Eggplant is a versatile vegetable used in a variety of delicious dishes. If you’re a dog owner, you may naturally be wondering if you can slice your pet a piece of your eggplant casserole. So in this little guide, we’re going to discuss everything related to feeding eggplants to your dog. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
Is Eggplant Safe for Dogs?
The short answer is yes; dogs can safely consume eggplants. However, there are some cases in which eggplants can cause a problem for your dog, so watch out for those. Moreover, you should correctly prepare eggplants to maximize the health benefits and minimize any potential risk to your pet.
When Should Dogs Avoid Eggplants?
While eggplants are generally safe for dogs, there are certain conditions in which they pose a health risk to your canine.
While eggplant isn’t inherently poisonous or toxic to most dogs, some canines have an eggplant allergy. Therefore, when feeding your dog eggplant for the first time, it should be monitored closely for any allergic reactions. Symptoms of eggplant allergy to look for include rash, itching, upset stomach, facial swelling, and vomiting.
If you notice any of these signs, consult your dog’s vet immediately. The allergic reaction symptoms usually appear within an hour of ingestion. It’s also important to note that if your dog has a history of allergies, it’s always best to avoid eggplants or other nightshade vegetables.
The Nightshade Family
Eggplant belongs to the nightshade family; this is another name for the Solanaceae family of plants. This family contains an alkaloid called solanine, which can be toxic to dogs. Other popular members of the nightshade family include tomatoes, potatoes, pepper, and tobacco.
Only a small amount of nightshade vegetables is rarely problematic; they cause problems when ingested in large quantities. However, you have to make sure that your dog isn’t allergic to any of them.
If your dog suffers from an inflammatory disease like arthritis, eggplants should be taken off the menu. This vegetable can cause inflammation, thus worsening your dog’s condition.
Eggplants are abundant in oxalates, which facilitate kidney stone formation. Because oxalates inhibit calcium absorption from the bloodstream, the calcium crystallizes, forming kidney and bladder stones. In extreme cases, kidney stones can lead to a disorder called acute oxalate nephropathy.
But remember that eggplant oxalates aren’t an issue for healthy dogs; these compounds only pose a threat if your dog’s kidneys are compromised. So, if your dog suffers from a kidney condition, avoid eggplant in its diet.
Benefits of Eggplant for Dogs
Eggplant is packed with vitamins and minerals that are highly nutritious for your dog. So let’s have a look at some of this vegetable’s benefits.
Eggplant is packed with phenols like chlorogenic acid that have antioxidant properties. These compounds fight the free radicals that cause cancer, thus playing a role in cancer prevention.
Improving Heart Health
This veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals that can prevent heart disease in dogs. These include potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and phytonutrients.
Blood Pressure Management
Eggplant is rich in anthocyanins, and anthocyanins help lower blood pressure in dogs. Therefore, they can be extremely beneficial if your dog is hypertensive.
Improving Brain Function
One very important phytonutrient in eggplant is nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant that helps improve brain function by protecting the brain cell membrane lipids from free radicals.
If this all isn’t intriguing enough, eggplant is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, making it a great food choice for overweight dogs or dogs avoiding weight gain.
How Do I Prepare Eggplant for My Dog?
It’s recommended to thoroughly cook the eggplants before serving them to your dog. This step helps ensure that the heat destroys any harmful components in the raw eggplant before finding their way to your dog. In addition, cooking eggplant eliminates the raw eggplant’s bitter taste, making it way more palatable for your canine friend.
How you cook your eggplants is then up to you and your dog’s preference. Safe ways to prepare the vegetable include grilling, boiling, roasting, and baking. Frying is never recommended because of the side effects of high fat and oil content. Additionally, watch out for the spices and seasonings you add to your pet’s dish. In other words, make sure they’re dog-friendly.
Eggplant Recipes for Your Dog
If you’re still not sure how to prepare eggplants for your pet, you can check out these recipe suggestions:
1. Eggplant Jerky. With this recipe, you’ll be able to make delicious eggplant jerky for your pet using a dehydrator or a basic oven. What makes this recipe great is how easy it is to make. Additionally, you’ll be in complete control over the seasonings and spices, and you can always go plain if you’re unsure.
2. Homemade Dog Food With Vegetable. If you’re the type of pet owner who has their dog on a homemade diet, you’re going to love this recipe. With this one, you’ll be able to incorporate the eggplants with rice, turkey, and other vegetables to create a healthy, well-balanced meal for your canine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggplant?
Raw eggplant isn’t necessarily poisonous, but it’s less appetizing than cooked eggplant. The characteristic bitter flavor in the raw plant easily disappears after cooking. Furthermore, cooking eggplant reduces the risk of harmful substances getting into your dog’s digestive system.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Eggplant?
It’s recommended to keep your dog clear of all fried food; all the extra oils and fats can pose health risks and lead to weight gain.
Can My Dog Eat Eggplant Parm?
Eggplant parmesan for dogs can be problematic for a multitude of reasons. For starters, this recipe calls for a decent amount of cheese, and too much dairy is bad for your dog. Likewise, the recipe contains copious amounts of fats. Moreover, onions and garlic are key players in this dish, and both are extremely toxic to dogs.
Finally, the spices and seasonings used for this dish aren’t necessarily dog-friendly spices, which again poses a potential threat to your pet.
Can Dogs Eat Eggplant Leaves?
Eggplant leaves are dangerous for your dog and can even be lethal in cases. This danger is posed by solanine, an alkaloid poison found abundantly in the leaves. Therefore, if you plant eggplants in your backyard, be extra careful that your dogs don’t ingest any of their leaves, flowers, or stems. It’s also important to note that all leaves of the nightshade family are toxic to dogs.
Can My Dog Eat Roasted Eggplant?
Yes, dogs can eat roasted eggplants. As long as you’re careful with the oils and spices, they can be safely added to your dog’s diet. However, you have to make sure that the eggplants themselves are safe for your dog.
What Is the Best Type of Eggplant for My Dog?
The best eggplants to feed your dog are organically grown ones. While organic eggplants come at a higher price point, artificially grown ones often contain pesticides that can harm your dog.
To sum up, eggplants are safe and beneficial for your dog when served in moderation. However, if your dog is allergic, has kidney problems, or suffers from an inflammatory disease, it shouldn’t be fed eggplant. Moreover, cooked eggplant is the way to go when preparing it for your dog, and you should always aim for plain recipes to minimize the risk.
Keep in mind that it’s necessary to contact your dog’s vet whenever you’re adding any new food to its diet. This way, you’ll make sure that your dog is safe.