Keeping your dog happy and healthy begins with his diet—and you might be surprised to learn that he needs a lot more than dog food. Knowing what foods your pup can and can’t eat isn’t as simple as you might think. But since you’re the one in charge of his meals and snacks, it’s one of the most important parts of being a dog parent.
While it’s fun to experiment with feeding your dog different foods, there’s a fine line between what’s good and not good for him. Even the most careful dog owner can feed their precious companion the wrong things.
One food that you might have wondered about is raw egg. Although we humans generally prefer our eggs cooked, raw eggs are just as nutritious. They’re packed with high-quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. But can dogs eat raw eggs?
The benefits of feeding dogs raw eggs
Dogs can eat raw eggs. What’s more, they’re an excellent addition to his diet! Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. They’re a perfect protein source and easy to digest. They’re also very affordable.
Eggs are rich in protein
Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids in the right ratios, which makes them a ‘complete’ protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. These amino acids are required for supporting your dog’s fur, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
Protein helps to maintain and repair cells and other tissues. It’s also very important for the proper function of your dog’s immune system. It plays a role in making hormones, antibodies, and enzymes. Protein can also be a source of calories to fuel his daily energy levels.
Eggs provide a huge range of nutrients
Eggs are abundant in all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs in his diet every day. They contain all the B vitamins, which are vital for energy production and nervous system maintenance. Eggs also contain vitamins A and D, which contribute to healthy vision and proper immune system function. Phosphorus helps build strong bones and teeth. Iron helps him produce the hemoglobin required to carry oxygen around his body.
And that’s not all! Eggs also contain:
- Selenium: an important antioxidant that protects your dog’s body and immune system
- Iodine: to ensure proper function of his thyroid gland
- Vitamin E: another antioxidant to protect him against disease
- Zinc: to help with normal growth, wound healing, blood formation, and tissue maintenance
- Calcium: for building and maintain bones and teeth
- Biotin: to support cell metabolism and the utilization of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
- Lecithin: to provide acetylcholine required for proper brain function
- Choline: a vital nutrient in many metabolic processes, including those of liver, heart, and brain
- Lutein: to support your dog’s eye health
Eggs provide important fatty acids
Eggs contain a host of essential omega-3 fatty acids. These include alpha-linolenic (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). These polyunsaturated fatty acids are critical to the health of your dog’s brain, eyes, immune system, and reproductive system. They play a key role in fetal and neonatal development. Fatty acids are also thought to reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation. They are also shown to help manage arthritis, dementia, anxiety, and dental health.
Eggshells are a good source of calcium
That’s right - dogs can eat eggshells, too! The shell is a great source of calcium, which supports his bones and teeth.
Risks of dogs eating raw eggs
There are some stories that raw eggs pose a risk of salmonella poisoning. A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown that only 0.003% of the billions of eggs produced every year are contaminated with salmonella. That’s a very low risk! In fact, your dog is more likely to get salmonella poisoning from food kept in a dirty refrigerator than from eating raw eggs.
Another concern is that egg whites contain avidin, a substance that inhibits biotin. Biotin is a very important B vitamin required for your dog’s fatty acid metabolism, cellular growth, and the health of his skin and coat. But your dog would have to eat a lot of raw eggs to create a biotin deficiency! What’s more, egg yolks are a rich source of biotin. So, as long as you feed your dog the whole egg, it’s unlikely he will wind up with a biotin deficiency.
Serving suggestions for raw eggs for dogs
When choosing eggs to feed your dog, stick to organic eggs laid by free-range hens. These will be free from harmful chemicals and more likely to contain higher levels of nutrients.
Serving raw egg to your dog is actually pretty easy. You can simply crack a fresh egg right on top of his normal meal, or mash it into his other food. Get creative with dog-friendly smoothies by blending raw egg with goat’s milk and blueberries!
As with any new food, it’s important to start small. Try feeding your one raw egg and observing his reaction. Most veterinarians say it’s safe for dogs to eat several eggs a week, but it’s still wise to build up slowly.
A whole egg may be a bit too much for a small dog, so you may want to limit his intake to 1–3 per week.
Wondering what other ‘human’ foods your dog can eat? Keep reading…