How does your dog like his eggs? Scrambled eggs? Over-easy? Chances are he's not picky about how his eggs are cooked, but what about raw? Are eggs good for dogs, too? Can dogs eat raw eggs?
Are Raw Eggs Good For Dogs?
Though most of us are guilty of eating raw cookie dough or tasting the cake batter before it goes in the oven, the concept of eating slimy, viscous, raw eggs is a bit gross, causing upset stomachs at the very thought. But considering some of the gross stuff dogs happily eat, feeding raw eggs doesn't seem that weird anymore, right?
Sure, dogs will eat raw eggs, but should they?
Eggs-traodinary Benefits of Eggs: Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs?
So, can dogs eat raw eggs? Yes, they can. Feeding raw eggs to dogs is safe. But why should they?
Eggs are one of nature's perfect protein sources and are full of amino acids and fatty acids that are extremely good for your dog's skin and coat. They also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, and Selenium, making raw eggs for dogs a superfood source.
In fact, eggs are already used in many commercial pet foods, like Nutram, Blue Buffalo, and Carna4, to contribute valuable protein and essential nutrients to the dog's diet. Eggs are so healthy that brands, like Big Country Raw, have started offering frozen raw duck and quail eggs as an easy and delicious meal topper.
Are Eggs Safe for Dogs? Eggs-posing Common Egg Myths
Are raw eggs good for dogs? Yes, eggs are healthy for dogs both raw and cooked, so the question becomes: Is it safe to feed your dog raw eggs? Let's take a look at a couple of the common safety concerns when it comes to feeding dogs raw eggs:
Myth # 1
We are told not to let dogs eat raw eggs due to the risk of salmonella, which is true. Salmonella from eggs can affect your dog but keep in mind that dogs are capable of processing more bacteria than us.
Dogs are scavenging carnivores, and it's their carnivorous digestive system that allows them to safely eat raw foods, like meat, bones, and eggs. The highly acidic environment of their stomachs and bile content allows harmful bacteria, like salmonella, from populating your dog's digestive system.
This doesn't mean there is no risk, it's just less likely to affect your dog than if you were to dogs eat raw eggs. (and let's be honest, who hasn't tried the raw cookie dough or the cake batter as a kid...or an adult).
Though some recommend avoiding raw eggs, raw bones, and raw diets because of the bacteria risks, anyone who has fed raw will know that high-quality ingredients and proper storage and handling will minimize the risk of any adverse effects.
That being said, dogs that are sick or immune-compromised should be more cautious. Fortunately, cooked eggs are still very nutritious.
Myth # 2
Another misconception when it comes to feeding raw eggs is that egg whites contain a biotin (vitamin B7) inhibitor called Avidin.
While this is true, the yolks of the eggs contain very high levels of biotin that balance out the Avidin effects in the whites. As long as they are fed together, the risk of biotin deficiency is almost non-existent.
You would have to feed your dog an absurd amount of eggs to provide enough Avidin to have harmful effects on your dog's biotin intake. As long as eggs are fed in moderation, your dog will get adequate amounts of biotin.
If you are concerned, then skip the egg whites and try feeding just egg yolks as a meal topper or treat.
Scrambled vs. Raw: Eggs-amining Nutritional Value
Both cooked eggs and raw eggs offer essential vitamins and nutrition, but raw eggs for dogs are superior and make for an excellent treat. Cooking eggs, like cooked meat, reduces or even totally removes some of the vitamins and minerals that are so healthy for your dog.
Keep in mind that dogs have eaten raw eggs and meat for hundreds of years, by raiding a farmer's chicken coop or stealing them from nests. Offering your dog raw eggs is not just healthy but encouraged.
How to Feed Raw Eggs
This one is super simple; just crack a fresh egg right on top of your pet's food source. For smaller dogs, a whole egg may be a lot, so make sure you are feeding eggs in appropriate portions to accommodate their caloric and nutrition needs. This may mean limiting eggs to 1 per week split over a few meals for smaller dogs to ensure that you are not overfeeding.
Larger dogs can have 2 or 3 eggs per week; just make sure you consider the extra calories and modify their meals or increase activity to make sure you are not overfeeding.
Don't limit yourself to just chicken eggs, either. Duck and quail eggs are also very nutritious and might be better suited to different dogs. If food allergies are an issue, then a non-chicken egg may be a safer choice.
Quail eggs are nice and small, though still packed with nutrition. These are ideal for smaller dogs and cats that don't need a whole chicken or duck egg at each meal. The shells are softer, too, so the whole quail egg, shell, and all can be cracked and added to your pet's food.
Are Eggshells Really What They’re Cracked Up to Be?
Can dogs eat raw eggshells too? After you crack the egg, don't throw the shell away. Allow your dog to eat that, too! Eggshells add a nutritional boost that is pretty amazing. Eggshells have calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as other nutritious minerals that are good for bone health, muscle strength, healthy teeth, and gums.
The best source of calcium is still feeding raw edible bones, like chicken necks or backs, but eggshells are a great substitute or alternative when feeding raw bones is not an option.
How to Feed Eggshell
For larger dog breeds, you can give the whole egg and allow them to open it themselves. Most dogs consider this a special treat. Make sure you are outside or in an easy-to-clean area (it gets messy), so they can take their time cracking the egg and enjoying it, shell and all! n
Not all dogs like to eat shells. Chicken and duck shells are tough, so if your dog isn't a fan of eating the eggs whole, you can crush the shells up with a mortar and pestle before adding them to the meal.
Quail eggs are a great alternative for small dogs and cats, as the shells are much softer, and the eggs themselves are better portioned for a smaller pet. The omega fatty acids are great for dog skin and coat and can help correct common issues like dandruff.
Save eggshells from your meals too. They can be ground and stored for later use. Pour the crushed eggshells into an airtight jar or container and store them in the refrigerator for up to a month.
How Many Eggs Should I Feed My Dog?
Now that we know that raw eggs for dogs are beneficial, we should discuss how many eggs are appropriate to feed them. Depending on the size of your dog and his caloric needs, you can feed eggs multiple times per week.
There are many variables to consider, including the breed, age, weight, the dog's current diet, activity level, and how healthy the pet is. There are about 55-75 calories in one egg, so take that into account and adjust their regular meals to accommodate the additional calories.
If you have a smaller dog, beat the egg, and feed the egg over a few meals. Larger breeds can usually handle the calories of a full egg, but if you are counting calories or if your dog is a lazy couch potato, then feed raw eggs less frequently throughout the week.
You know your pet better than anyone. so pay attention to any changes in your dog's behaviour, appetite, and digestion. Any changes to a dog's diet too quickly could cause stomach upsets, gas, and changes in stool quality.
Eggs-ceptional Eggs Come from Healthy Chickens
It's important to note that not all eggs and chickens are created equal. Fresh, raw eggs have been a biologically appropriate dog food source for many years, providing nutrition for long, healthy lives.
The quality of the egg matter too. Look for farm-fresh, high-quality eggs for the most nutrition. It is recommended to feed your pet eggs that are from free-range farm hens.
If you can get them from a trusted local source, that is ideal. Just like us, chickens are as healthy as what they eat, and healthier chickens lay healthier, more nutritious eggs.
To Cook or Not Cook
As many raw feeders know, cooking can destroy or denature nutrients, making it harder to digest and more difficult for your dog's body to absorb the nutrients. That being said, eggs, both cooked and raw, are highly nutritious.
If you aren't convinced that raw eggs are safe for your pooch, then lightly scramble the eggs. Even if the cooking process slightly reduces the overall nutrition, scrambled eggs for dogs will still offer protein, fatty acids, and plenty of flavour to your dog's meal.
Does your dog get Eggs-tatic for eggs? Share your egg-feeding tips in the comments below!