Admittedly, the fruit dates are not as popular as bananas or even avocados in the US. However, if you’ve visited the Middle East, you have probably tried this sweet fruit that pretty much resembles a raisin- only that it is quite oversized.
If you’ve enjoyed munching on dates, or you often find yourself buying it at a specialty store, you might have wondered if sharing some of this nutrition-packed fruit is a good idea for your furry best friend.
Can Dogs Safely Eat Dates?
The answer is yes; dates can be safely eaten by your dog.
This may come as a shock to you as most people think it is toxic. The confusion may be brought about by its resemblance to raisins.
Here’s the thing: raisins are made from grapes, which are toxic to dogs. Dates, meanwhile, are not related to grapes but it is actually made from the fruit of date palm trees.
When you examine both, dates are quite bigger. And when you open it, it has a pit in the middle.
So again, dates are safe for your dogs to eat but do not overdo giving it as it may cause stomach upset.
So as not to confuse further with raisins, here are some cool facts about dates:
Dates, a member of the palm family Arecaceae, are native to the Middle East. There are about 199 different types of dates in the UAE and the country has 44 million palm trees which are 98% of their total fruit trees! The hardest to grow, and therefore the most expensive, is the Medjool.
Did you know that the word “dates” originated from the Greek term “daktylos” which means finger. The weather in the Middle East is perfect for growing dates because it needs 100ºF of heat for at least 100 days to produce the best quality fruit.
In Israel and Saudi Arabia, dates symbolize vitality and growth and have been produced for 5,000 years.
In the US, most of the dates are grown in Coachella Valley in California.
The date tree palm is not only prized for its fruits. It is a very useful tree also providing shade, its leaves used for wicker baskets, carpets, trays; its trunk for tent frames and furniture and its fiber for pillows, mattresses and even ropes.
Benefits of Eating Dates for Dogs
Dates are beneficial for your dog as it is power-packed in vitamins and minerals. First and foremost, too, the fruit is low in fat and cholesterol-free. Here are some of the loot dates can provide your dog:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Dietary fiber
With all these, the benefits of dates for your dogs are:
- Energy booster– thank carbohydrates for giving your dog an energetic treat they need to carry out their play for the day.
- Improved bone strength– Minerals such as calcium, zinc and copper all contribute to strong bones and teeth!
- Good digestion– abundance in fiber not only aids in your dog’s digestion and allows proper nutrient absorption but also helpful for dogs suffering from constipation.
- Boosts immune system– vitamin C in dates are immune system boosters and helps ward off diseases and infections.
- Supports heart health– potassium in dates helps control blood pressure and prevents irregular heartbeats.
Risks of Eating Dates for Dogs
No matter how healthy dates are, keep in mind to feed them in moderation. Here are some of the reasons why:
Too many dates, due to its fiber content, can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. You see, it will be counterproductive when given in large amounts.
Dates are very high in natural sugars fructose, glucose and sucrose. A single date already comprises 60% to 70% sugar. If possible, dogs must have a sugar-free diet. When they are full of sugar, instant results are hyperactivity, extra-thirst or bloodshot eyes. In the long run, it can also cause weight gain!
Can cause choking due to the pits inside it. Be careful with this; never give whole dates to your dog as they might choke on the pits, although on the bright side, unlike other fruits its seeds do not contain toxic cyanide.
Should I Give My Dog Dates?
Absolutely! You can give some dates to your dog as treats from time to time.
However, keep in mind that your dog’s complete nutrition should come from its high-quality kibble and not from human foods. Fruits and veggies should only be complementary to their diet and should therefore be just 10% of their total diet.
How Can I Feed My Dog Dates?
For first time dog eaters of dates, make sure to let it taste minute amounts first. After that, it is best to check for any bad symptoms like GI upset or diarrhea. If none, then you are cleared to provide your dog recommended serving size.
To feed your dog some dates, make sure to take out the pits by slicing it in half and just pop it out. While the pit of the dates does not contain cyanide, it can still be a choking hazard for your dog.
Speaking of choking hazards, feeding your dog with whole dates might be difficult for them to chew. Make their lives easier by chopping them into tiny little pieces.
How Many Dates Can Dogs Eat?
So how much is in “moderation” for your dog? One or two dates occasionally are already good for your furry best friend.
Signs Your Dog Had Too Many Dates
Too many dates are not good. If they had so much of it, you will see symptoms below:
- Upset stomach
- Blood sugar spikes
- Vomiting / Nausea
You will also notice that your dog will become hyperactive, or you might get shocked to see it with eyes dilated.
So be careful in feeding dates to your dog.
Conclusion: Dates for Dog?
Yes, dates are a wise fruit choice for your dog. But preparation also matters so remember to pop out the pit and slice it into pieces before sharing it with your dog.
Now, if you love dates, isn’t it fun you get to share it with your pooch?