There are many human foods that dogs can eat, but there are also many that they shouldn’t eat, either because they’re not good for them, or because they pose real health threats to them. There are a lot of misconceptions and myths when it comes to feeding eggs to dogs, whether raw or cooked. Let’s look at some facts.
Are eggs safe for your dog?
Dogs can eat eggs, but there are some restrictions, in that you should never feed them to a dog that has diabetes or pancreatic disease. You can feed your canine friend a cooked egg so long as you didn’t add any spices, salt, or pepper to it. Dogs aren’t supposed to eat condiments and spices that you would normally add to any egg you’d cook for yourself or your family. Be sure to avoid adding onions, especially, to the eggs that you intend to give to your canine companion.
What nutrients do eggs contain?
As you probably know, if you are a dog parent, dogs are omnivores, so they are allowed foods other than meat. That’s the major difference between the diet that you should feed a dog and a cat. Cats are obligate carnivores, so they should not be fed food that doesn’t supply them with the right amount of protein.
Eggs are healthy for a number of reasons. They contain riboflavin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin B12, selenium, iron, as well as fatty acids.
However, they also contain plenty of cholesterol, as well as enzyme inhibitors (present in egg whites). These inhibitors can interfere with Fido’s digestion, especially in very old or very young animals. Plus, if you feed them uncooked, you might be exposing your canine friend to a variety of health issues, most of which are related to the fact that some dogs can carry Salmonella and other bacteria, too.
Can dogs eat raw eggs?
There are pet parents who feed their Fidos raw eggs as many as a couple of times per week or more. But as we have already mentioned, you could effectively give food poisoning to your dog if you aren’t sure whether the egg is safe to consume or not. You might say that the same batch of eggs was used in recipes or for different foods for yourself and nothing happened to you. Let’s consider that most people don’t eat raw eggs, so by cooking them you’re basically killing the germs that they might carry.
Besides, whenever deciding on what human foods dogs can have, you should take into account the fact that we have bigger bodies compared to dogs (especially small breeds) and as such, we can fend off the attack of a potentially pathogenic microorganism a lot better. Since we also live longer, we are exposed to a lot of bacteria, viruses, and other germs over time, which makes us develop a highly effective immune system.
Egg whites can cause biotin deficiency
Egg whites contain avidin, which is a Biotin inhibitor. Biotin is one of the B vitamins that are important for an animal’s fatty acid metabolism, good coat and skin, as well as his/her cellular growth. Although they are quite rare, biotin deficiencies can be caused by pet owners if they feed too many eggs to their canine friends on a weekly basis.
If you know that your pet loves eating raw eggs, we would suggest giving them in moderation. Biotin is available in a wide range of foods, from meat and bone meal to fish meal, whey powder, Brewer’s yeast, and even molasses.
But how does biotin deficiency look in a dog? This issue typically results in a reduced growth rate, so that’s why feeding eggs to a puppy is not recommended. It also produces a wide range of clinical signs, which mostly consist of dermal lesions. The animal can have a scruffy appearance caused by the exfoliation of the skin. The lesions can begin on the pet’s face and limbs, but they can quickly spread over the body if the deficiency isn’t solved.
Fortunately, this is a health problem that rarely occurs in cats and dogs. However, it can appear in those that are fed a biotin antagonist (the avidin in egg whites) or those that have undergone treatment with antibiotics.
In a study performed in 1963 (Greve et al.), biotin deficiency was seen in dogs that were fed a diet containing sulfaguanidine and spray-dried egg whites. The animals exhibited scruffy skin and a decline in urinary biotin concentration. In another report by Case et al. (1995), biotin deficiency in dogs included diarrhea, anorexia, and alopecia. Other studies, performed in 1989 and 2006, showed that dogs that had biotin deficiency had brittle hair, hair loss, scaly skin, dermatitis, as well as pruritus.
While biotin is generally a stable nutrient available in many foods, it can be inactivated by several substances, including chlorine. If you give your dog tap water, you might inadvertently cause biotin deficiency, as well. So, as you can see, not just egg whites pose a threat in this respect.
But didn’t dogs used to eat eggs in the wild?
Of course they did. Like their ancestors, dogs were likely to eat not just wild birds, but also their unhatched eggs. The issue here is that they didn’t really come across a nest every day of the week, so they had a lower chance of eating an egg or two than nowadays. Even though some people feed eggs to their dogs up to four times a week, we’d argue that giving your canine buddy one once a week is enough.
What about the eggshell?
Calcium is essential for a dog’s healthy development. The parathyroid gland is in charge of regulating the amount of phosphorus and calcium present in a dog’s blood. However, if your canine friend’s diet is deficient in calcium, the gland will search for it in Fido’s bones. This can lead to a variety of health issues, such as arthritis, broken bones, or just severe damage to your dog’s skeletal system.
If you want to prevent all of these from happening, you can do so by feeding your pet the eggshells that you’d otherwise throw out anyway. 12 eggshells can contain as much as 1800 milligrams of calcium. There are lots of recipes online for eggshell powder. Usually, you have to bake the eggshells for 5 to 7 minutes at 300F and then grind them in a coffee grinder or a blender for a minute or more, or just until you get a very fine powder. Add ¾ to a teaspoon into a cup of wet food and you will be supplying your dog with a healthy dose of calcium.