Knowing what you can and can’t feed your dog is an important job as a dog owner. And recently, there’s been more and more interest in feeding our dogs human-food diets or supplementing their dog food with nutrient-dense people foods for dogs.
This interest brings us to today’s topic, can dogs eat raw eggs?
The answer to this question isn’t exactly black and white. You see eggs are actually a nutritional powerhouse for dogs (which we’ll get into more below), but raw eggs can’t be recommended wholeheartedly because of some potential risks when dogs eat them.
But we need to get into the details a bit to understand why you maybe shouldn’t give a cracked raw egg over dog food, and why cooked eggs are actually an awesome addition to every dog’s daily menu.
Benefits of eggs for dogs
Eggs are an excellent option for feeding dogs because they are a complete food source. In fact, eggs are one of the best protein sources out there for your dog.
- High biological value: Eggs have a biological value that is higher than any meat source of protein for canines. Crazy, I know! What does this mean? Well, the biological value is a measurement of how well your dog can absorb the protein in a given food source. Protein sources with a higher biological value pack a better nutritional punch for your dog than those with lower biological values.
- Full amino acid profile: Eggs also offer a full amino acid profile which are the building blocks of protein. This means that your dog gets all of the essential amino acids in the right amounts making this not only an easily absorbed protein source but a high-quality one, too.
- Packed with other nutrients: But it doesn’t stop there, eggs also offer a ton of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to your dog such as vitamin A, folate, vitamin B12, selenium, fatty acids, and more.
Related Reading: Choosing the Right Dog Food for Your Dog
Risks of feeding eggs to dogs
So, I know that we just went over all of these awesome benefits of eggs for dogs, but they do come with a small set of risks when they are fed in excess. Interestingly, both of the main risks have to do with the egg whites.
Here’s what you need to be aware of:
- Egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors: This means that they can disrupt your dog’s digestive system or cause digestive pain. However, you would probably need to be feeding your dog many eggs each day to actually see this. The exception would be for very old or young dogs whose digestive systems are less developed or not strong enough to handle even a tiny amount of enzyme inhibitors
- Eating egg whites in excess can result in biotin deficiency: Biotin is one of the B vitamins that promote your dog’s skin, coat, and immune health. Technically, egg whites contain a biotin inhibitor which could result in a biotin deficiency in very rare cases. Interestingly, the egg yolk is actually a source of biotin.
Basically, you just don’t want eggs to be the mainstay of your dog’s diet. But feeding eggs to your dog a few times a week is a perfect way to reap the benefits without worrying about the risks.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs?
So now that you know the pros and cons of feeding eggs to your dog in general, the question is how do you prepare them? Well, that depends. The overly cautious answer is to never feed your dog raw eggs.
But it’s actually kind of like how we humans are never supposed to eat raw cookie dough. There is technically a risk involved but getting sick is super rare.
So what is the main risk associated with raw eggs (outside of the two risk factors described above)? Salmonella. Just like in humans, dogs can potentially get salmonella food poisoning from raw eggs.
Remember that your dog’s digestive system is far better equipped to handle bacteria and potential foodborne illness than ours is. So the likelihood of your dog actually getting salmonella from a raw egg is pretty low.
This is especially true if you choose eggs from healthy, organic, free-range chickens who’s eggs will have a lower level of bacteria (source).
Related Reading: What’s All the Buzz About Human Grade Dog Food
Are raw eggs good for dogs?
For your dog feeding the eggs raw maintains more nutritional value than when they are cooked. So, it begins to become a question of the benefits of raw egg vs. potential risks from the raw egg. In the end, this is a decision you likely need to make for your unique situation.
If your dog needs to be on a high protein diet because they are underweight or work in extreme conditions, the benefits may outweigh the risk for your dog. Another example might be if your dog suffers from extreme food allergies and you are trying out a whole, raw food diet for your dog.
We actually did this under the guidance of our veterinarian and had good results when putting weight on our adopted German Shepherd with extensive health issues.
What about cooked eggs for dogs?
Cooking your dog’s eggs are the way to go if you want to significantly decrease any risk factors. Adding a fried or scrambled egg to their dog food a few times a week is the perfect way to give your dog the benefits that eggs have to offer.
Related Reading: Healthy People Food Treats for Dogs
Learn more about your dog’s diet
Now that you know the risks and benefits involved with adding raw egg to your dog’s diet, don’t stop the learning here! We’ve got a ton of great info about choosing dog food, human foods for dogs, and special diet consideration in the Field Guide for Adult Dogs.
We also have a wealth of info right here on the blog! Don’t miss these other related articles: