If you care about your horse, you undoubtedly like giving him goodies sometimes. Your horse is content to eat whatever you give him and always craves more. The greatest goodies, the ones to avoid, and the best times and ways to feed them vary widely among the people at your stable.
Your horse will constantly ask for more rewards since they are bred to continuously consume small amounts of food; therefore, for his wellbeing, try to say no.
Horses are known to eat plants and plant-derived foods. As a result, they can eat a range of fruits and vegetables but not all of them. Some foods will make a horse sick or worsen their condition.
Eggplant is one of the common nightshade vegetables. It has been known as human food for several decades, offering a wide range of health benefits. Antioxidants included in eggplant, such as vitamins A and C, aid in preventing cellular deterioration. Additionally, it has a lot of polyphenols, which are organic plant substances that may improve how sugar is processed by cells in those with diabetes.
You must be wondering now if you can give this nutrient-packed vegetable to your lovely equine companion. Join me, then, in this article as we explore the answer to your question.
Can Horses eat Eggplant?
Horses can't eat eggplant, sorry. Along with tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and is very hazardous to horses. Horses should avoid eating eggplant since it is harmful. A major health danger exists for any horse that consumes an eggplant or eats eggplant leaves.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena), also known as aubergine or Guinea squash, is a delicate perennial nightshade (Solanaceae) that is grown for its edible fruits.
In many countries, it is a significant Solanaceae vegetable crop. Although it is an Indian native, it is also cultivated in many other nations, including the USA, Japan, China, Italy, France, Indonesia, and several African nations. Compared to tomatoes, eggplant has a similar nutritional content and is a strong source of minerals and vitamins.
Eggplant is mostly composed of water and has few calories and fats. Additionally, it has some protein, fibre, and carbohydrates. The eggplant fruit is an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals, including copper, manganese, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, C, K, B1, B2, B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, and thiamine.
Dangers of Feeding Eggplant to Horses
Just like other members of the nightshade family, eggplant contains solanine, a glycoalkaloid that makes it poisonous for animals, including horses.
Any component of the plant, such as the leaves, fruit, and tubers, can naturally contain it. One of the plant's built-in defensive mechanisms is solanine, which possesses pesticidal capabilities.
When consumed, solanine causes gastrointestinal, neurological, and breathing disorders in animals. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, colic, burning of the throat, abnormal heartbeats, and difficulty breathing. More severe instances have been known to result in paralysis, loss of feeling, fever, jaundice, pupil dilation, lowered body temperature, and even death.
Oxalates, which at high concentrations can crystallise and result in health issues, including kidney calcium oxalate stones, are another substance that is detectably present in eggplant.
As a result, it is advisable not to feed eggplant to horses that are suffering from kidney problems, or even healthy horses.
Though not very common, eggplants have been reported to cause severe allergic reactions such as rashes and itching in animals, including horses. Horses should therefore not be fed or allowed to have contact with eggplant.
What about Cooked Eggplant?
In moderation, horses may consume cooked eggplant, but horse owners should cut the vegetable into small pieces to reduce choking risks and cook it plain to avoid stomach distress.
It has been proven that the solanine content in eggplant is reduced a little when it is cooked, thereby reducing the chance of toxicity in horses.
However, since solanine is a fat-soluble alkaloid, it is significantly reduced when fried. Therefore, a fried eggplant would be safer with little or no threat of poisoning for your equine friend.
Benefits of Eggplant for Horses
There are several nutritional and health benefits that eggplant provides for your horses. Below are some of those benefits.
Protein, one of the essential elements in your horse's diet, is the most important nutrient that must be included in the diets of horses of all ages.
Muscles may contract and move oxygen across the body with the aid of proteins. Proteins are necessary for the development and healing of nearly all of the body's soft tissues, including bones, muscles, and virtually all of its muscles.
Eggplants have a high content of water. Given that they contain more than 90% water, this is advantageous for horses who may be dehydrated or who are not getting enough water.
A horse's heart works less hard to pump blood when it is properly hydrated. Additionally, regular hydration promotes good blood pressure, kidney function, and digestion.
Fibre is one of the most crucial components of a horse's diet. This natural fibre helps maintain regular bowel movements and enhances your horse's overall digestive health. Improved liver and kidney function, higher vitamin absorption, and other body functions are all benefits of your horse's normal, healthy digestion. Fibre is great for metabolism and helps your horse have a calm, healthy stomach.
As earlier mentioned, eggplant is very rich in vitamins, including vitamins A, C, K, B1, B2, B6, pantothenic acid, and niacin, all of which are beneficial for horses’ health and performance.
Vitamin A strengthens the immune system and also helps with eyesight and reproduction.
Primarily acting as an immune system booster, vitamin C benefits equine immune systems. It also aids wound healing and maintains a horse's health in stressful situations.
The primary function of vitamin K in horses is to facilitate blood coagulation, which reduces bleeding.
Pyruvic acid must be digested to avoid it converting to lactic acid, which causes fatigue and pain in the muscles. Thiamine (vitamin B1) is necessary for this process. Additionally, it aids in the conversion of carbohydrates into ATP energy molecules, just as vitamin B2 does.
The proper functioning of the horse's metabolism depends on vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Hormone production, joint health, mood, muscle growth, and blood sugar regulation are all impacted.
Cucumbers include a variety of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, which are all necessary for the daily activity and wellness of horses. Cucumber eating will be especially advantageous for horses who are lacking in these nutrients.
Can Horses Eat Eggplant Leaves and Peels?
The leaves and peels of eggplant are not safe for horses to consume. They also contain solanine, just as much as the tuber or fruit does. Horse owners should endeavour to keep them away from their horses.
Raw or uncooked eggplant is not safe for horses to eat since it contains a high level of solanine. However, cooked or, most preferably, fried eggplant can be given to horses, but in a moderate amount.