

There is some confusion in the pet community about whether dates are safe for your dog. This is due to the fact that they look like a raisin, a food that is toxic. But, appearance is where their similarities end.

In fact, dates can be part of a healthy dog diet!

Are Dates Good for Dogs?

As with any human food, there are both benefits and risks to feeding dates to your dog.

Before adding anything new to your dog’s normal diet, contact your veterinarian. They will be able to help you make an informed decision based on your dog’s unique health and concerns.

Health Benefits of Eating Dates for Dogs

Vitamin A: Vitamin A supports healthy skin and eyes. It also gives the immune system a boost.

In younger dogs, it supports the growth of organs and other necessary body systems.

Vitamin B: The B vitamins contribute to a healthy brain and nervous system. They can also improve your dog’s metabolism and help prevent heart disease.

An increase in vitamin B is also a natural solution to keep fleas and ticks away.

Vitamin C: Well-known for its ability to boost the immune system, vitamin C is important for a healthy diet. It helps to reduce inflammation and support a healthy aging process.

If your dog suffers from urinary tract infections, it may also provide relief.

Dietary Fiber: High in fiber, dates can help to keep your dog “regular”. They encourage a healthy digestive system.

If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, adding fiber to their diet can help to firm up their stools. But, avoid too much as it can then lead to constipation.

Dates also help prevent problems with the anal glands by expressing them naturally.

Potassium: An important mineral for your dog’s heart health, potassium boots heart function. It helps to activate the nerve impulses that dictate heartbeats and muscle contractions.

Potassium also helps to regulate fluids in your dog’s body.

Copper: Often overlooked, copper is an important mineral for your dog’s health. It helps promote healthy bones, connective tissues, and collagen.

It also helps your dog’s body to effectively absorb iron.

Manganese: Manganese plays an important role in helping your dog make energy. It does this by helping to properly metabolize protein and carbohydrates.

Magnesium: This mineral helps your dog absorb vitamins and minerals. It may not have its own health benefits, but it’s a great way to get the best nutrition from their meals.

Health Risks of Eating Dates for Dogs

High Sugar Content: Dates contain a large amount of natural sugars and are often used as sweeteners in human foods.

While sugar isn’t toxic, it can cause health concerns in excess. High sugar amounts can increase your dog’s risk of diabetes and obesity.

Large amounts of sugar can also contribute to cavities and poor oral health.

If your dog is diabetic, overweight skip the dates and choose a different snack or treat.  You should also avoid dates if your dog has existing dental problems.

Excess Fiber: Eating enough fiber is important for your dog’s health and well-being. But, too much fiber can lead to stomach upset or diarrhea.

As dates are high in fiber, this is another important reason to limit how many your dog eats.

Choking Hazards: You can buy dates either with or without the pit. This is important to pay attention to!

If the date pits are still present, they present a choking hazard. You should always feed your dog pitted dates to avoid choking.

Can Dogs Eat Too Many Dates?

Definitely! As mentioned above, dates have high levels of both fiber and sugar. Eating too many in a short period of time can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and an increased risk of diabetes.

Excess sugar can also lead to weight gain and obesity, a growing problem in pets today.

Approximately 56% of dogs fall into the category of overweight or obese.

This puts dogs at a high risk of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. It can also increase their risk of some types of cancer.

The excess weight puts added pressure on a dog’s joints and bones, causing joint damage. It can lead to the early development of osteoarthritis. 

If you have reason to believe that your dog has eaten too many dates, contact your veterinarian. They may recommend you bring your dog in for an examination.

In most cases, your dog will be able to recover fine at home. Keep your dog under careful supervision and offer comfort until the discomfort passes.

Can I Give Dates to My Puppy?

The same benefits and health risks apply to your puppy as an adult dog. Puppies can enjoy dates in moderation. But, you need to be careful about how many they eat.

Puppies have sensitive stomachs. It would take fewer dates to upset a puppy’s system than it would an adult dog.

Another unique concern to puppies is the fact that dates can be hard to chew.

Puppies tend to scarf down their food quickly. To reduce the risk of choking, cut the dates into small pieces before letting your puppy eat them.

How to Feed your dog dates Safely

The first thing you need to do if introducing your dog to dates is to find a safe place to store them. This will prevent them from helping themselves and eating too many.

Cut the date up into smaller bite-sized pieces and offer a single piece to your dog for their first taste.

If your dog is picky about foods, the hard-to-chew texture may turn them off. To enjoy the benefits, try chopping them finely and sprinkling them on your dog’s food.

You can also add pet-friendly nut butter such as peanut butter to the center. Make sure your peanut butter does not contain xylitol, as it’s toxic.

Always supervise your dog carefully after trying a new food.

The recommended amount of dates that your dog can enjoy safely is a single date for a large dog. If your dog is a smaller breed, limit their intake to a quarter of a date.

It’s also not recommended to feed dates to your dog every day.

Final verdict: Can dogs eat dates?

So, can dogs eat dates? Yes! Dates are a healthy, sweet treat that your dog can enjoy in moderation.

But, be cautious. Too many dates can make your dog feel ill and, if you continue feeding them, cause long-term health issues.

If at any point you notice your dog isn’t feeling well after eating any human food, contact your vet. They will be able to decide on the next best steps for your dog’s health and well-being.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.