Can guinea pigs eat eggplants?
Guinea pigs are also known as domestic cavy.
Neither related to Guinea or the pigs.
Their common diet includes grass but must also supplement their diet by coprophagy.
Eggplants are also known as Aubergine in the United Kingdom, or Brinjal in South Asia and Malaysia.
It belongs to the species Solanaceae of the Nightshade family.
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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Eggplant?
Guinea pigs can eat eggplants, but with certain restrictions, as discussed below.
Benefits of eating eggplants
Eggplants are very delicious.
Eggplants can be beneficial for the growth and health of guinea pigs.
They are rich in fiber which helps in bowel function and digestion.
It can control the tumor and cancer cells in the body of guinea pigs.
Eggplants can prevent mental disorders and sustain the memory of guinea pigs.
Like peppers and tomatoes, eggplants belong to the nightshade family.
The presence of niacin and iron prevents the deficiency of iron in the body.
Eggplants are completely fat-free and they have less than 1 gram of protein in a single eggplant.
The levels of nicotine in eggplants are much high as compared to the other plants.
As we all know that guinea pigs are very small in size, with a sensitive digestive system.
Eggplants are rich in fiber which helps in bowel function and digestion as mentioned above.
The stomach of guinea pigs is very sensitive, they can’t digest hard particles of food, and the digestive system may get disturbed.
A little disturbance of diet can cause diarrhea, vomiting.
Eggplants provide fibers necessary for constipation prevention along with other benefits.
But when taken in excess the dietary fibers cause diarrhea-like conditions and may lead to vomiting.
Bone Strength of Guinea pigs
Eggplants have a reasonable amount of manganese that is more than just good for the development of bones.
The deficiency of minerals may cause poor growth of the bones of your piggy.
Although the skeletal system of these pigs is not very strong they have bones in their body so these bones need special minerals for their nourishment.
These minerals mainly include Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Phosphorus (P), and Sulphur (S).
Eggplants are an excellent source of manganese and it directly goes to the guinea pigs when they eat eggplants.
Egg Plants contain 3.5 µg/100 g of Vitamin K and it has prothrombin which helps in the process of blood clotting.
Prothrombin is a precursor in the blood clotting process that is caused by another protein thrombin.
If your guinea pigs have sufficient amounts of Vitamin K then there won’t be an issue of blood clotting in case of injuries.
In addition to blood clotting, it also helps in regulating blood pressure to a certain level.
Lowering cholesterol level
Eggplants contain dietary fiber which can lower the level of cholesterol.
By reducing cholesterol level it prevents your guinea pig from diseases like heart failure.
If the cholesterol level is not reduced then the results can be very harmful.
It causes obesity and severe health diseases.
The content of fat in the eggplant is very low.
So, eating eggplants will not make the guinea pig fat or obese.
Eggplants are a good source of carbohydrates which is crucial for metabolic activity in the body.
Eggplants have antioxidants such as niacin, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and polyphenols.
They prevent heart diseases and cancer diseases effectively.
These antioxidants are essential for the healthy life of our piggy.
Antioxidants can help remove free radicals, their large amount can cause damage to cells.
It also prevents the guinea pigs from many other diseases.
These nutrients are essential for the growth and development of your guinea pig.
Eggplants also contain a wide range of vitamins but their quantity is not so high.
Eggplants have a phenolic substance that does the work of antioxidants.
Eggplants have potassium which helps in reducing blood pressure in guinea pigs.
We all know that if blood pressure is not controlled then the animal can be in a dangerous situation.
It may cause some harmful heart diseases.
These kinds of nutrients are very effective for the good health of piggy.
Drawbacks of eating eggplants
If you go and check out eggplant’s nutritional value you will see that the eggplants are not much beneficial to the guinea pigs.
Some scientists believe that it’s better to completely avoid feeding eggplants to guinea pigs.
You can’t include eggplants in the daily diet of your guinea pig.
It is advisable to include it in guinea pigs’ diet two times a week.
The eggplants belong to the family nightshade that is mostly poisonous for guinea pigs.
That’s why they can’t feed on these family plants, mostly.
It’s better to avoid greens or leaves of eggplants.
It can be much dangerous or even cause the death of your guinea pigs.
Eggplants can cause kidney-related diseases.
Eggplants don’t have Vitamin C
Vitamin is very necessary for guinea pigs, it helps in the formation of collagen.
It is a nutrient that can’t be manufactured in the body of the pig but they need this nutrient in a reasonable amount.
If they have insufficient amounts of vitamin C then they get badly ill.
The common disease of guinea pigs due to lack of Vitamin is Scurvy.
Most guinea pigs need a lot of Vitamin C.
The actual number of required vitamin C is 10-30 mg/day.
How to provide Vitamin C to the guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs need Vitamin C frequently to fulfill their daily requirements.
So they should be fed with fruits, vegetables, or ready-to-eat store-bought pellets, having a reasonable amount of vitamin C.
If this type of plant is not available then there are tablets of vitamin C easily available in the market.
Some guinea pigs are allergic to eggplants
It can cause vomiting, itching, diarrhea, rash, and upset stomach.
The nightshade family contains solanine which is a naturally occurring alkaloid.
Its large intake can be dangerous for your guinea pigs.
It’s often found in the leaves of ripened eggplants, so take care while feeding your guinea pig with leaves of ripened eggplants.
Can cause diarrhea
A complex component like sugar is difficult to be digested by the sensitive digestive system of the guinea pigs.
Eggplant contains 3 grams of sugar, which is considerably high, as compared to other diet items of a guinea pig.
Too much intake of sugar by guinea pigs can cause diarrhea.
So, it is not safe to serve too much eggplant to them.
When is Eggplant poisonous and when it’s not?
Eggplant is a species of plant that falls under the Nightshade family.
So it has a close relation to Nightshade.
Eggplant as its biological name Solanum melongena depicts it also contains solanine that, already mentioned, is poisonous for Guinea pigs.
But the answer to the question that when they are poisonous is:
Solanine exists in the green parts of the Nightshade plants.
Under ripped eggplants are green in color and thus are not suited for diet supplementation of the guinea pigs.
It should also be mentioned that the leaves and fruit cap are also the green parts, so they are also not edible for guinea pigs.
The default color of the eggplants is purple.
So to check if the plants are ripped or not you can tell just by checking the color of the eggplants’ fruits.
Why are Nightshade family plants poisonous for Guinea Pigs?
Nightshade family, a notorious plant for the guinea pigs, can be poisonous when consumed in large quantities.
Members of Nightshade contain solanine in them that proves poisonous for guinea pigs.
It is mostly present in the green parts of the plants.
The plants like standard potato, tomato, and pepper are included in the poisonous category.
It should be noted that sweet potatoes are edible and are not poisonous to them.
How to prepare eggplant for a guinea pig?
Wash the eggplants to remove pesticides as they can accumulate in their system.
Try to remove leaves and stems as they contain solanine.
So great care should be taken for making them edible for your guinea pig.
Try to feed your guinea pig with raw, ripened, fresh, and clean eggplant.
Cooked eggplants have fewer nutrients than raw and ripened ones.
Also, guinea pigs cannot digest cooked food.
So fresh eggplants are best for your guinea pig.
Are Eggplants’ seeds and skin edible for Guinea pigs
The hard seeds are not suited for the diet of the Guinea pigs.
But you need not worry, your pocket pet will not face any difficulty while eating those seeds of the eggplants.
The reason is that the seeds are soft and squishy.
The skin if not green already mentioned the fruit should be Purple, is edible.
Can baby Guinea pigs eat eggplants?
Don’t try to feed eggplants to baby guinea pigs as they contain solanine which is harmful to them.
You can feed eggplants to your adult guinea pigs to maintain a healthy weight.
So you can’t feed them eggplants until they reach a healthy weight.
Eggplant feeding Precautions for Guinea pigs
There are many precautions in addition to their poisonous nature.
Like the serving size, parts, cutting, frequency of eggplant diet.
Eggplants can be served to the guinea pigs, as a treat or snack or as a variation in routine diet.
As the guinea pigs are small, a small piece of eggplant per serving is more than enough serving quantity.
As already mentioned that the green parts including the fruit cap are dangerous for the Guinea Pig.
So when you cut the fruit for your furry friend you should keep in mind that the fruit flesh should not touch the green parts of the plants.
Keep in mind that you have to cut the fruit cap some centimeters from the fruit flesh so that no green is in there to harm the little partner.
Frequency in diet
As already mentioned that it’s used as snacks in the diet of the Guinea pigs so it should not be used so much frequently in the diet.
The recommended value for the eggplants usage is only 2 times a week.
Because the fibers that are necessary to some extent but when taken excessively can change the metabolism of the small body.
Deficient in Vitamin C
Eggplants are low in Vitamin C also known as Ascorbic Acid.
So it should be fed to the pet with some other veggies like Kale, Arugula, and Spinach that have an excess of Vitamin C in them.
Feeding your Guinea pig
We looked into the problems regarding the chemical basis of eggplants.
Now let’s look into the problems and ease of this little creature towards this poisonous plant.
The eggplant has a fleshy fruit.
It is also spongy and has a low weight-to-volume ratio.
This is better for the small creatures as it does not harm while chewing and also has a very light diet so it does not burden the metabolism of the creature.
The fruit should be served to the guinea pigs in small pieces so that it can easily pass its seemingly little mouth.
Like for humans the small pieces are easily chewable and converted to small slimy bolus that can easily pass the tiny gut of the creature.
No doubt the small creature has its fast and sharp teeth to convert the food into small pieces before they enter the mouth.
As far as possible, avoid serving the skin of eggplants to the guinea pigs.
The skin may contain some portion of solanine, which is dangerous for guinea pigs.
Health Benefits of eggplants for guinea pigs?
For guinea pigs, the eggplant is considered junk food which is provided once in a while.
It may be provided to the guinea plants for change of food.
But it can’t be part of daily routine food as it has no special nutrients.
Sometimes we provide eggplants to the guinea pigs due to especially for health purposes.
Earlier we discussed that eggplants are rich in dietary fiber so they play an important role in the maintenance of weight.
By eating eggplants the chance of obesity for guinea pigs is reduced.
Eggplants contain special types of antioxidants like Lutein and zeaxanthin.
These antioxidants are helpful to improve the eyesight of guinea pigs.
Health of heart
Heat Health of guinea pigs is also improved when they eat eggplants because they contain special nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Potassium, Manganese, and fiber.
These nutrients help to improve cardinal health.
Lower Cholesterol level
The guinea pigs have a lot of dietary fibers so these are very helpful in the reduction of cholesterol.
It also helps to reduce the chance of heart disease.
Reduce the chance of cancer
Eggplants contain polyphenols which reduce the growth of cancer-causing factors.
The growth of tumors and cancer-causing cells is prevented by polyphenols.
Coprophagy is a process in which guinea pigs eat their poop.
This is a natural process and it is practiced in other rodents like rabbits.
If you find that your pocket pet (Guinea Pig) is eating its poop then you should not be worried because it’s a normal process for them and there is no issue of health with it.
Why do Guinea pigs practice Coprophagy?
Earlier when cavies used to live wildlife they had developed a habit of consuming their excretions due to the limited quantity of food.
Later on, guinea pigs have also developed this kind of habit.
How do Guinea pigs practice Coprophagy?
Guinea pigs excrete two types of feces :
One is a poo that looks like a dark brown color and solid type.
Other is squishy and soft known as cecotropes.
Guinea Pigs are very small animals so they can’t chew their food perfectly like other animals that’s why they undergo the process of poor digestion.
So they practice coprophagy to get the complete nutritional particles from the poorly digested food.
After this, they can get complete nutrients from their food.
If you are still thinking, can your guinea pig eat eggplants?
The answer is yes.
It’s natural to think before making any decision.
You have to be precautious in making eggplant food for them, it should be in chunks.
You can add eggplants to the food of your guinea pig but in a limited quantity.
Adding too much eggplant can be toxic so overfeeding can be dangerous for your guinea pig.