Can Dogs Eat Jujube Fruit?

Photo by Yves Jalabert on Flickr

The small red date from Asia, popularly called jujube, is a sweet fruit with a chewy texture and apple-like flavor.

Mature and ripe jujubes appear dark red or purple with a wrinkly body, and rich in carbs, fiber, vitamin C, proteins, calcium, and potassium.

The jujube is a nutrient-rich fruit with many health benefits for humans, and yes, our furry friends can enjoy some of the benefits too. 

The Chinese red dates or jujubes are not toxic to dogs, but only the flesh should be given to them in moderation because of the high sugar content.

However, if you’re concerned about too much sugar for your dog, skip jujubes and try some other delectable Asian fruits: pomelo, dragon fruit and loquats, without the seeds.

What is jujube fruit also known as?

Jujube is a small oval-shaped fruit which grows on a deciduous shrub (Ziziphus jujuba) with thorny branches.

The jujube fruit has a sweet and chewy texture, with a pit containing two seeds. It has the taste and flavor of an apple, with low acidity.

When immature, the jujube is green with a smooth apple-like feel, but when mature the fruit becomes dark red or deep purple with a wrinkly body like a small date. 

Although it’s now popular around the world, the jujube is native to Southern Asia, and it’s also known as Chinese date, red date or Chinese apple.

This small, chewy fruit is dried and used as desserts, candies and in cooking, its taste ranges from sweet to tart with mild apple flavor.

The jujube shrubs grow more freely in dry and arid climates, but they also handle cold climates well and tend to be very versatile. 

What is the nutrition of jujube fruit?

Jujube is a very sweet fruit with lots of health benefits.

It’s loaded with important nutrients and minerals including dietary fiber, carbohydrate, vitamins A, B, C, potassium, calcium, iron, etc. 100g (3 ounces) of fresh jujube, which is equivalent to about 3 jujube fruits, contains about 79 calories and provides 1.2 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams of fiber, 250 mg of potassium, 69.0 mg of vitamin C, 21 mg of calcium, etc. 

Jujube is rich in fiber, carbs and many vitamins and minerals.

It contains 20 times more vitamin C than any fruit in the citrus family.

The high vitamin and mineral content of jujube, plus antioxidant properties, makes it excellent in reducing oxidative stress, preventing cell damage and boosting the immune system.

The jujube may be a small fruit, but it undoubtedly has many beneficial properties for us, but does this also apply to dogs? 

Is jujube toxic to dogs?

There is a long list of fruits and vegetables that are toxic to dogs, fortunately jujube isn’t part of it, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s okay for your dog to have them.

While our furry friends can reap some of the health benefits that red dates have to offer, it may not be ideal to feed your dog lots of jujubes. 

Jujubes are known for their high sugar content.

And dried jujubes, which are more popularly consumed, have higher sugar concentration than fresh jujubes.

This is because the drying process removes water from the fruits, leaving the sugars behind, and since the dried fruits are smaller you will tend to consume more at a time, thus ingesting a lot more sugar.

This also applies to your dog, but in this case it’s much worse because dogs don’t need all that sugar. 

Too much sugar for dogs can cause some real health problems, from obesity, diabetes, to dental problems, heart complications and a host of other health conditions that can shorten your dog’s lifespan. 

While jujube fruits are not toxic to dogs, the amount of sugar and carbs they contain is enough reason to keep them away from your canine friends.

But, if you must give your pets some jujubes as treats, make sure that they only have some as rarely as possible and in very small amounts.

Also, dogs are able to eat only the fresh jujube fruits and nothing else, not the seeds or the leaves and stalks of the plant. 

The pit and seeds of jujube should not be given to dogs because they can cause choking hazard or intestinal blockage.

Before giving your dog jujube or any other fruits, it’s important that you always remove the pit and seeds to avoid accidents and health hazards. 

How much jujube should I feed to my dog?

When feeding your dog jujubes as a treat, remember that the fruit contains lots of sugar and carbs and should be given in very small amounts.

You should not try to replace your dog’s meal with jujubes or any treats at all. According to veterinary nutritionists, fruits and treats should make up only 10% of a dog’s meal

This is a good guideline to follow when giving your dog jujube.

For instance, if you have a dog with a nutritional requirement of 500 calories every day, your dog food makes up 90% of these calories while treats should be only 10%.

That is 450 calories from real food and 50 calories from treats, including jujube. 

Remember that a 3-ounce or 100 grams (which is about 3 jujubes) of Chinese dates is up to 79 calories, which is already too much. Alternatively, one medium-sized carrot contains 25 calories and a cup of sliced cucumbers provides just 8 calories. 

Even if you don’t take note of how many calories you consume, it’s important to monitor your dog’s daily caloric intake from treats and meals, because this is the basic cause of obesity, diabetes and some other serious conditions.

It’s best to choose low-calories and nutrient-filled treats for your dog, and always apply the 10% rule. 

What other Chinese fruits might you feed your dog?

Beside jujube, there are some other healthy Asian fruits that your dog can enjoy.

They are juicy, sweet with a ton of essential vitamins, minerals, and incredibly health benefits for both you and your canine friend.

Here are three Chinese fruits you might feed your dog.

Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit is not toxic and completely safe for dogs to eat. It’s a juicy and slightly sweet fruit with a red and yellow skin.

The dragon fruit is also known as pitaya, and contains many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with incredible health benefits for both humans and dogs.

It’s a snack that dogs enjoy, it has the ability to boost a dog’s immune system.

A 100 grams serving of dragon fruits provides 60 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 2.9 grams of fiber, 1.2 grams of proteins, 7.65 grams of sugar, 18 mg of calcium, 2.5 mg of vitamin C, etc.

Loquat

Loquats, also known as Japanese plums, are bright orange oval fruits with large brown seeds.

They have a unique sweet and tart flavor and are not toxic to dogs. Loquat fruits are high in carbs and sugars, but low in proteins and calories.

They contain many vitamins and minerals, and are high in antioxidants.

While they are safe for dogs, the seeds shouldn’t be fed to dogs to avoid choking or intestinal blockage.

A 100 g serving of loquat contains 47 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0.4 grams of proteins, 1.7 grams of fiber, 16 mg calcium, 0.28 mg iron, 288 mg potassium, they also contain vitamins A, B and C.

Pomelo

Pomelo is a large citrus fruit and also known as Chinese grapefruit. It’s highly nutritious, and certainly safe for dogs to eat.

In small quantities, the flesh of pomelo is healthy for dogs but the seeds, leaves and skin should be avoided because they can be toxic to dogs.

This fruit is rich in essential minerals and vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and helps fight oxidative stress.

A 100 g serving of pomelo provides 38 calories, 9.6 grams of carbohydrates, 0.8 grams of proteins, 1 gram of fiber, 216 mg of potassium, 4 mg of calcium, 0.11 mg of iron, etc. 

What fruits are toxic to dogs?

It’s okay to share some of your favorite fruits with your dog, but beware of fruits that can cause a medical emergency for your pet.

For some fruits, their flesh or pulp are safe for dogs, but the pit and seeds can be toxic. However, avocados and grapes are two fruits you should never feed your dog. 

Avocado 

While avocado is a healthy fruit for humans, it’s dangerous for dogs because it contains persin.

There is only a small concentration of persin in the avocado pulp, but this compound is toxic to dogs and is known to cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

It’s much safer to give your dog no avocados at all. 

Grapes and raisins

Both grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can result in kidney failure.

It’s unclear what makes grapes dangerous to dogs, but ingesting any form of grapes can result in sudden kidney failure, which can be fatal. 

Pits and seeds of fruits

Besides the fact that the pit and seeds of fruits can cause choking hazard and intestinal blockage in dogs, they can also be a source of poison.

The pits and seeds of some fruits, especially, apricots, cherries, apples, peaches and plums, contain cyanide and ingesting them will lead to cyanide poisoning in dogs with symptoms like salivation, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, convulsion and paralysis.

Wrapping Up

Fruits are great for both humans and dogs, but not all fruits that we enjoy are safe for dogs.

However, jujube is safe and non-toxic to dogs, but dogs should only be given jujube in small quantities, no more than 10% of their daily calorie requirement.

Jujube is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fiber, and has more vitamin C than any fruit in the citrus family.

But it’s also high in sugar and calories, which makes it less-than ideal for dogs battling with diabetes or obesity.