Certainly, eggplant is not one of the first ideas that comes to mind when considering what fruits and veggies you may want to introduce in to your dog’s diet. Eggplant, which is surprisingly a fruit, since it contains seeds, packs a punch of minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to our health. But, do these health benefits extend to our beloved dogs too? The simple answer is yes, but there are some cautions and considerations to keep in mind before trying to feed.
Benefits of Eggplant Consumption
A lot of the studies pertaining to eggplant and its health benefits are confined to laboratory animals and test-tube experiments. Due to this, the knowledge of the extension of its benefits to humans and dogs is a bit limited. But, they contain a lot of the vitamins and minerals found in other safe fruits and veggies for dogs, so perhaps it is certainly worth a try.
In one cup of eggplant, you will find about three grams of fiber, one gram of protein, minerals such as Potassium and Manganese, and Vitamins B, C and K.
Eggplants contain a high count of anthocyanins, which are an antioxidant that can act to deter cell damage and help replenish them.
The fiber content in eggplant will help to improve your dog’s digestive functioning by allowing them to feel more full while also assisting in creating healthy bowel movements. The fiber can also help lower blood sugar by absorbing sugars in their body and overall slowing down the rate of digestion.
The Potassium and Calcium that eggplant contains will help bone growth and bone structure in dogs of all ages.
Being a low calorie fruit, eggplant is a great nutritional supplement to feed your dog if they need help losing weight, since the fiber it contains will also help them feel more full.
In a two week study, rabbits with high cholesterol who were given .3 ounces of eggplant juice daily showed to lower their risk of heart disease.
Be Wary, And Your Dog Should Be Fine
Eggplants come from a family of plants known as nightshades, which contain some toxic elements and can cause allergic reactions to arise in both humans and dogs. As the eggplant itself loses much of these toxic substances after cultivation, some trace elements may still be left behind. These allergic reactions don’t extend to all dogs and people, so observing their reaction during the eating process and after is crucial to determine if they may be susceptible.
Possible allergic reactions can include itches and rashing, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, and in some cases, trouble breathing and swellness in some body areas. If your dog experiences any of these after consumption, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Due to the oxalates found in eggplant, dogs with arthritis and kidney issues should avoid consuming eggplant, since oxalates have the ability to block Calcium in the blood flow, leading to more health issues.
Seeing as many of these side effects and allergic reactions take larger-than-necessary amounts of eggplant to arise, moderation and supervision of your dog’s eggplant consumption is a key component in keeping them safe from the dangers, and helping them see the benefits eggplant consumption offers.
Never feed your dog raw eggplant. The taste may be undesirable for them, and this can lead to a choking hazard. On top of this, it doesn’t expel as many toxic compounds compared to if you were to grill or bake it. Eggplant should always be prepared by grilling or baking beforehand, as this makes it more edible for them, while also allowing the heat to kill of some trace toxic compounds that were left behind.
Feeding in small, bite-size snacks after preparing is the way to go. The most proper way to introduce eggplant to your dog is through very small bits being added to their daily / nightly meal. While they eat and immediately after, thoroughly observe their reaction and mood to determine if they may be susceptible to an allergic reaction caused by the eggplant.
As with all human foods fed to dogs, they should never take up most of your dogs vitamin and mineral intake. A large majority of the healthy substances they need should still be coming from their commercial or home-cooked meals.
Moderation is key! An overabundance of any human food will lead to health problems for your dog; risks that should always be attempted to be avoided.
Prepare Correctly, Observe Reaction, Move Forward
As you can see, there are multiple health benefits to be seen from eggplant consumption, that comes coupled with a few precautions and safety issues that need to be considered. Prepare the eggplant correctly, feed in moderation, observe how they react to it, then you will know going forward if eggplant is a good nutritional supplement for your dog or not.
Link, Rachael. “7 Surpising Health Benefits of Eggplants”. Healthline 30 June 2017. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eggplant-benefits#section2
Ware, Megan. “Eggplant: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 8 Nov. 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279359.php.