People love eggs. In fact, the average American is projected to eat around 285 eggs in 2020. And what’s not to love? They’re packed with protein and nutrients, and there are so many ways to eat them: scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, poached, eggs Benedict—we could go on and on. For pet parents who love their eggs, the question becomes inevitable—can our dogs eat eggs, too?
They sure can! While they shouldn’t be having any of your brunchtime benny (keep all that Hollandaise sauce for yourself!), plain eggs are good for dogs—and yummy, too.
We spoke with veterinarians and pet nutritionists to give you the full story on feeding dogs eggs. Our guide will explain the nutritional benefits of eggs and how to introduce them to your dog’s diet. Egg-sited to learn more? Let’s get started.
Benefits of Eggs for Dogs
Eggs are just as nutritious and delicious for your furry friend as they are for you.
Pet nutritionist Dr. Kathy Gross, MS, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAN, worldwide director of clinical nutrition for Hill’s Pet Nutrition in Topeka, Kansas, says eggs are a great source of highly digestible, quality protein and provide the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids your pup needs to stay healthy.
Dr. Albert Ahn, DVM, strategic advisor for MYOS Pet in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, agrees.
“For this reason, pet parents will turn to this nutritionally-packed food as a treat or a portion of the regular daily diet,” says Dr. Ahn, “as a protein-rich food, eggs can help dogs to build strong muscles.”
And want to know what else is great? Compared to other sources of protein like chicken and turkey, eggs are “reasonably cost-efficient,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Yep, eggs can be a good choice for dogs since they’re both healthy and affordable. It’s a win-win!
Be Careful When Feeding Your Dog Eggs
Eggs can be a yummy, healthy treat for pups if fed to them properly. Read on to learn more about the right and wrong ways to feed your dog eggs.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs?
Technically, yes, dogs can eat raw eggs. But that doesn’t mean they should. It’s much safer to cook eggs first to make sure there’s no harmful salmonella.
“Raw eggs fed to pets have the same risks as people eating raw eggs,” says Dr. Klein. “Cooking eggs reduces that risk.”
If your dog eats raw eggs and gets salmonella, you can potentially get it, too.
Dogs with salmonella may not show symptoms, although diarrhea is common. However, dogs can still be carriers of the bacteria, and humans can still contract the bacteria through contact with an infected dog’s feces.
When feeding your dog eggs, make sure to give them the yolk, too. Egg whites contain an ezyme that prevents the absorption of biotin in the body, and dogs that eat raw egg whites over a prolonged period are at risk of developing a biotin deficiency. Biotin is an important vitamin that supports the health of your dog’s skin, digestion, metabolism and cells. “This deficiency can be countered by feeding the entire egg (with yolk) or cooking eggs,” says Dr. Klein.
Can Dogs Eat Eggshells?
Even though eggshells are rich in calcium—which is an essential mineral for dogs—there are two reasons why pet parents should avoid giving their dog eggshells, according to Dr. Ahn.
First, shells from raw eggs may have salmonella. Secondly, even shells from cooked eggs still have sharp edges that could potentially cause gastrointestinal irritation. And if you happen to have a dog that gets so excited at mealtime that they inhale their food without chewing, those sharp edges could cause some problems.
Instead of giving your pup eggshells at home, try buying food or treats that have all the health benefits of eggshells. Zuke’s Hip & Joint Beef Recipe Dog Treats contains eggshell membrane without the sharp edges from eggshells that can harm your pup
How to Feed Eggs to Your Dog
You should always talk to your vet before adding a new food to their diet. If your dog has never eaten eggs before, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Some dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to eggs, says Dr. Klein, so ask your pet’s vet what symptoms to watch for.
Once you’ve gotten the green light from your vet, you can start incorporating eggs into your dog’s diet slowly. “Consider one egg once or twice per week to make sure your dog does not have any gastrointestinal issues afterwards,” says Dr. Klein.
Be sure to cook the eggs thoroughly, says Kara M. Burns, MS, M.Ed., LVT, VTS (Nutrition), founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and a pet nutritional consultant with EmerAid, a division of Lafeber Co. in Cornell, Illinois. Eggs need a temperature of about 160 degress Fahrenheit to properly cook. You should cook eggs without any oil, butter, salt or other additives, adds Dr. Klein.
Here are a few fun ways to feed your dog eggs, courtesy of Dr. Ahn:
- Crumble some hard-boiled egg directly onto your dog’s food.
- Make scrambled eggs and serve them as part of your dog’s meal.
- Boil an egg, slice it into rings, and feed a few rings to your dog as a snack.
- Make an omelet with spinach, diced tomatoes and lean turkey breast. (A favorite of Dr. Ahn’s Golden Retriever, Fenton!)
Feed Your Dog Eggs in Moderation
Pet parents should watch how many eggs their dog is eating, says Burns. “Eggs are fairly high in fat,” says Dr. Ahn. Eggs have about 5 grams of fat each. “And for this reason, they may not be appropriate for obese-prone or overweight dogs. As the old saying goes, ‘everything in moderation.’”
Egg Treats for Dogs
Another fun way to feed your dog eggs is with treats. There are also several brands of dry and wet dog foods that include eggs.
Here are a few suggestions:
Egg Treats We Love
Dog Food with Eggs
Homemade Dog Treat Recipes with Eggs
If you want to get creative in the kitchen, try your hand at these DIY dog treats that feature eggs as an ingredient.