Can Dogs Eat Figs? Are They Safe for Dogs?

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Figs are a nutrient rich fruit that are packed with high levels of calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron. They are extremely versatile because they can be eaten raw, prepared, or cooked. They can also be used in savory or sweet dishes, and even though they have been around a long time, they are only recently gaining credence as a viable ingredient in high-end cooking. Happily, these naturally sweet little treats are not only safe for dogs to eat, if your pet doesn’t have a fig allergy and hasn’t consumed other parts of the fig tree, but they also offer a host of health benefits.

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Are Figs Safe for Dogs?

A lot of fruits are fine to give to your dog, without any worry over safety. While this is usually true of figs, as well, you do need to exercise a degree of caution. Figs are safe for most dogs, but some animals are more sensitive to the fruit than others, and parts of the fig tree are known to be potentially hazardous to dogs.

Figs contain ficin and ficusin enzymes. These can have a powerful effect on your dog’s stomach, which is especially true if they eat too many. In these cases, it will cause an upset stomach and can lead to problems like diarrhea and vomiting. Other potential complaints include rash and inflammation of the mouth and tongue.

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Fig Poisoning

It is also worth noting that the fig plant itself is toxic to dogs, as well as some other animals. This includes the leaves, and it can be a problem if you have your own fig plants at home and your dog decides to help himself. If your dog has eaten part of the plant, they can display symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea as well as heavy salivation and pain around the dog’s mouth.

Fig poisoning is dangerous, and you should seek out veterinary assistance as soon as possible if you believe that your pet has eaten part of the fig plant.

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Feeding Figs to your Dog    

With all that said, the fig fruit is safe for most dogs. You can feed the figs raw or they can be cooked on their own or as part of a healthy dog treat. You can even try mixing a small amount in with your dog’s meal, as a replacement for dry or wet food. Even a small dose of fig can be filling, so it can make a great replacement for fattier foods, especially if your dog is trying to shed the pounds.

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Dosages

When it comes to fig dosage, you should err on the side of caution: start off small and feed more once you determine that your dog can handle the fruit. Give your dog a small portion of the fruit and keep a careful eye out for any vomiting or other symptoms. If they enjoyed the treat and it had no adverse affects you can gradually increase the amount you feed them. A small dog may eventually be able to take half a fig, while larger dogs can safely eat a whole fig. Only feed figs every couple of weeks and do not introduce them as a daily supplement. 

The Health Benefits

Figs have several health benefits for your dog, thanks to their high concentration of the following nutrients:

  • Potassium – Potassium is particularly important in healthy digestive functioning and if your dog is low in this nutrient, symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Figs are a good source of potassium that can be fed every couple of weeks, but they should not be fed every day because there are potassium rich foods that contain less sugar.
  • Calcium – Dogs of all ages benefit from maintaining a healthy level of calcium. Puppies rely on this nutrient to develop strong and healthy bones and teeth. Older dogs use calcium to develop and repair muscle and for nerve transmission. A single fig has more than the daily recommended level of calcium for dogs.
  • Fiber – Constipation is uncomfortable and can lead to serious gastrointestinal complaints if left unchecked. It is often a sign that your dog is not getting enough fiber in their diet. Dietary fiber will help keep your pooch regular.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium is an increasingly popular supplement in owners, and it should be considered equally important for dogs. It is used in muscle growth and to ensure muscles remain healthy and strong. Not only does magnesium work alone to control hormone functions but it also ensures the proper flow of calcium into muscles, making figs especially beneficial because of their high concentration of both calcium and magnesium.

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Can Dogs Eat Figs?

Figs are becoming popular as a healthy food for humans, and they can be given to most dogs to increase calcium, magnesium, and fiber intake. However, you need to start small and gradually build up to between half a fig and a whole fig every two weeks or so. Start out with a small piece and look for signs of stomach upsets.

If your dog eats any part of the fig plant, other than the fruit, there is a risk they will suffer from fig poisoning which can be extremely uncomfortable and potentially fatal, so you need to get them checked out as soon as possible.


Featured Image: Steve Buissinne from Pixabay