Fig newtons are a popular sweet snack for humans to enjoy without the guilt of eating candy or cookies. But can dogs eat fig newtons?
This article will answer that question, provide benefits and hazards of feeding this treat to your dog, as well as provide an alternative dog friendly recipe.
Can Dogs Eat Fig Newtons?
No, dogs shouldn’t eat fig newtons. Although nothing in these cookies is immediately toxic to dogs, they pose more health concerns than nutritional benefits.
If your dog has a piece every now and then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, just don’t give them to your dog regularly.
Benefits of Fig Newtons to Your Dog
Although feeding your dog fig newtons, figs actually provide some health benefits.
These fruits are an excellent source of fiber, which is essential to proper digestive function. They are also rich in potassium, which supports neural and organ function as well as muscle and bone health.
Potential Hazards of Giving Your Dog Fig Newtons
While fig newtons aren’t toxic to dogs, they do pose some health concerns. These include:
High in calories
Adult dogs of light to moderate level of activity should consume between 20 and 30 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. So, for example, a 70-pound German Shepherd should consume between 1,400 and 2,100 while a 25-pound French Bulldog should consume only 500 to 750 calories per day. Most of that should be consumed as part of their regular meals while only 10% should be made up of treats.
The problem with fig newtons is that a single cookie already contains 100 calories. That’s already double the treat allowance for a Frenchie for an entire day while two cookies are already considered too much for a GSD. Giving them this calorie-dense treat too often can quickly lead to unhealthy weight gain.
A lot of sugar
A single Fig Newton contains as much as 12 grams of sugar. Although sugar isn’t toxic to dogs, a diet that’s high in refined sugars could lead to several health conditions.
As with humans, sugar consumption can lead dogs to suffer from cavities and oral infections. It can also make them more prone to obesity, arthritis, and diabetes.
High in sodium
According to the guidelines set by The National Academies’ Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, the average 33-pound adult dog needs 200mg of sodium to support necessary bodily functions. Much of that requirement is already provided by good quality dog food.
The problem with giving your dog fig newtons is that a single cookie already contains 95mg of sodium. Depending on the size of your dog, that could already be too much or at least a good portion of their daily sodium allowance. If they regularly consume too much sodium, they’re at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney problems.
Could cause allergies
Figs are not considered a common dog allergen, however, if your pup got their paws on some fig newtons for the first time, it’s a good idea to observe them for any allergic reactions.
These reactions could include skin rashes, some swelling in the mouth, or even some wheezing. Use your best judgment to decide on when it’s time to take them to the vet.
Dog Treat Alternative to Fig Newtons
The key to making a dog-safe fig newton alternative is to limit the sugar and sodium content and avoid synthetic ingredients and preservatives altogether. Here’s a recipe you might want to try:
Fig Newton Look-Alike Dog Treat Recipe
These fig newton dog treats might not be identical to the snacks you know and love. But they look similar enough so that they’re fun to keep alongside your own (just don’t get them mixed up!).
The best part is that these are guaranteed pet-safe and possibly even more enjoyable for your pup. Here is the recipe:
- 3 cups dried figs
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup applesauce (Unsweetened)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil (+ additional 1tsp. for brushing)
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. Water
- 2 cups oat flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Use a saucepan to soak the figs in orange juice and water for at least 1 hour.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat until the figs are soft and can be easily mashed (approximately 20 minutes).
- Remove from heat and mash or blend until it makes a spreadable paste.
- Set your fig jam aside while you make your dough.
- In a mixing bowl, combine your applesauce, coconut oil, and water.
- In a separate bowl, combine your oat flour, baking powder, and ground cinnamon.
- Slowly add your dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
- Continue stirring until you’ve made a thick, homogenous dough.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thick.
- Spread your fig jam all along one side of the dough.
- Fold the dough over so that your fig jam is sandwiched in the center.
- Slice into appropriate treat sizes for your dog and arrange the pieces on a baking sheet – you can line it with parchment paper as well.
- Bake at 350°F for approximately 12 minutes or until the dough has browned slightly.
- Once done, remove the entire tray from the oven and let the bars cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
- These will seem too hard when freshly cooled but will have the same soft and sticky texture after it has rested at least overnight.
- Although these don’t contain any refined sugars, they still have some natural sugars from the fruits.
- Additionally, the fiber content of figs might be too difficult for your dog to digest in large quantities. It’s still a good idea to limit how much of these your dog eats per day.
The calorie, sugar, and sodium content of fig newtons make it a poor alternative to high-quality dog treats. If your dog swipes a piece of your fig newton stash, there’s shouldn’t be anything to panic about.
However, it’s still a good idea to observe them for signs of allergies and digestive distress. In addition, you shouldn’t make fig newtons a regular part of your pup’s diet to prevent the potential hazards from becoming an issue long term.