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Wild dogs have eaten wild, raw eggs for centuries. Occasionally, a domesticated dog raids the chicken house and may come away with yolk on their face. “Accidentally” eating raw eggs doesn't necessarily mean a dog should have a raw egg every day, and most veterinarians recommend cooking an egg before giving it to the family pup.
An occasional cooked egg as a treat provides furbulous nutrition and can even settle upset stomachs. There are some professionals who believe an egg every day might be a good idea for some dogs, especially dogs that are undernourished or ill. Let’s find out the pros and cons of raw vs. cooked eggs for dogs, and if dogs can safely eat raw eggs.
Why eggs are pawrific!
Eggs are an “eggs-cellent” source of high-quality protein, fatty acids, and vitamins. The best eggs come from free-range chickens that are fed an organic diet. A healthier chicken produces a healthier egg!
Eggs contain many substances that are good for dogs (and cats, too!) including:
A 2016 study reported by the National Institutes for Health looked at the effect of egg shell membrane supplements on joints that aren’t working well. Eggshell membrane has been shown to improve joint function in other species, where it helps maintain joints and healthy connective tissue. The conclusion in this study of 51 dogs was that an eggshell membrane supplement quickly reduces joint pain and provides lasting improvement of joint function in dogs, leading to a better quality of life.
However, it’s important to check with your veterinarian before feeding them eggs, as some conditions rule out giving your dog eggs, such as an allergy or sensitivity to eggs. Eggs may also contain too much fat for dogs with pancreatitis and diabetes where a lower fat diet would be better.
Why raw eggs may not be best for Fido
Raw eggs can harbor bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli that cause food-borne illness, also known as food poisoning. Cooking’s high heat destroys the bacteria and prevents illness. If your fur pup does eat a raw egg, be sure to observe them for vomiting, diarrhea and other GI issues, and take them to a veterinarian right away for testing and treatment. Many of these bacteria are also zoonotic, meaning that humans can catch the diseases from the dog, as well as by handling raw, infected eggs. Thorough hand washing is a good practice after touching either the shell or its contents.
The shells of an egg contain a large amount of calcium and phosphorus, but they can also harbor bacteria that live directly under the shell and can cause nasty GI symptoms. Broken egg shells also feature sharp edges that can cause physical harm. Cooked egg shells are probably best given ground up and sprinkled over your dog’s regular food.
Another hazard that can come from dogs eating raw eggs is a biotin deficiency. This is due to an enzyme present in the raw egg white called avidin that prevents biotin absorption. A biotin deficiency from raw eggs is more likely in cats than in dogs, but is still a valid concern for canines. Biotin supports healthy skin and coat, the body’s cells, digestion and healthy metabolism.
What about egg allergies?
Raw or cooked eggs may trigger an allergy in a dog, but raw eggs are more likely to do so. Signs of egg allergies in dogs include sneezing, swelling, hives, shortness of breath, coughing and lethargy. It’s a good idea if your dog shows any of these allergic symptoms that they see a vet for a possible antihistamine or other supportive treatment until the egg allergens are out of the pupster’s system.
The verdict on raw eggs: Maybe yes, probably no.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has put raw eggs on its list of People Food to Avoid when feeding our pets. However, not everyone agrees that raw eggs should be a no-no for dogs as they believe there’s a very low likelihood that the uncooked eggs will cause illness. Due to the risk of biotin deficiency, it may be better to be cautious and avoid raw eggs for your best furry pal.
If you choose to feed your dog eggs, aim for cooked eggs without oil, butter, salt, pepper or other condiments or spices. They can be fried, hard-boiled or scrambled with dog-safe vegetables or meats. One cooked egg a day can be a healthy treat for our favorite pups!
A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.