It’s only natural to want to share foods you find appetizing with your canine companion. Egg yolks, which are the part of the egg designed to feed the chicken’s embryo, are a delicious treat for both humans and dogs. While egg yolks are perfectly palatable, and even desirable, for dogs — owners should recognize the nutritional value and potential complications involved with feeding yolks to dogs.
Egg yolks are an excellent source of protein, cholesterol and fat. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one large egg yolk has 55 calories, 2.7 grams of protein, 270 mg cholesterol and 4.51 grams of fat. The number of calories and the amount of protein and fat found in egg yolks is comparable to the nutritional content of commercially available dog treats. Protein and fat are essential to dogs – protein builds muscle and fat encourages energy. Additionally, egg yolks contain vitamins A, D, E and K, also known as the fat-soluble vitamins.
The fats found in egg yolks are beneficial to canine skin and fur. Cholesterol doesn’t affect dogs the same way as it does people, and the cholesterol in egg yolks is beneficial to the dog’s skin and coat, encouraging a shiny, lustrous appearance. The vitamins in egg yolks provide a nutritional boost for dogs. The vitamin A found in egg yolks benefits the eyes and keeps the body’s mucous membranes moist. Vitamin D helps dogs absorb calcium, which in turn promotes bone health. Vitamin E found in egg yolks protects the body’s tissues and encourages healthy red blood cell formation. Vitamin K is essential to the body’s blood clotting mechanism. All of these vitamins are essential for canine well-being and must be derived from the dog’s food.
Although egg yolks are a healthy source of nutrients for dogs, the fat content of the food can be problematic. When dogs are fed more fat than they are able to convert into energy, the excess gets converted into body fat, leading to obesity. Avoid feeding your dog multiple egg yolks per day for more than a few days at a time, unless the dog’s energy output is adjusted to compensate for the increased nutritional intake. Dogs can be fed raw or cooked egg yolks as a supplement or treat in addition to their regular food. Raw eggs, however, pose a risk of salmonella. Although harmful to humans, salmonella poses little risk to dogs due in part to canine anatomy. Dogs have shorter intestines than humans and the bacteria doesn’t typically have enough time to replicate to levels that could cause harm. Additionally, the stomach chemistry of canines is different than that of humans, rendering most salmonella pathogens harmless.
Egg allergies, though rare in dogs, do exist. If your dog exhibits signs of an allergic reaction — including but not limited to — itching on the nose and paws, lethargy, hives and trouble breathing, seek veterinary care immediately.
Some dogs develop an upset stomach when faced with changes in their diet. This is normal. If your dog exhibits loose, runny stool that lasts for more than a day or vomiting that persists for more than 24 hours, consult a vet.
If you or someone in your household is immune-compromised, avoid feeding your dog raw egg yolks due to the risk of salmonella poisoning. Do not feed egg yolks as a dog’s primary source of nutrition. Egg yolks are not a nutritionally complete canine meal.
Eggs: Why Your Dog Needs Them ?
6 Reasons To Give Your Dog Eggs …
1. Eggs are a complete food source
Eggs are an important source of nutrition for not only many predators, but for the chick living inside it. Inside the egg are all the nutrients necessary to grow a new chicken. Eggs are also one of the most complete sources of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
2. Eggs are a good source of:
– Vitamin A
– Vitamin B12
– Fatty Acids
3. Egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors
One of the reasons pet owners are warned off eggs is that the whites contain enzyme inhibitors which can interfere with digestion, especially in very young and old animals.
This is true, but it only means that eggs should not be the mainstay of the diet.
It is perfectly safe to feed several eggs a week to the average dog. If you don’t see evidence of digestive upset when feeding eggs to dogs, then he should have no trouble if eggs are a regular part of his diet.
Cooking the egg white could solve this problem but much of the nutrition would be lost so it is best to feed it raw.
4. Egg whites cause Biotin deficiency
Egg whites contain avidin, a Biotin (one of the B vitamins) inhibitor. Biotin is one of the B vitamins and is important for cellular growth, fatty acid metabolism and good skin and coat. Biotin deficiencies are quite rare and it would take an extraordinary amount of eggs to create a deficiency.
Moreover, egg yolks are very high in biotin, so as long as you feed the entire egg, there are few worries. There are other sources of biotin in the diet as well. Liver is a particularly good source. Once again, cooking the egg white will eliminate the risk but your dog will lose much of the nutritional value. If feeding your dog eggs on a regular basis, simply make sure he gets the whole egg, not just the white.
5. Eggs contain salmonella
Dogs are well equipped to handle the bacteria in raw foods. The health of the hen is also important, so it is best to choose eggs from organic, free-range chickens.
Proper storage and keeping the eggs cool will also go a long way toward keeping the harmful bacteria at a manageable level.
6. Don’t forget the shells
If eggs are fed with the shell on, they are a nearly complete food source for dogs. The shells can also be valuable for dogs who have difficulty eating bones.
Simply dry the shells out and grind them in a clean coffee grinder until they are powdered and sprinkle the powder on your dog’s food.
It’s important to remember that many eggs are sprayed with a chemical to make them look shiny, so it is best to get your eggs from a local organic farmer.
Eggs are cheap, easily obtained and an outstanding source of nutrition for your dog. The overall concensus with raw feeders is that the health benefits of eggs certainly outweigh the risks – and feeding eggs whole, the way nature intended, goes a long ways to counteract harmful imbalances.
Try feeding your dogs a few eggs a week and you’ll see better health, inside and out.
Can I give my dog a hard boiled egg with the shell or do I essentially need to remove it ?
Dogs can eat eggshells, and they are actually an excellent source of calcium, which is essential to healthy bones. Dogs in the wild eat whole eggs that they raid from nests, and also eat prey animals’ bones. Many dogs don’t get to eat bones, even though they are an important part of their diet, so eggshells help balance that. You can even keep and grind up the shells when you’re making eggs for yourself, and mix it into your dog’s food. Just don’t overdo it, one egg a day should be fine.