Contrary to many things you read on the Internet, or even what your veterinarian may tell you, raw eggs are quite healthy for your dog. Canine nutritionists and people who feed their dogs a raw diet recommend feeding them to dogs and give them to their own dogs on a regular basis. Eggs are an inexpensive and nutritionally complete source of protein, vitamins and minerals (though their cost is rising in the U.S.). They are very good for your dog, whether you serve them raw or cooked, though they are even more nutritious uncooked. It’s perfectly fine to give your dog raw eggs.
Egg myths and reality
Some myths about feeding eggs to dogs that you might have heard include “Eggs will give my dog salmonella;" “Eggs are high in cholesterol;" “Eggs are hard to digest;" and “Eggs will cause a biotin deficiency." Nope. Not true. Dogs are more than capable of handling salmonella. When dog foods and treats are recalled due to the possibility of salmonella, it is not so much because it could harm your dog, but because of the risk to humans from handling these foods that might have salmonella. If you take normal precautions with eggs, you shouldn’t have any special problems with salmonella for you or your dog. Your dog’s stomach acid is much stronger than yours, and food stays in his stomach for a short time compared to your own digestion. He is capable of eating foods (and garbage) that would knock you out.
As for cholesterol, this is one issue that doesn’t affect dogs in the same way it does humans. Your dog will not have a heart attack from plaque in the arteries. Dogs can have high levels of fat in their blood (hyperlipidemia), but unless your dog is diabetic or has hypothyroidism, most dogs don’t have to watch their cholesterol and can safely eat uncooked eggs.
Some people think raw eggs are hard to digest, but most dogs have no problem with them. Egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion in puppies and elderly dogs. You should not make eggs the main part of the diet, especially in these cases. However, most dogs will have no problem digesting raw eggs. We suggest giving your dog one or two raw eggs and see how he digests them. If he has no problems, then you can safely feed him eggs as part of his diet. You can also cook the egg whites if you prefer, but this will remove some of their nutritional content.
As for raw eggs causing a biotin deficiency, this is false. They contain avidin, a B vitamin, which is a biotin inhibitor. Biotin is also a B vitamin and organisms need it for cell growth, to metabolize fatty acids, and for good skin and coat. However, it is rare to find a biotin deficiency and your dog would have to eat massive amounts of eggs to have one. In addition, the yolk of the egg is high in biotin, which balances out the avidin found in the egg white. So, it’s always best to feed your dog the entire raw egg, and not just one part of it. Again, you could cook the egg white to get rid of the avidin, but this would also reduce the nutritional value of the egg.
In addition, you can feed your dog the shell of the egg to add a good source of calcium to his diet. Give him the entire raw egg, in the shell. Or dry the shell and grind it in your coffee grinder or with a utensil. Then sprinkle the powdered eggshell on your dog’s food.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can give your dog. They have a bioavailability rating of 100, meaning that the body is able to use all of the nutrition in the egg. By comparison, fish has a bioavailability rating of 92, and beef and chicken come in much lower, in the 70s. Your dog is able to use the protein and all the vitamins and minerals in the egg to the greatest extent.
Many dog food manufacturers add eggs (usually in powdered form) to their foods to increase protein and nutritional value.
Eggs are good not just for your dog, but for just about any mammal. They carry the nutrition inside to feed the developing chick. They are full of amino acids for protein. They also contain the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Fatty Acids
Most dogs can benefit from eating raw eggs. If you have a large dog (over 60 pounds), you should be able to give him two eggs per day. If you have a medium dog (between 30 and 60 pounds), you could give him one egg per day. If you have a small dog (under 30 pounds), he could eat half an egg per day. Or you could give a small dog an egg every other day.