Eggs are one of nature’s most complete and perfect foods! Adding a raw egg to your dog’s food is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to supercharge their diet. If you think about what an egg is, its easy to see why. An egg contains all of the ingredients necessary to grow life. Why don’t more people take advantage of this? Mostly because lately eggs have gotten a bad rap.
Some Myths About Raw Eggs
- Cholesterol– It is true that for HUMANS this could definitely be an issue. Dogs however don’t digest things the same way as people do. The only dogs that would ever have to be monitored for cholesterol are those that are either diabetic or have hyperthyroidism. Outside of that small percentage, a dog is not ever going to have to worry about this.
- Salmonella– Again, unlike people, dogs are literally built in a way to handle things like salmonella. Exposure to it won’t give them salmonella because their stomach acid literally destroys it. This is why a dog can eat out of the garbage can and we can’t!
- Biotin deficiency– Eating egg whites only might be healthier for people but the same is not true for dogs. As long as a dog also eats the yolk, they don’t have to worry about having a biotin deficiency. This is because egg whites contain a biotin inhibitor called avidin. The easiest way to counteract this is by eating the yolk which is naturally rich in biotin. This eliminates the risk. The other way to do this is by cooking them, in which case egg whites lose their avidin. The problem with this is that they also lose a large number of other nutrients that are extremely beneficial.
- Digestive upset-Egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors that make them difficult for some people to digest. As long as your dog is not eating eggs and nothing else, they should have no problem digesting them. One egg mixed in with dinner for example is a great way to introduce them and reduce the risk of any digestive upset.
Why Are Eggs So Beneficial?
- Eggs are one of the most complete sources of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential to life. When a protein is correctly evaluated, its value lies in its amino acid profile. High protein is useless without the amino acid profile because these are what the body uses exclusively and the rest just turns into waste. The amino acids in eggs are also highly digestible for dogs which make them even better!
- They are packed with vitamins and minerals including but not limited to:
- Vitamin A– A fat-soluble vitamin that promotes eye, skeletal and muscle health. This is a good vitamin for dogs because they easily convert it into a usable form. This is an especially important vitamin for growing puppies.
- Biotin– Necessary for growth, digestion and muscle function, it also is important in maintaining skin and hair health.
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B)– Also known as B 2 is a water-soluble coenzyme that regulates the energy production from fats, maintains cells and helps the body utilize amino acids. It is essential to growth, muscle development and skin and coat health. As with the other B vitamins, it is not stored within the body and must be present in the diet.
- Vitamin B 12 and Folic acid– Folic acid and B12 are necessary for bone marrow and bone health because they help the marrow produce red blood cells.
- Niacin– Promotes essential enzyme production.
- Panothenic Acid– Enables the body to produce useable forms of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- B6 (pyridoxine)– Helps the body utilize amino acids and is essential to life.
- Phosphorus– A mineral that works with calcium, that is vital to bone development. Together they maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system.
- Vitamin D– A Fat-soluable vitamin necessary for bone formation, nerve and muscle control. It balances phosphorus and calcium and regulates these in the blood stream, allowing calcium to be utilized and retained. Vitamin D is an important part of a dogs diet because they cannot produce it on their own. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare but could have a negative effect by causing calcium deposits in the heart, muscles and other soft tissue. (This is not a concern in one egg!)
- Iron– A mineral that increases the production of red blood cells. This helps maintain bone marrow and prevents anemia. Iron is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Iron also combines with copper and protein to produce hemoglobin (the molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen). The body needs a constant supply to maintain red blood cells, as they need to be replaced in the body every 110 days.
- Selenium– An antioxidant that works with vitamin e and certain enzymes to promote heart and skin health. It also helps prevents arthritis and cancer.
- Fatty Acids– Essential to organ health.
- Protein: Maintains healthy bodily functions and provides energy fuel. Protein is necessary for all aspects of growth, development and immune health. This is because it contains amino acids and the body cannot produce every one that is essential on its own. They must come through diet and eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids plus 4 non-essential amino acids.
- Eggs Shellsare full of Calcium which can be very important for dogs lacking calcium in their diet (explained at the end). They also contain micro-elements, such as magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone formation, blood coagulation, muscle contraction, nerve and impulse transmission, heart health, immune health and endocrine function. Calcium is an important part of your pet’s health! (Without calcium in the diet, the body extracts it from its own bones, which leads to many issues related to mobility.)
Many dogs will eat the shell with their food but I only trust shells from local growers because most from the grocery store have been sprayed to look nicer. My dog is not one who will eat the shell. For days when she may lack bone for calcium in her diet, I save the organic unused shells.
You can dry them in the oven on low for about 10 minutes and then easily crush them into a powder using either a clean coffee grinder or a pestle. This a very easy way to make your own calcium supplement. I love this because there are a lot of concerns about the safety of many calcium sources in supplements on the market and as long as you get good quality eggs, this takes away the guess work.
My dog is 25 lbs so she needs 550 mg of calcium per day. (50mg per kg) She gets calcium from other sources so if I need to I only use 1/4- 1/2 tsp. based on the assessment that:
“One whole medium sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder, which yields about 750 – 800 mgs of elemental calcium plus other microelements, i.e. magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.”
- Dogs usually LOVE eggs!Even dogs who love food, don’t always love things that are healthy. Because eggs are so highly palatable, I use them as a food topper to help get my dog to eat other healthy items that she’s less fond of!
Calcium Phosphorus Ratio:
NOTE: Eggs without the shell will have more phosphorus than calcium in them. If you are not feeding them with other items that have calcium (bone) it is important that some calcium be added to balance this out. Each shell-less egg has about 78 mgs more phosphorus than calcium, this means you should add about 85 mgs of calcium if your dog is not getting it from other sources. An occasional egg will do no harm, this is more for those that use them every day without balance because the imbalance may add up.
The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1 or 1.2:1 in favor of slightly more calcium. Because calcium is the mineral that is required in the highest amount, phosphorus is number two. Phosphorus deficiency is very rare in dogs. Too much phosphorus is more common and can accelerate kidney failure or renal disease. Because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is so important in dog health, its important to pay special attention to the amounts of both in each food. Excess or deficiency of either can cause problems.
We feed about 4-5 raw eggs per week with bone and/or shell powder when we have it. We use a lot of eggs, but my dog also has plenty of bone in her diet so I don’t worry about it very much.
I love eggs because my dog loves eggs and they are so good for her and easy to keep in stock!