For many of us, our pets are like family, and when you have a beloved pet you want to make sure they stay safe. One way to do that is to be sure to check that any plants you’re thinking of bringing into your home are not toxic to dogs, cats, or other pets.
What’s Great About Fig Trees (for You)
Fig trees are attractive ornamental plants that are very easy to care for. And their fruit is unbelievably delicious – with their creamy texture and faint vanilla taste, it’s no wonder figs are known as nature’s candy! It’s hard to believe something as tasty as a fig could possibly be good for you, but it’s true – figs are excellent sources of fiber, for one thing, and they even help control diabetes.
Citrus.com has a variety of fig trees for sale that are easy to grow, easy to harvest, and even thrive when grown in pots and kept indoors! But before you make your purchase, you should consider your pet.
Why Pets and Fig Trees May Not Mix
While figs are perfectly safe for humans, the fruit, leaves and sap of figs and fig trees is toxic to your pet, causing painful symptoms of gastrointestinal and skin irritations. Signs that your pet may have been after your fig tree can include heavy drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you suspect your pet has ingested figs or fig leaves (or any toxic substance) you should seek immediate veterinary care.
Why do some pets try to chew on fig trees?
It can be puzzling – after all, dogs and cats are carnivores, right? So why do we sometimes catch them devouring grass or other greenstuff to the point of getting sick?
Your dog or cat’s wild ancestors often ate plants and leaves as a way to fill in nutritional gaps in their diet. Sometimes, that trait is handed down to their domesticated counterparts (particularly when they’re short on certain nutrients or fiber or looking to relieve an upset tummy). Other pets may think to sample your houseplants because the smell or taste of it attracts them (dogs especially may be tempted to try a fig). Or it could be because they’re bored – an animal with nothing better to do might take a sudden interest in leaves fluttering in a breeze or air current.
If you notice your dog or cat consistently eating plants, it’s a good idea consult your veterinarian to rule out potential health problems or vitamin deficiencies.
Ways to Keep Pets from Bothering Your Fig Tree
If your pet is an incorrigible plant-chewer, it’s probably safest to forgo finding a fig tree for sale. If, on the other hand, your dog or cat has no history of bothering with your plants and you’d like to try growing your own fig tree, make sure you employ the following five tips for encouraging pets and plants to coexist peacefully:
- Keep pets and plants separated. Just like with children, it’s a good idea to keep unsafe objects out of reach of your pet, so if you can, set your fig tree on a countertop or high shelf. This might not stop cats or especially determined dogs – especially if you’re not at home – so, If you can’t supervise your pets, make sure your fig tree is safe behind a closed door. Conversely, you can also shut your cat into a plant-free room (with food, water, and litter) or crate your dog.
- Spritz your fig tree with lemon juice. Lemon juice is safe for plants, and because dogs and cats don’t care for either the taste or smell of it, it’s a good natural deterrent, too (and one that’s safe for your pets to ingest).
- Give your pet plenty of healthy exercise. Boredom can lead to destructiveness for any pet, so be sure your dog or cat gets plenty. A long, daily walk with your dog or intense session with a string toy with your cat can do wonders for their state of mind – and help keep them away from your fig tree.
- Make sure your pet has something other than your fig tree to play with. Another way to help alleviate boredom in your cat or dog is to make sure they have toys on hand to entertain themselves with. Give your cat several toys she can bat around, or your dog something he can chew on. Puzzle toys that contain treats they have to work to get out works well for both cats and dogs.
- Employ training methods to keep your pets away from your fig tree. If you catch your dog or cat nosing around your fig tree, some negative reinforcement can help. A quick, light spritz of water from a spray bottle, or a sharp rattle of a tin can partly filled with coins, accompanied by the word, “No!” can work to startle both cats and dogs away. Do make sure to counterbalance this with a treat when your pet stays away from the fig tree, so they can see that good things happen when they leave the tree alone.