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Yes. Eggplant is not poisonous to dogs, as long as they’re consumed in moderation. But they most likely will not appreciate the bitter taste of raw eggplant.
That may not be the whole story, however. Too much eggplant can become toxic. Some dogs also have an allergic reaction to eggplant, or other underlying health condition that will make eating eggplant bad for them. Upset stomach is also an ever-present possibility.
But if these aren’t an issue, your dog stands to reap a lot of health benefits by consuming the vegetable.
How Eating Eggplant Can Benefit Dogs
Much like for humans, eggplant is filled with nutritional value for dogs.
Low calorie, high fiber
As a low-calorie and high-fiber vegetable, eggplant is brilliant for supplementing the diet of dogs who need to cut down on their calorie intake. It’s a great food to help an obese dog get in shape.
The high dietary fiber content will make them feel full for longer, as well as promote better digestive health.
Contains plenty of essential vitamins and minerals
The essential vitamins and minerals that could be found in this nutritious vegetable include, but are not limited to:
- Vitamin C – Eliminates carcinogens, helps with closing wounds and relieving inflammations, and protects the brain from ageing.
- Vitamin K – Ensures calcium goes where it needs to go (the bones) and not anywhere else (the muscles, arteries, and the heart). Also assists in blood coagulation, preventing too much bleeding in the event of injury or if your pet is recovering from surgery.
- Vitamin B1 – Helps your dog digest carbs and boosts metabolism.
- Vitamin B3 – Helps your dog break down fatty acids, boosts dogs’ immune system, and fights against inflammatory skin conditions.
- Vitamin B6 – Promotes red blood cell and nervous system health, immune system functions, and regulates hormones.
- Magnesium – Energizes the individual cells in your dog’s body.
- Manganese – Helps metabolize fat and protein.
- Phosphorus – Boosts metabolism and promote good bone growth, especially in puppies.
- Copper – Helps iron absorption and makes for healthier red blood cells.
- Folic acid – Assists in the production of red blood cells and DNA.
- Potassium – As an electrolyte, potassium ensures that the electrical charges in the nerves, muscles, and heart function smoothly.
Contains bonus nutrients
Besides the essential nutrients, eggplants also have a few extras that can serve to boost your dog’s health even further.
These include the flavonoids, which are the pigments that give eggplants their dark purple color. Anthocyanin, a major flavonoid in eggplant, helps fight inflammation.
It also contains phenolic acid, which is an important anti-carcinogen.
In addition, phenolic acid and other polyphenols in the eggplant’s skin help your dog process sugar.
Potential Harmful Effects of Feeding Your Dog Eggplant
Remember when we said that dogs can eat eggplant safely in moderation? That’s because eggplant contains an alkaloid called solanine , which can be toxic if concentrated enough.
Like most fruits and vegetables, eggplant contains oxalates, which regulates mineral absorption in plants, most commonly calcium, by binding with it so it can get flushed out.
This mechanism can be harmful for dogs who need that calcium to strengthen their bones. So too much eggplant (or any fruit or vegetable with high oxalate content) can increase risk of arthritis or worsen it if they already have it.
Because of their calcium-blocking properties, oxalates can increase the risk of kidney stones or aggravate a pre-existing kidney stone condition or other health issue adjacent to the kidney.
If your dog has urinary conditions such as kidney and bladder stones, do not feed them eggplant.
You may be met with the unpleasant surprise that your dog is allergic to eggplant. This will manifest itself in rashes, swelling, stomach upset and vomiting.
Since eggplants are part of the nightshade family, your dog is probably allergic to the vegetable if it is allergic to potatoes, peppers, or tomatoes.
How to Properly Feed Your Dog Eggplant
Cook the eggplant
Eggplants are quite bitter, which makes them unpalatable to dogs, especially in raw form. Your dog is unlikely to eat raw eggplant.
Dogs eat cooked eggplant with far more gusto. So serve eggplant that’s been grilled, baked, roasted, or fried instead.
Although it’s less healthy, fried eggplant will probably taste the best to them because it improves the texture and makes it taste sweeter. This could make it more like a tasty treat if they happen to like the flavor of cooked eggplant.
Roasted eggplant creates an even better sweet flavor, but does not have the same ideal texture.
Cooked eggplant will taste much better than raw. But if you want to enhance the flavor even further, remember to use dog-friendly flavorings instead as the usual seasonings we use in human food can be harmful to them.
Recipes intended for human consumption, such as eggplant parm, shouldn’t be incorporated into a dog’s diet. Most dogs do not digest dairy well, so refrain from serving them eggplant parm or other eggplant recipes that make use of seasonings.
Control the portions
Since you need to moderate the amount of eggplant your dog eats, it may be best to mix it in with their regular food.
This also makes it easier to feed eggplant to your dog, especially if you didn’t use any seasonings. The taste of the usual dog food should cover up the taste enough to make your dog eat eggplant along with it.
Monitor their reaction
In order to ensure that your dogs eat eggplant safely in the future, you have to take a look at how their bodies react after consumption.
Monitor them for a few hours or even days between feeding eggplant portions. Check their temperature and other biometrics and observe their behavior.
This way, you can find out if there’s any adverse reaction or food allergies that should dissuade you from feeding your dog any more eggplant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can dogs eat eggplant with skin?
Yes. The skin has useful nutrients that fight inflammation and cancer, as well as aid in the digestion of sugar.
Can dogs eat purple eggplant?
Purple coloration is a clear indicator that makes the eggplant safe for consumption. However if an eggplant still has green pigmentation, avoid feeding this to your dog.
Can dogs eat eggplant leaves?
Absolutely not. Eggplant leaves contain the highest concentration of the alkaloid toxin solanine. Just a few leaves can be enough to severely damage your dog’s health, or even lead to death.