Written by: Allison Shalla, Dogly Wellness Advocate & Canine Nutritionist
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet! They contain important brain nutrients and powerful antioxidants that help protect eye health, the immune system, and healthy skin & coat.
Eggs are one of the most common “human foods” that dog owners feed to their pets because they are such a versatile food. I know many pet parents who cook up some eggs for their pooch along with their own weekend breakfast.
Eggs are really a powerhouse of nutritional value and are a great option for dogs! One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein and 5 grams of fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. You may have heard that eggs are bad for people and pets because of their cholesterol content, so let’s dive into that. One medium-sized egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for humans. That may sound like a lot, but there are good cholesterols and bad cholesterols. Egg yolks are the part that is high in cholesterol, but eggs consistently raise HDL, the “good” kind of cholesterol. As well, egg whites contain mostly protein and are actually low in cholesterol.
So, in short, the answer is a resounding yes! As with most foods, there are always some precautions to be aware of. Avoid feeding excessive amounts of cholesterol if your dog’s blood levels are raised. If your dog has diabetes, you may want to limit eggs as they can increase the risk of heart disease. Lastly, if your dog has food allergies to eggs (or even to chicken protein), you may want to avoid them.
Now let’s look at the specific health benefits.
Eggs are a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, and several amino acids like Leucine, and a very good source of Protein and Selenium. Eggs are also high in antioxidants that can reduce the risk of eye diseases. Let’s look at why this is important.
Dogs require 10 essential amino acids: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine. You may have heard a lot about Taurine - while it is not considered an essential amino acid for dogs, some individuals and dog breeds are unable to synthesize their own taurine, so they must get it from their diet, which is why you see it added to many dog foods. Eggs are a good source of several of these amino acids, which all play a role in overall health.
For optimal health, animals need a mixture of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids that are considered essential for most animals are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), all of which are omega-3 fatty acids. 1 large egg contains a total of 37mg omega-3 fatty acids and 574mg omega-6 fatty acids. Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential omega-6 fatty acid for ALL animals.
Animals lacking in linoleic acid often have health problems like poor skin and haircoat, even abnormal growth (in young animals), and weakened immune systems. Feeding eggs provides a good source of these fatty acids. If you want to make sure your dog is getting the proper amount of fatty acids in their diet, consider using Native Pet's Omega Oil for dogs, which is packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and fur.
Let’s look at some of the other things eggs are rich in. 1 large egg contains:
0.2mg of Riboflavin which is 14% of the human Daily Value (DV)
15.8mcg of Selenium, 23% DV
244IU of Vitamin A, 5% DV
0.6mcg of Vitamin B12, 11% DV
23.5mcg of Folate, 6% DV
Learn more here.
While dogs do not have the same daily nutritional requirements as humans, these are all still essential to a dog’s daily requirements for optimal health.
Additionally, eggs can help increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) and therefore aid in weight loss.
You may have heard of dog owners feeding their dog raw eggs, by cracking a raw egg over their dog’s kibble. You may have wondered,“Is that safe? Don’t raw eggs have a risk of salmonella?” Feeding raw food diets has become increasingly popular in the past several years, including the feeding of raw eggs. Because dogs’ stomachs are different from a human’s, their risk of becoming ill from things like salmonella is greatly decreased. They can still carry salmonella (and yes, it can be passed on to humans), but it does not make them ill as it does with people. Since dogs’ “ancestral diet” contained raw meat and eggs, their digestive systems have been built to withstand things like salmonella.
That said, consuming large amounts of raw egg whites ONLY on a regular basis for an extended time can cause something called biotin deficiency. This is because avidin, which is present in high amounts in egg whites, binds with biotin making it unavailable for proper absorption. However, this is of little concern when feeding whole raw eggs because the egg yolk contains high amounts of biotin, counteracting this concern. Another way to avoid biotin deficiency is by cooking the eggs. Cooking eggs denatures the avidin, so it cannot bind with the biotin.
If you are currently feeding a balanced commercial food, adding large amounts of “extras,” even fresh foods, can throw off the balance of things like calcium and phosphorus. One teaspoon of ground egg shells contains approx. 1800mg of calcium - a substantial amount! So be sure to account for this in your dog’s nutritional requirements if you are feeding whole eggs with shell to avoid excessive calcium, which can lead to problems like kidney stones and improper bone growth.
A good guideline is to use a 20% rule for human foods as toppers to a commercially balanced diet. What that means is that fresh food “toppers” should not account for more than 20% of your dog’s diet. So, if you feed your dog 2 cups of commercial dog food, you can replace up to 20% of that amount - 0.4 cups or 3.2oz - with fresh foods, like eggs, cooked meats, fruits, and veggies.
Studies have shown that adding up to 20% fresh food ingredients to a dog's commercial diet can boost nutrition and extend life. Even the most high-quality kibble available on the market is subject to nutrient loss in the high-temperature rendering process. These nutrients need to be added back into the kibble in the form of synthetic vitamins & minerals. Fresh foods often provide a much more bioavailable version of these nutrients.
Eggs can be a great option for a bland diet as well. A common recommendation is to feed boiled chicken and rice if your dog has an upset stomach, but cooked eggs are also a great protein option for a bland diet. Eggs are easily digestible and can be combined with things like pumpkin or sweet potato for a highly digestible bland diet. See our other article on potatoes for dogs here.
Eggs are also a common ingredient in baked dog treats, which is a great way to incorporate them into your dog’s diet easily.
In addition to the many health benefits, adding a variety of fresh foods to your dog’s diet provides enrichment. Imagine eating the same dry food day in and day out for every meal? Boring! Adding variety helps your dog get excited for mealtime, provides mental stimulation, and improves satiety.
As discussed above, some dog owners like to provide raw eggs. If you are concerned about biotin deficiency or your dog doesn’t like the texture, you can avoid this by feeding cooked eggs. This can include scrambled eggs, fried eggs (lightly fried in a small amount of healthy oil like coconut oil, so they don’t stick to the pan), or poached eggs. Free range, organic eggs offer additional health benefits, and you can even get Omega-3 fortified eggs if your dog requires additional Omega-3.
My own dogs all prefer their eggs to be cooked, and they will still reap all the benefits that eggs have to offer. Get cracking!
For more wellness advice, join my Community on Dogly where you can ask questions and get 24/7 access to certified experts across nutrition, training & behavior, and wellness to give you and your dog your best life together.
If your dog could use some digestion help and a healthier gut to absorb and access all the good nutrients you’re feeding, check out Native Pet’s Probiotic carefully created by their team of nutritionists and veterinarians.
How to cook eggs for dogs?
Mix the inner part of the egg with a bit of water and mix it properly. Put this mix in pan and and keep moving with a spatula. Once the mix has a scrambled look, serve it cold to your dog.
Can I feed my dog scrambled eggs daily?
Yes. But, keep it just the 20% of total daily meal. Always calculate the calories and nutrients before starting whit this diet plan.
How much egg can I feed to my dog?
20% of the total canine commercially balanced diet.
Can dogs eat egg shells?
Yes. Most of the dogs can eat egg shells. But, dogs with allergies to eggs or egg shells should not be given egg shells to eat.
How many eggs can a dog should eat everyday?
A dog should not consume more than 1 egg per day. For smaller dogs and pups the quantity is less.
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