Are you looking for a healthy, all-natural source of protein and other invaluable nutrients for your dog? Look no further than eggs! Almost 50,000 people search the "can dogs eat eggs" and "eggs for dogs" keywords every month, showing a solid interest in the question of whether dogs can eat eggs or not. We're here to tell you that yes, dogs can eat eggs! In fact, we encourage you to feed eggs to your dog, either raw or cooked, for their impressive quantity of protein and other nutrients such as iron, fatty acids, and vitamins A and B12. Eggs are an excellent, bioavailable, perfect protein source that deserves a solid spot in your dog's diet.
Today's article will tackle the subject of feeding eggs to your dog. We will answer the most sought-after questions about egg types, the number of eggs dogs can safely eat, and the proper egg cooking methods. By the end of the article, you will discover the amazing benefits of this amazing superfood for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Eggs?
If you believe that feeding eggs to dogs is a novelty concept, you should know that canines have consumed eggs for thousands of years. In the wild, dogs invaded ground nests and snatched eggs. Unable to cook them, dogs consumed the eggs raw, without any concern of contracting bacteria such as salmonella. It should be said that the acid found in the healthy canine stomach is strong enough to kill any pathogenic bacteria, including salmonella.
Thousands of years into the future, humans are no longer used to feeding eggs to their dogs. But that does not mean that feeding eggs to our dogs is not encouraged! On the contrary, as long as they were laid by organically fed, free pasture-raised chickens, eggs will bring only health benefits to your dog!
The Nutrients Found in Eggs
The egg is a powerhouse of nutrition (including the shell!). Eggs contain all the essential amino acids and are a highly digestible source of protein with a high nutritional value. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, too. Plus, eggs are a perfect source of protein.
Ideally, you want to choose eggs from free-range or pastured chickens or organic, omega-3 enriched eggs, which come from hens who were fed flax. These eggs contain the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic (ALA), plus two other omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). Nutritionists recommend egg consumption for dogs with digestive issues since the protein found in eggs is easier to digest. Depending on its size, an egg can contain (source: Healthline):
- Small egg (38 grams): 4.9 grams of protein;
- Medium egg (44 grams): 5.7 grams of protein;
- Large egg (50 grams): 6.5 grams of protein;
- Extra-large egg (56 grams): 7.3 grams of protein;
- Jumbo egg (63 grams): 8.2 grams of protein.
Furthermore, eggs contain 9 of the 22 amino acids that the canine body needs to create protein.
Aside from protein and amino acids, other nutrients found in eggs are:
- Vitamin B12;
- Vitamin A (essential for sharp eyesight and cell growth);
- Riboflavin (helps digestive enzymes break down food and turn it into energy);
- Selenium (support the proper metabolic function);
- Fatty acids;
- Folic acid (necessary for certain metabolic functions, such as DNA synthesis and red blood cell production).
Are Raw Eggs Good for Dogs?
The canine digestive system allows for versatility in feeding eggs to dogs. Compared to humans, dogs have a much shorter and much more acidic digestive tract and, therefore, have to worry less about bacterial infections in the digestive tract. Worries of contracting E. coli or salmonella should not deter dog parents from feeding eggs to their dogs.
The ways dog parents feed eggs to their dogs range from raw to soft-boiled eggs. It's all about your dog's preferences. Some dogs will eat raw eggs without turning their noses up, while others might object to a raw egg's texture. For the latter group, soft-boiling the egg is the best cooking version because soft-boiled eggs retain most of their nutrients. Dog parents who choose other cooking methods, such as sunny side up or scrambled, must avoid adding ingredients that disturb the canine digestive tract, such as oil, salt, spices, seasonings, and butter.
Do Not Feed Only Egg Whites
Regardless of the preferred cooking method, make sure to feed the entire egg and not only the egg white. Egg whites are rich in avidin, a protein that prevents the absorption of biotin (i.e., a vitamin responsible for skin and cell health and proper metabolism and digestion). Egg yolks contain enough biotin to balance the avidin found in egg whites. As long as you feed him the entire egg, your dog shouldn't worry about any biotin deficiencies.
Feeding the Membrane and the Egg Shell
The eggs' salutary benefits are not limited to the egg whites and egg yolk. As you crack open a raw egg, you will notice a membrane lining the eggshell, a rich source of collagen, hyaluronic acids, glucosamine (i.e., a natural compound found in cartilage), and chondroitin (i.e., a chemical substance found in connective tissues). All of these components will help your dog battle arthritis and other joint issues.
Why Is Eggshell Membrane for Dogs Beneficial?
Eggshell membrane for dogs is beneficial because it contains everything that any mammal consuming it, so a dog or a cat, would need to maintain or rebuild joints. So it's actually about 70% protein, and that protein is collagen.
You need that collagen for many things in your body, but especially to maintain elasticity, to help joints, but it also contains things like:
- Elastin: A protein that supports skin, cardiovascular, cartilage, and spinal health. Elastin is what gives the tissue its elastic tension and ability to bounce back after stretching.
- Amino acids: Specifically, desmosine and isodesmosine, the two amino acids responsible for elastin's elastic properties.
- Glycosaminoglycans: Including glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. These are vital polysaccharides that support the connective tissue, interstitial fluids, and skeletal structure of the joints and help with mobility, range of motion, and flexibility.
All of these are relevant to joints and maintaining joint health generally.
The same applies to eggshells, a reliable source of natural calcium for dogs who would benefit from calcium supplementation. Add ½ teaspoon of eggshells to your dog's meal for extra calcium, but with the following caveat: eggshells cannot act as a substitute for the calcium found in bones. The calcium found in eggshells is calcium carbonate, which is different from the calcium found in bones that the canine digestive system easily absorbs. Furthermore, bones contain phosphorus and magnesium, two essential minerals eggshells cannot substitute.
We have a number, based on duck eggs, just because that's where we've done the research. It's 320mg on average per duck eggshell, so that will give you an idea comparative to a supplement.
Eggshells, whether raw or cooked, crunch up easily and pose no choking threat to your dog. But be wary of store-bought eggs, whose shells are often bleached with poisonous chemicals. Instead, feed eggs from pasture-raised chickens, who enjoy enough time roaming freely in a pasture and feeding on various sources, such as seeds, worms, and insects.
Tip of the day: be on the lookout for "free-range" eggs since the USDA uses this term only for chicken meat, not chicken eggs. Always choose "pasture-raised" eggs for your dog!
How Often Should You Feed Them?
It really depends on the dog: as much or as little as you want.
If you're feeding a whole egg every few days or some people feed a whole egg every day, you could incorporate that.
And it depends on the dog. Some dogs will do better if you just air dry those out a little bit and break it up a little more because it's not the most 'made-to-be-digested' food on the planet. Or just straight up.
If you want to use this as a joint supplement and not feed eggs, you can easily save yours, break them up, and feed them every day!
Can My Dog Be Allergic to Eggs?
Dog parents should tread lightly when introducing eggs to their dogs because not all dogs respond to eggs in the same way. Some dogs can process eggs without trouble, whereas other dogs might exhibit allergic reactions when consuming eggs. Symptoms such as swelling, sneezing, breathing difficulties, coughing, lethargy, hives, diarrhea, and vomiting are clear signs of an allergic reaction. Before making eggs a part of your dog's diet, feed an egg to your dog, then give it at least four days to see if it causes an allergic reaction. If four days pass without a change, feel free to make eggs a part of your dog's diet!
A Parting Reminder
Here you have it: the final answer to the "can dogs eat eggs" question is yes! Eggs are a healthy source of protein and a myriad of other nutrients that your dog needs for healthy growth. Your dog will welcome eggs into his diet, whether raw or cooked, so give it a whirl and add an egg to your dog's food bowl. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!
To help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods, Volhard Dog Nutrition and its nutritionists are now offering online consultations! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to check out our consultation page!