Figs have been eaten by humans for centuries, and are prized for their flavor and health benefits. But can dogs eat figs? Are fig plants, leaves and stems toxic to dogs? And what about dried figs and Fig Newtons? We take a look at whether this tasty fruit is good or bad for your dog.
What are figs?
There are over 800 plants and fruit in the fig (or Ficus species). The most well known are the Ficus carica (the common fig) and Ficus benjamina (the Indian Rubber Plant).
People love fig plants because of their beautiful glossy leaves which make decorative house plants, and of course for the delicious fruit that is amazing fresh, dried, candied, and made into fig jam and cakes.
Can dogs have figs?
Figs are safe for dogs to eat, just like many other fruits such as guava, dragon fruit, mango, and pineapple – but as with any other human food or fruit, these should only be given occasionally as a treat or snack. Figs are sweet, and therefore their sugar content is high. Feeding figs to your dog regularly can cause weight gain and dental problems.
You should avoid giving your dog dried figs or candied figs, as these have concentrated sugars, and some commercial dried figs also contain added sugar.
A fresh fig can contain around 6.5 grams of sugar, which means a hefty 30 calories for your pup. If you feed them dried figs, this could be loading your dog up with 54 grams of extra sugar per 100 grams. So if your dog is overweight or diabetic – figs are best avoided as a snack.
Benefits of figs for dogs
Despite their high sugar content, figs are loaded with nutrition and vitamins that can be beneficial to your dog in small amounts.
Fiber is essential to keep your dog regular and maintain a health weight and digestive system. Figs contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which is great for helping your dog feel full for longer.
Figs contain high levels of potassium which maintains a healthy heart, muscles, blood pressure, and helps keep your dog’s nerves and enzymes in peak condition.
Figs also contains traces of riboflavin, thiamine, vitamins B6, vitamin K, manganese, calcium, and magnesium.
How to feed figs to your dog
As with all new foods you introduce to your dog, serve a small slice of fresh fig to your dog to see if they enjoy it, and to see if they have any adverse reaction to this new food.
Fresh figs should be organic if possible, without any traces of pesticides that might harm your dog.
Can dogs eat fig leaves or stems?
While figs are totally safe for your dog to snack on, they shouldn’t be allowed near fig leaves, the bark or stem of the fruit, or unripened fig fruit on the tree. This is because the fig tree species exudes latex sap. This toxic milky resin contains psoralen and ficin compounds which can irritiate your dog’s mouth, skin, and digestive system.
Symptoms of fig poisoning in dogs
If your dog eats fig plants or leaves, or is exposed to any of the milky sap from a tree, your dog may experience fig poisoning,
For this reason, it’s important to avoid keeping fig plants in your home. Bored dogs and dogs left alone during the day can often start chewing on your house plants – and if they start munching on your fig plant it can lead to an expensive vet visit, and even a hospital stay.
If your dog has eaten any part of a fig plant, and you notice these symptom, call your vet as soon as possible and ask for some advice. Let your vet know that your pup has been exposed to fig plant sap or leaves.
Signs of fig plant poisoning in dogs include:
- Pawing at their eyes or face
- Abdominal upset
- Itchy skin
- Skin blistering
- Watery eyes
- Mouth pain or sores
Can dogs eat Fig Newtons?
If figs are safe for your dog, you might be wondering – are fig newtons bad for dogs?
These tasty biscuits aren’t exactly great for our health as humans due to their processed nature and high sugar content (glucose and fructose), so we advise you not to share them with your dog! These cookies also contain ingredients like corn syrup, canola oil, sulfur dioxide, wheat, soy, gluten, and palm oil, which aren’t recommended for dogs to eat.
Feeding your dog Fig Newtons can cause a huge sugar spike which can be bad for a healthy dog, and dangerous if your dog is diabetic. A single cookie contains a huge 50 calories, which is a lot for your small pet.
If your dog has discovered your Fig Newton stash and eaten a few, don’t panic. These cookies aren’t toxic to dogs, but make sure you give your dog plenty of water to flush the sugars and salts of our their system quickly.
In summary – can dogs eat figs?
So can dogs have figs? Yes – figs are fine in moderation as a fresh fruit snack for your dog. However, like all fruit they are high in sugar content so aren’t suitable for dogs who are already overweigh or who have diabetes.
While fresh figs are safe, it’s important to keep your dog away from fig plants, fig leaves and stems, and dried figs or fig jelly. Fig Newtons also contain figs, but they’re loaded with other unhealthy ingredients too, so they aren’t suitable as a dog treat.
If your dog has ingested any part of a fig plant, contact your vet for advice, especially if your dog is exhibiting any signs of fig poisoning such as vomiting, diarrhea, or skin and mouth irritation.
About the author
Rachael is the co-founder and head writer at Barkzine. Owner of one elderly pug, she’s dedicated to helping other dog owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.