Eggs. The super food. Chock full of easily digestible protein and containing essential fatty and amino acids, they make a perfect snack or meal course for man or beast.
Experts have argued for decades over the pros and cons of an egg rich diet. But after all the roughing around science has determined that this age old staple is indeed good for all of us; in moderation of course.
At the end of the day science determines that up to three whole eggs a day for humans, and one whole egg per day for your pet is not only safe, but actually beneficial for you and your furry companions.
Why feed your pets eggs?
Eggs are a good source of vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and fatty acids, They’re high in lutein and zeaxanthin, choline and antioxidants. The protein levels they contain increase muscle mass and better bone health.
I don’t need scientific proof to know that animals love eggs and I’d venture to say that just like humans, pets also favor a little variety in their diet. Whipping out a hard boiled egg at my place gets the same reaction a steak would get.
Having had pets with gut issues I learned early on that egg in their diet was beneficial and soothing to their stomach, allowing them to consume their needed daily allowances without the struggle of digesting kibble.
Additionally, pet treat recalls due to contamination caused me to stop buying commercially made treats altogether. I fed very few of them to begin with but the risk just became to great. Pets were dying, and for what? Cost? Convenience?
It costs just pennies to treat your dog, or even supplement their diet daily, with the good old edible egg. Hard boiled eggs are a frequent between-meal-snack around here and don’t think when the grands or I grab ours, that the pets don’t want theirs too!
Raw or cooked?
I hate to even touch on this subject because there is such wild debate on the feeding of raw items to our pets. It is, however, a legitimate questions so I’ll go there, just a little.
It bears noting that for centuries man and animals alike have been eating raw foods, including eggs. I’m sure in all that amount of time there were plenty of cases of upset stomach or even poisoning from eating spoiled or contaminated eggs.
I personally grew up witnessing people that fed raw eggs to their working dogs, nursing mothers with litters, and more than one stray that showed up malnourished and needing a little extra kick in their diet. Some of these people were veterinarians.
I too have fed raw eggs to animals in these circumstances over the years. For many years it was common for me to crack a raw egg into my dogs kibble, drop the shell in, and watch them eat like kings. (Yes, the shell. Don’t panic, just keep reading.)
Never once, in all my half century of life have I ever witnesses an animal that became sick or poisoned from raw eggs. I’ve read about it but even most veterinarians will agree that cases are rare.
Having said all that, I no longer feed my pets raw anything and I don’t mind cooking for my pets at all.
How to prepare eggs for your dogs
You don’t have to go all super chef to cook an egg for you animal(s) and you don’t have to do it real frequently. You can boil them, fry them, bake them, mix them into other foods, or serve them alone.
However you might choose to cook them, just don’t season them. Pets do not have a palate like we humans and some spices, including salt, may cause stomach upset or other adverse reactions.
I like to hard boil eggs because I can do so in large quantities and store them for days in the fridge for both me and the dogs. We can easily go through 1.5 to 2 dozen eggs per week between me and three large dogs. I typically boil and peal a pot full over the weekend, store them ready to eat in the fridge, and go through them throughout the week.
Once upon a time, I hated peeling all those eggs though. I just never seemed to get them right and shelling them was frustrating. The shell would stick to the egg and I spent too much time picking away those little specks and sometimes peeling away big chunks of the egg in the process.
My mother recently turned me onto an an electric pressure cooker and the frustration is gone! Six minutes in this thing, allow the pressure to release, and perfect hard boiled eggs every single time. I’m amazed and relieved. Crack, roll, and peel. Easy peasy; shells come off in one piece (almost always); rinse and store.
If one of the pups is having a gut issue, which sometimes happens with my German Shepherd, eggs go into meals along with rice and vegetables instead of being presented as treats or snack.
Unless one of my dogs is experiencing real gut problems, and eggs are an ingredient in their main feeding, I stick to the rule of one egg per day, per dog.
Let’s go back to the shell
Remember way back in the beginning where I said that “I cracked a raw egg into my dog’s kibble, drop the shell in, and watched them eat like kings” and you cringed, or shouted nasty things at me via your phone, pad, or computer screen?
Yes. Feed them the shell.
In addition to calcium and protein, eggshells also contain small amounts of other minerals, including strontium, fluoride, magnesium and selenium. Just like calcium, these minerals may play a role in bone health.
When I make hard boiled eggs I always peel them then store them. Some people put them in the fridge still in the shell. It’s just a personal preference. Regardless of the method you choose, give your pet the shells too.
I’ve seen people just crack the shell, roll it around a bit, and feed the whole egg, shell and all, to their pet. For me, that’s just another mess to clean up if we are in the house. You’ve seen the mess they make when they did the egg shells out of the trash? Well it’s no different when you just hand it to them.
So, the choice is yours, but here’s what I do.
I remove the shell once the eggs have been boiled and cooled to touch. I lay them out on a paper towel and allow them to dry. Once they’ve completely dried I grind them up into a powder either by putting them in a bag and crushing (rolling) with a rolling pin or heavy drinking glass, or run them through the food processor.
I use this tasteless, high calcium powder, to sprinkle on the dog’s kibble and as an ingredient in bird feed and suet. When I had reptiles I used it to dust their diets. Many times I use it to sprinkle on my plants for an extra kick of calcium to help build strong cell walls. In recent months I’ve started adding it to my own diet for added support.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing you pet’s diet.