Who can resist a fresh juicy fig? These popular fruits taste like dessert and are packed with fiber and other healthful nutrients. Figs are the fruit of the common fig tree, Ficus carica. Humans have been eating figs for thousands of years. In fact, they were one of the first fruits cultivated by humans (1).
You may be wondering whether you can let your dog eat figs. We’ll answer this question, plus explore the potential benefits and risks of figs for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Figs?
Yes, dogs can enjoy fresh figs as an occasional tasty treat. However, pet parents must take caution to feed figs in moderation and watch for signs that their dog may have a sensitivity to this fruit.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Figs?
It is generally not advisable to feed dried figs to your dog. Although they have a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals, they are much more concentrated in sugars and higher in calories than their fresh counterparts. Dried figs are also very chewy and could potentially pose a choking hazard for dogs or stick to the roof of their mouth or to their teeth.
Can Dogs Eat Fig Newtons?
You should not feed Fig Newtons or any similar fig cookies to dogs. Aside from figs, Fig Newtons contain added sugars. Regularly giving your dog sugary foods can cause dental cavities and can lead to obesity.
Benefits of Figs For Dogs
Figs do have some properties that may be beneficial to dogs. Figs contain moderate amounts of fiber that can benefit your dog’s digestive system by promoting a healthy microbiome and helping to keep the gut moving. It isn’t surprising then that a recent study showed that feeding fig paste to dogs alleviates constipation (2). Figs also contain potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and copper. In addition, figs contain numerous beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals. These beneficial compounds are likely responsible for the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antibacterial properties possessed by figs (1).
Are Figs Bad for Dogs?
While feeding your dog a fig here and there may be a tasty and healthy treat, there are some concerns with feeding figs to dogs.
Figs are naturally high in sugars and are not a low calorie treat. For this reason, it is important not to go overboard on figs, as they may lead to caloric excess and may unbalance your pet’s diet if fed regularly.
Treats or foods that are regularly fed in addition to a commercially prepared complete and balanced dog food should never make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet. One small fresh fig contains around 30 calories. A 60-pound Labrador could eat up to two small figs per day without a problem, as long as that was the only snack added to his diet. However, an 8-pound Chihuahua shouldn’t receive any more than half a fig in a day. For this reason, if your dog needs to shed some pounds, lower calorie snacks such as green beans or carrots would be a better option.
Dogs with diabetes should also not eat figs regularly due to their high sugar content, which can make it more difficult for them to keep a stable blood sugar and manage their condition.
As with any food, some dogs may have a sensitivity or allergy to figs. When feeding your dog figs for the first time, start with a quarter sized piece and then give it a day or so to ensure your dog does not show any signs of stomach or intestinal upset before opting to feed him more of this fruit.
Giving your dog too many figs could lead to diarrhea, due to the fiber content. Dogs should also never be allowed to chew on the fig leaves or branches or to come in contact with fig tree sap. The fig tree, while not toxic to dogs, does contain both skin and intestinal irritants, which can lead to rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea.
As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons to avoid feeding dogs dried figs is that they may pose a choking hazard due to their thick and chewy texture.
Figs and Dogs: The Verdict
Figs are well tolerated by most dogs as an occasional and tasty snack. They may provide certain health benefits to your dog and could be a good way to alleviate occasional constipation. However, you should always consult your veterinarian prior to feeding any new foods to your dog and discuss any ongoing chronic conditions that may make figs a less than ideal option for your pet.
The best types of figs to feed your dog are fresh figs. These are less calorically dense and lower in sugar per serving. Don’t feed your dog dried figs or Fig Newtons. Small dogs should be fed no more than half a fresh fig at a time, while larger breeds can enjoy two or three. In general, pet parents should feed their dogs figs no more than a few times per week.
- Salma, & Shamsi, Yasmeen & Ansari, Saba & Nikhat, Sadia. (2020). FICUS CARICA L.: A PANACEA OF NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL BENEFITS. 10.5667/tang.2020.0001.
- Oh HG, Lee HY, Seo MY, et al. Effects of Ficus carica paste on constipation induced by a high-protein feed and movement restriction in beagles. Lab Anim Res. 2011;27(4):275-281. doi:10.5625/lar.2011.27.4.275