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Can Dogs Eat Eggshells

Can Dogs Eat Eggshells

Many dog owners feed their fur children eggs, but what about the shells?

Dog owners are always looking for ways to feed their best friend better, and eggs are an easy addition to even the pickiest pooch’s diet.

If you feed your dog eggs, you are not alone. A survey of families that supplement commercial dog food found that 85 percent feed their dog’s eggs.

We now know eggs are a safe food for dogs, but can dogs eat eggshells?

Eggshells are an excellent supplement for your dog. They are great source of both calcium and protein. These minerals aid in bone health and are easy to incorporate into your furry friend’s diet.

They are available everywhere and a relatively cheap natural calcium supplement.

Most pet parents don’t give a thought to whether dogs can eat eggshells until the family canine gulps down an entire egg in one big gulp.

Then if the dog shows some signs of digestive upset owners frantically Google “Eggshells can my dog eat them?”

The answer to this common question is yes. If you see your dog devouring eggshells, there is no need to panic.

When dogs had not yet been domesticated, about fifteen thousand years ago, they were natural hunters.

Among their food sources were the eggs of birds and turtles, eaten greedily shells and all. Dogs simply don’t have the paw-dexterity to consume eggs without also consuming shells.

Mother Nature made sure that dogs would never decimate populations of birds or turtles by consuming all their eggs, by giving them a sore stomach if they overindulge.

My Dog Ate The Whole Shell

If your adventurous pup gets into your egg stash and eats a few, don’t be alarmed. This will not hurt them permanently, but will most probably lead to a bout of diarrhea.

As long as it doesn’t happen often, your fur baby will be fine.

How Many Shells Can My Dog Eat

An eggshell per day Is okay, but two Is too many. Dogs that consume more than one egg with eggshell per day usually develop diarrhea.

This problem is due to the eggshell, not the white or yolk, and it happens even when the outer surface of the egg is germ-free.

For adult dogs, the equivalent of a whole eggshell two or three times a week won’t cause any problems.

For puppies, the equivalent of a whole eggshell once a week is best.

If you are feeding your dog eggshell powder,  1tsp = 1 shell, which contains 200mg calcium

Clean-up duty is a very good reason to limit your dog’s consumption of eggshells. Another reason is the way a dog’s body metabolizes calcium.

Eggshell powder

How Much Calcium Is In A Shell?

There’s no doubt that eggshells contain a lot of calcium. Studies of eggshells as a way to get calcium into human diets have found that about 38 percent of the weight of eggshell is calcium.

The natural calcium in eggshells is in one of its least absorbable forms, calcium carbonate. It is about as completely absorbed as chalk would be.

Just 40 percent of the calcium in the eggshell, which is just 38 percent of the weight of the shell. It is absorbed by the dog’s digestive tract so it goes into its bloodstream.

Research scientists have found that the average eggshell weighs about 5.5 grams.

Each shell contains about 2.2 grams of calcium, of which about 880 mg is available to build bones and regulate important hormones.

That’s about the amount of calcium a 35-pound dog needs every day but is considerably more than a puppy needs.

Can My Dog Eat Too Much Calcium?

With regard to calcium, more calcium is not better. Dogs that don’t get enough calcium are at risk of developing osteoporosis and easily fractured bones. But dogs that get too much calcium are at risk of kidney disease and bladder stones.

Large breed puppies are often supplemented with calcium to ensure adequate bone growth. Whilst this can be a good idea, make sure to balance their intake and diet correctly.

Too much calcium in a puppy can slow bone and cartilage growth resulting in hip dysplasia and possibly the inflammatory disease HOD

But the answer isn’t keeping eggshells entirely out of your beloved dog’s diet, either. Instead, simply keep your pup’s diet balanced.

If you have any concerns regarding calcium intake in your dog, contact your veterinarian for advice. They will be able to provide their opinion on how much is a good amount for your fur child.

Dog Eating egg and shell
Image by Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay 

Can My Dog Eat Raw Eggs As Well As The Shells?

It depends on who you ask. There are strong points both for and against both raw and cooked eggs. There is a chemical called avidin in raw egg whites that binds to the B-vitamin biotin, which dogs need for their cells to make energy from glucose.

Unlike humans, dogs make the sugar that fuels their cells from amino acids in protein, not starches, and sugars in carbohydrates.

Scientists have shown that 50 to 80 percent of the protein dogs eat becomes glucose rather than amino acids for building muscle and other tissues.

The amount of avidin in the white of a single egg will have a significant effect on a puppy’s vitality, although it is not as noticeable in a larger dog.

Cooking the egg destroys the avidin that destroys the biotin but also destroys some of the valuable nutrients.

So the answer to the raw egg debate is yes, dogs can eat raw eggs as well as the shells, it just all comes down to personal preference.

Should I Boil The Shell First?

If you are taking the time to cook the egg you serve your dog, it’s not a lot of trouble to cook the eggshell along with it.

There is no nutritional reason eggshells have to be cooked before they are fed to dogs, but there is a hygienic reason.

If you live in North America, where eggs are decontaminated before they are sold, and you keep them in the refrigerator (which you must do after their natural protective coating is washed away), there is a very, very low risk of Salmonella contamination on the surface of an eggshell.

Cooking the eggshell kills any bacteria on the surface of the eggs and prevents any risk of food poisoning.

How To Prepare Eggshell Powder For Dogs

The calcium in eggshells is the least absorbed of all the nutritional forms of calcium. It has to be liberated from the eggshell by acids in the dog’s stomach.

It is easier for the acid in the stomach to do its job if eggshells are thoroughly pulverized before your dog eats them.

Dogs, after all, do not usually chew their food thoroughly before swallowing. Dogs gulp it down as fast as they can.

  • Begin by washing the shells thoroughly.  For added safety, you can also sterilize the shells by boiling them. This will reduce the risk of salmonella and remove the stink of rotten eggs.

  • Let them dry thoroughly, and then bake in the oven at 300F (148 celsius) for 5-7 minutes so they will be crispy and easy to pulverize.

  • Because eggshells don’t digest if they are fed whole, use a coffee grinder, food processor or mortar and pestle to grind them into dust or a fine powder.

  • Store in an airtight container

As an alternative to making them yourself, you can buy already ground shells.

There’s no fussing with eggshells in the kitchen and may be more convenient for you.

We Have Answered The Question Can Dogs Eat Eggshells, But Should Dogs Eat Eggshells?

Eggshells contain many essential nutrients and are easy to add to your pup’s meals. They are a natural alternative to store-bought calcium supplements, so why not give them a try?

Raw beef bones are an excellent source of calcium for your dog’s diet. However, it has been reported by veterinarians that they can get stuck in their gut and need surgery to remove the shards.

Eggshell powders are easy to use and a more reliable source of day to day calcium nutrition for the dog you love without the risk of bone fragments.

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