While looking through the huge selection of dog food on offer in your local pet store or supermarket, you may have noticed that some of them are made with vegetables.
Ingredients such as green beans, peas, and even butternut squash can all be found mixed in with some type of meat or fish. But, one of the vegetables you’re unlikely to see is eggplant.
But why is this? Can dogs eat eggplant? The short answer is yes, dogs can eat eggplants. However, there are some instances where it could be dangerous for your canine companion, and this is why it’s usually not used as an ingredient in dog food.
If you’d like to learn more about both the benefits and dangers of feeding your dog eggplant, keep reading. You’ll also find a recipe for some delicious eggplant jerky that is ideal if you’d like to start making healthy, homemade treats that your dog will love.
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The Health Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Eggplant
Let’s start by looking at some of the health benefits that incorporating eggplant into your dog’s weekly diet will give them.
First of all, it’s an excellent source of dietary fiber. This means that it will help keep their digestive system working properly and maintain healthy digestive tracts.
Eggplant is also incredibly low in calories, so it can be added to your dog’s existing food as a special treat without having to worry about adjusting their portion size or creating a huge amount of weight gain.
The fact eggplants are low in calories also means that they can be made into treats and snacks (see the eggplant jerky recipe below).
Also, if your dog has been placed on a low calorie diet due to weight gain, eggplants make a great supplemental vegetable that you can mix into their food.
This isn’t only because they are low in calories, but also because they can make your dog feel fuller for longer. As such, there’s no need to worry about them getting hungry!
Some other health benefits that come from feeding your dog eggplant include:
- Improved Heart Health: Some of the vitamins and minerals found in eggplant can help improve circulation and blood flow, reducing the risk of developing heart disease in the process.
- Improved Brain Health: Eggplants also contain a phytonutrient called “nasunin”. This is essential for healthy brain function and it’s even been shown to help prevent brain damage.
- Prevents Cancer: Another amazing mineral you’ll find in the humble eggplant is chlorogenic acid. This has been shown to help prevent cancer as well as fight bacteria, infections, and high cholesterol.
Eggplants also contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals that dogs need to keep them happy and healthy. These include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
Put simply, incorporating eggplant into your dog’s diet isn’t only safe – it’s a fantastic way of giving them a boost of vitamins and minerals that will help maintain their overall health.
The Dangers of Feeding Your Dog Eggplant
While eggplants have multiple health benefits, there are some dangers associated with them as well. But what are they?
First of all, the leaves of eggplants are highly toxic. Eggplants are members of the deadly nightshade family and, while the eggplant fruit itself is safe to eat, the leaves should never be consumed.
They’ll definitely result in either vomiting or diarrhea and, in some cases, they can be deadly.
The reason why eggplant leaves are so dangerous is that they contain high levels of solanine.
Eggplants themselves also contain trace levels of solanine but, when eaten in moderation, these aren’t considered toxic. However, with this in mind, it’s a good idea to only feed your dog eggplant as an occasional treat.
It’s also possible that your dog may have an allergic reaction to eggplant. The reason for this is simply because it’s not something that they have built up a natural tolerance for through centuries or ancestry.
Allergic reactions to eggplant can include excessive itching, rashes, diarrhea, vomiting, and facial swelling. If your dog exhibits any of these after eating eggplant, take them straight to the vet and make sure you never feed them eggplant again.
It’s also important to note that eggplant shouldn’t be given to a dog that suffers from kidney problems. This is because they contain high oxalate levels which can create the formation of kidney stones and bladder stones in both humans and animals.
Oxalate can also increase inflammation. So, if your dog suffers from an inflammatory condition such as arthritis, it would be best left off the menu.
Recipe for Eggplant Jerky
If you’d like to start incorporating eggplant into your dog’s diet, the first thing you need to remember is that it should only be used as an occasional treat. Feeding them eggplant too regularly could result in solanine poisoning, which can be potentially fatal.
But, given in moderation, it’s totally fine and this eggplant jerky recipe is a great way to get some extra vitamins and minerals into your dog’s diet. It’s super easy to make, too.
- 1 large eggplant, trimmed, quartered, and finely sliced lengthwise
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Start by preheating your oven to 175ºF.
- Take a wire rack and place it on top of a baking sheet.
- Lay the sliced eggplant in a single layer across the rack, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 2-3 hours until the eggplant is dehydrated and crisp.
That’s all there is to it! When you’re done, you’ll have healthy, nutritious eggplant jerky that your dog will love as an occasional treat.
The main takeaway here is that it’s totally safe to feed your dog eggplant as long as you’re doing it in moderation.
Don’t incorporate it into every meal, otherwise, they could suffer from solanine poisoning. Used as an occasional treat, eggplant is an excellent way to give your dog some extra vitamins and minerals, and it might even help improve their brain and heart health.