May is National Egg Month (remember the “incredible edible egg”?) so it seems to be the perfect time to highlight the benefits of raw eggs for dogs. Pet owners new to feeding dogs raw meat based diets will often ask about whether raw eggs are good for dogs too. The answer is YES! Eggshells, in particular, are a great source of calcium for dogs and cats. Calcium, as you know, is needed for normal growth, strong bones, teeth, and claws, as well as for optimum muscle contraction.
Normally, using raw meaty bones as a calcium source is the most common and natural way to provide this vital nutrient to your dog or cat. Raw bones can usually be fed whole; though for those pets that have damaged, fragile teeth (or no teeth at all) or for people who are not comfortable feeding whole bones to their pet, there is the option to grind up the raw bones before feeding them to your raw fed dog. Unfortunately, most pet owners will quickly find that it is very difficult to get a hold of the equipment needed to grind hard bones, like beef, pork, or lamb. In these cases, pet owners making their own homemade dog food often resort to using Bone Meal to supply calcium to their dog or cat. I personally DON’T recommend using bone meal, as it is an inferior ingredient derived from the animal rendering process.
Eggshells however, present a healthy, balanced calcium source, mainly due to some trace amounts of other minerals contained in the shells. There is a combination of 27 different mineral micro-elements in eggshell and, interestingly enough, the composition of eggshell is very similar to those found in bones and teeth.
The advantages of using eggshells as a calcium supplement for dogs include:
- Eggshells provide one of Nature’s best natural sources of calcium
- Powdered eggshells are easy to digest and are adequately absorbed by the digestive system
- Using powdered eggshells in combination with magnesium and vitamin D3 (like cod liver oil) improves bone mineral density.
A great way to powder the shells is to use a coffee grinder. This works much better than a food processor or blender. Using a variety of eggshells sourced from chickens, ducks, or geese is also very beneficial for your pet.
One thing to consider, when supplementing your dog or cat’s diet with calcium, is to ensure that the calcium and phosphorus levels in your pet’s diet are correct. The calcium/phosphorus balance is extremely important! Each nutrient must be in perfect balanced in order to prevent skeletal issues in your pet. A ratio of 1.5 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus is appropriate for most dogs.
Another great thing about eggs is that they are highly digestible to dogs. In fact, animal nutritionists will use eggs as the baseline for the digestibility of other protein sources, such as muscle meats, organ meats, dairy, fish, soy, and grains. (You may not be surprised to know that one of the LEAST digestible protein sources – which is commonly found in dry kibble and canned pet foods – is corn).
So rejoice! Eggs are good for your dog – and even more so when fed raw.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF diets patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. To receive more articles like these in your email inbox, click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!