Eggs are a popular breakfast staple and are enjoyed all over the world. But can your dog enjoy them too? Can dogs eat egg shells as well as the egg itself, or only the white and yolk?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Can dogs eat egg shells?
Yes, egg shells are perfectly safe for dogs to eat. In fact, egg shells can be part of a healthy diet for dogs if prepared properly and given in moderation. Egg shells contain calcium, protein, vitamins, nutrients and amino acids which are all great for a dog’s health.
Is egg shell good for dogs?
Now we know dogs can eat egg shells, is it good to give dogs egg shells?
Eggs are cheap, nutritional and easily digestible for our canine friends. Wild dogs used to take whole raw eggs from nests and eat them without any risk to their health.
The main advantages of egg shells that your dog can benefit from are:
Calcium and phosphorus
Calcium and phosphorus are both essential nutrients that should form part of a healthy canine diet.
Their main role is to build and repair bones, teeth and cartilage, but it also helps with hormone transmission.
Like bones, whole eggs contain both calcium and phosphorus, making them a great food supplement for dogs.
An insufficient amount of calcium and phosphorus in your dog’s diet could lead to defective bone formation disease. Too much of these nutrients could also increase your pooch’s susceptibility to genetic diseases such as heart disease and hip dysplasia.
Protein is an essential nutrient and aids many functions for keeping your dog’s body healthy and running well, including:
- Maintaining and repairing skin, muscles, bones and hair.
- Muscle growth.
- Supporting the immune system.
- Transporting oxygen in the blood.
- Production of antibodies, enzymes and hormones.
Protein is also needed as a source of calories to fuel your dog’s body.
Amino acids are also essential for muscle growth and transporting nutrients around the body where they are used to build body proteins. In fact, dogs require the following 10 different amino acids to stay fit and healthy.
Egg shells contain all of the 10 essential amino acids that canines need, making them an easy way to ensure your pooch is getting the nutrients and minerals they require. There are two types of amino acids – essential and nonessential. It is the essential amino acids that your dog’s body cannot produce, or produce in the required quantity, fast enough on its own to grow and stay healthy. These types of amino acids must be supplied to your dog through its diet. The nonessential amino acids are produced by your dog in sufficient amounts naturally in the body and usually do not need to be supplemented through its diet.
Vitamins are complex substances and when discovered in the early 20th century, it changed the way the world understood nutrition for both people and animals. Vitamins work together with other nutrients to nourish the body, which means that it is extremely important to provide a balanced amount of vitamins and nutrients in your dog’s diet. Some of the key vitamins are as follows.
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for canines that keeps their coat healthy and shiny. It also supports vision, bone growth, reproduction and immune response in dogs.
A lack of Vitamin A can lead to blindness and even muscle deterioration in extreme cases. Vitamin A is even more important for Puppies and pregnant dogs as they need it for growth and neurological development. Vitamin A also has antioxidant functions meaning that it can provide additional support for your dog’s natural defenses.
Vitamin E aids the development of a strong immune system and helps fight bacteria and viruses that your dog may pick up. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that will protect cells from being damaged. Vitamin E is also important for a dog’s heart, liver and nerve cell membranes.
Eggs contain high levels of Vitamin E, making them a great addition to a healthy and balanced diet.
Vitamin B6 aids brain development and promotes overall well-being and growth in dogs. Vitamin B6 also helps with the production of red blood cells and maintains healthy brain functionality, and is needed for absorbing Vitamin B12.
Strontium helps prevent bone loss by keeping your dog’s bones healthy and strong.
Fluoride helps your dog to produce strong teeth.
Too much Fluoride can cause digestive problems in dogs, so make sure your pooch isn’t getting more than their recommended daily allowance.
Fluoride is present in toothpaste so if you are thinking of brushing your pooch’s teeth, never use human toothpaste. There are several pet-friendly toothpastes available and these are often flavored like meat, poultry and other dog-friendly flavors.
Selenium has been proven to prevent cell damage and has also been found to reduce cases of cancer in dogs.
An egg shell membrane contains Glucosamine, Hyaluronic acid, Chondroitin and Collagen which can reduce joint pain in dogs.
Can puppies eat egg shells?
Yes, puppies can eat egg shells too. However, egg shells are not a good source of calcium for puppies because they need lots more than adult dogs to grow strong bones.
It’s important that the egg has been cooked thoroughly first to avoid salmonella poisoning, especially for younger dogs with sensitive tummies.
Boiled eggs for dogs are a better option because they are cooked. Avoid cooking them in oil for a healthier snack that is packed full of protein, linoleic acid and Vitamin A. The Vitamin D contained in eggs also helps puppies with their metabolism, brain development and liver function. Egg yolks have been proven to reduce the risk of cataracts in dogs as well.
Never replace puppy food with eggs or egg shells. Puppy food contains all the nutrients and calories that a young dog needs to support growth, brain development and maintain high energy levels.
Can a dog get sick from eating egg shells?
If your dog eats egg shells that haven’t been prepared in the correct way or eats too much of them, they could get sick. In most cases, dogs will have temporary side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Weight-related health issues
Different breeds of dogs require different amounts of calories per day. For example, a large breed of dog such as a German Shepherd needs between 1,700 and 2,100 calories a day. On the other hand, a small breed of dog like a Chihuahua needs only 325 calories each day.
An average-sized egg is approximately 70 calories, which is a significant proportion of their daily allowance. If you feed your dog eggs or egg shells, make sure you’re taking into account these calories to avoid overfeeding and excess weight gain.
Eggs contain bacteria that can be harmful to both humans and dogs.
Salmonella poisoning is uncommon in dogs, however if they do consume an egg that carries salmonella germs, they could suffer from sickness, dehydration and diarrhea for up to six weeks. Salmonellosis is a particular type of infection that is caused by Salmonella bacterium, which can lead to gastroenteritis and septicemia in rare cases. Take the same care as you would for preparing eggs for yourself and properly cook them before serving to your dog as this will reduce the risk of them coming into contact with harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
Raw egg whites contain avidin, which is an enzyme that prevents biotin from being absorbed in the body. Biotin is an important vitamin in dogs that helps keep skin, cells, metabolism and digestion healthy. But can dogs eat raw eggs? Raw eggs are unlikely to cause long-term health issues, but biotin deficiency is something to consider before feeding raw eggs to your pet.
Can dogs be allergic to eggs?
Like humans, our canine companions can also be born with or develop allergies to certain foods. An egg allergy is one of the most common types of allergens in dogs, which is caused by a reaction to the proteins in the yolk of an egg.
Symptoms of egg allergies in dogs include:
- Consistent licking.
- Poor growth.
- Skin rashes and infections.
- Paw biting.
- Face rubbing.
- Chronic gas and ear infections.
- Inflamed paws.
If your dog develops any of the symptoms described above, it’s important to get a veterinarian to test for allergens and prescribe the appropriate treatments and diet.
Is cholesterol in eggs bad for dogs?
Cholesterol doesn’t affect dogs in the same way that it does in humans, which means it’s safe to feed your dog the whole egg and not just the whites.
What happens if dogs eat egg shells?
Some smaller dogs may have trouble biting a whole egg that’s still in its shell.
If your dog isn’t used to chewing its food properly, egg shell fragments may cause some discomfort for your dog in their throat or stomach. It’s unlikely to cause them any harm, however it may make them uncomfortable until the shell has been digested. Don’t be alarmed if you find white flecks (bits of egg shell) in their stools. If your dog has difficulty digesting the shell of an egg, it’s better to make it into a powder first.
How many egg shells can a dog eat?
Eggs and egg shells should be given as a nutritional treat for your dog. Seek advice from your veterinarian if you’re unsure how much to feed your pet. The exact amount of eggs or egg shells to serve your dog will depend on factors such as breed, size, age, level of fitness and whether they have any existing health issues.
- Puppies need approximately 3 grams of calcium every day.
- Dogs need approximately 1.25 grams of calcium every day.
Too many egg shells could upset your dog’s stomach, so don’t give them too many. One egg shell per day is plenty for adult dogs, while puppies should only be given one egg shell per week.
How to feed your dog egg shells
So now you know it’s safe, what is the best way to feed your four-legged friend egg shells?
Eggshell powder for dogs
This is a really quick and easy process to follow and it’s a great way to use the shells you would otherwise throw away. Wash and dry your egg shells first, then simply grind them up using a blender or food processer to make a powder. If you do not have a blender or food processer, a pestle and mortar will do a good job of grinding the shells into a powder. Pop the blended egg shells on to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes to make sure any pathogens are destroyed before serving to your dog. Once cooled you can then add the eggshell powder to your dog’s usual food as a nutritional supplement.
It is important that you use farm-fresh eggs and avoid bleached grocery store eggs as chemicals are used to clean the egg shells, which could be harmful to your dog if consumed.
Store the powdered egg shells in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two months.
So, your dog ate egg shell
To conclude, egg shells are safe for dogs to eat in moderation and are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy pooch. Remember that eggs and egg shells should be given as a food supplement, not a food source on its own.
Powdered egg shell is the easiest way for your dog to digest and benefit from the goodness that an egg shell contains.
So the next time you have eggs for breakfast, don’t forget to save the shells and make some nutritional eggshell powder that can be added to your dog’s usual food. It’s quick and easy and you will be happy knowing you have made the most of your food waste but at the same time added to your dog’s wellbeing.
- Instructables Living, ‘Eggshell Powder for Dogs (or People)’, https://www.instructables.com/Eggshell-Powder-for-dogs-or-people/, Accessed – 6 May 2021
- Vet Guru, ‘Best Dog Food for Autoimmune Disease [Reviewed 2021]’, https://www.vetguru.com/best-dog-food-for-autoimmune-disease/, Accessed – 6 May 2021
Animal Nerdz, ‘What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Eggshells?’, https://animalnerdz.com/dog-ate-eggshells/, Accessed – 6 May 2021