Eggs for Dogs
Are eggs part of your dog's diet? Eggs have a very impressive nutrition resume.
Eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein, containing all essential amino acids, iron, vitamins A, B6, B12, D, some vitamin E, selenium, zinc and iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids (depending on the food fed to the laying hens). As well, two important antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are contained in the yolk, are reported to benefit eye health. Interestingly, eggs have an almost equally balanced 1:1 protein to fat ratio.
The diets' of the laying hens impact the nutrient levels in eggs; free range, organically raised chickens living outdoors, eating their own species appropriate food, have higher amounts of vitamins D and E, and omega-3 fatty acids. It's nice if you can find these type of eggs, for yourself and your dog, but not essential.
Feed the whole raw egg, but avoid feeding the shell of commercial eggs since they are sprayed with chemicals to prolong freshness. If you need to use eggshells to provide your dog with calcium, use organic, farm fresh eggs if you can find them. Dog diets that are correctly formulated with raw edible bones as the source of calcium, don't require the addition of eggshells as a calcium source, although some eggshell here and there isn't of concern.
It's a good idea to wash the egg before cracking to reduce the possibility of salmonella contamination, and wash your hands after handling the cracked eggs (this is more for your safely than your dog's.)
Feed the Eggshell Membrane
This is a tip I learned from Steve Brown's book, Unlocking The Canine Ancestral Diet: feed the membrane from the inside of the eggshell. Eggshell membranes are a natural source of glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and collagen, which are known to benefit a dog's joints and reduce tissue inflammation; so you definitely won't want to compost or green bin such a great piece of nutrition for your dog.
It's a bit tricky to remove the membrane from the raw eggshell, and takes of bit of practice. Keep reading until the end to see how I remove the membrane from the inside of an eggshell.
Tips for Raw and Kibble Diets
Adding whole raw eggs to your raw fed dog's diet will provide an additional whole food source of nutrients, enhance the overall diet, and may help fill in some nutritional gaps. One large egg equals about 1 oz. of red meat in terms of calories.
Kibble fed dogs can benefit from the addition of eggs as a fresh whole food source of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. The average large egg contains about 70 calories, so you can replace 70 calories worth of kibble from your adult kibble fed dog's bowl, and add an egg. For example, if your dog's kibble contains 455 kcals per cup of food, remove between 1/4 and 1/8 cup of his kibble, and add an egg.
Individual diets and food requirements vary from dog to dog, which means you'll need to consider how many eggs per week are appropriate for your dog. If your dog has trouble digesting raw eggs, cooked eggs may be a better choice.
Protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, joint support, anti-oxidants - that's a lot of nutrition packed into one little egg - and all for about 25 cents for each egg!
Click the photo below to see how I remove the membrane from the inside of an eggshell.
Remember to test your dog's tolerance to eggs with a small amount before you begin adding them into the diet, and do not feed eggs if they are not well tolerated.