Can dogs eat dates? Is your little pup being greedy as you tuck into these sweet and sticky treats or have they stolen some without your knowledge and you’re now worried if anything will happen to them?
Well, there is good news and bad news, but there is also a warning here that all dog owners should heed when it comes to dates and to fruits like them.
Can Dogs Eat Dates?
The simple answer is “no”. However, it’s not down to any super toxic ingredients that will leave your dog in seriously ill health, so there is nothing to worry about in that regard (unless a large amount is consumed or there is a preexisting condition present).
There are several reasons why dogs should not be fed dates, but if they have taken some without your permission then just know that they will probably be okay, minus some gastrointestinal suffering. If you’re concerned then you can phone your local vet for advice, but if they are an otherwise healthy dog and have not consumed a large quantity, then just keep an eye on them and watch out for any changes in their mood and toilet habits.
They may be a little grouchy, there may be some odd gurgling nosies emanating from their stomaches and there may be some diarrhea. Of course, there may also be nothing of note whatsoever, it all depends on the dog (age, breed, size, health) and on the amount that they consumed.
Which begs the question, what is the issue with dogs eating dates?
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Dates?
There are a couple of reasons why these dried fruits are bad for your dog. One of these is the high level of dietary fiber, something that is considered a benefit to us humans but will upset your dog’s digestive system. They don’t need fiber like we do or like rabbits do. They should subsist on a diet that is mainly protein, with some fat and with very little of anything else.
They can eat other things without causing much harm, of course, but just because it doesn’t kill them or give them a seriously upset stomach doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to consume. Dogs have evolved alongside humans so there is some degree of hardiness there where human foods are concerned. But much of the human-dog relationship existed when the human diet was high in dairy, grains and fresh meat and fish, which dogs were mostly okay to eat and were happy to share.
Only in the last century or two have we adapted to a diet rich in processed sugar, additives and all kinds of other problematic ingredients. So while dogs still have that “feed-me, human” mentality, it’s not doing them as many favors as it did their ancestors.
Dates are also high in sugar, which is the other major reason you should not give them to your dog. This sugar is naturally occurring and that means that it is slightly healthier for us humans than processed sugar would be. But to a dog, all sugar is bad. This is a carnivorous animal that was bred to hunt and that survived by feeding off of other animals. It’s not built to eat fruit, root vegetables and other things that are high in natural sugars.