Figs are often regarded as fruits although they are technically flowers. They are actually inverted flowers. Given that, would it be safe to let your dog eat them? We all know certain flowers are poisonous to dogs. But what about figs? We’ll find out! But first, let’s get to know more about the health benefits of figs.
Nutrition Facts about Figs
Figs are nutrient-dense because they contain a chockfull of vitamins and minerals. If your dog has a sweet tooth, he might like the taste of fresh figs. However, because of their citrusy flavor, your pet may not even want to look at them.
Eating figs feels like eating a fruit jam and honey. Figs have a rich flavor so they can be used in baking sweet and savoury treats. They can be as sweet as certain berries.
Figs are best known for their high potassium content. Your dog could get as much as 232 mg of potassium for every 100 grams of raw figs. That is the equivalent of two medium-sized raw figs.
The minimum daily potassium requirement for canines is 264 mg per kilogram of body weight. If they consume two raw figs, they almost meet the daily potassium requirement.
However, that does not mean you should just rely on figs for your dog’s potassium needs. There are other dietary sources of potassium that do not contain or at least have smaller amounts of sugar. This includes vegetables such as sweet potato, fennel, and pumpkin.
You have to limit the amount of figs you give to your dog because they contain quite a lot of sugar. One medium-sized fig contains around 8 grams of sugar. Canines do not really need much sugar in their diet. Too much of sugar could make them hyperactive but if given in moderate amounts, dogs can actually benefit from the fig’s natural sugar. It can help boost your pup’s energy.
Figs can be consumed fresh or dried. In fact, dried figs are more beneficial than the raw ones. However, dried figs are not really a wholesome treat when it comes to dogs due to the fact that dry figs have a higher sugar and calorie content.
Figs: Are They Safe for Dogs?
Figs are nontoxic for dogs. They can be a healthy treat especially when given in moderation. If you are thinking of including figs in their diet, limit the quantity to one or two pieces a month.
But what if dogs ingested more than that amount? Keep calm, there is nothing to worry about. As long as they are not showing anything unusual, don’t bother to call your vet right away.
Fig poisoning can only happen when your dog ingested parts of the fig plant. The plant contains ficin, a poisonous sap-like substance. Aside from ficin, it also has the psoralen ficusin which can also be toxic for your pet.
Ficin works by destroying the protein in dog’s body while ficusin may cause serious skin irritation. Fig poisoning can cause gastrointestinal and dermal irritations among dogs.
Fig is a common household plant because it is easy to grow, especially in sunny regions. Figs grow fast and many people love to have them in their backyards. Supposing you have a fig tree in your backyard, don’t let your dog be exposed to it. In the event that your dog chewed the branches of the fig tree, keep an eye for these warning signs:
- Abdominal pain
- Lack of appetite
Other than these, your dog could also show signs of uneasiness. If he started rubbing his face on the floor or he looks distressed, it would help to take a trip to the vet. If there is no way you could get to your vet immediately, call an animal poison control center.
Other than toxicity and allergies, you should also consider the fact that figs can cause an intestinal obstruction. Supposing the dog ingested the fruit whole, there is a slight chance it could cause a blockage.
Can Dogs Eat Fig Newtons?
Yes, they could eat Fig Newtons in small quantities. In case you were not aware of it, these are just basically soft cookies with fig jam inside. Fig Newtons are a popular snack but they no longer exist these days. Sources indicate that they are simply called Newtons now.
In case you are planning to make homemade Fig Newtons, don’t let your dog eat too many of them. The snack contains lots of dairy and sugar that could upset dog’s stomach.
Can Figs Cause Allergies in Dogs?
Yes, but only in rare cases. Dog could show a negative reaction from consuming figs especially if it was his first time eating them. Food allergies in them are often associated with vomiting, coughing, and skin itching.
One thing that can cause allergic reactions in dogs is the wasp in the figs. It is believed that some figs contain wasp eggs or larvae. There may be bits of wasps in the fruit itself because commercially cultivated figs rely on wasps for pollination. However, not all figs came from wasp-infected trees.
When your dog is not used to eating figs, it may take time before his digestive system can adjust to regularly consuming figs.
If you suspect figs are causing your dog allergies, better stop giving them. If you want to give him high-fiber and high-potassium foods, look for other dietary sources of these nutrients.
Are Figs Beneficial For Dogs?
Surprisingly, figs offer tons of benefits to canines. Figs have vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and choline among others. Here are some more benefits of figs:
Potassium: Due to its high potassium content, you can offer figs to dogs suffering from low potassium levels. Potassium is as important for them as it is for us humans because it also helps in lowering their blood pressure. Low blood potassium or hypokalemia can target a few muscle groups in their body.
Calcium: Fresh figs can be dog’s source of calcium. One large fig contains 22.4 mg of calcium. It is an essential mineral for canines because they need it for proper development. Just like us, our dogs also need it to have strong bones and teeth.
Fiber: In case your dog is struggling to defecate, you may give him one or two figs to regulate his bowel movement. Don’t give him more than two pieces because too many may upset his stomach. This is because figs have a lot of dietary fiber.
Magnesium: Figs are also a good source of magnesium. This mineral is necessary for the proper function of the nervous system. Your dog should have enough of this mineral in his diet, because it is also beneficial for his bone health.
Sterols: A single fig comes with around 19.8 mg of phytosterols. Also known as plant sterols, phytosterols are said to help doggies with autoimmune conditions.
Heart-healthy fats: Raw figs have very low saturated fat and sodium. They contain an impressive amount of omega-6 fatty acids. A large fig has as much as 92.2. mg of this fatty acid. Dogs should have fatty acids in their diet, including omega-6 that is beneficial for the immune function. Omega-6 fatty acids are helpful for proper growth and reproduction in canines.
The only downside with figs is that most of their caloric content is derived from sugars. Almost 94% of a fig are carbohydrates, 3% are fats, and the remaining 3% are protein.
Choosing Fresh Figs for Your Dog
Raw figs are easily perishable. It is advised that you consume them within a day or two after buying them. If you just bought some and you are not yet ready to offer them to dog, keep the figs in the fridge.
The softness of a fig indicates its freshness. It should give in a little after you slightly pressed it. Don’t buy or pick figs that feel a bit hard or mushy.
Do not forget to remove the stem when giving figs to your dog. Make sure to wash and pat them dry before offering them to your pet.
Keep the preserved figs to yourself. The canned variety is usually drenched in heavy syrup that may upset your dog’s stomach.
It is better to chop the figs before giving them to your pup. You may even add them in his regular food or you may even toss them in a salad.
In small quantities, figs are safe for dogs. However, it is still important that you exercise caution when serving figs to dogs. If they are freshly picked, make sure they are free from pesticides or fertilizers.
Supposing you are planning to include figs in your dog’s diet, give him fresh figs and not the dried ones.
Dry figs are more beneficial for us humans but they can be harmful to canines because of the excessive sugar content. Dogs may not be able to handle sugar like we do. Avoid giving your dog dried, jammed, or canned figs.