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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

As a member of the nightshade family alongside plants such as tomatoes and potatoes, you may be wondering: Can my guinea pig eat an eggplant? In short, yes, your guinea pig can eat eggplants. But as with anything that you plan on adding to your piggy’s diet, that’s far from the whole story – and you’re going to want to read on to find out why.

Aubergines, better known as eggplants, have been a longtime staple of the culinary world in dishes such as baba ganoush and eggplant parmigiano. Because of their place in the nightshade family, they require careful preparation to make them completely edible for humans – and the same is true for guinea pigs.

In the following sections, we’ll be taking a closer look at the potential health benefits of eggplants for guinea pigs, as well as one part of the eggplant that you definitely should never feed your guinea pig.

divider-guineapigHealth Benefits of Eggplant for Guinea Pigs

Grey and white guinea pig on litter_aurelie le moigne_shutterstock
Credit: Aurelie Le Moigne, Shutterstock

In looking for foods to add to your guinea pig’s diet, it’s important to consider not just whether your cavy can eat them, but whether they should. In the case of eggplants, you’ll notice from a quick look at nutritionvalue.org’s page for eggplant that they aren’t particularly high in any guinea pig essential nutrient.

This puts eggplants in an odd gray zone for guinea pigs. Their high fiber content makes it unlikely that they’ll negatively impact your piggy’s digestive system, but a lack of otherwise beneficial nutrients makes them a poor choice for continued health and wellness.

Even though they don’t carry any particular nutritional value, guinea pigs love eating eggplants. Maybe it’s something about their light sweetness or spongy texture that makes them a favorite treat – and this can be a great benefit to your piggy’s happiness.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant Seeds and Skin?

Many otherwise guinea-pig-safe foods (such as oranges) feature hard seeds that are completely unsafe for guinea pigs to eat, but not so with eggplants. Their seeds are soft and squishy and pose no risk of a choking hazard for your furry friends. Plus, they don’t have any compounds not shared by the rest of the eggplant, making them perfectly safe for guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant Leaves?

Every plant in the nightshade family has the potential for concentrations of solanine, a naturally occurring toxin that is highly poisonous for guinea pigs. In fully ripened eggplants, this is found in the leaves – meaning that your guinea pig should never eat eggplant leaves. The same is true for unripe (green) eggplants, which have a higher concentration of solanine than their fully ripened counterparts.

How to Feed Eggplant to Your Guinea Pigs

The safest way to feed eggplant to your guinea pigs is to cut off a round from the whole plant, carefully avoiding contact with the leaves. Check the interior of the plant to make sure there’s no green; if there is, the eggplant isn’t ripe enough for your guinea pig to eat. Then all that’s left is to let your piggy happily munch away.

eggplant
Image Credit: Alice Henneman, Flickr

How Much Eggplant Should I Feed My Guinea Pig?

Seeing as eggplants have no nutrients that are essential to guinea pigs, you should do your best to keep this treat to a minimum. Feeding them small chunks while you’re cooking dinner once or twice every week or will be okay, but don’t go overboard and make it a regular part of their diet. That would interfere with your guinea pig’s regular consumption of foods that are denser in nutrition and essential to their continuing good health.

divider-foodFinal Thoughts on Feeding Eggplant to Your Guinea Pig

Can you feed eggplant to your guinea pig? Absolutely. Should you? Probably not very often, given its lack of essential nutrients. Take special care not to feed your guinea pig underripe eggplant or eggplant leaves, as these contain toxic chemicals that are sure to make your little friend sick. Instead, save chunks of eggplant as an occasional treat and reward for good behavior.


Featured Image Credit: furbymama, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.