Question: Can dogs eat figs? Or are figs bad for dogs?
Answer: Dried figs are one of my favorite treats ever, I’m a total sucker for them and 1-2 pieces go a long way in satisfying my ever-so-demanding sweet tooth.
Seriously, if I had a nickel for every-time I made very good use of 1-2 figs when I was craving for some junk food while on a diet – let’s just say that I’d have a lot of nickels by now!
Figs, whether in their fresh form or dried form, are a very welcome addition to any dietary plan out there, thanks to their numerous benefits on our overall health.
But, none of that matters right now because, well, you’re asking yourself if you can feed your dog some figs as well.
So, can dogs eat figs? Or are figs bad for dogs?
Can Dogs Eat Figs?
If we’re talking about fresh figs that have been picked from the tree and are in their most natural of forms, then the answer to this question would be a big YES, your dog can safely eat figs.
But, if we’re talking about other forms of figs (such as dried figs), then the answer to this question would be an outstanding NO. It’s when you start to consider feeding your dog figs in forms such as this that things start to become dangerous and very risky.
So, there are a couple of things you should take note of before you go ahead and feed Fido some figs, such as the amount of figs you give them to eat, what form of figs you give for them to eat and how they eat it, all of which we will be talking about in this article.
Why Are Figs Good For Dogs?
Figs are good for dogs for a whole host of reasons, most important of which are:
The Natural Sugar Benefit
Being rich in natural sugars (which is the kind of sugar you want in your system, not the added/human manufactured sugar which is nothing but empty calories), figs can provide your dog with an excellent energy boost when most needed.
Don’t confuse natural sugar for the added sugar you find all over the place in junk food and processed goodies nowadays – the first is good sugar that will do your body a whole lot of good and will give you the exact kind of energy you need, while the second is bad sugar that will only lead to illnesses down the line.
Many people tend to think both are the same kind, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth, because one is natural sugar while other is man-made sugar – a huge difference there.
Figs have a decent amount of fiber in them, which is always a welcomed addition to any dog’s diet.
Even though the amount of fiber contained in figs is nearly half the amount of fiber that’s found in other fruits and vegetables when comparing the calories your dog is getting from both, it’s still an excellent fibrous food when your dog is craving a sweet treat and you don’t want to ruin their diet by feeding them something bad like marshmallows.
Figs are very well known for their richness in potassium, which has many health benefits both for us and our furry friends, most importantly of which is the regulation of blood pressure and keeping it on a safe and stable level.
Note: This doesn’t mean that you’re free to feed your dog a whole stash of figs in hopes of solving their blood pressure problem if they have one. Doing so will potentially kill your dog. You should always talk to your veterinarian for proper advice to solve your dog’s high blood pressure problem, as anything such as figs is only a small complement to the puzzle.
Good For The Heart
Figs are known to have cardiovascular benefits when it comes to humans, and can offer the same for your dog
How Much Figs Can Dogs Eat?
If you’ve never given your dog any figs before, you have to be careful at first because you don’t know yet whether or not your dog is allergic to them.
So, you have to give your dog a tiny slice of figs at first and look for the following signs that show that your dog is allergic to figs:
- Excessive salivation
- Skin inflammation
- Eye itchiness
- Decrease in appetite
(Quick note: Some of these symptoms may take up to a few days to start showing, so don’t stop monitoring your dog for changes after 12 hours have passes and deem it safe to feed them figs just yet).
If your dog exhibits any of the aforementioned symptoms after they’ve eaten figs, this is a problematic sign and you’re probably better off not giving them figs to eat again.
And, of-course, depending on the severity of the situation and the symptoms that your dog exhibits, you should get them immediate professional care if they need it. Dogs that are allergic to figs and have been fed a large amount of them need all the help they can get, real fast, otherwise this can turn into a life-threatening situation in no time.
However, if your dog doesn’t show any unusual symptoms after they’ve eaten a small amount of figs, then you’re good to go feeding them some more, albeit in a gradual manner to make sure all goes well with their digestive system.
As a rule of thumb, and due to the very high sugar content in figs, don’t feed your dog more than 1 fig per week as a well deserved treat/reward. If your dog eats an excessive amount of figs, even a very slight excessive amount, that could very well lead to diarrhea and stomach aches because of the very high sugar levels contained in figs.
A Misconception About Boredom And Your Dog’s Food
While writing this article, we noticed a few resources on this subject that suggest that feeding your dog the same dog food each day for a long time will cause boredom, and that you need to introduce something new into your dog’s diet from time to time to combat this boredom and to keep things fresh.
We’d just to make it very clear that this could not be farther from the truth – you and I can get bored from the food we eat on a consistent basis real fast, but our dogs really don’t.
I’ve seen it time and time again, some dog owners that feed their dogs a diet that revolves around high quality dog food and have been buying the same recipe from the same manufacturer for years on end, and their dog loves the taste of it as if it were new to them!
So, this is more of a psychological problem for us humans because of the fact that we’re used to such variety in our diets ever since we’re little kids, but this variety and being used to a whole lot of different foods/taste isn’t there for our dogs, and they wouldn’t mind eating the same dog food with the same recipe for their entire life, as long as they like it in the first place.
How Can Dogs Eat Figs?
To stick to the safe side, don’t give your dog figs in whole pieces for them to eat, as that greatly increases the risk of your dog choking on it.
Instead, cut the fig into smaller pieces and feed these pieces to your dog one by one. This will make sure they don’t try to gobble down anything more than they can handle at one time, and the risk of choking will be greatly minimized.
Moreover, stick to feeding your dog fresh figs instead of dried figs, as dried figs tend to have much higher and more concentrated levels of sugar in them, as well as much less water levels in them, both of which do no good for your dog’s health.
A Note For People Who Grow Figs At Home
If you’re into gardening and grow figs at home, you probably know that the tree figs grow on is called the Ficus tree.
You MUST make sure that your dog doesn’t come into contact with the Ficus tree (including the leaves), because if they do, they will suffer from skin inflammations.
Besides making sure that your dog doesn’t come into contact with the Ficus tree at all times, you must also make sure that your dog doesn’t ingest any part of it (including the leaves as well), whether by mistake or on purpose, because that could lead to severe cases of diarrhea and vomiting, if not anything more serious.
The fig tree (and all its parts) is toxic to dogs, whether they just come in physical contact with it or ingest any part of it (such as the leaves), so your dog shouldn’t be given access anywhere near it on their own.
If your dog ingested fig tree leaves (or any other part of the fig tree they can manage to ingest), they will most probably vomit shortly afterwards in an attempt from their system to get rid of the toxins. Either way, tell your veterinarian about it immediately so they tell you if there’s any special actions you have to take right away or if the situation is all under control.