According to Healthline, eggs are one of the healthiest and highly nutritious food on the planet. Think about it – the nutrients in an egg are sufficient for one fertilized cell to grow into a baby chicken. Although there are foods that humans can eat but dogs cannot, eggs are NOT on the list. So yes, dogs can eat eggs!
I have been feeding eggs to my dogs ever since I researched and knew that they are safe and nutritious for dogs to consume. My current dog, a Chihuahua, is a small-size breed, so our family decided to keep eggs as a special treat for her, feeding only occasionally and in small servings. She has been enjoying it over the years with no complications.
In this article, I will share the following information:
- Egg nutrition composition
- Why you should feed eggs to your dog
- How to prepare eggs for dogs
- Serving eggs raw or semi-cooked
Egg Nutrition Composition
The whole egg consists of three parts: the egg white, egg yolk, and eggshell. Each part has different nutrients, so understanding the nutritional composition is essential to know what to feed and how much to feed your dog.
When an egg is cracked raw, the clear, thick liquid that flows out is the egg white. When it is cooked, the egg white will turn from clear liquid to white solid.
The egg white serves as a protective layer defending against harmful bacteria in fertilized eggs. It consists mainly of water (~90%) and protein (~10%).
It also contains Vitamin B2 and B5, although not as much as the egg yolk.
The raw egg yolk is an orangey-yellow semi-solid found in eggs. It will usually turn into light or bright yellow when it is cooked, depending on how it is prepared.
The yolk contains the bulk of the nutrients in the entire egg, such as fats, cholesterol, carbohydrate, and various vitamins and minerals.
Eggshells are a good source of calcium. The membranes on eggshells also contain collagen, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and other nutrients that can benefit joints [1, 2].
Why Feed Eggs to Dogs?
As you can see from the egg nutrition composition, every part of the egg offer health benefits for dogs.
Egg white contains proteins, which are broken down into amino acids that can help build and maintain muscles.
Egg yolk contains vitamins and fatty acids, which can strengthen immunity and build and maintain body cells.
Eggshells contain calcium, which strengthens bones and joints.
With such benefits laid out, why should anyone ask the questions ‘are eggs good for dogs’ and ‘should I feed eggs to my dog’?
Preparing Eggs for Dogs
There are many ways to prepare eggs. From scrambled to boiled to sunny side up, everyone has their preference.
However, when preparing eggs for dogs, I suggest keeping the eggs plain. They should not contain additives such as oil, salt, spices, and sauces, as some of these additives may pose a health risk to your dog.
As for eggshells, I suggest grinding them into powder form before serving them to your dog. I do not advocate giving the eggshell for the dog to crunch as the egg pieces may have sharp edges that can damage your dog’s gums, stomachs, or intestines upon consumption.
The eggshell powder can be fed together with the cooked egg or scattered over the dog’s main diet.
Serving Eggs Raw or Semi-Cooked
Raw or half-cooked eggs can be eaten, and some people enjoy them. If you are one of them and you want to share them with your dog, feel free to do so.
However, do know that consumption of raw eggs poses some potential risks for both dogs and humans alike.
Salmonella, a form of bacteria that may be found in the egg or on the eggshell, can result in food poisoning.
Most dogs with Salmonella infection will experience diarrhea, which may contain blood or mucus. They may also vomit, seem lethargic, have fever, or have a decreased appetite. The effects are not immediate; it may take up to 4-6 weeks after infection for symptoms to appear.
As Salmonella germs can spread between animals and humans, you will have to do a thorough cleaning of the house if anyone is diagnosed with an infection. You may want to check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information.
There are two ways to reduce the chances of Salmonella poisoning if the bacteria are on the eggshell. The first is washing the eggshell thoroughly before cracking it. The second is cracking the egg cleanly such that the egg white has minimal contact with the outer side of the eggshell.
Unfortunately, if the bacteria are in the egg, then there is nothing you can do to avoid food poisoning apart from cooking it.
If you need some consolation, a dog’s digestive system is much more acidic than a human’s, so the bacteria’s chances of surviving are lower. We are much more at risk of contracting the infection!
Reduced Biotin Absorption
Biotin, an essential B vitamin in dog diets, plays an important role in energy production.
Raw egg whites contain a protein named avidin, which helps cellular growth, metabolism, and the development of a healthy and shiny coat.
Unfortunately, avidin also binds to biotin, preventing it from being absorbed .
Theoretically, this can be a problem, but the amount of avidin in egg whites is low enough. Only excessive consumption of raw egg whites (and by that, I mean 8+ eggs in a day) will lead to biotin deficiency.
Also, since egg yolks contain biotin, if you serve the egg in its entirety to your dog, this effect is effectively negated.
Planning to Feed Eggs to Your Dog?
To avoid complications, I recommend feeding your dog fully cooked eggs. However, the type of egg you want to feed your dog is up to your discretion.
Similar to any other new additions or changes to your dog’s diet, start slow and in small amounts. Feed about a quarter to your dog during the first serving and monitor for signs of distress such as diarrhea or vomiting before feeding more in subsequent servings.
Also, keep in mind the size of your dog. While larger breeds can consume an egg a day, that will be too much for smaller breeds. If you have a small dog, share the egg with your dog as it is not advised to keep an egg, cooked or raw, for too long after cracking it.
Alternatively, you can choose to keep the egg as an occasional treat, just like fruits and vegetables, so it will be all the sweeter for your dog when he/she is served an egg.