Eggplant is probably one of the most ignored vegetables in the produce section, leading a life of misconception based on its outdated reputation. Most people think eggplant is either spicy or flavorless, both of which aren’t true. Actually, eggplant can be quite delicious if it’s prepared properly and not overcooked. It’s also very good for you because it’s naturally high in a variety of essential nutrients and vitamins. If you’re considering adding some to your dog’s diet, take some precaution before you think about serving your dog.
Is Eggplant Safe for Dogs?
Fed in moderation, eggplant is safe for dogs, but they should be monitored closely afterwards in case they have an allergic reaction to it. Eggplant belongs to the nightshade family, a common allergen for both dogs and humans. Tomatoes are also a species of nightshade, and experts disagree on the safety of allowing dogs to have tomatoes due to their alpha-tomatine.
Aside from being a nightshade species, eggplant is an excellent source of fiber, which is necessary for a functioning digestive tract. It’s low in calories, so combined with its high fiber content, it’s a great option for dogs on a diet who don’t feel like they’re getting full off of their regular food.
Eggplant is also rich with phytonutrients, which are essential for preventing various diseases. Eggplant contains the phytonutrients nasunin and chlorogenic acid. These fight off diseases like cancer, heart disease, and neurological dysfunction. The vegetable is also bursting with vitamins like B6 and K and minerals like potassium, folate, and niacin. While your dog’s food contains a balanced proportion of vitamins and minerals, it never hurts to have a little extra from a fresh source.
The vegetable is also bursting with vitamins like B6 and K and minerals like potassium, folate, and niacin. While your dog’s food contains a balanced proportion of vitamins and minerals, it never hurts to have a little extra from a fresh source.
Allergic Reactions to Eggplant in Dogs
If your dog has never had eggplant before, it’s important you feed them a very small amount to see if they experience any type of reaction. Dogs who have a history of allergies shouldn’t be given eggplant, but if they’ve never had an allergic reaction to anything, eggplant probably won’t affect them.
A minor reaction will include itching, rashes, or an upset stomach. A more serious reaction will present in the form of vomiting, a painful stomach, or even facial swelling. If it’s a minor reaction, you should touch base with your veterinarian to see what they want you to do.
Some dogs may need an antihistamine, while very minor reactions will pass on their own. A serious reaction, especially if it includes vomiting or a swollen face, should be seen immediately by your veterinarian for treatment.
Feeding Eggplant to Your Dog
If your dog isn’t allergic to eggplant, it’s still important to be wary of how you’re preparing your eggplant. Some dogs might like it raw and all you have to do is dice it and put it into their food. Other dogs might not like it raw, and roasting it definitely brings out its flavor better.
If you’re roasting it, use oil or butter very lightly. Skip seasonings because dogs can’t handle high amounts of salt and garlic/onion powder are toxic. Eggplant parmesan is a very popular dish, but your dog won’t be able to tolerate the amount of fat, dairy, and garlic that are in the dish.
Before you introduce a new vegetable into your dog’s diet, you should always consult with your veterinarian, especially if your dog is older and could have a kidney condition. If your pup is on a quality dog food, then they don’t necessarily need any additional foods to be nutritionally balanced.
Anything you feed your dog should be used for treat or snack purposes, and it never hurts to replace commercially prepared treats with something a bit healthier.