Since dogs would eat pretty much anything, including their own poop, as dog owners, we have a responsibility to know which foods are allowed in a dog’s diet.
Poop aside, there are many plants and other human-type foods that can be dangerous to dogs.
But, are figs one of them?
Figs are tasty and nutritious fruit that humans enjoy eating whether fresh or dried. They tend to be underrated compared to some other fruits that you can eat on a hot summer’s day, and often, they are not our first choice.
This may be due to the fact that people, in general, do not know how beneficial this fruit can be for them or for their furry friend. It is full of minerals and vitamins that ensure the normal functioning of the body.
So, can dogs eat figs?
Yes. Under the right circumstances, figs are not only safe for dogs, but they also can have numerous health benefits.
To learn the circumstances in which you should feed this fruit to your dog as well as all the potential healthy sides to it, we encourage you to read through this article.
We will go into great details on this subject, starting with what exactly are figs.
What are figs?
Ficus carica is a species of a flowering plant in the mulberry family. This plant is better known by the common name of a fig plant.
The fruit of this plant is called a fig and it is a very important crop in the Asian continent where it is commercially grown.
The common fig is native to western Asia and the Mediterranean where it has been cultivated since ancient times.
Today, it is widely grown all over the world, not only for its fruit, but as an ornamental plant as well.
Besides Ficus carica, the most common species is Ficus Benjamina, also known as the Rubber Plant or the Weeping Fig.
Both of these species belong to a Moraceae family of fruits with over 850 other species of their kind.
They make for ideal house plants or shade plants for your backyard due to their glossy, rubbery leaves. Some of these species even have a religious significance in certain parts of the world.
Are figs safe for my dog?
We can happily say that figs are completely safe for dogs! In fact, if given in moderation, they can lead to numerous health advantages for your pup.
The recommended amount of figs is about a quarter to a half of this fruit or less, twice or three times a week. We strongly urge you to not give above the recommended amount since figs are high in sugars.
A medium fig fruit weighs about 40 grams, and it can have up to 6.5 grams of sugar and approximately 30 calories.
Although figs are not toxic to dogs, there can be dogs that are allergic to them and/or the plants, so if your dog is prone to allergic reactions from plants, it is recommended that you keep these away from a dog’s diet.
If you are not sure as to whether your pup is allergic, you can try to give it a very small amount of figs for starters. Keep your eyes on your pup closely for the next few days for any changes in his behavior.
Possible symptoms of allergic reactions are:
• Eye itchiness
• Rash on the skin
• Rash around or inside the mouth
If you notice any of these signs, you should immediately contact your vet to prevent any further complications.
If you are sure that your dog doesn’t have problems with allergies, then you can feed it fresh figs.
Note that dry figs are quite bad for dogs. They have three times the number of calories that a fresh fig has, and also too much sugar. Besides that, their water content is very low, so it is not recommended for your dog to ever get near them.
Can figs hurt my dog in any way?
The enzymes contained in figs are your biggest concern when it comes to this plant. They are known to be too strong and can be too much for your dog’s stomach to absorb. This can lead to vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs.
However, if you keep the doses in moderation, then the benefits of figs will heavily outweigh the potential negative aspects.
What are the health benefits of figs for my dog?
1. Figs are loaded with natural sugar.
Natural sugar is needed for energy, which dogs use throughout their daily activities. You might think that sugar, in general, is bad for dogs, but that only goes for manufactured sugars.
The natural sugar that figs contain is healthy and beneficial for your dog since it will boost the dog’s energy levels and help its body perform better.
2. Figs contain a high amount of dietary fiber.
Since fiber is known as a great way for balancing the entire body as well as the digestive system, in particular, figs can have a great impact on your dog.
Figs are rich in fiber, and if added to a dog’s diet correctly, they can help with multiple issues dog’s tend to have.
Dietary fiber is great for a dog’s colon health, and it also helps with weight control. Furthermore, it supports bowel movements, so it can even help with constipation. Also, it can help dogs that are at risk of developing diabetes mellitus.
3. Figs have a significant amount of potassium.
Photo from: @joy_thebeagle19
Potassium is important as it helps with overall cardiovascular health. This mineral also helps your dog’s body regulate blood pressure.
Figs will keep a dog’s blood pressure down, so if your dog suffers from low potassium levels, be sure to add this fruit to its diet.
4. Figs can help with weight management.
With a low-calorie amount and high fiber content, this fruit can be a blessing to a dog’s body.
The fiber will provide a sense of fullness in your dog’s belly while the low-calorie amount will ensure that no extra weight is added.
This helps fight obesity, which occurs in a high number of canines every year.
5. It benefits the heart.
Figs are known to have cardiovascular benefits for both humans as well as our four-legged friends; therefore, they will keep your dog’s heart in good condition, which ensures normal blood flow throughout its system.
Can dogs be allergic to figs?
Since figs contain ficin and fucosin, which can be irritants to some dogs, dogs can be allergic to this fruit.
Even though this happens rarely, dogs can show allergic reactions the first time they are given this fruit.
Symptoms like vomiting, heavy drooling, or diarrhea can be signs of an allergic reaction, but not necessarily.
They can also mean that your dog’s digestive system just needs time to adapt to eating figs.
One thing that is known to cause allergies in dogs is the wasp in the figs. Figs are cultivated commercially, and they may come from wasp-infected trees. This means that some figs can contain wasp eggs or larvae.
Always make sure that your dog is not allergic to figs or plants in general. If you are unsure or if your dog starts behaving differently after eating figs, immediately consult your vet.
How many figs can a dog eat?
To prevent any unwanted consequences, it is recommended that you start by giving only a small piece of this fruit to your dog for the first time.
After that, observe how the dog behaves and reacts to the fruit. If everything is fine, you can continue adding more and more of this fruit to their diet.
The general opinion is that small dogs should be given only half of a fig while bigger pooches can enjoy one or two figs.
As with other foods in a dog’s diet, the key is moderation. So, if you decide to give a whole fig or two to your bigger doggie, then don’t do it more than twice a month.
On the other hand, if you stick to giving it a quarter or a half of the fruit, then it is safe to give them two to three times a week.
The most important thing is whether your dog likes figs or not. Never try to force your pooch to eat something it doesn’t like.
If it really likes the taste, then maybe you can give it more often, but in small amounts.
Bear in mind that eating too many figs can cause diarrhea. This can be really tiresome for your pup and can be a handful for you as well, especially if you keep your dog indoors.
How to serve figs to your pet
The best and arguably the only figs your dog should ever eat are fresh ones. As we’ve already pointed out, dried figs contain too much sugar and you should avoid them in your dog’s diet.
When giving your dog fresh figs, the best way to do it is to cut the fruit into small pieces and feed it raw.
Give your dog just a few pieces to get him accustomed to the taste and allow his belly time to adjust to the new food.
To lower the strain on a dog’s digestive system, you can serve the fruit with your dog’s regular meal. Be sure to cut it into small pieces before you mix it in.
Can dogs eat fig leaves?
To make this as clear as possible: No! Dogs can not and should not be given the opportunity to eat fig leaves.
Figs grow on a ficus tree and any part of the tree except the fruit itself can lead to life-threatening toxicity for your pet.
If you are growing figs at home, make sure that your dog doesn’t come in contact with the tree or any fallen leaves on the ground. The best thing you can do is build a fence around the tree so the dog cannot reach it.
However, if your dog manages to get past the fence and ingest some parts of the fig plant, you should try to induce vomiting to prevent any further health issues.
If you are unsure how to do this, take your dog to the vet as soon as you can so it gets the proper care it needs.
The symptoms to look for are strong vomiting, diarrhea, and overall fatigue. If you have a fig plant anywhere in your household and you notice any of these signs, don’t hesitate to call your vet.
Can dogs eat fig newtons?
Figs can be a really healthy addition to both human and dog food, but things are a bit different when it comes to fig newtons.
For those who are unfamiliar with this popular snack, fig newtons are a pastry that is filled with fruit paste made from figs.
At this point, you might think to yourself that it’s only pastry and figs, right? What part of this mix can hurt my dog?
Well, it isn’t as simple as that. Even though fig newtons are not toxic to dogs, they are not completely suitable for them either.
But, don’t worry… we won’t leave you hanging. Everything about fig newtons and why they are bad for dogs is coming right up.
Why are fig newtons bad for dogs?
Even though these products are not toxic to dogs, giving them often to your dog can lead to severe long-term impact on your dog’s overall health.
Fresh figs are safe, but when they are turned into the paste used to fill the pastry, they go through a process that adds many ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
The ingredients found in fig newtons are:
• one pack of newton bars containing about 13 grams of sugar
• High levels of fructose corn syrup – this is known to cause hyperactivity and obesity in dogs. In the worst-case scenario, your dog might even develop diabetes
• A very high amount of partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil – this oil could be the cause of gossypol poisoning for your dog
• Artificial flavors – these flavors contain sulfur dioxide and sodium benzoate (preservatives), which are unhealthy for dogs
On top of all this, fig newton cookies contain whole wheat grain flour, invert sugar, salt, baking soda, palm oil, canola oil, and many other substances that can be hazardous for dogs.
Allergens like milk, soy, and gluten are also a part of these pastries, which push them even further to the unsafe side of dog foods.
What do you do if your dog has eaten a fig newton cookie?
If this occurs, there is no need to panic. As we’ve mentioned, fig newtons are not toxic to dogs, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
However, problems can start happening when eating fig newtons becomes your dog’s regular thing. In large amounts, and on a regular basis, fig newtons become a hazard and can lead to numerous health issues.
The high amount of sugar in this cookie could cause hyperactivity. Also, by consuming a lot of sugar, your dog can develop long-term illnesses like diabetes.
Major symptoms of diabetes are unusual weight loss, increased urination, and thirst.
Furthermore, fig newtons contain a high amount of calories, which could lead to obesity in your dog. Besides being unhealthy, obesity can reduce the lifespan of your dog by approximately two and a half years.
Should you feed your dog fig newtons?
In general, it is best if you skip this product when choosing treats for your pet. Although they are not toxic, plenty of harmful ingredients are found in their structure and dogs can have serious problems eating them.
Problems like obesity, hyperactivity, and diabetes are just some of the health issues your dog might suffer if given this snack from time to time.
So, even if you enjoy eating fig newtons sometimes, it is best that you do not share this food with your pooch.
Can a puppy eat them?
After reading about fig newtons, this should really come as a no-brainer, but just to be clear: absolutely not.
Puppies are young and fragile and should never be allowed to ingest fig newtons. The impact that these cookies can have on an adult dog is frightening to say the least, so you can imagine what it will do to a small pup.
Let’s go over the important stuff once more
The fig tree gives us one of the healthiest and most beneficial things we can include in our and our dog’s diet.
However, only the fruit should be given to dogs. Leaves can be toxic to dogs and they shouldn’t come in contact with them.
Things to watch out for when feeding figs to dogs are their enzymes, which can cause an upset stomach. Another thing to keep an eye out for is wasp eggs and larvae, which can sometimes be found in figs that come from wasp-infested areas.
But, if you keep these things in mind, then figs can become a powerful supplement to any dog that likes them and has no allergies.
However, when it comes to fig newtons, you should be more careful. These snacks are not toxic to your dog, but can lead to health problems if given in large quantities.
If your dog eats one or two of these treats, it is not a problem, but make sure to not turn it into a regular thing. Ingredients found in these treats are not suitable for dogs and should be avoided.
We hope you now know what figs can provide in terms of your dog’s health, along with why fig newtons should be avoided.