There are several ways that it is okay to feed your dog eggs, and a few ways that it is not. In this article we take a look at how dogs can eat eggs safely, and what preparation methods to avoid.
Can dogs eat eggs? Eggs are high in proteins and fat, an important part of a healthy dog’s diet. They are not toxic to dogs, and are low in carbohydrates. Dogs can safely have eggs as a treat, or as part of a raw food diet. In fact, canines often eat eggs in the wild, shell and all. But raw eggs can sometimes carry infections such as Salmonella. So let’s take a look at whether it’s safe to feed raw eggs, and how to prepare cooked eggs for your dog.
Are Eggs Safe For Dogs?
Generally yes, eggs are safe for dogs. They’re actually quite nutritious even. However, as with every good thing, eggs are only safe for dogs in moderation. Eating too many eggs can cause an upset, gassy stomach as well as increase the risk of obesity in dogs.
We all know where eggs come from. And that they consist of a hard outer shell, the egg white, and the yolk suspended in the egg white. But have you ever wondered why eggs are so healthy? An egg is a nutritious meal in a small convenient package.
There are a great variety of nutrients in each part of an egg – proteins, fats and various vitamins and minerals. The egg yolk contains most of the nutrients. When fed as a part of a raw food diet, eggs can provide many health benefits for dogs. Let’s find out why eggs are so, so good for dogs and what those benefits are.
Are Eggs Good For Dogs?
Yes, eggs are very good for dogs. The nutrient composition of eggs closely resembles the natural diets of dogs prior to the introduction of the kibble that many dogs are fed today. Whole eggs contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, Omega 3, healthy fats and other nutrients. Not to mention the high protein and caloric content.
How Many Eggs Can a Dog Eat in a Day?
It is recommended that you only give dogs one full egg a day – and that’s for large dogs. Smaller dogs may benefit from eating half of an egg per day and no more, especially if they eat multiple egg portions a week.
Even though eggs are very nutritious for both humans and dogs alike, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Because one egg packs between 55 and 80 calories your dog can gain weight if you feed too many of them. Also, some dogs develop excessive, unpleasant gas if they eat too many eggs.
When Are Eggs Bad For Dogs?
As already mentioned, feeding your dog too many eggs is bad for them. But there are other times when eggs are bad for dogs.
Although most dogs will eat eggs, some dogs could be allergic to them. If your dog is allergic to eggs you will of course never feed them to him. Your dog can develop a food allergy at any time in his life. It’s the body’s response to certain proteins in food. So protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, dairy products, and soy products are the most common culprits for food allergies in dogs.
A food allergy is the most likely cause when your dog develops itching, digestive issues, and/or breathing problems that don’t respond to treatment by your vet. The symptoms cannot be alleviated without removing the offending food from the dog’s diet.
There’s another possible problem with feeding eggs to dogs. If you give your dog too many raw egg whites – like popping them into his bowl when the recipe calls for egg yolks only – he could develop a biotin deficiency. Biotin helps to support your dog’s digestive process, skin health, and cells. A protein, avatin, in raw egg whites binds with biotin and prevents its absorption in the digestive tract.
A recognisable sign of biotin deficiency is hair loss around the face and eyes. With all of these, can dogs have eggs still? Yes, they can. What about raw eggs, though? But maybe you’ve heard that you shouldn’t feed dogs raw eggs anyway. Let’s have a look.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs?
You’ve probably wondered: can dogs eat raw eggs? Are raw eggs good for dogs? The answer is yes. Raw eggs are as healthy for dogs as cooked eggs. They may pose a health risk to dogs and people if they are contaminated with Salmonella or other germs. In theory this means that you could get sick via your dog.
Dogs rarely develop acute Salmonella infections although many have Salmonella organisms in their gut. These dogs are carriers who don’t become sick but can spread the germs to others. Dogs can pick up Salmonella from raw foods they’re fed, from a dead animals they find outside, and even from contaminated kibble and pet treats. However, there haven’t been any confirmed cases of human salmonella infection linked to dogs on a raw food diet.
In the UK this isn’t an issue any more as Salmonella has been eliminated from the ‘lion branded’ egg supply. But in the USA it is a risk you need to decide on for yourself. Some people choose not to feed raw eggs, raw chicken and other raw products that could be contaminated with Salmonella, or other germs, to their dogs. Many others feed their dogs on an entirely raw diet every day – a diet that includes raw eggs.
If you do feed raw eggs to dogs and you are not in a ‘safe egg’ zone such as the UK, then you need to take the same precautions as you would if you feed your dogs a raw meat diet.
Handle All Raw Foods Safely
Make sure you wash your hands very well after handling the raw eggs. Don’t allow children to pet or play with a dog that has raw egg on his face and paws. And it goes without saying that you should pick up your dog’s poop and dispose of it safely – no matter what he’s fed.
If you’re going to feed your dog eggs, but are concerned about Salmonella, then it’s best to boil the eggs before serving them.
Are Egg Yolks Good For Dogs?
They are! But because egg yolks contain more than twice as many calories as the egg whites, moderation is key. If your dog eats several eggs a week, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use just egg whites on some days and skip the yolk.
Can Dogs Eat Egg Whites?
They most certainly can! Egg whites are less calorie dense, and contain less protein, fat, and overall nutrients.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Eggs?
Yes, they can! Just prepare them in a safe way, and be sure to cut the fried egg up for your pup before serving.
Can Dogs Eat Egg Shells
Yes, dogs can eat egg shells. The shell provides almost the same nutrients as bones from animal carcasses. Egg shells are a good source of calcium for dogs that can’t chew on bones anymore. You may want to crush the shells and mix them with other food to avoid choking.
You should always clean and boil eggs that will be served shell-on if you bought them in a shop. Some commercially sold eggs have chemicals sprayed on them so that they appear shiny.
Can Dogs Eat Scrambled Eggs
Can dogs eat scrambled eggs? We don’t see why not! Just know that it won’t be typical scrambled eggs. As long as you’re “scrambling” your eggs in water without oil, butter, salt or any additional spices, you should be good.
How to Cook Eggs for Dogs
Ah, the possibilities are endless. You can cook eggs for dogs in just about any style. The one thing you should remember though is that there should be no additives. Only use water. No salt, pepper, spices, oil or butter. Trust me, the egg will be just as tasty to your pup. Here are some options for cooking eggs for dogs:
- Boiling eggs
- Frying eggs
- Baking eggs in dog treats
If you ever questioned, “can dogs have eggs,” we hope you’ve been feeling reassured so far. There’s even more good news: eggs are so nourishing for dogs!
Health Benefits Of Eggs For Dogs
Eggs contain a high proportion of protein and fats – 6.3g of protein and 4.8g of fat in one egg. And no carbs. Protein is essential for all dogs, and very important for growing puppies. Fats supply most of a dog’s energy needs. Eggs also contain a variety of the vitamins your dog needs. They are a particularly good source of:
- Vit A for vision and a healthy skin
- Vit D that regulates calcium which is important for bone and joint health
- Riboflavin which helps turn fat into energy, and is also necessary for skin health
- Pantothenic acid which is essential for creating energy at cellular level
- Pyridoxine that’s used in various metabolic processes
- Vit B12 which is used to produce red blood cells.
Eggs also have plenty of the following essential minerals:
- Calcium which is essential for strong bones – your puppy really needs enough of it. Calcium also plays an important role in the nervous system
- Iron that’s needed in red blood cells to help distribute oxygen to organs and muscles
- Phosphorus that works in tandem with calcium
- Selenium which is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage.
Are Eggs Good for Dogs With Liver Disease?
Yes, eggs are one of the acceptable protein sources for dogs with liver disease. Eggs have a high choline content (a useful nutrient usually made in the liver). So if your pup has liver issues, eggs are a good choice.
How Can I Feed My Dog Eggs?
You can feed your dog boiled, fried, scrambled, and poached eggs. Many dogs can even eat raw eggs with the shells, no fuss necessary.
The main principles for feeding dogs eggs are simplicity and moderation. Remember that no dog, no matter their size, should eat more than one whole egg daily. It’s also crucial to keep your recipe free of seasoning, oil or butter. To serve eggs, chop them up into smaller pieces (especially for boiled eggs) to avoid choking.
Finally, if you do risk doing raw eggs for dogs, be aware of the dangers, and handle raw eggs safely.
Does Dog Food Contain Eggs?
Yes, eggs are actually a common dog food ingredient. Most brands include a dried egg formula that combines well with your dog’s food.
Can Dogs Eat Eggs Summary
So, what’s the verdict? Are eggs good for dogs? Eggs are a complete meal in a neat package that dogs can benefit from as much as you can. In short, dogs can eat eggs, be they raw or cooked, with or without the shell. Eggs provide dogs with protein, fats for energy, and several necessary vitamins and minerals. They can be an ideal boost for ill or recovering dogs.
Wash shell-on eggs before feeding them. Take care with your hygienic handling practices when feeding any raw foods. Boiling eggs will help reduce your dog’s chances of contracting and shedding the Salmonella germ. And whether you’re feeding your pooch a dog biscuit or a more nutritious snack, keep the treats and added calories to a minimum.
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References and Further Reading
- Banfield Pet Hospital. Essential nutrients for dogs and cats: minerals. Banfield Pet Hospital.
- Banfield Pet Hospital. Essential nutrients for dogs and cats: vitamins.
- Corbee, R.J. & Van Kerkhoven W.J.S. (2014) Nutritional support of dogs and cats after surgery or illness. Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine.
- Finley, R. et al. (2006) Human health implications of Salmonella-contaminated natural pet treats and raw pet food. Clinical Infectious Diseases.
- Vermont Veterinary Cardiology. Feeding the cardiac patient. Vermont Veterinary Cardiology.com
- Vetinfo. Canine anemia – developing a nutrition plan. Vetinfo.
- Watson, T. (1998) Diet and skin disease in dogs and cats. Journal of Nutrition.
- Whitworth, G. R.N. How Many Calories Are in an Egg? Healthline , 2018.
- Daniels, A. BSc. Hons. Ultimate Natural Guide for Pets: Liver Disease. My Pet Nutritionist, 2020.
- Calories in an Egg. Egg Info.
- Eckstein, S.; Flowers, A. DVM. Caring for a Dog with Food Allergies. WebMD. 2012.
- Egg, Fresh, Raw, Whole, Nutrition Facts. Nutrition Value