Can Dogs Safely Eat Eggs?
Like humans, dogs can eat eggs in a surprising variety of ways. As a caring pet parent, you still want to ask: Can dogs eat raw eggs? Can dogs eat fried eggs? Can dogs eat scrambled eggs? Can dogs eat boiled eggs? Generally, the answer is yes. Eggs are a non-toxic food for dogs (wolves, too).
Even though your dog can eat eggs, since they are considered a non-toxic option for your pet, it pays to practice caution when introducing a new food into her diet. As a good source of protein, feeding your dog eggs could be beneficial to your pup, but it's important to understand why you're considering feeding her eggs in the first place in order to make sure they're a good addition to your dog's diet.
Can Dogs Have Eggs?
"Eggs can be fine for dogs," says Ahna Brutlag, DVM, with Pet Poison Helpline, which answers potential poisoning questions for veterinarians and pet owners. "They're a great source of protein," she says.
Not only are eggs rich in protein, but they're also a good source of fatty and amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that can be beneficial in keeping your dog's skin and coat healthy.
But before you start scrambling those yokes for Fido, Brutlag says it's key that you understand why you are feeding your dog eggs.
Should Dogs Eat Eggshells for Calcium?
If you're crushing up eggshells to supplement your dog's food because you suspect a calcium deficiency, talk to your veterinarian. Calcium deficiency can be serious, Brutlag says, but typically it's only seen in some nursing mothers.
Brutlag says that if you're concerned your dog is not getting enough calcium in her diet, there are better, more effective ways than feeding her eggs with shells to boost calcium intake. Feeding your dog eggs with shells has hazards. There's always a chance a sharp edge in the shell will poke your dog in the mouth or get stuck in her throat.
A veterinarian can discuss your concerns about calcium deficiency, check for a deficiency, and recommend other alternatives—like calcium supplements—that can help you get your dog the nutrients she needs without the risks that come with feeding her sharp eggshells.
Should Dogs Eat Eggs to Get More Protein in Their Diet?
Your dog's food has been specially formulated to meet her nutritional needs, but if you're hoping to supplement her diet with an extra boost of protein, eggs can be a safe option. But to be on the safe side, veterinarians and many other health experts recommend cooking eggs for your dog, since raw eggs carry a risk of E. Coli and Salmonella contamination.
Are Raw Eggs Safe for Dogs?
While it's possible for dogs (and humans) to safely consume raw eggs, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the risk of contamination is much higher with uncooked eggs. It's possible to pick up the bacteria just by handling contaminated eggs, so it's recommended that they be pasteurized or fully cooked before you or your pet consume the food.
What makes raw eggs even worse? Dogs who eat raw eggs or other food contaminated by Salmonella can shed it in their feces, potentially infecting people and other pets in the household. Infection can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps—probably not worth the risk when scrambling eggs only takes a few minutes.
How to Feed Your Dog Eggs Safely
Several different types of eggs are safe for dogs to eat including:
- Scrambled eggs
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cooked egg whites or egg yolks
- Sunny side up (without oil or butter)
But Brutlag says to be on the lookout for other hidden nutritional risks that can show up as ingredients we humans like to add to our breakfast staple. "Does the egg come along with a lot of fat from bacon or cheese?" Brutlag asks. "A big, fatty load of food can lead to weight gain and pancreatitis."
Many ingredients that go along great with eggs in your people-food skillet might be toxic to dogs or add extra calories your dog doesn't need (think butter, oil, onions, garlic, and cheese).
And remember: Moderation is key when feeding your dog any safe human food. Brutlag says a well-cooked egg as an occasional treat should be fine, but for dogs who might need less protein in their diet because of kidney problems or other medical issues, she says to be cautious about feeding eggs often.
If you're concerned about any nutritional deficiencies in your dog's day-to-day eating habits, check with your veterinarian before making any big changes to your pup's diet. They'll be able to recommend food options that make the best sense for your dog's needs.