When people think of the food eggplant, also known as aubergine or brinjal in some areas of the world, they imagine a large “vegetable” with purple skin. It turns out that “vegetable” is actually the fruit or more specifically the berry of the eggplant.
Eggplants are part of the nightshade family Solanaceae. Plants in the nightshade family, including potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes, contain an alkaloid called solanine that is toxic to humans, dogs, and cats at sufficiently high levels. Fortunately, solanine is not present in large quantities within eggplants. It would require a human to eat a lot of eggplants to become sick. Symptoms of solanine poisoning include:
- Fever and headaches
- Abdominal pain
Eggplant is often served cooked and due to its low nutrient content and taste is included in other culinary dishes. Imagine you’re eating a beautiful eggplant parmigiana or moussaka and your furry little friend is begging at the side of the table. They’re waiting patiently and they’ve been well behaved all day. So, are they allowed some?
Dogs can eat the fruit of the eggplant. Eggplant on its own is safe for dogs to eat as it is not toxic. Eggplant is frequently not eaten on its own, so be aware of other ingredients in any dish that contains the eggplant as those may not be safe for your dog to eat. Raw eggplant has a bitter taste and spongy texture. Your dog may prefer cooked eggplant. Be careful of the skin when cooked as it can be a mild choking hazard.
Just to be clear, in the scenario above, we’d suggest avoiding providing your pup food at the dinner table.
Is eggplant safe for your dog?
Plain eggplant is safe for your dog to eat. Specifically, the fruit that the plant produces. In fact, eggplant is rich in antioxidants and is a good source of fiber. A cup of chopped raw eggplant is just 20 calories, so eating eggplant could actually be a good low-calorie snack for your dog.
Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional components of eggplant:
|Total Fat||0.18 g|
When serving eggplant to your dog watch out for…
Although eggplant itself is safe for dogs to eat, many foods that contain eggplant are full of other ingredients to flavor and compliment it. As eggplant is quite a bland ingredient on its own, oils, spices, and some aromatics are commonly added to it. So watch out for…
Some dishes, such as eggplant parmigiana or eggplant curry, often contain a lot of oil. Eggplant is like a sponge that soaks up the oil as it cooks. Because of this, the typical foods that contain eggplant may be high in calories and cause your dog to gain weight. But this isn’t an issue with eggplant itself, just how it’s prepared.
A diet high in vegetable oils may not be good for your dog’s digestive system, as fat can cause a laxative effect. Dogs are also more vulnerable to fatty liver disease than humans are. Keeping your dog’s fat intake down and at a healthy level is very important.
Garlic and Onions
Although garlic and onions are delicious to us humans, any food that is a member of the Allium family is actually slightly toxic to dogs.
In small doses, your dog will be okay, but large amounts of food, such as the eggplant dish baba ghanoush, made from pureed eggplant and garlic may not be suitable for your dog. It is important to monitor your dog’s garlic and onion intake as it can be easily hidden within tasty food. Avoid baba ghanoush unless you know exactly how it was prepared.
Spices are what make food delicious, but for dogs, spices can cause an upset stomach. If your food is very spicy it might be best not to give it to your dog. Excess spice levels can cause your dog to vomit or have diarrhea.
How much eggplant is too much for your dog?
If the food is free from all the things listed above, then go for it.
Knowing some dogs, they can and will eat whatever is put in front of them. It is important to find out how much to feed your dog using a calorie calculator and then make up the majority of that number with specified dog food.
Any human food you feed your dog, that is not specifically dog food, such be given as a treat and not as a meal.
As a rule of thumb, do not feed your dog more than a few spoonfuls of human food. Besides the potential health side effects, it is not advisable to reward your dog when they beg for food. Feeding your dog in their own food bowl is also important as it establishes a routine for them.
Can dogs eat eggplant leaves?
Ok, if eggplants are safe what about the leaves of the eggplant? As we’ve discussed the eggplant fruit itself is safe for dogs (in moderation).
Eggplant leaves are not safe for dogs to eat as they are narcotic and toxic. The leaves of eggplants are also quite rough and therefore quite unappetizing. Do not allow your dog to eat eggplant leaves.
Yes, Eggplant is safe for dogs to eat. But, your dog’s diet should be made up of food specifically designed for them. Dog food brands in the United States all have to meet nutrition and ingredient standards set by the FDA.
Foods containing eggplant, or raw eggplant, can be given to your dog in moderation. If any adverse effects occur, stop immediately and consult your vet, as you would with any adverse reaction.