It’s Sunday morning and you’re whipping up a big breakfast for the entire family: pancakes for the kids and omelettes for mom and dad. As you’re pushing your eggs around, you might wonder if it would hurt to throw some scrambled eggs into your dog’s bowl. Many owners give their dogs eggs, but is it a good idea?
Should Dogs Eat Eggs?
Inside those delicate white shells is a whole world of nutritional benefits. Eggs are practically endless in all of the good stuff they contain. As you know, eggs are a great source of protein. Dogs get the majority of their protein from meat, but eggs are a good alternative if they need a temporary substitute or an addition to their protein intake.
They’re also filled with vitamin D and calcium, both of which are good for supporting the health of bones and teeth. The choline helps with brain development while iodine helps with thyroid function. Eggs are rich in folic acid, too, which is good for reproductive health.
The high levels of iron and selenium may be excellent at reducing the risk for certain types of cancer. They’re also low in calories and fat, so active dogs won’t have to worry about weight gain associated with egg consumption. All around, eggs are a great addition to a dogs diet!
How to Feed Eggs To Your Dogs
More people are starting to feed their dogs a raw diet, including raw eggs. The feeding of raw eggs isn’t recommended with commercially produced eggs because there’s no guarantee that those eggs don’t have salmonella or E coli. Raw diet proponents insist that raw eggs are a natural part of a wild dog’s diet, but foodborne illnesses don’t normally exist in the wild.
Raw eggs are good for dogs but taking the risk of a serious bacterial infection just isn’t worth it. On top of the risk of bacteria, too many raw eggs can prevent the body from absorbing biotin, a vitamin of the B complex, because of the Avidin enzyme.
A biotin deficiency negatively affects a dog’s skin condition, making their skin dry, itchy, and prone to developing painful lesions. Raw eggs will also lower white blood cell counts, resulting in decreased immune function and frequent infections and illnesses because the body can’t properly battle viruses or bacteria.
If you’re absolutely set on giving your dog a raw egg, you should limit it to about one a week. You should also do your best to serve raw eggs that come from a local farmer who raises his chickens well and follows the best protocols for egg raising. Chickens are natural carriers of salmonella, but good chicken rearing habits will help minimize the spread of this nasty bacteria.
You can give your dog cooked eggs in a variety of ways, but you should always avoid using butter, oil, or any seasonings. Remember the things that make your food taste good aren’t needed to make food palatable to a dog, and certain seasonings are toxic (garlic and onion powders, for example).
Some people give their dogs hardboiled eggs with or without the shells. Egg shells are an excellent source of calcium and can be served on the egg or crushed up into their food.
You should only be feeding your dog a few eggs per week, regardless of how you’re preparing them. Too many eggs can lead to digestive upset or weight gain, especially in small dogs prone to being overweight.
It’s best to keep their egg consumption to one or two eggs per week to minimize any potential side effects. If your dog can digest eggs well, then you’ll notice no negative effects.
Before You Feed Your Dog Eggs
If your dog has a history of pancreatitis, you should consult with your vet before you give your dog eggs. Eggs are low in fat, but depending on your dog’s diet, the additional fat may spark another bout of pancreatitis. If your dog is on any type of prescription diet for a medical condition, you should talk to your vet first. Dogs on a limited ingredient diet may not fare well with eggs, either, so again, your vet is the best person to advise you on the addition of a new food.
Even if foods are natural to a dog’s diet, you have to remember that your dog is domesticated and their dietary needs aren’t identical to those of a wild dog’s. Before you start putting your dog on a “natural” diet, remind yourself that commercial dog foods are nutritionally complete and any addition to their diet should be discussed with a veterinarian first.