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Eggplant or Aubergine as it’s known in the UK is a glossy, deep purple-colored fruit that is meaty, versatile and belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables.
So, with that warning in mind can guinea pigs eat Eggplant? Is it safe to share aubergine with our cavy friends?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant?
In small amounts, eggplant is safe for guinea pigs, but as with any type of human food, it is important to practice moderation.
Eggplant belongs to a family of plants known as nightshades, which can potentially be toxic to both humans and guinea pigs.
Therefore, one should always take more precautions with this type of food, as allergic reactions in your guinea pig are more common.
Other vegetables, like Arugula or Asparagus, won’t have nearly the same likelihood of an allergic reaction as your cavy eating eggplant.
That being said, eggplant can be very beneficial for guinea pigs, so you shouldn’t forbid the use of it entirely.
Eggplant has much more than potentially toxic ingredients, however; it is a rich source of dietary fiber, which is important for the digestion of both humans and guinea pigs.
This vegetable is also a good source of B vitamins, potassium, vitamin K, and various polyphenolic compounds, which can protect your guinea pig from chronic diseases.
Clearly, there are benefits and potential risks, but responsible pet owners can easily incorporate eggplant into their dog’s diet if they so choose.
Health Benefits of Eggplant For Guinea Pigs
Eggplant offers several health benefits, starting with the fact that it is rich in dietary fiber, which guinea pigs need for healthy digestive tracts.
Eggplant is also not fattening since it is low in calories. This makes it a filling food that is low-calorie.
Here are some more health benefits of eggplant for guinea pigs:
- Brain health — Eggplants have nasunin, which is a phytonutrient that is necessary for healthy brain function and can help prevent brain damage.
- Fight cancer — Eggplants contain chlorogenic acid, which can help to prevent cancer, as well as bacteria, infections, and even high cholesterol.
- Heart health — Eggplant can help to improve circulation, heart health, and blood flow, and can lower the risk of heart disease.
- Nutrients — Eggplant contains vitamins B1, B6, and K. It is also rich in copper, folate, manganese, potassium, calcium, niacin, and iron.
Risks of Feeding Eggplant to Guinea Pigs
Some guinea pigs are allergic to eggplant; common signs of allergy include rash, upset stomach, vomiting.
Contact your vet if your guinea pig has any of these symptoms after eating eggplant.
A good indicator of whether your guinea pig would have an allergic reaction to eggplant is if he/she is allergic to tomatoes, as they are both nightshade vegetables.
The nightshade family of vegetables means they contain a naturally occurring alkaloid called solanine.
This compound is toxic in high concentrations, so it’s best to moderate your guinea pig’s intake of eggplant.
If you grow eggplants in your garden, it’s important to note that the leaves of the plant contain more concentrated amounts of solanine.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant Leaves?
This is something you have to be very careful about, as NO, guinea pigs should never be allowed to eat eggplant leaves.
Eggplant leaves can make your guinea pig very sick, even potentially leading to their death.
Introducing Eggplants to Your Pet
It is recommended to start with a very small amount of eggplants because some guinea pigs may be allergic to the chemicals in this plant.
In all cases, the smallest possible amount is the safest, so this factor must be taken into account.
Also, take care of your pet after giving this food to your guinea pig.
Eggplants can be good for your guinea pig’s health if fed in a moderate amount.
If your guinea pig never had any allergic reactions to any food, you can easily give this vegetable without worrying much.
Always consult with your veterinarian before you introduce any new vegetable to your guinea pigs, particularly if they are older.
Remember, any human food should be given to the guinea pigs as a treat or snack. These cannot be the replacement of their regular foods.