Eggs have a number of amazing health benefits, but they’re tricky, as there are differences between feeding dogs raw, cooked, and whole eggs. And what about the shells? Can dogs eat eggshells safely? The short answer is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Can dogs eat eggshells?
Just like eggs, eggshells have some surprising health benefits.
Consider 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.
So yes, your dog can eat eggshells. But do they really need to?
Does my dog need calcium?
Calcium is an essential nutrient that dogs require in their diets to keep their bones strong and their muscles functioning properly.
It’s especially important during growth periods and when feeding a homemade diet. If your dog is not getting the right amount of calcium, they could develop problems with their bones, such as osteoporosis and fractures.
While most commercial dog foods have enough calcium to meet your dog’s needs, homemade dog food recipes don’t. Eggshells contain 94-98% calcium carbonate and can be given as a supplement to help dogs meet their daily requirement.
How to make eggshell powder?
Should you just hand eggshells to your dog? Not really. While eggshells are safe for your dog to eat, they should be ground up or very finely crushed.
- 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 not be safe for dogs to ingest.
- Spread the eggshells on a cookie sheet and bake at 200-225 degrees until completely dry, about 1 hour. Take the eggshells out of the oven and allow them to cool.
- Use a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder (if you have a mortar and pestle, that works too!) to grind up the shells into a powder and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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 their throat or esophagus and cause an injury.
However, your dog will not reap the same health benefits because dogs don’t digest unground eggshells, 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 their stool.
How much eggshell powder can I give my dog?
Remember that this is a supplement and not a source of food on its own.
Add only a little of the eggshell powder, about 3/4 teaspoon or less per cup of dog food. The ground shell of one egg is about a spoonful and provides around 2,000 mg of calcium.
Can dogs eat raw eggshells?
Raw eggs have the same health benefits as cooked eggs, although the nutrients in raw eggs may be less bioavailable.
Of course, there’s also a risk of dogs contracting salmonella from raw eggshells. 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.
Can dogs eat whole eggs?
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Again, 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.
Eggs are a great source of protein, vitamins A and D, folate, riboflavin, selenium, and iron. But it’s important not to feed your dog only egg whites, as they lack many of the nutrients found in the yolk.
Raw egg whites also contain a protein that blocks the absorption of biotin. While it won’t hurt your dog in the short term, consistent feeding of only raw egg whites can do more harm than good.
If you want to give your dog eggs frequently or are depending on eggs as a supplement for your dog’s health, then they need that yellow yolk along with the white. Even if your dog is overweight, don’t try to slim them down by feeding them only egg whites — give them the whole thing or skip it.
Eggs and eggshells are safe and even beneficial for dogs. You should make sure the eggs are farm fresh and ground into a powder, and only give your dog a small amount of eggshell powder mixed into their food as a supplement.
While cooked eggshells are preferable, if your dog eats raw eggshells, make sure that the eggs are pasteurized to avoid the risk of salmonella.