Eggs can be controversial for dogs – especially raw eggs. People worry about problems like salmonella poisoning or even a biotin deficiency from eating eggs.
Yes, eggs are very safe for dogs. Dogs can safely eat raw eggs as their wild cousins like wolves, coyotes and foxes do. Wild dogs grab eggs out of nests and eat them raw, shell and all. And that’s the best way to feed them to your dog.
Eggs are an excellent food for dogs. Eggs are a cheap source of protein and they’re easy to buy. Raw eggs are one of the most complete and nutritious foods you can give dogs on a raw food diet.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eggs For Dogs?
Eggs have some amazing health benefits for dogs. They’re a complete food source. After all, they have all the nutrients a baby chick needs to grow inside the egg until it hatches into a chicken. Here are some of the important nutrients in eggs.
Eggs are one of the most complete sources available of amino acids, the building blocks of protein By adding eggs to your dog’s meals, you’re boosting the protein in his diet.
Vitamins And Minerals
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, with a wide range of nutrients, such as …
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin
- Fatty acids
Are Eggs A Salmonella Risk For Dogs?
While you might worry that raw eggs bring the risk of salmonella, dogs have powerful digestive juices that mean they can easily handle salmonella and other bacteria in raw foods. But there are a few things you want to consider when choosing your eggs, to keep the bacterial levels normal.
The health of the hen laying the eggs is very important. Ideally, you want your dog to eat eggs from organic, pasture-raised healthy chickens.
Feed your dog quality eggs that are stored at cool temperatures to keep bacteria at a manageable level.
Can Eggs Cause A Biotin Deficiency In Dogs?
Biotin is one of the B vitamins. It’s important for your dog’s cellular growth, fatty acid metabolism, and his healthy skin and coat. Egg whites contain avidin, a biotin inhibitor. But it would take eating an extraordinary amount of eggs to create a deficiency.
Egg yolks are very high in biotin, so if you feed the entire egg, there are few worries. When you feed a complete fresh diet there are other good sources of biotin in his diet as well. Liver is a particularly good source.
You can minimize this possible risk by cooking the egg white, but your dog will lose much of the nutritional value.
Are Enzyme Inhibitors In Eggs Harmful?
Raw egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors, leading some people to question whether eggs are safe for dogs to eat. There’s a concern is that they can interfere with digestion, especially in very young and old animals.
This is true, but it only means that eggs should not be the mainstay of your dog’s diet. If you’re feeding a well balanced fresh diet there won’t be any risk. Most dogs can eat several eggs a week with no problem. But if you’re concerned, start with just one egg … and if your dog doesn’t get any digestive upset, he should be fine with getting eggs regularly.
Again, cooking the egg white to avoid this problem … but you’ll lose some nutrition, so it’s best to feed eggs raw if you can.
Can Dogs Eat Eggshells?
Dogs can definitely eat eggshells, and they’re a great boost of calcium. A whole egg, with shell and membrane included, is almost a complete food source for your dog. The phosphorus and calcium help your dog to grow strong bones and teeth, and an egg contains almost all of the amino acids your dog needs to stay healthy.
The thin membrane contains:
- Hyaluronic acid
For arthritic dogs, a 2016 study found that eggshell membranes significantly reduced joint pain in 51 dogs with joint issues.
If you’re very patient, you can peel the membrane off the eggshell and feed it directly. You can also buy supplements with eggshell membrane, or … the easiest way of all, give your dog the whole egg.
Caution: If you want to give your dog the whole egg, make sure you buy from a local farmer or farmers market. Many grocery store eggs are sprayed with a chemical to make them look shiny.
Are Eggshells A Good Bone Substitute?
If your dog has a hard time chomping on bones, you can feed eggshells for calcium, But be aware that eggshells don’t contain phosphorus or magnesium, other important minerals in bone and bonemeal, so your dog will need other sources of these minerals.
To add eggshells to your dog’s food, dry the eggshells, then grind them into a powder in a clean coffee grinder. To boost your dog’s calcium intake, just sprinkle ½ teaspoon of eggshell powder on his next meal.
Can Puppies Eat Eggshells?
Eggshells are safe for puppies to eat but they aren’t a good source of calcium for puppies. Puppies need lots of calcium in their diets to build strong bones. But the calcium in shells is calcium carbonate, which dogs don’t absorb well. As mentioned earlier, eggshell powder is also missing magnesium and phosphorus.
Fresh raw bone is the best source of calcium for puppies. If you don’t want to feed bones or your puppy struggles with them, you can feed your puppy grass-fed bonemeal as a calcium supplement.
How To Feed Eggs To Dogs
If your dog tolerates raw eggs, that’s the best way to feed them to make sure your dog gets all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in eggs.
Of course you can also feed your dog cooked eggs … soft or hard-boiled, or scrambled in some pastured butter, are good ways to cook eggs for your dog.
Just like humans, some dogs can have an allergic reaction or sensitivity to eggs. Signs of a problem would be vomiting or diarrhea, or even a symptom like itchy skin or inflamed ears after he eats eggs.
If your dog hasn’t eaten eggs before, start slowly and watch him for reactions like an upset stomach.
Where To Buy Eggs
The best place to buy eggs is from a local organic farmer or farmers market. The closer you can get to the chicken laying the egg, the better!
Avoid supermarket eggs that may be treated with chemicals that could harm your dog.
Look for organic, pasture-raised eggs. There are a lot of tricky terms used in egg labeling, and very few are regulated. Look for USDA Certified Organic, as well as pasture-raised eggs.
So try feeding your dog a few local eggs a week and you’ll see better health, inside and out. And the next time you hear someone ask, “Can dogs eat eggs?” you can confidently share all the reasons why they need them.
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