Are eggs good for dogs? As a devoted canine nutritionist, I’m excited to share how this simple yet powerful food can greatly benefit our furry friends. Eggs boast a wealth of essential nutrients that promote optimal health in dogs, making them a valuable addition to their diet.
The Nutritional Powerhouse: Why Are Eggs Good for Dogs?
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, primarily due to the following key attributes:
- High-Quality Protein: Dogs thrive on protein, and eggs deliver a substantial amount of it. This promotes muscle development, repair, and overall growth, supporting their active lifestyle.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Loaded with essential vitamins A, D, E, B12, as well as minerals like iron, selenium, and riboflavin, eggs bolster various bodily functions and contribute to overall well-being.
- Healthy Fats: Dogs need healthy fats for a lustrous coat and healthy skin, and eggs provide an ideal source of these beneficial fats.
- Brain Health and Cognitive Function: Eggs contain choline, a nutrient beneficial for brain health and cognitive function in dogs, especially as they age.
- Coat and Nail Health: Biotin in eggs strengthens a dog’s coat and nails, reducing issues like dry skin and brittle nails.
The Best Ways for Dogs to Consume Eggs:
To ensure dogs enjoy the full benefits of eggs while avoiding potential risks, follow these best practices:
- Proper Storage and Handling: For safety, always ensure your eggs are fresh and stored properly.
- Cooked Options: Boiled, scrambled, or poached eggs are perfect choices.
- Simple Preparations: Avoid adding seasonings, salt, pepper, or any additives that may harm dogs. Stick to plain preparations.
- Portion Control: Moderation is vital. Depending on the dog’s size and nutritional requirements, one to three eggs per week is a safe range.
Are Raw Eggs Okay For Dogs?
The answer to whether it is okay or not to feed a dog raw eggs, depends on who you ask. Some veterinarians and nutritionists will say yes, and some will say no. And the truth is, this will not change. Those that say it is not, argue that just like humans, feeding dogs raw eggs puts them at risk for getting salmonella and/or E Coli. While the ones that say it is okay, argue that the ancestral diet of dogs would have included raw eggs, and their digestive system is equipped to help prevent such diseases.
In reality, they both make important claims and things that should be considered.
First most, there is no nutritional benefit to feeding your dogs raw eggs. In fact, Raw eggs contain a protein called avidin. Avidin can prevent the absorption of biotin. When cooked, the avidin is depleted, so it not a concern with cooked eggs (1). So, by cooking your eggs, you are preventing them from potentially getting sick, but also ensuring they are getting the most nutritional benefits.
However, if you want to feed your dogs raw eggs, as long as you follow proper storage and handling of your eggs, the risk is minimal.
Proper Preparation and Handling When Feeding Raw Eggs
- Buy organic eggs from a trusted source for the most nutritional benefit.
- Keep eggs refrigerated in your home. Storing them at room temperature may induce rapid growth of harmful bacteria.
- Don’t buy or consume eggs past their expiration date.
- If it smells bad, don’t use it.
- Get rid of cracked or dirty eggs.
- Wash hands and anything else that may have come into contact with raw eggs.
Don’t Forget The Shells
High in Calcium
Eggshells themselves, offer great nutritional benefits to dogs. They are high in calcium, which is often the mineral that dogs are often low in. Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth. Chicken eggshell contains approximately 380 mg calcium per gram (2). When ground into a powder, 1 tsp contains approximately 5g of calcium.
Note: Commercial dog foods labeled as “complete and balanced” should not require additional calcium supplementation for your average, healthy dog. Calcium supplementation is usually for homemade diets and for nursing or pregnant females. Always consult with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist before adding supplements to your dog’s diet.
Eggshell membrane (the lining on the inside of the shell) are a natural and inexpensive source of glucosamine, collagen, and chondroitin, compounds that are commonly used in joint supplements for dogs (3). They are great for dogs with arthritis and can help reduce pain. A 6-week trial on 51 dogs found a 23.6% improvement in pain compared to placebo, and a 26.8% quality of life improvement (4).
Read more about the Best Supplements For Homemade Dog Food.
Which Dogs Will Benefit Most from Eggs?
While eggs can boost the health of most dogs, some will particularly thrive with eggs in their diet:
- Active Dogs: Dogs leading an active lifestyle will appreciate the muscle-repairing properties of eggs, aiding in their physical endeavors.
- Growing Puppies: For healthy development, growing puppies require substantial protein, making eggs an excellent addition to their diet.
- Dull-Coated Dogs: Eggs’ biotin content improves coat appearance and reduces shedding, benefiting dogs with lackluster fur.
- Senior Dogs: The brain-boosting choline in eggs may help maintain cognitive function in aging dogs.
Dogs That Should Avoid Eggs:
Though eggs are safe for most dogs, there are a few exceptions to consider:
- Allergic Reactions: If your dog has a known egg allergy, eggs must be strictly excluded from their diet.
- Pancreatitis Concerns: Dogs with a history of pancreatitis or other pancreatic issues should avoid high-fat foods like eggs.
- Compromised Immune Systems: Dogs with compromised immune systems should not be fed raw eggs as they pose a risk for salmonella.
- Special Health Conditions: Dogs with specific health conditions or dietary restrictions should consume eggs only under the guidance of a veterinarian.
Warnings to Pet Owners About Eggs and Dogs:
As responsible pet owners, keep these warnings in mind:
- Raw Eggs Risks: Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria like salmonella, leading to foodborne illnesses in dogs. Proper handling and preparation is extremely important when feeding your pet raw eggs.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet: Eggs should complement a balanced diet, not replace crucial nutrients from other food sources.
- Veterinarian Consultation: If unsure about adding eggs to your dog’s diet or if your dog has health issues, consult your veterinarian for personalized advice.
Egg-Based Dog Food Recipes:
Check out our other Homemade Dog Food Recipes.
In conclusion, “Are eggs good for dogs?” Absolutely! With their rich nutrient profile, eggs can significantly contribute to the overall health and vitality of our beloved canine companions. Remember to practice safe handling and preparation, practice moderation, and seek professional guidance when necessary, ensuring your furry friend reaps all the nutritional benefits of this wholesome addition to their diet.
1.) Dasgupta, A. Biotin and Other Interferences in Immunoassays. Science Direct. 2019.
2.) Bartter J et al. Use of chicken eggshell to improve dietary calcium intake in rural sub‐Saharan Africa. Matern Child Nutr. 2018, 14(Suppl 3): e12649.
3.) Ruff KJ, DeVore DP et al. Eggshell membrane: a possible new natural therapeutic for joint and connective tissue disorders. Results from two open-label human clinical studies. Clin Interv Aging. 2009;4:235-240.
4.) Ruff KJ, et al. Effectiveness of NEM® brand eggshell membrane in the treatment of suboptimal joint function in dogs: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Vet Med (Auckl). 2016;7:113-121. Published 2016 Aug 18.