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Can Dogs Eat Eggshells? Cracking the Code

Eggs are full of nutrients, but as dog owners, you may have wondered whether eggshells are safe for dogs or should be avoided.

Can Dogs Eat Eggshells? Cracking the Code

Eggs are full of nutrients, but as dog owners, you may have wondered whether eggshells are safe for dogs or should be avoided.

By: Kayla Kowalski, Certified Canine Nutritionist

Eggs are full of nutrients, but as dog owners, you may have wondered whether eggshells are safe for dogs or should be avoided.

The short answer is yes, your dog can eat eggshells. However, the quality of the eggshells matter. In this post, we'll explore the potential benefits and risks of eggshells for your dog and how eggshells can be fed safely as part of a balanced diet.


Health Benefits of Eggshells for Dogs

Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate, which helps your dog have strong bones and teeth. When ground into a powder, the shell of one large egg usually equals about 1 teaspoon or 5 grams of eggshell powder. There is around 350mg of calcium in each gram of eggshell powder. This means 1 eggshell that weighs 5g contains about 1,750mg of calcium

For adult dogs eating 1,000 calories daily, one teaspoon of eggshell powder can make a nutritious addition to a homemade or raw food diet. If your dog eats a balanced diet, their calcium requirements are likely already met through regular meals.

Eggshell membranes (the thin layer stuck to the inside of the shell) are a good source of collagen, glucosamine, and other joint-friendly nutrients, which help both younger and older dogs stay mobile as their joints age.

Risks of Feeding Dogs Eggshells

Eggshells come with many health benefits, but there are also potential risks to consider depending on the types of eggs you buy. Naturally occurring bacteria, like salmonella, or harmful chemicals and additives that improve the appearance of store-bought eggs can cause health problems with excessive feeding. Typically, farm-fresh eggs tend to be safer than store-bought eggs.

When feeding a new food, pay close attention to your dog to ensure they don't have an intolerance to it, resulting in diarrhea or bloating. Some dogs may experience digestive issues when new foods are added to their diet, but the side effects will fade after about a week. Every dog is unique, so when in doubt, consult your vet.

You also have to consider the choking hazard associated with eggshells. While feeding your pup the whole egg or crushed-up shells may be easier than supplementing their diet with eggshell powder, doing this can lead to a blockage in their throat, especially for smaller dogs. The safest preparation and feeding method includes grinding the eggshells into a fine powder

How to Safely Prepare Eggshells for Dogs

Eggs commonly found in the grocery store are often treated to make their shells shiny and appealing, but these chemicals aren't great for your dog's health. Ideally, you should choose eggs from organic, farm-raised chickens, eggs that are free from added hormones or antibiotics.

While a dog's digestive system is generally capable of dealing with bacteria, like salmonella, it's always a good idea to boil eggshells for 5–10 minutes or bake them at 200°F for 15-20 minutes.

Then, once the shells have thoroughly dried, you can grind them into a fine powder. A convenient way to do this is with a coffee grinder or food processor — but make sure it's clean before use.

Mixing Eggshells with Dog Food

Eggshell powder is best for dogs eating a homemade diet. Eggshells can be easily prepared ahead of time in bulk. You can store the prepared eggshells in an air-tight container and add them to your dog's meals throughout the week. The powdered eggshells can be stirred and thoroughly mixed into your dog's food or added as a topper.

As with all supplements to your dog's diet, moderation is key. Too much calcium can lead to various health conditions. Adult dogs can generally have 1.25 teaspoons of eggshell powder per 1,000 calories of food. If your dog has never had eggs or eggshells, it's best to start slowly. Try half a teaspoon for the first few weeks and adjust if needed. 

When it comes to how often your dog should eat eggshells, this can range from twice a day to twice a week. Ultimately, the amount and frequency should be tailored to their nutritional needs and age and adjusted for specific dog breeds.

Also, remember that dogs should have more than just one supplement if you want to ensure all their nutritional needs are being met. You could add probiotics to your pup's diet to boost their digestive health when feeding them eggshells. Native Pet's probiotic powder is a great supplement to promote a healthy, thriving gut flora. You can add the probiotic as a topper to their meals alone or in addition to eggshells.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs or Boiled Eggs?

Dogs can eat eggs raw or cooked, which includes boiled eggs. The egg whites and the egg yolks are healthy for your pup.

Eggs are rich in essential amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D, which are great for a balanced diet. However, eggs in human foods, like restaurant-quality omelets or scrambled eggs, should be avoided due to the extra salt and other seasonings.

It's best to cook eggs at home, making sure nothing is added to the eggs. Raw eggs can be included with your dog's meal or as a treat. Raw eggs contain a complete nutrient and mineral profile, whereas cooked eggs, like hard-boiled eggs, have fewer nutrients. Dogs should never eat more than one egg per day.

Alternative Sources of Calcium for Dogs

Eggshells are an excellent source of dietary calcium for your pup, but if your pup doesn't like them, don't worry. Other excellent sources for your dog's calcium requirements are raw bones from chickens, ducks, turkeys, and other animals.

If you're intimidated by the prep work involved with feeding your dog eggshells, you can always opt for a calcium supplement. Calcium supplements are a healthy addition to your dog's raw or cooked diet and an easy and safe way to improve their overall health

Working with a canine nutritionist can help ensure your dog has enough calcium to keep their bones, joints, and muscles in great shape. The right amount of calcium means they'll be healthier and happier for longer! 


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