The companionship and love dogs provide humans is wholesome and pure. Nothing beats those puppy eyes or those wet noses trying to get our attention and love. Understandably so, dogs are loved all over the world.
Their health and preference for food have become a very common researched topic by owners. Most importantly, dog owners want to make sure they do not offer their four-legged friends anything that would harm them in any way.
This article will discuss if our furry little friends can have eggshells and the pros and cons of giving them eggshells.
Can My Dog Eat Eggshells?
Dogs can definitely have eggshells. They are in no way toxic or poisonous for them.
As a matter of fact, eggshells can be ingested and powdered for human consumption as well. Eggshells are high in calcium and thus help dogs maintain healthy bones and overall health. As a matter of fact, dogs can have entire raw eggs, as well.
Eggshells contain calcium carbonate, which some argue may be too high in calcium for what dogs need, especially for puppies.
This has led to a bit of debate as to the ideal number of eggshells that a dog should consume. The general understanding is that providing a whole egg with the eggshells included is nutritious for dogs.
Eggshells can be consumed in many ways by dogs. However, it is important to be aware that eggshells alone cannot provide a balanced nutritional diet for dogs.
Nutritional Value of Eggshells
Eggshells contain mostly calcium. As per a paper by the University of Florida, dry eggshells contain:
- Calcium Carbonate – 95% (about 5.5 grams)
- Phosphorus – 0.3%
- Magnesium – 0.3%
- Traces of sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, iron, and copper
Because of the high amount of calcium carbonate, many argue that it is a great source of calcium, as it supports the maintenance of good collagen and joint health for human beings.
Eggshells are also considered to be a highly digestible compound. Eggshells from a single egg can provide half the daily recommended calcium requirements for humans. Thus, many dieticians and doctors recommend consuming calcium powder made from ground eggshells.
It is important to mention there are other alternative sources of calcium that human beings can consume. In terms of dogs, eggshells are a common ingredient used in commercial dog foods as it is considered a high source of calcium.
Even though eggshells are high in calcium, they do not provide any protein or vitamins. This makes eggshells a little less versatile than other forms of food. Eggshells on their own cannot be considered a balanced meal.
A whole egg is considered a complete food that provides all the nutrients needed for a dog—making it a great addition to a dog’s meal, especially if the owners follow a raw food diet for their furry friend.
Are Eggshells Bad for Dogs?
Reduced Vitamin D Absorption
As briefly mentioned, eggshells contain 95% calcium carbonate. If dogs are on a balanced diet where all their nutritional requirements are met, the extra calcium can be deemed unnecessary.
Research argues that excess consumption of calcium without phosphorus can affect vitamin D absorption in animals (1). Therefore, eggshells can cause reduced absorption of Vitamin D, which can cause bone diseases, bone malformation, and rickets in animals such as cats and dogs.
Too much of anything can be bad
Even though calcium helps dogs with bone health, collagen buildup, and shiny coats of fur, too much calcium can have negative effects, especially if there is an excess of calcium in the diet and nothing else.
The same can be said about excess of any nutrients. The key point is to have a balanced diet. Excess of any nutrients can have negative impacts on health if the focus is not on a balanced diet.
Commercial Dog Food Brands VS Raw Food Diet:
It is believed that a raw food diet has long term benefits for dogs. These include: shiny coat, better breath, increased longevity, and the sheer peace of mind for owners knowing what their food is made up from.
However, the raw food diet is also less balanced than a typical canine diet. Commercial dog food brands aim to have a required level of daily nutritional value per serving.
On the other hand, the raw food diet can be at the discretion of the owner, and without expert opinion, it is plausible that the animal can be deprived of minerals or vitamins.
Thus, the addition of eggs, if not eggshells, can be beneficial for dogs in a raw food diet. At the same time, in a raw food diet, where the owners provide calcium-rich diets, eggshells can have negative effects. This makes things a little confusing and the results will vary based on your dog’s exact diet.
Effects of Eggshells on Dogs and different ways to give them eggshells
Dog owners are beginning to question the quality and contents of the big commercial dog food brands. There is a resurgence of owners adapting to raw diets for their dogs. With this resurgence of raw diets, there has been an increase in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus deficiencies in dogs (2).
The addition of a whole egg to a dog’s diet provides a complete nutritious meal addressing much of these growing deficiencies in dogs. Many believe that it is a good rule of thumb to actively provide dogs calcium if they are on a raw diet unless they are given raw meat bones.
Therefore, adding eggshells to a dog’s diet would have more positives than negatives. It is very common to give eggshells to dogs worldwide and they can be served in many ways.
Eggshell powder is considered to be an excellent source of calcium supplement for dogs. Simply add the powdered eggshell to the dog food and meet their daily calcium requirement.
This article provides an easy recipe to make eggshell powder for dogs and how much powder to give based on the weight of the dog.
Cracked Hard-Boiled Egg:
As a whole egg is considered a complete food for dogs, giving them a hard-boiled egg with the shell is completely acceptable. As a matter of fact, it is a great way to confirm they are getting calcium as well as protein, minerals, and vitamins from the egg.
It is a great source of nutrition that can be given to dogs three or four times a week. Some dogs may find the shells hard to eat and thus leave them. In that case, the eggshells can be crushed and added to their meals. Sometimes quail eggs can be a great alternative if chicken or duck eggs are too big.
Raw Cracked Egg:
Many believe that simply cracking an egg on top of their dog’s food works just as well. Even though giving dogs raw eggs is a hotly debated subject in North America due to salmonella concerns. It is a common practice globally.
It is believed that raw eggs are more nutritional for dogs. Cooking eggs diminishes some of the nutrition in them. Since dogs have better bacteria-fighting capabilities than human beings, why not just give them a raw, cracked egg?
FAQs About Eggshells and Dogs
Can dogs break the eggshells?
Dogs can absolutely break eggshells. Simply cracking the egg, may it be hard-boiled or raw, is enough for the dog to slowly eat the shells.
How many eggshells should we feed our dog?
About a half teaspoon of ground eggshell to the dog’s meal per pound of fresh food (3)
If the dog is given a hard-boiled egg, anywhere between two or three eggs per week.
If the dog is given raw eggs, the amount can vary based on the size of the dog. This article can offer more information on how many raw eggs to give to a dog based on their diet and size.
Are there other ways to supplement calcium for dogs than eggshells?
There are alternatives to offering eggshells to dogs. The best source of calcium for dogs is raw bones. Furthermore, pet stores also carry calcium supplements specifically for dogs.
Can we feed our dog eggs every day?
Whether to feed dogs eggs every day would depend on the size of the dog. As per the 10 Percent Treat Rule, the egg should comprise no more than 10% of the dog’s daily caloric value. Thus, for a smaller dog, the egg may have to be consumed over multiple meals, whereas a bigger dog may consume an egg in a single meal.
In conclusion, it is perfectly healthy and safe to offer eggshells to dogs. Dogs can consume eggshells from raw eggs and cooked eggs. The eggshells can even be powdered for ease.
Eggshells provide a good source of collagen, bone health, as well as a shiny coat for dogs. It is important to be aware of the amount of calcium in a dog’s diet, especially if they are on a raw diet.
A calcium intensive diet should not require eggshells. Adding eggshells to a diet that does not have much calcium in it may be a good idea.
It is important to note that adding a whole egg rather than just adding eggshells may attribute to a balanced diet. This would provide the required calcium, as well as protein, vitamins, and minerals.