Are you looking to add variety to your dog’s diet? Feeding your dog a raw diet, usually, one with a mix of raw proteins and veggies has become popular in recent years. Dog kibble and biscuits are known to have lots of fillers and preservatives that many savvy pet parents are turning away from, in favor of a more holistic diet.
However, before you dive headfirst into feeding your pooch fresh foods, you will need to learn which fresh veggies are safe for your pup to eat. Our canine companions’ digestive system is much different from ours, so sometimes what we enjoy for food may not be ideal for them.
Luckily, there are plenty of veggies that can be enjoyed by both humans and dogs. One of these vegetables is eggplant.
Feeding Your Dog Eggplant
Eggplant is nontoxic for dogs and a veggie that can be safely fed raw to fido. However, it should be fed in moderation. When first introducing eggplant to your dog’s diet, it’s important to introduce it slowly. Dogs can have allergies just as humans can. Some dogs might have sensitivities to eggplant or even an allergic reaction.
Eggplant falls under the nightshade family of vegetables, alongside tomatoes and other veggies. Nightshades can be more likely to cause allergic reactions. Tomatoes cause allergies in lots of humans and are never recommended to introduce to a dog.
Nightshades like eggplant are a little different. Eggplant is generally safe and well accepted by dogs. However, the possibility of an allergic reaction is never out of the question.
When first introducing eggplant to your dog, do it in small quantities. Monitor them after feeding eggplant to catch any signs of an allergic reaction. In dogs, an allergic reaction to food can cause symptoms such as:
If you notice any unusual symptoms such as these popping up in your dog after feeding eggplant, it’s safe to say that eggplant does not bode well with your dog’s specific chemistry, and it’s best to choose another option.
The Benefits of Feeding a Dog Eggplant
Apart from the potential for allergic reactions, eggplant is a safe and healthy treat for dogs who can handle it. Eggplant is rich in fiber which can help normalize your dog’s digestive system and promote healthy bowel movements.
Plus, eggplant is jam-packed with phytonutrients. Phytonutrients can help humans and dogs alike ward off diseases such as cancer. Eggplant is also high in other essential nutrients like Vitamin B6, folate, Vitamin K, and potassium.
In addition, eggplant is generally low in calories, making it an effective reward to feed for training in small portions, so long as your dog is not sensitive to it. In short, some slices of eggplant are a much more nutritious treat than a doggy biscuit.
The Risks of Feeding Eggplant to Your Dog
Just as there are several health benefits to feeding your dog eggplant, there are also certain risks you should be aware of. As mentioned above, eggplant is a part of the nightshade family. Nightshades are known to cause inflammation, which is why this group of veggies is usually avoided in the diets of people with inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.
If your dog has a preexisting inflammatory disease like arthritis or IBS, nightshades may worsen the symptoms. Eggplant also contains a component called nasunin. Nasunin makes it harder for the body to absorb iron, which can cause anemia.
Eggplant also features a high level of oxalate. Oxalate can increase the risk of kidney stones. If your dog has preexisting kidney issues, it’s best to steer clear of eggplant. Most of the adverse effects that can be caused by these components of eggplant are unlikely to take effect in small portions. This is why eggplant should be fed only as a special treat in small amounts.
How to Prepare Eggplant for Your Dog
Most dogs will eat eggplant raw. It’s important to cut the eggplant into dog-friendly sizes. Avoid cubing eggplant before feeding it to your dog, as the cubed shape can make it a choking hazard. Instead, thinly slice the eggplant and serve it alone or atop dog kibble.
Some dogs will turn up their noses at raw eggplant. In this case, you may cook eggplant to make it more palatable. You can roast eggplant for your pup; however, you must be careful to add little to no oil, and no seasonings whatsoever. If you must use some oil to avoid the veggie sticking to your pan, try to use a healthy option like vegetable oil or avocado oil, and use the smallest amount possible. Butter, salt, pepper, and the like should be avoided.
A better option is to boil eggplant so that it’s soft and more palatable, but no oil is needed. You can boil eggplant the same way you would boil any other veggie, by steeping the slices in boiled water and waiting until they have become semi-soft.
Eggplant should not be fed on its own as a meal. Instead, the eggplant should be fed as a topper on kibble or as a special treat. Also, if you are feeding a raw diet, be sure to feed foods like eggplant as only a small portion of the meal. Protein should make up a large majority of your dog’s meal, as it is so important to their wellbeing.
What Other Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?
Though our canine companions cannot enjoy every food we can, there are several veggies that are safe for both dogs and humans. Here is the list of all the vegetables your dog can eat.
Dogs can eat a variety of veggies you might have on hand, such as sweet potatoes, cucumber, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, onion, lettuce, bell peppers, pickles, and celery! All vegetables offer different nutritional values and benefits, so it’s always a good idea to introduce your dog to different vegetable types.
Most dogs can enjoy eggplants in moderation. Eggplant is not inherently toxic to dogs. However, eggplant is a part of the nightshade family, which is a vegetable subtype that is notorious for causing allergies in humans. So, it’s more likely that your dog could be sensitive to eggplant. The way to avoid any serious allergic reactions is to introduce this veggie slowly to your dog in controlled and small portions.
Eggplant offers an array of vitamins and nutrients that can help our dogs feel their best. On the flip side, eggplant also features some undesirable components that can cause inflammation, iron deficiency, and more. It’s important to talk with your vet before giving your dog a new fresh veggie, so your vet can advise based on your dog’s health history.
Eggplant can be served raw or cooked, the important part is ensuring your dog only gets small portions of it. Too much eggplant can cause an imbalanced diet and make your dog more likely to experience adverse side effects. The key is always balance and moderation when it comes to feeding dogs vegetables. If you are looking to add variety to your pup’s diet, you can add in more of the several vegetables which are safe for dogs.