Can Dogs Eat Eggs? Are Eggs Safe For Dogs?
Feeding our beloved dogs ‘human food’ can be a bit of a minefield. Chocolate is poisonous, dairy is irritating, and onions can damage their blood. With this in mind, it’s wise to be cautious when it comes to feeding your pooch the kind of ingredients that humans chow down on.
However, some human foods are perfectly safe – and even healthy – for dogs to consume. One such food is eggs. Although opinions vary on how often dogs can be given eggs, and how the tasty treat should be prepared, our pets can safely enjoy this protein-packed fuel. To find out more about dogs and eggs, read on, as we talk health benefits, recipes, and more.
Can Dogs Eat Eggs?
In short: yes. If you’ve ever noticed your dog snaffle up a dropped piece of food with lightning-fast reflexes, you’ll be well aware that our canine companions are nothing if not opportunistic. This also goes for their diet. In the wild, dogs will hunt, scavenge, and forage whatever they can find, and end up eating quite a wide array of foods.
Despite their famed meat-loving tendencies, dogs are not true carnivores – they actually possess an omnivorous streak. Given the chance, dogs will eat fruit, vegetables, and eggs, as part of their natural diet. Eggs are an efficient source of protein, amino acids, and fatty acids, along with a range of vitamins and minerals.
Eggs do not contain anything that’s unsafe for dogs to eat – even their less appetising shells can be safely consumed, and come with their own health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Eggs
As we mentioned, eggs are something of a nutritional powerhouse.
Dogs need a lot of protein to stay lean and healthy, build new muscle, and heal themselves. Most dogs should be fed a diet that consists of 20 – 30% protein. The bulk of this protein will usually come from meat, but eggs make a great supplement. The average egg contains 6 grams (about a fifth of an ounce) of protein – quite a lot considering its small size!
- Amino Acids
You may have heard amino acids referred to as ‘the building blocks of life’. They’re the fundamental chemicals that organisms use to build tissue, so it’s important that our dogs (and ourselves) take in enough of them to maintain a healthy body. Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids.
- Fatty Acids
Although ‘fat’ has been demonised in the past, things aren’t so simple. Certain types of fat are in fact essential to a healthy, balanced diet. For instance, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are essential to hair and skin maintenance. Dogs who get enough of these nutrients are usually possessed of a shiny coat and healthy skin.
- Vitamin A
This versatile vitamin, also known as retinol, performs a lot of functions in your dog’s body. It promotes a healthy metabolism, assists with growth, and helps the hair and skin to stay in good condition.
- Vitamin B12
Also known as folate, vitamin B12 is essential for the production of healthy red blood cells. The vitamin also helps to keep nerve cells functioning as they should.
Iron has two prominent functions in your dog’s body. It helps to transmit nerve functions, and also ensures that oxygen binds to red blood cells.
Also called vitamin B2, riboflavin helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. It also assists with the metabolization of proteins and fat. Overall, riboflavin is essential for good energy levels.
Although dogs (and indeed humans) only need a small amount of selenium in their diets, it’s known to assist cognitive function, maintain a healthy immune system, and may even boost fertility.
We all know that calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones, helping our dogs to run, play, and of course chew. They might not be palatable to us humans, but egg shells are a great source of calcium for dogs.
Things to Bear in Mind
Eggs contain a huge range of nutrients, each of which can benefit your dog – they’re tasty, too. However, as with any food, moderation is key – eggs are not a nutritional magic bullet, and should be given to dogs carefully.
Below we run through some factors to bear in mind when adding eggs to your dog’s diet:
Eggs contain relatively high levels of cholesterol, a type of fat in the bloodstream. Although it’s essential in the production of new cells, elevated levels can form deposits in the arteries, and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is why eggs should be consumed in moderation – as a supplement to your dog’s diet, rather than their main source of protein.
- Salmonella Risk
Uncooked eggs can contain Salmonella, a type of bacteria responsible for food poisoning in humans. However, Salmonella poses less of a threat to dogs, and provided they have a healthy immune system, raw eggs should pose no problem.
- Digestive Irritation
Just like people, some dogs have sensitive stomachs, intolerances, and allergies. For this reason, introducing eggs to your dog’s diet can be a little nerve-wracking, and it’s a good idea to keep a careful eye on them if they have not eaten eggs before. If your dog develops hives, or swelling, or has difficulty breathing, they may be experiencing anaphylaxis, and you should contact your vet immediately.
How to Cook Eggs for Your Dog
Overall, the health benefits far outweigh the risks when it comes to feeding eggs to your dog. You can add this delicious and nutritious supplement to their diet in a few ways:
- Cracking a raw egg over their usual food (as long as they are not immunocompromised)
- Thoroughly crushing eggshells and sprinkling the powder over food
- If you want to cook the egg, and remove the Salmonella risk entirely, boiling or poaching is best, since these methods do not require cooking oil