Eggplants are very distinctive, in both aesthetics and taste. This huge berry will likely capture the imagination of a guinea pig as it’s meaty and chewy while also tasting amazing. This can be a good and bad thing. Many small animals are allergic to this berry – though if this doesn’t apply to your pet, there are clear advantages to feeding it. Read on to learn more about the suitability of eggplants as guinea pig food.
What is an Eggplant?
Eggplant is also known as an aubergine. This is a large, purple, and spongy fruit, though technically it is a berry. Eggplant is part of the nightshade family, but do not let that alarm you – it is not affiliated with belladonna, aka deadly nightshade. “Nightshade” just means that the plants grow in dark conditions not requiring natural sunlight to flourish.
Is Eggplant a Good Food for Guinea Pigs?
Eggplant can be a great treat for small animals. When considering food, guinea pig digestion is critical. The tiny body of a cavy cannot cope with anything it struggles to process. Eggplants are absolutely packed with fiber, which makes them useful for keeping your little friend regular.
Alas, with food, guinea pigs care more about taste than digestive health. Happily, eggplant delivers on this score too. Most cavies will like the taste. In fact, we’re selling it short. The vast majority will love the taste!
This means that this can be suitable food for a guinea pig, as long as you serve it in appropriate amounts. In addition, this berry must be ripe. Unripe aubergines can be toxic to animals and humans alike.
Advantages of Offering Guinea Pigs Eggplant
There are some definite advantages to letting a guinea pig eat eggplant. These are:
- High levels of fiber
- Lots of Vitamin K
- Low in sugar
- Boosts brain and heart performance
- Contains antioxidants that help fight, or even prevent, cancerous growths
- Amazing taste that your cavy will adore!
This suggests that eggplant is a great treat for a cavy. This is true to an extent, mainly because of the flavor, but do be a little cautious. You certainly cannot offer this berry too often. Also, be aware of any potential risks associated with eggplant. This is by no means a cornerstone ingredient for your guinea pig’s diet.
Risks of Offering Guinea Pigs Eggplant
For every positive aspect of eggplant as a treat, there is a potential drawback. You must be aware of these risks. In summary, these are:
- Possible allergic reactions
- Potential toxicity if eaten to excess
- Presence of solanine, which can cause inflammation
- Low in many essential nutrients
Start by offering the smallest amount of this food possible to your cavy. While eggplant is rarely toxic to guinea pigs, it can happen. Sometimes, a cavy has an allergic reaction to nightshade too. If you find that this is the case, you must stop feeding at once.
Also be aware that eggplant is low in Vitamin C and high in calcium. This, again, means that it is not suitable for regular feeding. Make eggplant an occasional treat – maybe once a week, twice at most. Your guinea pigs will consider it worth waiting for.
Feeding Eggplant to Guinea Pigs
No matter what you offer your guinea pig, foods other than hay must always be served in strict moderation. Eggplant is no exception to this rule.
While eggplants contain plenty of nutrients and vitamins that are good for guinea pigs, portion control and an appropriate amount are essential. In addition, always ensure the berry is ripe to avoid potential toxicity.
How about the components of eggplants, too? When feeding guinea pigs, food can take many forms. In addition to the flesh of eggplant, there are skin, peels and leaves to consider.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant Skin?
The skin of eggplant will appeal to a guinea pig’s palate. It is soft and spongy, so it’s fun to chew through. This is also where a lot of the flavor of aubergine is found.
You can leave the skin on before offering aubergines to your cavy. Alternatively, scatter eggplant peel throughout your guinea pig’s enclosure. It will have great fun tracking them down and tucking in.
Most of the time, these peels will be devoured on the spot. All the same, ensure the peels are not being buried. If they start to rot and are eaten at a later date, there will be issues with your cavy’s digestive health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant Seeds and Cores?
Like the skin of an eggplant, the seeds and core are soft and spongy. This makes them safe for guinea pigs, as long as your cavy does not display any signs of an allergic reaction after consumption. Watch out for potential choking hazards too, though. Try to avoid feeding eggplant seeds unsupervised.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant Leaves?
OK, pay attention because this is important. Under no circumstances should guinea pigs be fed the leaves of an eggplant. We mentioned previously that unripe eggplants can be toxic to guinea pigs. Well, the same applies to the leaves, regardless of how far along its lifespan it may be.
Aubergines contain solanine. This can cause inflammatory arthritis if eaten to excess in the flesh of the berry. Well, the leaves are almost pure solanine. This can be fatal for your cavy – and it will be a painful, unpleasant demise.
If you are going to offer aubergines, you must stick to the flesh only. Guinea pigs will instinctively be drawn to any greenery and start to munch with abandon. This cannot be allowed to happen. Your pet may – in fact, probably will – grow very unwell.
So, there we have it. Eggplants can – and potentially should – be fed to guinea pigs. However, you’ll need to start small and watch for any adverse reaction. If such an issue is not forthcoming, you can feed your guinea pig small amounts of ripe aubergine. Your pocket pet will certainly benefit from the goodness found within if the amount is moderated appropriately.