Despite dates looking like raisins’ older, slightly better-looking brother – you may be surprised to learn that dates and raisins are not related. Dates are produced by the date palm tree, whereas raisins are dried grapes.
Why am I telling you this? If you want to treat your dog to fruit, it’s important to know what types of fruit are safe for your dog to eat. So can dogs eat dates?
Yes, in moderation. Whereas raisins are a definite no-no to give your dog, dates are non-toxic and are OK to share with your furry friend.
However before you and your dog get comfortable with a movie and a bowl full of dates to eat there are several things to consider before you scoff the lot.
Nutritional benefits of dates
Dates are a versatile and nutritious snack. Full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, they are naturally sweet and are often used as a natural alternative to sweeten baked goods.
Dates are easily digested which means that their many health benefits can be fully utilised by the body. And their high fibre content makes dates an excellent choice for healthy digestion, enabling the smooth movement of waste through the colon.
Dates contain decent levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper and are an excellent source of minerals.
Thought to help with everything from digestive health, heart health. eye health and even arthritis, dates are low fat and cholesterol free making them a good choice for a highly nutritious snack.
As a source of carbohydrate, dates can provide a quick and healthy energy boost and most dogs love to eat them.
Think of them as a little like a doggy sweet as they contain so much sugar. But as with all sweets, moderation is key.
Things to consider
Despite their impressive nutritional profile, dates have an extremely high sugar content. Since dogs process sugar in a similar way to us, giving them too many sweet things is not a good idea.
Diabetes, obesity and dental problems are all common problems for an over enthusiastic, sweet tooth. Your dog is susceptible to the same things so keep sugary treats to a minimum.
Not only that but our dogs can also experience sugar highs that can lead to bad behaviour and energy slumps.
If you still want to indulge your dog, start by giving them a small piece first. Although dates aren’t a well-known allergen, if your dog has never eaten one before it’s safest to start small.
Since the fibre content of dates is high, the most common side effect of your dog eating too many will be an upset stomach, which will be unpleasant for both you and your dog.
Lastly, always remove the pits. Although the pit is non-toxic, they do present both a choking hazard and can get create a blockage in the small intestine.
Can dogs eat dates?
The simple answer is yes, but only in moderation. Despite the fact that dates are packed full of vitamins and minerals they are also extremely high in sugar.
For every 100g of dates around 63g of those grams is sugar which makes them unsuitable for dogs that are overweight or diabetic.
However, if you are still tempted to dish out the dates make sure that they are pitted or why not whip up a tasty treat like the one from Peta below?
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup instant unsweetened oatmeal
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup finely chopped or grated raw carrots
- 2 Tbsp. pitted and finely chopped dates
- 1/2 cup natural unsalted peanut butter
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, and baking powder. Make a well in the center.
- Place the carrots and dates in a separate bowl with the peanut butter and water.
- Add the peanut butter mix to the well in the flour mix and stir until combined.
- Flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately 1/4-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the treats.
- Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 14 to16 minutes, or until dry.
- Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.