Are Figs Safe for Your Dog?
Figs are a very underrated fruit. If you’re searching your brain to think of a recipe with figs in it, the first one that comes to mind are those fig-filled cookies. Health circles are realizing how versatile, nutrient-dense, and delectably sweet figs are, so it shouldn’t be hard to expand your horizons with a quick internet search. Before you start introducing figs into your entire family’s diet, slow down before you start handing them off to your dog as a sweet treat.
Are Figs Dangerous for Dogs?
Figs aren’t dangerous for dogs, and they’re actually pretty healthy as far as fruits go. A lot of the benefits you get also pertain to your dog. Figs are a great source of natural sugars, and natural sugar gives your dog bursts of energy that don’t lead to the crash artificial and refined sugars do.Figs are a fantastic source of dietary fiber. This fiber helps regulate bowel movements, which is essential for dogs who suffer from chronic constipation.
Fiber is also great for helping manage weight. If your dog is on a diet and they seem to be peckish after they eat a meal, you should consider adding more fiber into their diet. On the flip side, too much fiber is going to speed the digestive tract up. When you give your dog too many figs, it shouldn’t be surprising to see your dog get loose stools or even have diarrhea.
You shouldn’t let your dog have more than one or two figs twice a week to prevent any stomach upset. In human studies, figs have been shown to reduce blood pressure thanks to the high levels of potassium. Potassium works to control the body’s blood pressure, and some studies have shown that people who consume a lot of salt (which results in high blood pressure) are actually deficient in potassium.
If your dog suffers from chronic hypertension, it’s possible that they are hypokalemic (low in potassium). Talk to your vet about running bloodwork to rule that out as a cause of high blood pressure in your pet.
Watch Out for Allergic Reactions
Figs may not seem like a highly allergenic food, but some dogs have shown allergic reactions after eating figs. If your dog has never had figs before, you should start with small amounts. Give them just one fig and wait a few days to see how they react.
The most common symptom is a rash on the skin or in the mouth. If the reaction is more severe, their eyes will itch, they could develop a cough, or they might start wheezing. If any of these symptoms occur, even if it’s just a minor rash, your dog should see a veterinarian immediately.
Minor reactions can quickly develop into major reactions that involve the airway. Your dog could recover just fine with an antihistamine, but it’s possible they need a steroid to fully recover.
If you decide to treat your dog to a few figs every week, use moderation and only serve them fresh figs. Even if you find a treasure trove of fig-based recipes in your internet search, most of those recipes aren’t suitable for your dog. To avoid diarrhea, vomiting, or a variety of other minor problems, use your best discretion when feeding food outside of your dog’s regular dog food.