Figs are a healthy food for humans – but are they safe for dogs? Or can they be dangerous for canines to eat? Keep reading to find out.
Unless your dog has an allergy, figs are generally safe for your dog to eat in small quantities. They can even be beneficial, as they are a source of calcium, fibre and potassium.
Eating too many figs could result in your dog having a stomach upset, however, due to the high fibre content. For this reason, figs shouldn’t be part of your dog’s daily diet.
Are Figs Bad or Dangerous for Dogs?
Providing your dog doesn’t have an allergy, the sweet and typically dried fig is safe for your dog to eat.
In fact, fresh figs are known to provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these include:
- Good source of dietary fiber. Just one ounce of dried figs contains 3 grams of dietary fibre. Fibre helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and prevent constipation.
- Rich in calcium. Figs have a high concentration of calcium compared to other plant sources. This is an essential mineral for dogs when eaten in the correct quantities. It promotes the healthy development of bones and teeth, and helps to ensure that blood coagulates efficiently.
- High in potassium. High blood pressure (hypertension) has been linked with a deficiency in potassium. This could mean that figs help your dog maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- Lots of other minerals and vitamins. Figs are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. These include iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, and vitamins A, C and K.
- Could help your dog feel fuller for longer. Although figs are low in calories, their high fibre content could help your dog feel fuller for longer. This makes them perfect for those greedy pupsters always looking for food!
Moderation is key when feeding your dog figs though. It’s best to give small amounts as an occasional treat to avoid stomach upsets.
Be Wary of Allergic Reactions
As with any food, some dogs can be allergic to figs, so it’s important to be aware of the common symptoms. Food allergies typically cause skin or gastrointestinal problems. Your dog may suffer discomfort from itchy skin, rashes or hot spots, which could lead to painful skin infections. Sometimes allergic reactions can cause diarrhea or respiratory issues too.
If you’re introducing figs to your dog’s diet, start by feeding a small piece rather than a whole fig. Watch for symptoms over the next few days before offering more.
If you notice potential symptoms of an allergic reaction, even if it’s a small rash, always contact a vet immediately.
Are There Any Side Effects of Dogs Eating Figs?
Figs are usually safe for dogs to eat, but you still need to be careful about feeding them to your pet.
The high fibre content in figs can have a laxative effect, leading to loose stools and an upset stomach. This is another reason why you should always introduce figs gradually, to monitor how it impacts your dog’s digestive system.
If your dog eats lots of figs by accident, this can cause diarrhea and potentially dehydration. Dehydration is a serious health problem that needs immediate veterinary treatment, as it can result in lethargy, weakness, and organ damage.
Additionally, if your dog has underlying health issues, it’s best to consult with a vet before adding any new food to your dog’s diet.
Figs could be an issue for dogs with existing heart or kidney issues. The potassium, in particular, could impact their blood pressure. These dogs also sometimes need to be fed a specific prescription diet, and figs could interfere with this.
What About the Fig Plant and Leaves?
The fig tree and its leaves are toxic to dogs. They can cause gastrointestinal problems, skin irritation, and can even be life-threatening if enough is eaten.
If you have a fig plant in your garden, you should make sure your dog doesn’t have easy access. It’s also best to avoid these plants being kept in your home.
Poisoning from fig leaves and trees requires immediate veterinary care. You shouldn’t delay in seeking professional help, even if your dog has only ingested a small amount or is only showing mild symptoms.
Can Dogs Eat Other Fruits?
There are lots of other fruits that can be beneficial for your dog when given in moderation. Some popular fruits fed to dogs include:
- Bananas. Bananas are perfect for stuffing into a Kong or other interactive treat toys. This is another fruit that’s rich in potassium and fiber.
- Mango. Another fibrous fruit that is packed with healthy vitamins. Just be sure to remove the skin, as this could be difficult to digest, and the stone, as this contains toxic cyanide.
- Blueberries. This is a low-calorie fruit that isn’t too high in sugar and contains lots of healthy antioxidants.
- Cranberries. This fruit is often included in high-quality dog foods. Cranberries have been linked with boosting the immune system, acting as an anti-inflammatory, and promoting good bladder health. Your dog may not enjoy eating them as a snack on their own, however, as they’re rather bitter-tasting.
- Watermelon. If you struggle to get your dog to drink enough on a hot day, giving them a slice of watermelon could be handy. This fruit is made up of almost 92% water, so it’s a perfect snack to help them stay hydrated. Just make sure you don’t let them eat the skin and that you remove the seeds.
There are some fruits that you should never feed to your dog. Grapes and raisins, for example, are toxic to canines. Many wild berries, such as juniper and rowan, are also toxic.
Avocados may have seen an explosion in popularity, but they’re high in fat which can be bad for dogs. The stone also contains persin and could cause a stomach upset or be a choking hazard.
Figs are safe to feed your dog in small quantities. In fact, they can be a great natural source of fibre, and are packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals.
Just make sure you don’t feed too many. The high fibre content can cause loose stools or stomach upsets. You should also consult with your vet before adding any new food to your dog’s diet – especially if they have other health conditions.
Note: We’ve also written a guide to whether dogs can eat dates.