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What is Fig Poisoning?

Fig plants have the unique characteristic of rubbery, glossy leaves and grow in a variety of shapes and sizes. These plants are a common houseplant, as they are easy to maintain. Due to the nature of their leaves, this plant is also called a rubber plant or rubber tree, and the genus Fig has a variety of related plants and trees. In fact, the genus has approximately 850 species of various trees, vines, and plants.  

The fig plants, or trees, originate in India, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia. Since their native environments are tropical climates, fig plants do very well in warm temperatures. On the contrary, even though the fig does well in warm areas, it does not survive in cold temperatures. Although the fig plants are popular household plants, they can be toxic to dogs. The leaves of the fig contain a sap that can be very irritating to dogs, either on the skin or when ingested. Fig poisoning in dogs can happen to dogs that eat any part of this well-known plant. 

It is important to avoid having any fig plants within the home if you have dogs or other small animals. Many dogs, especially puppies, like to explore and chew on unfamiliar items. This can lead to a great deal of sickness and a hospital stay; however, it can be avoided by being proactive about the plants within your home.

Fig poisoning in dogs is a result of dogs ingesting the fig, or ficus, plant. The fig plant contains a toxic, sap-like substance known as ficin, which is toxic when consumed or when it comes into contact with the skin, eyes, or mouth of dogs.

Fig Poisoning Average Cost

From 572 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Fig Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog consumes a fig plant, he may suffer from these symptoms. If he exhibits any of the following symptoms, even though they may be mild, it is important to take him to a veterinarian. Symptoms include: 

  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pawing at the face
  • Rubbing his face in distress
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritated skin
  • Mouth pain
  • Watery eyes

Types

The fig plant is known by many as the ficus plant. Other names in which people refer to this toxic plant include:

  • Weeping fig
  • Rubber tree
  • Rubber plant
  • Climbing fig
  • Indian rubber plant
  • Benjamina
  • Ficus
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Causes of Fig Poisoning in Dogs

The cause of fig toxicity in dogs is the eating of the leaves or the stems of the plant. Fig poisoning is caused by:

  • The toxic sap which contains ficin
  • Ficin is a phototoxic psoralen
  • Ficin causes inflammation and dermatitis
  • Ficin causes blistering of the skin
  • Phototoxic psoralen causes gastrointestinal distress when swallowed
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Diagnosis of Fig Poisoning in Dogs

Although severe fig poisoning in dogs is infrequent, it is still imperative to take your dog to receive medical attention. Taking him to the veterinarian will allow you to understand the level of toxicity in your dog. Once the dog is at the veterinarian’s office, the physician will ask a variety of questions pertaining to the plant in which he ingested. 

If possible, take a part of the plant with you, especially if you suspect or know that he has consumed this item. This will aid the veterinarian in making a diagnosis, along with the assessment of his symptoms. The veterinarian will also take a blood test, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile to examine your dog’s organ function. This will help him decide on the proper mode of treatment. 

If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, the veterinarian may also choose to test these substances to check for any plant material and toxins. She may also proceed in giving him IV fluids to keep him from dehydrating from the vomiting and diarrhea.

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Treatment of Fig Poisoning in Dogs

Once your veterinarian has a better understanding of how much the dog consumed, treatment will vary. Fig toxicity is not normally life-threatening; however, rapid treatment is still necessary. Treatment types may include:

Emesis

If your dog has not vomited from the toxic sap, the veterinarian may perform emesis right away. This will help your dog dispel some of the contents of his stomach. Following up with a dosage or two of activated charcoal will help prevent the toxins from being absorbed into the dog’s system.

Washing and Rinsing

More than likely, if your dog ate a fig plant, he will have a sap-like residue in his mouth area. The veterinarian may choose to decontaminate your dog by giving him a bath in a mild detergent and rinsing him well. This will also remove any remaining sap from his body and prevent further skin irritation. If the sap is in his eyes, he will perform in eyewash as well.

Intravenous Fluids

 

IV fluids will assist your dog in remaining hydrated and will encourage proper urination and kidney function. These fluids will help increase vitality with the healthy enzymes delivered to your dog’s system.

Skin Treatment

 

If the sap came into contact with your dog’s eyes, mouth, and skin. He may apply a topical ointment or prescription form to help with the dog’s contact dermatitis.

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Recovery of Fig Poisoning in Dogs

Dogs that become affected by the poisonous fig plant recover with treatment. Once your veterinarian decides your dog is well enough to come home, he will give you specific instructions on how to care for him. She will also schedule follow-up examinations to recheck his system to be sure he is recovering. After your dog is home, you will need to monitor him to be sure he is not showing any new symptoms or adverse changes in behavior. 

In order to prevent future poisoning from plants from occurring, check the plants within your home and on your property for toxicity. If you are uncertain if your plants are toxic, you can ask your veterinarian or your local ASPCA.

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Fig Poisoning Average Cost

From 572 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$400

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Fig Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Italian Greyhound

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Six Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Our dog has vomitted 4 times within the past 30 minutes. We have a small plant (we thought it was a bonsai tree) that had a couple small leaves fall off - we believe she ingested that. After further investigation, we found out it is a Curtain Fig. She seems okay otherwise, but should we panic and take her to the emergency vet, or should we just monitor and give her water / rice??

Aug. 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am not a botanist, and I do not know what plant that is, but if you think that it is a curtain fig, those can be GI irritants. If you think that your puppy has eaten the leaves, it may be a short term irritant, and may pass. If she stops vomiting, you can feed her a mixture of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice, and see if things calm down. If she continues to vomit, it would be best to have her seen at an ER, as she may need help. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 19, 2020

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Italian Greyhound

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Six Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Our dog has vomitted 4 times within the past 30 minutes. We have a small plant (we thought it was a bonsai tree) that had a couple small leaves fall off - we believe she ingested that. After further investigation, we found out it is a Curtain Fig. She seems okay otherwise, but should we panic and take her to the emergency vet, or should we just monitor and give her water / rice??

Aug. 19, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am not a botanist, and I do not know what plant that is, but if you think that it is a curtain fig, those can be GI irritants. If you think that your puppy has eaten the leaves, it may be a short term irritant, and may pass. If she stops vomiting, you can feed her a mixture of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice, and see if things calm down. If she continues to vomit, it would be best to have her seen at an ER, as she may need help. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 19, 2020

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Sore Side Of Mouth. Looking Blistered

Hi, our dog pulled out a newly planted 6ft fig tree. He now has a sore on side of his lower lip and swollen lip. Is there anything we can use as he hates the vets as he is a rescue dog and is snappy when scared

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, Keeping this area clean would be best. Any ointment that you put on there, he may lick right off. Usually, with just time it will heal. Good Luck.

Aug. 3, 2020

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Dante

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Australian Shepherd

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Not Really Any Symptoms

I have a 5 month old puppy, Dante, and he has started picking up the figs that fall to the ground from the tree in our backyard and chewing on them and running around with them like they are a toy, but he doesn’t ever seem to eat the whole thing. There are a few 1/2 chewed figs around the yard. I had no idea figs were so bad for dogs and would not have let him had them if I had known. He hasn’t shown any of the symptoms and seems fine, but now I’m concerned. He does have runny eyes but he always has and I think that’s partly because he’s a puppy. He sometimes has less solid poops but it’s not a constant occurrence. Should I take him to the vet? Or wait to see if any symptoms arise? Is there any harm in waiting? And how do I best prevent him from getting more figs?

July 27, 2018

Dante's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

For now if Dante isn’t showing any symptoms you should keep an eye on him for the time being but you should visit your Veterinarian if any symptoms present; as for preventing him from consuming any more figs, it can be difficult and possibly only fencing off the garden around the area would be enough (some chicken wire from Home Depot). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 28, 2018

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Buddy

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Golden Retriever

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18 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhoea

My dog ate a fig and has been having diarrhoea and waking us up in night which he doesn’t usually do . This happened once before and we fed him chicken and rice and within a few days his stomach was back to normal . Should we do this again ?

July 11, 2018

Buddy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Fig ingestion typically leads to gastrointestinal irritation, you can try to feed boiled chicken and rice again in an effort to calm the stomach down; monitor Buddy and make sure he remains hydrated. If the symptoms continue or other symptoms present visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 11, 2018

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Jäger

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Doberman Pinscher

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting
Drooling
Not Eating
Tired

He woke the family up in the morning with throw up in his crate. He continuosly asked to go outside to throw up some more...its very mucusy and sometimes yellow..he is drinking water and nibbled at a treat. He has no motivation to do anything and just lays outside not wanting to come in. He projectile vomitted an orangeyy liquid Not too long ago. We have a fig tree in the yard but dont know if he ate a leaf off of it (no figs on it right now). Could touching the leaves potentially hurt him?

Fig Poisoning Average Cost

From 572 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$400