Can dogs eat eggs? Find out in our guide to dogs and eggs! Can you feed them cooked or raw? How to safely share eggs with your family dog.
Many of us enjoy eggs in their various forms as part of a healthy diet, but can our dogs eat eggs?
The answer is yes! Eggs can be just as healthy for our canine family members. In fact, canines eat eggs in the wild, shell and all. They instinctively know what’s good for them.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why eggs are good for dogs and how to prepare and feed them to your dogs safely.
What’s in an egg?
We all know where eggs come from. And that they consist of a hard outer shell, the egg white, and the yolk that’s is suspended in the egg white.
But have you ever wondered why eggs are so healthy? An egg is a nutritious meal in a small convenient package.
There are a great variety of nutrients in each part of an egg – proteins, fats and various vitamins and minerals. The egg yolk contains most of the nutrients.
When fed as a part of a raw food diet, eggs can provide many health benefits for dogs.
Let’s find out why eggs are so so good for dogs and what those benefits are.
Why are eggs good for dogs?
The nutrient composition of eggs closely resembles the natural diets of dogs prior to the introduction of the kibble that many dogs are fed today.
Eggs contain a high proportion of protein and fats – 6.3g of protein and 4.8g of fat in one egg. And no carbs. Protein is essential for all dogs, and very important for growing puppies. Fats supply most of a dog’s energy needs.
Eggs also contain a variety of the vitamins your dog needs. They are a particularly good source of:
- Vit A for vision and a healthy skin
- Vit D that regulates calcium which is important for bone and joint health
- Riboflavin which helps turn fat into energy, and is also necessary for skin health
- Pantothenic acid which is essential for creating energy at cellular level
- Pyridoxine that’s used in various metabolic processes
- Vit B12 which is used to produce red blood cells.
Eggs also have plenty of the following essential minerals:
- Calcium which is essential for strong bones – your puppy really needs enough of it Calcium also plays an important role in the nervous system
- Iron that’s needed in red blood cells to help distribute oxygen to organs and muscles
- Phosphorus that works in tandem with calcium
- Selenium which is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage.
If eggs are so good for dogs, can you feed your pet a lot of them?
Can dogs eat eggs every day?
Even though eggs are very nutritious for both humans and dogs alike, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Because one egg packs a full 70 calories your dog can gain weight if you feed too many of them.
Also, some dogs develop excessive, unpleasant gas if they eat too many eggs.
Can dogs eat eggs when they are sick or recovering?
When your dogs is sick or recovering from an illness or surgery he might need that extra boost. His condition has probably also have affected his appetite and he needs a kick-start to start eating again.
This is when eggs provide an ideal nutritious and digestible meal in a small portion. And what’s more – most dogs like eggs very much.
Dogs with anaemia (too few red blood cells) need lots of iron and Vit B9 which are plentiful in egg yolks.
Older dogs and those with chronic conditions like cancer or heart failure often lose, not only body fat, but also lean body mass (muscle). For these dogs the extra calories and protein provided by eggs are ideal.
We all know that dogs lose lose their appetite when they’re sick or have had an operation. You often need to stimulate their appetite to get them eating again – offering something that you know he likes, is nutritious, and easy to digest. Eggs fit the bill perfectly.
But are there situations in which dogs shouldn’t eat eggs?
Are eggs ever bad for dogs?
Although most dogs will eat eggs, some of could be allergic to them. If your dog is allergic to eggs you will of course never feed them to him.
Your dog can develop a food allergy at any time in his life. It’s the body’s response to certain proteins in food. So protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, dairy products, and soy products are the most common culprits for food allergies in dogs.
A food allergy is the most likely cause when your dog develops itching, digestive issues, and/or breathing problems that don’t respond to treatment by your vet. The symptoms cannot be alleviated without removing the offending food from the dog’s diet.
There’s another possible problem with feeding eggs to dogs. If you give your dog too many raw egg whites – like popping them into his bowl when the recipe calls for egg yolks only – he could develop a biotin deficiency.
Biotin helps to support your dog’s digestive process, skin health, and cells. A protein, avatin, in raw egg whites binds with biotin and prevents its absorption in the digestive tract.
A recognisable sign of biotin deficiency is hair loss around the face and eyes.
But maybe you’ve heard that you shouldn’t feed dogs raw eggs anyway. Let’s have a look.
Can dogs eat raw eggs?
Raw eggs are as healthy for dogs as cooked eggs.
They may pose a health risk to dogs and people if they are contaminated with Salmonella or other germs. In theory this means that you could get sick via your dog.
Dogs rarely develop an acute Salmonella infections although many have Salmonella organisms in their gut. These dogs are carriers who don’t become sick but can spread the germs to others.
Dogs can pick up Salmonella from raw foods they’re fed, from a dead animals they find outside, and even from contaminated kibble and pet treats. However, there haven’t been any confirmed cases of human salmonella infection linked to dogs on a raw food diet.
In the UK this isn’t an issue any more as Salmonella has been eliminated from the ‘lion branded’ egg supply. But in the USA it is a risk you need to decide on for yourself.
Some people choose not to feed raw eggs, raw chicken and other raw products that could be contaminated with Salmonella, or other germs, to their dogs. Many others feed their dogs on an entirely raw diet every day – a diet that includes raw eggs.
If you do feed raw eggs to dogs and you are not in a ‘safe egg’ zone such as the UK, then you need to take the same precautions as you would if you feed your dogs a raw meat diet.
Handle all raw foods safely
Make sure you wash your hands very well after handling the raw eggs. Don’t allow children to pet or play with a dog that has raw egg on his face and paws.
And it goes without saying that you should pick up your dog’s poop and dispose of it safely – no matter what he’s fed.
You can read more about the ‘raw meat and eggs safety debate‘ by following the link
If you’re going to feed your dog eggs, but are concerned about Salmonella, then it’s best to boil the eggs before serving them.
Can dogs eat cooked eggs?
Yes, dogs can eat cooked eggs. In fact, your vet may recommend that you cook eggs before you feed them to Fido or Fluffy.
You can feed your dogs boiled, poached, scrambled or fried eggs. But be careful of additions like milk or cooking eggs in butter or oil that provide too much fat. Dogs shouldn’t get any extra salt either.
Keep this in mind when you feed your pet leftover egg from your plate. Also be careful not to feed your pup eggs that were cooked alongside onions or other foods he shouldn’t eat.
Can dogs eat egg shells?
Yes, dogs can eat egg shells.
The shell provides almost the same nutrients as bones from animal carcasses. Egg shells are a a good source of calcium for dogs that can’t chew on bones anymore. You may want to crush the shells and mix them with other food to avoid choking.
You should always clean and boil eggs that will be served shell-on if you bought them in a shop. Some commercially sold eggs have chemicals sprayed on them so that they appear shiny.
Can dogs have eggs – a summary
Eggs are a complete meal in a neat package that dogs can benefit from as much as you can.
In short, dogs can eat eggs, be they raw or cooked, with or without the shell. Eggs provide dogs with protein, fats for energy, and several necessary vitamins and minerals. They can be an ideal boost for ill or recovering dogs.
Wash shell-on eggs before feeding them. Take care with your hygienic handling practices when feeding any raw foods. Boiling eggs will help reduce your dog’s chances of contracting and shedding the Salmonella germ.
Want to find out more about the best way to feed and care for your Labrador?
Then check out our amazing guide The Labrador Handbook.
A complete guide to finding, keeping and caring for your favorite dog breed.
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019
Banfield Pet Hospital. Essential nutrients for dogs and cats: minerals. Banfield Pet Hospital.
Banfield Pet Hospital. Essential nutrients for dogs and cats: vitamins.
Corbee, R.J. & Van Kerkhoven W.J.S. (2014) Nutritional support of dogs and cats after surgery or illness. Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine.
Finley, R. et al. (2006) Human health implications of Salmonella-contaminated natural pet treats and raw pet food. Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Vermont Veterinary Cardiology. Feeding the cardiac patient. Vermont Veterinary Cardiology.com
Vetinfo. Canine anemia – developing a nutrition plan. Vetinfo.
Watson, T. (1998) Diet and skin disease in dogs and cats. Journal of Nutrition.