The quick answer: Yes, dogs can eat dates, but only sparingly due to the high sugar content.
The sweet, edible date fruit grows in clusters on a date palm tree and is native to the Middle East. Dates contain high amounts of sugar and are often used as a natural sweetener in smoothies and baked goods. They can be eaten fresh, but are usually eaten partially dry and resemble a giant raisin (but unlike raisins, dates are not toxic to dogs).
Benefits of dates
Dates are nature’s candy and contain many beneficial vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and many B vitamins. They also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Though humans enjoy dates as a sweet treat with added nutrients, dogs don’t necessarily enjoy (and digest) sweet treats the same way. Dogs should eat a mostly sugar-free diet, and because dates are high in natural sugar, dates should only be shared sparingly.
Dogs that eat high amounts of sugar face a greater risk of diabetes and obesity. The fiber content is another reason to moderate your dog’s intake of dates. Consuming too many dates at once means eating high amounts of sugar and fiber, which can give your dog an upset tummy or diarrhea.
Often times, you can purchase dates with the pits already removed. However, if your dates still contain pits, it’s a good idea to remove them before sharing with your dog. To remove the pit, slice a date lengthwise and pop it out. The good news is that unlike many other fruits, the pit of a date doesn’t contain cyanide. But the bad news is that swallowing a date pit can pose a choking hazard or cause an internal blockage for small dog breeds.
Finally, whole dates might be difficult for some dogs to chew. Make it easier for your pup to sample this unique fruit by chopping it into tiny pieces.