Sometimes your dog can serve double duty not only as your best friend, but also as a living garbage disposal or vacuum cleaner.
Think of all the times you’ve accidentally dropped food on the kitchen floor while cooking or eating and thought, oh, it’s okay, the dog will get it. And sure enough, by the next time you look down, your floor is magically licked sparkling clean! Am I right?
But we don’t only give our dogs human food on accident. Many people love to treat their pets with a few bites of real food every now and then and some very spoiled pups even get homemade dog food cooked just for them.
With so many rules on what’s safe for dogs to eat or not (it seems unbelievably cruel that dogs can’t enjoy chocolate), how do you know what’s okay for your dog to have, whether on accident or on purpose?
Eggs have a number of amazing health benefits, but they’re tricky, as there are differences between feeding dogs raw or cooked eggs. And what about the shells? Are they safe for dogs?
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat eggs and even eggshells, but you need to know a few things about the proper preparation.
Here’s the lowdown on whether or not your dog should eat eggshells or any part of an egg.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Eggs?
Yes, you can definitely feed your dog a plain, cooked egg. It’s actually a great source of protein, vitamins A and B, folate, riboflavin, selenium, iron, and fatty acids. Just be sure the egg is completely plain and not covered in salt, pepper, or cooking oil, as these can upset your dog’s stomach.
If you made an egg dish with a lot of other ingredients, it’s better to skip feeding it to your dog, unless you know for sure each ingredient is safe and that it’s not coated in cooking oil and seasonings. So feel free to scramble, hard boil, or poach an egg for your good boy. Dogs (depending on their weight) can eat a cooked egg every day, as long as nothing else is added.
RELATED: Best Gently Cooked Dog Food
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs?
Yes, you can feed your dog raw egg. It has the same health benefits as cooked egg and eating it raw actually makes it easier for your dog to absorb all the nutrients. Think about it from a natural standpoint – in nature, wild dogs are animals of prey and consume whole wild eggs of other animals when they find nests.
Of course, there’s a risk of dogs contracting salmonella from raw eggs. Take the same care you would for yourself to ensure that the raw eggs you feed your dog have been stored and handled properly to minimize this risk. That said, raw foods can be hard on the stomach, so try not to feed your dog raw egg every day, but instead as a once in a while treat or every few days.
Can Dogs Eat Egg Whites?
Another important thing to remember is not to feed your dog only egg whites, as they lack many of the nutrients found in the yolk and can even lead to a biotin deficiency. Biotin is a B vitamin complex that aids digestion, boosts metabolism, and supports healthy skin.
Egg whites contain an enzyme that blocks the absorption of biotin, leading to a deficiency. It won’t hurt to give your dog just egg whites every once in a while, but consistent feeding of only egg whites can be harmful.
If you want to give your dog eggs frequently or are depending on eggs as a supplement for your dog’s health, then he needs that yellow yolk along with the white. Even if your dog is overweight, don’t try to slim him down by feeding him only egg whites – give him the whole thing or skip it. This applies to both cooked and raw egg.
Can Dogs Eat Eggshells?
Yes, dogs can eat eggshells. Just like eggs, they have some surprising health benefits! Consider again the way dogs would consume eggs in the wild – they don’t remove the shell. Instead, they eat the whole egg raw, shell and all.
Eggshells are similar to bones and are full of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus support healthy teeth and bones and calcium gives a healthy boost to the heart, muscles, and immune system. Phosphorus also helps the body efficiently use fats and carbohydrates and assists in cellular repair.
How to Make Eggshell Powder?
You can grind up eggshells and mix them into your dog’s food as a calcium and phosphorus supplement. Just be sure you’re using farm fresh eggs rather than bleached white grocery store eggs. The chemicals used to clean and bleach eggshells in typical store-bought eggs may remove or compromise many of the vitamins and minerals in the eggshells and even make them harmful to dogs.
You can use a blender or food processor to grind up the shells into a powder and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Remember that this is a supplement and not a source of food on its own. Add only a little of the eggshell powder, about one teaspoon or less per day, to your dog’s food. The ground shell of one egg is about a spoonful and meets the recommended amount per day for a dog.
But what if you drop an egg on the ground or want to give your dog the shell from an egg you just cracked?
Eating the unground shell of an egg, even a chemically processed one, will most likely not harm your dog unless any jagged or sharp pieces catch on his throat or esophagus.
However, you won’t reap the same health benefits because dogs don’t digest unground eggshells well and they need to be in powder form for your dog to absorb all the nutrients. Otherwise, it will pass through undigested and you may find flecks of eggshell in his stool.
Yes, dogs can eat eggshells, but you should make sure they’re farm fresh and ground into a powder and give them a spoonful or less of the powder per day mixed into the food as a supplement. If your dog eats raw eggshell that hasn’t been ground into powder, he should be fine, although he may suffer some digestive discomfort.