Can Dogs Eat Dates? 

can dogs eat dates

Imagine yourself biting into a succulent date. Your dog wants a taste, and those dark eyes dart back and forth from the date to your mouth, his body tensed, just waiting for you to share or drop a tasty morsel. If you’re like many pet parents, you often share your treats…carrots, crackers, and sliced apples are all safe for dogs, but what about dates? 

Can dogs eat dates? Yes, dogs can eat dates in moderation.

Veterinary surgeon Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS, at, says, “Dates do contain a range of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. However, for the amount that would need to be eaten to get the benefit, your dog could develop a stomach upset.”

Find out more about dogs, the potential benefits of dates, along with their possible drawbacks. 

What are Dates? 

can dogs eat dates

Dates are fruit from the date palm tree, which grows in warm climates around the world. Dates are considered a superfood because they are packed with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.

The sweet treat has been a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries, and they’re often dried and exported as they last longer when dried than fresh. However, the drying process takes all the water from the fruit, which concentrates the natural sugars and makes them sweeter and higher in calories. This makes them a calorie bomb whether you’re a human or a dog, so while you might pick up a package of the sweet treats at your local grocery, be aware the dried versions can spike your and your dog’s glucose levels.

Benefits of Dates for Your Dog 

Dates are packed with vitamins and minerals like:

  • manganese
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • B vitamins
  • vitamin A
  • dietary fiber
  • antioxidants

Manganese supports bone and joint health. Magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins are good for the heart. Dietary fiber keeps your dog’s digestive system regular while antioxidants fight cell damage.

As part of a balanced diet, your pooch can have a date or two. Plus, since dates are rich in fiber, one or two could help relieve constipation. 

However, it’s worth noting that fresh dates are lower in sugar and easier to digest than dried dates. So, if you’re feeding dates to your dog, fresh dates are a healthier option. 

Potential Risks of Dates and Your Dog 

why does my dog burp so much

You probably know many human foods are harmful to dogs, including onions, garlic, and raisins. Such foods can cause digestive issues and stomach upset in your dog. While dates are not toxic to dogs, eating too many may cause a stomach upset in sensitive pups. Plus, they have a high fiber content, which can cause digestive issues like bloating and constipation

Another thing to consider is their high sugar content. Dr. Simon says, “Dates are not going to do your dog any favors nutritionally, as they are rich in sugars. This can promote obesity and spike blood sugars.” 

Obesity is such a problem in dogs that there’s an Association for Pet Obesity Prevention meant to educate pet parents on the health risks of being overweight. Turns out, too many pounds on our pooches are just as bad for their heart, joints, and overall health as it is for ours. 

Dr. Simon reminds us that sweet dates are ”an especially bad snack for diabetic dogs.”

She also says, “Another issue with dates is the hard pit. This has the potential to break teeth and even cause gut obstructions in smaller dogs.” So don’t give your dog date pits or dates with pits, as they can be a choking hazard. 

The potential side effects of feeding your dog dates also vary from dog to dog. You’ve probably known a dog or two that seems to have iron stomachs. They can eat virtually anything and never have a bad reaction. Others can barely stomach any new food. 

On rare occasions, your dog might even have allergic reactions to dates. Such reactions could include itchy skin, hives, vomiting, and other stomach upset. So dogs CAN safely eat dates on occasion, but they are sweet treats and should be fed in moderation, if at all. 

How Many Dates Can Your Dog Eat? 

Dr. Simon says one or two dates a week as a rare treat is enough. She recommends feeding other treats with less sugar. This is especially good advice if your dog is already overweight. By practicing moderation, you contribute to your dog’s health and well-being. 

Additionally, consider if you’re feeding fresh dates or dried dates? Dried dates have much higher sugar and calorie content than fresh ones. 

Don’t Confuse Dates for Raisins 

Placed side-by-side, you can see that dates are much bigger than raisins. However, never feed your dog raisins. Those little snack packs may look harmless, but they can wreak havoc on your pup’s digestive system and even prove fatal. So, if you’re snacking on a nut and dried fruit mix with raisins, be sure you don’t share those with your pooch. 

What Makes up a Dog’s Balanced Diet?

dog eating out of a bowl

A healthy, balanced diet for your dog is essential for good health. It includes a mix of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats and oils. It also includes plenty of fresh, clean water. 

Dogs are omnivores, which means they can digest plants, but their bodies require meat. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, dogs do best on whole, recognizable foods, so if you’re comparing brands of dog food, look for ingredients that you recognize. 

Of course, a balanced diet requirements shift depending on your dog’s age, breed, health, and energy requirements. Active, growing puppies need much more protein than a senior dog who naps most of the day. 

Every nutritionist will say whole, fresh foods are the easiest to digest for all dogs. When your dog’s diet is easier to digest, you have less chance of digestive issues and stomach upset. Whole, fresh foods support your dog’s gut health, are better for skin and health, and improve the immune system. 

All in all, your dog’s health starts with a nutritious diet. A balanced diet offers many health benefits. It feeds your pup’s cells, helps grow healthy muscles, supports the immune system, and boosts your dog’s overall well-being. By now, you know it’s safe to feed your healthy dog a date or two occasionally, but there are other more nutritious options, like pumpkin or chicken breast dog treats

In addition to feeding a healthy diet, ensure your pup gets enough physical activity and stays within a healthy weight range no matter what he eats. If your doggo shows signs of weight gain, cut back on the treats and portions and increase the exercise. 

This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns.

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