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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat eggplant?

Yes, depending on how the eggplant is served.

On tonight’s menu: your family’s special eggplant parmesan, which requires a lot of cutting to turn the vegetable into thick layers that’ll await the cheesy, red sauce mixture. But before adding the remaining ingredients, your opportunistic pup steals a plain eggplant slice off the cutting board. 

And if your pup eats the eggplant piece, they’ll likely be OK, Dr. Aliya McCullough, DVM, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says. However, some parts of the vegetable are toxic to dogs, so it’s a good idea to learn how to properly and safely serve it to them if you want to continue sharing.

(Even though eggplant is generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.)

Is eggplant good for dogs?

This vegetable has health benefits for dogs, including fiber, antioxidants, potassium, calcium, vitamin B6 and vitamin K, Dr. McCullough explains. And while eggplant generally won’t take away from their health (if properly served), it won’t necessarily boost it either. 

“When offering eggplant as a treat, which should be less than 10% of their daily caloric intake, your pup isn’t likely getting enough of these nutrients to make a significant impact on their health,” she adds. “Feeding more than 10% of their daily calories will unbalance their diet and can lead to other illnesses, too.”

How should pet parents serve eggplant to their dog?

Remove the eggplant’s stems and leaves before serving it to your pup — these parts contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs. However, the vegetable’s skin is safe for them to eat. 

“Raw eggplant can be offered with caution in small pieces because it’s a choking hazard,” Dr. McCullough says. “Pet parents can bake, grill or roast the vegetable without oils or seasonings to soften it.” 

If you’re cooking your family’s famous eggplant parmesan — your pup will have to sit this meal out. The recipe’s breading and cheese contents and any inclusion of toxic seasonings, like onion and garlic powder, will likely upset your dog’s stomach, so it’s best to avoid it. 

RELATED: Can dogs eat brussels sprouts?

Are there any health risks when serving eggplant to dogs? 

Always talk to your veterinarian before incorporating a new food, including eggplant, into your dog’s diet. Regardless of how it’s cooked, some pups might not tolerate the vegetable well and develop symptoms of upset stomach, including vomiting, diarrhea, pain, gassiness and appetite loss. 

Contact your veterinarian if your dog has a negative reaction to eggplant. Suppose you’re looking for a pet-friendly alternative to the vegetable. In that case, Dr. McCullough recommends asking your veterinarian if your pup’s stomach can handle apples, which make a delicious and safe snack. 

We’re confident that eggplant isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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