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Can Dogs Eat Eggplant? Explaining All of This Plant’s Precautions

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Can you name a dish made with eggplant? (Eggplant parmesan doesn’t count) Not everyone can. This dark purple plant isn’t the most widely used from the produce aisle. This is a shame because the list of vitamins and minerals stretches every bit as long as many others. And you find plenty of different varieties. Similar to zucchini, you can eat the seeds and skin without a problem. Which begs the question: can dogs eat eggplant? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t black and white. Oh, eggplant isn’t toxic. But it’s safer for some dogs to consume than others. And if you don’t know your dog’s health history? Well, testing your dog eating eggplant may lead to a vet visit.


The eggplant is part of the nightshade family (so are tomatoes). Their scientific name reflects this: Solanum melongena. How? Easy. All nightshade plants contain an alkaloid known as solanine. The higher the concentration of solanine, the worse the toxicity (deadly nightshade’s the worst). Eggplant doesn’t carry a ton of solanine, except in the leaves. But it IS there (and we’ll get to why that’s a problem).

Most groceries shelve eggplants with the vegetables. But it’s actually a fruit (this happens with so many fruits; it’s kind of sad). The plants grow out of a flower, and you find seeds inside. By definition, that makes it a fruit. But most people feel the lack of a sweet taste renders it a vegetable. Either way, the plant’s one of the most healthy out there for people to consume. When you eat 1 cup of unpeeled eggplant, you get all of these amazing benefits:

  • Calories: 132g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.5g
  • Minerals:
    • Calcium: 49.3mg
    • Iron: 1.3mg
    • Magnesium: 76.7mg
    • Phosphorous: 137mg
  • Protein 5.5g
  • Sodium: 11mg
  • Vitamins:
    • A: 3%
    • B6: 23%
    • C: 20%
    • E: 8%
    • K: 24%

Eggplants also contain phytonutrients. These natural chemicals provide that stunning purple color. But phytonutrients pack in antioxidants, too. And they don’t stop there. Eggplants have a specific phytonutrient called nasunin. Nasunin is believed to help enhance brain function. Eggplants also contain additional pigments known as flavonoids. One in particular – anthocyanin – lowers blood pressure. When you keep blood pressure in a healthy zone, you stave off some of the early precursors to heart disease. And, last of all, these purple fruits contain chlorogenic acid. The natural compound protects the plant from bacteria and viruses, and it helps lower BAD cholesterol in humans. That’s a lot of work for one plant! But does it do all of this when dogs eat eggplant? It certainly can.

Can Dogs Eat Eggplant?

With so many health benefits, you’re probably reaching for the keys to run to the grocery store. Who wouldn’t want to add this fruit to their diet – or their canine’s diet? But can does eat eggplant safely? It’s a touchy topic. Even with that association with nightshade, eggplant isn’t toxic. So – in theory – yes, it’s safe for dogs to eat. But the answer isn’t as simple as that. Because the solanine presents a problem. And so does one other component of the plant – if your dog has specific health conditions. You may want to hold off on that grocery run until you have all of the information.

Precautions for When Dogs Eat Eggplant

No one’s going to deny that eggplants are healthy. They lower unwanted cholesterol and help protect the heart. Plus, they’re low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins and minerals. Why not add them into the fruit rotation of treats for your pup? The problem comes in with the extra compounds you find in eggplant that you may not in other fruits (or vegetables): solanine and oxalates.

If dogs eat eggplant, they may develop an allergic reaction


As long as your dog isn’t devouring eggplant leaves by the bushel, the chances of them having a toxic reaction to solanine are slim. However, that isn’t the problem when dogs eat eggplant. Unfortunately, many canines are ALLERGIC to solanine. And if you’ve never encountered other members of the nightshade family, you’ll never know until you introduce this treat.

Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling – particularly around the face
  • Vomiting/diarrhea

If you offer your dog a piece of eggplant, and they show any of these signs, contact your vet right away. And then AVOID further treats from the nightshade family. While packed full of health benefits, there’s no reason to make your dog miserable in the process. And while allergy-testing IS available, solanine isn’t a common compound on the list.


Oxalates are compounds found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. They bind to calcium in the bloodstream. For people (and dogs) with certain health conditions, ingesting TOO MANY oxalates causes you to develop calcium oxalate kidney stones. The result is a painful urinary obstruction. The prevention? Avoiding foods that contain oxalates. (And as a person who needs to do this, you quickly find yourself with reduced dietary options)

Eggplant happens to contain oxalates. And when dogs eat eggplant AND have pre-existing bladder or kidney issues? You’re courting a trip to the vet. Even the “every now and then” plan is risky. Because trying to gauge how much oxalate goes into their system is impossible. You won’t know until your dog’s struggling to urinate that you have a problem. These dogs should NEVER eat eggplant.

Safe Ways for Dogs to Eat Eggplant

If you have a healthy dog – who isn’t allergic to solanine and doesn’t have issues with their bladder or kidney – you have the green light to offer eggplant. However, you still need to offer this purple fruit properly. Unlike other fruits, eggplant has more restrictions in how you present it to canines. And if you’re not careful, you’ll make even the healthiest hound sick.

No dogs should eat raw eggplant. It presents the most risk. You have your choice on whether to break out the grill or tuck slices into the oven, but cooking eggplant works best. When you cook eggplant, you break down the natural compounds. This includes most of the oxalates (most but not ALL). If you want to keep things safe, only allow dogs to eat eggplant that’s gone through SOME kind of cooking process. Even boiling’s better than nothing.

But skip the fryer. Yes, it IS cooking, but there’s too much oil and fat involved. You’re trying to offer your dog a HEALTHY snack, remember? When you pop eggplant into the fryer, you undo all of the health benefits of the plant. No matter how much your dog may beg (after all – fried food’s delicious), stick to healthy options.

The Purple Maybe

Plenty of people have never heard of eggplant (or even aubergine, as it’s sometimes called). This is a shame because the purple fruit offers a lengthy list of health benefits. But when it comes to dogs eating eggplant? Things are kind of murky. Some canines are allergic to the solanine compound found in all nightshade plants. And others? The oxalates can spell trouble to their kidney or bladder. It’s NOT a toxic plant, but it’s also NOT for every dog. You’ll want to proceed with caution. Because no one wants treat time to turn into vet time.

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

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