4 Big Reasons Eggs Are Great For Dogs!

Eggs are one of nature’s most complete and perfect foods! Adding a raw egg to your dog’s food is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to supercharge their diet. If you think about what an egg is, its easy to see why. An egg contains all of the ingredients necessary to grow life. This is pretty significant! Why don’t more people take advantage of this? Mostly because lately eggs have gotten a bad rap.

Some Myths About Raw Eggs

  1. Cholesterol– It is true that for HUMANS this could definitely be an issue. Dogs however don’t digest things the same way as people do. The only dogs that would ever have to be monitored for cholesterol are those that are either diabetic or have hyperthyroidism. Outside of that small percentage, a dog is not ever going to have to worry about this.
  2. Salmonella– Again, unlike people, dogs are literally built in a way to handle things like salmonella. Exposure to it won’t give them salmonella because their stomach acid literally destroys it. This is why a dog can eat out of the garbage can and we can’t!
  3. Biotin deficiency– Eating egg whites only might be healthier for people but the same is not true for dogs. As long as a dog also eats the yolk, they don’t have to worry about having a biotin deficiency. This is because egg whites contain a biotin inhibitor called avidin. The easiest way to counteract this is by eating the yolk which is naturally rich in biotin. This eliminates the risk. The other way to do this is by cooking them, in which case egg whites lose their avidin. The problem with this is that they also lose a large number of other nutrients that are extremely beneficial.
  4. Digestive upset- Egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors that make them difficult for some people to digest. As long as your dog is not eating eggs and nothing else, they should have no problem digesting them. One egg mixed in with dinner for example is a great way to introduce them and reduce the risk of any digestive upset.

Why Are Eggs So Beneficial?

  1. Eggs are one of the most complete sources of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential to life. When a protein is correctly evaluated, its value lies in its amino acid profile. High protein is useless without the amino acid profile because these are what the body uses exclusively and the rest just turns into waste. The amino acids in eggs are also highly digestible for dogs which make them even better!
  2. They are packed with vitamins and minerals including but not limited to:
  • Vitamin A – A fat-soluble vitamin that promotes eye, skeletal and muscle health. This is a good vitamin for dogs because they easily convert it into a usable form. This is an especially important vitamin for growing puppies.
  • Biotin – Necessary for growth, digestion and muscle function, it also is important in maintaining skin and hair health.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B) – Also known as B 2 is a water-soluble coenzyme that regulates the energy production from fats, maintains cells and helps the body utilize amino acids. It is essential to growth, muscle development and skin and coat health. As with the other B vitamins, it is not stored within the body and must be present in the diet.
  • Vitamin B 12 and Folic acid – Folic acid and B12 are necessary for bone marrow and bone health because they help the marrow produce red blood cells.
  • Niacin– Promotes essential enzyme production.
  • Panothenic Acid – Enables the body to produce useable forms of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
  • B6 (pyridoxine) – Helps the body utilize amino acids and is essential to life.
  • Phosphorus – A mineral that works with calcium, that is vital to bone development. Together they maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system.
  • Vitamin D – A Fat-soluable vitamin necessary for bone formation, nerve and muscle control. It balances phosphorus and calcium and regulates these in the blood stream, allowing calcium to be utilized and retained. Vitamin D is an important part of a dogs diet because they cannot produce it on their own. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare but could have a negative effect by causing calcium deposits in the heart, muscles and other soft tissue. (This is not a concern in one egg!)
  • Iron – A mineral that increases the production of red blood cells. This helps maintain bone marrow and prevents anemia. Iron is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Iron also combines with copper and protein to produce hemoglobin (the molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen). The body needs a constant supply to maintain red blood cells, as they need to be replaced in the body every 110 days.
  • Selenium – An antioxidant that works with vitamin e and certain enzymes to promote heart and skin health. It also helps prevents arthritis and cancer.
  • Fatty Acids – Essential to organ health.
  • Protein: Maintains healthy bodily functions and provides energy fuel. Protein is necessary for all aspects of growth, development and immune health. This is because it contains amino acids and the body cannot produce every one that is essential on its own. They must come through diet and eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids plus 4 non-essential amino acids.

3. Eggs Shells are full of Calcium which can be very important for dogs lacking calcium in their diet (explained at the end). They also contain micro-elements, such as magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone formation, blood coagulation, muscle contraction, nerve and impulse transmission, heart health, immune health and endocrine function. Calcium is an important part of your pet’s health! (Without calcium in the diet, the body extracts it from its own bones, which leads to many issues related to mobility.)

Many dogs will eat the shell with their food but I only trust shells from local growers because most from the grocery store have been sprayed to look nicer. My dog is not one who will eat the shell. For days when she may lack bone for calcium in her diet, I save the organic unused shells.

You can dry them in the oven on low for about 10 minutes and then easily crush them into a powder using either a clean coffee grinder or a pestle. This a very easy way to make your own calcium supplement. I love this because there are a lot of concerns about the safety of many calcium sources in supplements on the market and as long as you get good quality eggs, this takes away the guess work.

My dog is 25 lbs so she needs 550 mg of calcium per day. (50mg per kg) She gets calcium from other sources so if I need to I only use 1/4- 1/2 tsp. based on the assessment that:

“One whole medium sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder, which yields about 750 – 800 mgs of elemental calcium plus other microelements, i.e. magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.”

4. Dogs usually LOVE eggs! Even dogs who love food, don’t always love things that are healthy. Because eggs are so highly palatable, I use them as a food topper to help get my dog to eat other healthy items that she’s less fond of!

Calcium Phosphorus Ratio:

NOTE: Eggs without the shell will have more phosphorus than calcium in them. If you are not feeding them with other items that have calcium (bone) it is important that some calcium be added to balance this out. Each shell-less egg has about 78 mgs more phosphorus than calcium, this means you should add about 85 mgs of calcium if your dog is not getting it from other sources. An occasional egg will do no harm, this is more for those that use them every day without balance because the imbalance may add up.

The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1 or 1.2:1 in favor of slightly more calcium. Because calcium is the mineral that is required in the highest amount, phosphorus is number two. Phosphorus deficiency is very rare in dogs. Too much phosphorus is more common and can accelerate kidney failure or renal disease. Because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is so important in dog health, its important to pay special attention to the amounts of both in each food. Excess or deficiency of either can cause problems. There are some foods that have a natural balance, like green tripe, but not most. For this reason, out of everything thats in an egg, this is the one I would pay attention to most. Imbalance over time can cause skeletal problems that can be very severe. There should not be enough phosphorus present in eggs to cause an issue, due to other food items, but it’s a good thing to be aware of.

We feed about 4-5 raw eggs per week with bone and/or shell powder when we have it. We use a lot of eggs, but my dog also has plenty of bone in her diet so I don’t worry about it very much.

I love eggs because my dog loves eggs and they are so good for her and easy to keep in stock!

Another great use for eggs shells:

Amino Acids and Raw Feeding

Although I have never seen a homemade raw feeder worry about this because the balanced raw diets take care of this issue very well, I know that amino acids are important so I thought this was a worthy share.

AMINO ACIDS

Most people know the importance of protein in a dog’s diet, but what most people don’t know is that it is not actually the protein itself but what its made up of that is important. Amino acids make up the basic building blocks of all protein. The arrangements of these amino acids is what makes each protein unique. Every dog has the natural ability to manufacture every amino acid he needs except for 10 very special ones. These 10 amino acids must come from the diet. The protein chains are manufactured by the dog’s cells but if just one amino acid is missing the entire process shuts down. It is because of this that every dog’s diet must contain all 10 and why the quality of protein is more important than the quantity. These amino acids are: Arginine, Methionine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Isoleucine, Threonine, Leucine, Tryptophan, Lysine and Valine. (For cats, Taurine is also essential, humans can synthesize both Arginine and Taurine.)

Aside from the amino acid profile, the digestibility of the protein is most important. More than the amount of protein in the meat, it’s all about digestibility, so high protein is misleading when it doesn’t have the right amino acids because its valueless (not common in raw diets). The best part of feeding raw is that:

“Eggs, muscle and organ meats are the most complete, most digestible sources of protein and should be the main ingredients in a quality diet.”

(Luckily, raw covers this but it’s still good to be aware of.)

Even though every cut of meat is unique, and every dog will metabolize it differently and need a different amount, I tried to get some guidelines. Below are some charts from Pack lunch raw that I like to keep around just to be aware of. It’s good to remember that more isn’t always better so once again, variety is key!

For more info you can visit: Canine Nutrition Basics

Requirements for a 50 lb dog:

Calcium and Feeding Bones and Bone Alternatives

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Most people learn early on that it is 100% unsafe to give dogs cooked or smoked bones because of the fact that they are brittle and pose choking and digestive hazards. Due to this a lot of pet parents stay away from bones altogether. As a result the pet food industry is full of all kinds of manufactured bones for dental health, chewing, recreation, vitamin supplements etc. These are just as bad (if not worse) then the kibble products and in some cases aren’t even safer in terms of choking and digestive hazards. If you feed raw you most likely already know a bit about bone safety but if not here are a few reasons so many raw feeders love RAW meaty and recreational bones.

1. They are a wonderful source of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is an important part of your pet’s health! (Without calcium in the diet, the body extracts it from its own bones, which leads to many issues related to mobility.) They also contain a variety of minerals not found in other food.

2. They are the best possible form of teeth cleaning outside of the vet’s office. They promote gum health and reduce bad breath.

3. They provide ruff-age and help to maintain anal glands naturally

4. They can help balance the digestive tract and tone digestive muscles that can help reduce stomach issues later in life.

When fed appropriately (about 2-3 times a week unless ground in food at 10%) the digestive hazards are avoided because raw bones break down naturally in the stomach and don’t stay large enough to pose any threat. It’s important to always supervise your dog with a bone no matter what. Instinctively they should know how to chew and swallow them correctly but anything can happen. Aside from the smaller raw meaty bones like poultry necks, spines, feet etc. the general rule of thumb for recreational bones is that they should be about the size of the dogs head or larger. Never smaller because these types of bones are meant to be chewed on and scrapped of marrow but NOT eaten completely. I am personally not a fan of the recreation bones because they can chip teeth and don’t contain the nutrition components that make their positive attributes outweigh their risks. If my dog loved this activity, I’d make an exception but otherwise I see them as completely unnecessary. Marrow can be obtained without them so she doesn’t need a knuckle bone to pass the time and possibly break her teeth on. Raw meaty bones on the other hand are a different story. They should never be weight bearing bones because they are too hard to chew and unlike recreational bones are meant to be eaten completely. I see the value of these bones but they still make me nervous so I plan on sticking with necks and backs because the are considered to be the safest. Chicken wings can be cut to be made safer, but I still don’t love these because I have other options. Ideally I would give her lamb and goat bones because they are considered to have the perfect balance of hardness to effectively clean the teeth but not break any. However these bones, for me at least, are very hard to find. Although red meat should make up about 50% of her diet, chicken, duck, lamb and duck are closer to a dog’s natural prey so they make the safest bones to eat. Chicken and duck are much more readily available where I live and while they might be considered too soft to clean teeth by some people, I brush her teeth daily and am more interested in their nutrition than their dental care anyway. That being said, if your dog (or you) is really against dealing with raw bones in general there are 100% adequate alternatives available and you do not need to feel forced to do so. It may be controversial in some circles but I truly believe you can go without bones and still have a healthy and balanced raw diet as long as you are educated. Things like bone meal are dangerous alternatives (most are toxic unless from a local farm that makes food Grade) but egg shells are a GREAT alternative source of calcium! You can dry and crush them into a powder very easily and make your own supplement. I love this because there are a lot of concerns about the safety of many calcium sources in supplements on the market and as long as you get good quality eggs this takes away the guess work. A lot of people also just add one whole egg shell and all to get the same result. I don’t do this daily so I keep the shells as back up on a day she doesn’t get a bone. For the other minerals you can simply use a mineral supplement, which actually should be given even if you do feed bones because it’s broad spectrum and you know that your pets needs are being met. Some feeders are against supplements altogether because your dog wouldn’t “get fish oil pills etc out in the wild” however I disagree. We need supplements now because of the world we live in TODAY. We have depleted the soil and changed the environment. For this reason I think it’s appropriate to adjust. My dog’s wolf ancestors didn’t live in the same world and it’s the same reason I take supplements myself. I just want the best shot and as long as I am getting them from trusted sources and know how to use them, I think they’re great! Teeth cleaning can be substituted rather easily as well. Any mouth size appropriate tooth brush will do. You can make your own toothpaste or even just use coconut oil. If your dog won’t let you brush, a bit of ground kelp added to the food should help. For more advanced dental issues and plaque you can either get a cleaning at the vet or look up where to get one that is anesthesia free. This method is increasing in popularity, so they’re relatively easy to find now. Either way there are many alternative methods, all of which would be great to add EVEN with the help of bones.

Bottom line, raw bones are WONDERFUL if your dog likes them but if not you can absolutely still feed raw! Some dogs warm up to them over time so I’d say don’t give up but don’t stress over it too much either! It’s no reason to wait to go raw or worse not at all.

Personally I am doing about one small raw meaty bone per week because my dog doesn’t love them. Chicken feet are the easiest to find organically and they are an excellent joint supplement (glucosamine and chondroitin) so because she eats egg shells and takes supplements I know her dietary needs are being met. Eventually I hope to move to a food that has some ground in so this 1 per week will probably stay at that and if we miss a week it’s no cause for concern.

My super easy calcium supplement is pictured below. My dog is 25 lbs so she needs 550 mg of calcium per day. (50mg per kg) She gets calcium from other sources so I only use 1/4- 1/2 tsp. based on the assessment that:

“One whole medium sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder, which yields about 750 – 800 mgs of elemental calcium plus other microelements, i.e. magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.”

A vet should be able to assist you if you don’t want to measure it out on your own. Fortunately dog’s having a “fast track” metabolism helps mitigate some concern. A good thing to remember is the simple fact that wild dogs eat what they find. Some days they get a lot of one thing and other days none. It tends to balance out over time but I also do blood tests at her annual check up. Hair tests can be very helpful also. So far we’ve been right on track but never hesitate to ask a medical professional. I know many holistic vets even offer nutritional counseling now so there are resources available if you have any concerns!

*Another great bone replacement for calcium is raw green tripe! It has an ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio and most dogs absolutely love it!