Figs are known to provide quite a few health benefits. We know that they are great for humans, but should you let the dog eat figs? Are the bark, stems, or leaves of this plant safe for a dog or should they be avoided?
The fig is the plant or fruit of any of the 850 different species of Ficus that belong to the mulberry family, also known as Moraceae. The most popular Ficus species are the weeping fig, also known as the Ficus Benjamina, and the common fig named Ficus carica.
These plants are usually used for ornamental reasons, being the perfect house plants due to their glossy, rubbery leaves, that provide the perfect shade. They are also valued for their very healthy fruits. Some species are used for religious rituals, while the Ficus carica is commonly used in healthy snacks.
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat ripe fig fruits as occasional treats. It should only be half or even a quarter of fruit if not less, a maximum of three times per week. This is because the average fig contains a lot of sugar. Just 40 grams of fruit will come with an impressive 6.5g of sugar and close to 30 calories.
This will surely mean that giving your dog too many of these fruits can easily lead to obesity because of the sugar content and the impressive number of calories. Dried figs contain even more sugar and calories so those should be given in even smaller amounts to your pet. An interesting fact is that out of 100g of figs with 30% water content, 54 grams will be sugar.
Although they might lead to negative side effects in higher quantities due to the sugar content, in small amounts they can be very tasty treats that your dog will enjoy. Below you will find some of the benefits that figs come with:
1. Rich in potassium
These fruits are rich in potassium, which would be great for your blood level regulation, internal fluid balance, muscles, nervous system, enzymes, and a healthy heart. While too much potassium might not do a lot of good to the body, too little will be just as bad, causing symptoms like irritable bowel disease, diarrhea, vomiting, and even leading to malnutrition.
2. Dietary fiber source
Dietary fiber is very important for a dog’s body. Figs come with both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers that are great in preventing constipation and diarrhea, boosting the digestive system, helping with weight balance, and so forth.
Fiber is great when you want to help your pet lose some weight. This is because it gives a sensation of satiety. The negative aspect about the fruits, especially when eaten dried, on the other hand, is their high content of carbohydrates.
3. Nutritious with natural sugars
Dogs that eat fruits will get some very important vitamins and vitamins through digestion, like magnesium, potassium, manganese, calcium, vitamins K and B6, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, and natural sugars, and some phytochemicals.
4. Other notable benefits
Fig Carica is said to help animals to balance their blood pressure and the extract from this plant’s leaves is said to help keep the total cholesterol under proper limits.
Giving this fruit in a small amount is not the only tip to prevent any issues, You should always start with small amounts when adding a new fruit to the dog’s diet, to check for any signs of allergies, drooling, vomiting, or other side effects.
It is also important to look for organically grown ones to prevent the ingestion of harmful herbicides and pesticides by your pet.
You should avoid feeding your dog with either unripe fruits, stems, bark, or leaves from a fig because their latex sap contains psoralen and ficin. These two substances are known for their moderate toxicity. The bark and leaves will have the highest concentration, but the substances are also found in smaller amounts in raw fruit skin.
Some dogs are known to experience poisoning symptoms after ingesting Ficus Benjamina. This isn’t the only species that is causing visible side-effects to pets. Most Ficus species are toxic to horses, cats, and dogs because of their milky latex sap, as explained by the ASPCA.
Direct exposure to fig sap will lead to irritation at the skin level, while ingestion can be even more harmful, leading to gastrointestinal distress. Touching the eyes will cause them to get irritated, and some other known symptoms are:
You should immediately take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and/or treatment if you think it has ingested any part of a fig plant and develops any of the above symptoms.
If your dog is a begger and you eat fig Newtons around it, you might want to give it a bite. Will this be safe?