Cracked Raw Egg Over Dog Food: Healthy or Not?
A cracked raw egg just looks like the perfect topper for dog food. It’s natural, it’s convenient, and almost every dog loves it. But is feeding raw eggs to your dog really safe? The truth is, it’s kind of a grey area. Today, we’ll go over the risks and the benefits of feeding raw eggs to dogs so you can make your own informed decision. Let’s get cracking! Are Raw Eggs Good for Dogs?
Eggs, whether cooked or raw, are a rich source of various essential nutrients. They are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a valuable addition to the human diet. But what about our dogs? Are eggs equally beneficial for them?
“A protein's rating—called its Biological Value (BV)— is a measure of the amount and number of the essential amino acids present. The higher the BV, the more nutritionally valuable the protein is. Egg is generally considered the ‘perfect’ protein, and given a BV of 100.” - Dr. Laurie Coger, DVM, CVCP (1)
When it comes to dogs, eggs can offer a wide range of nutritional benefits:
In fact, you’ll often see eggs as an ingredient in high-quality dog food. So eggs are definitely good for dogs. Just like with any food, there might be dogs who don’t tolerate eggs very well due to allergies or sensitivities, but these cases are very rare.
But is it OK to feed the eggs raw?
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The Elephant in the Room (Salmonella)
The main issue with feeding raw eggs to dogs is the risk of bacterial infection. This is the same problem that arises with any type of raw food of animal origin. With eggs, the main thing to be concerned about is salmonella.
Now, dogs are much more resistant to salmonella and similar bacterial infections than humans are. Severe infections are possible, but fairly rare. The symptoms to look out for include sudden onset diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite.
But, there is another reason to be cautious about dogs and potential salmonella risks: the fact that they can transmit the infection to humans.
“Even if a dog does not show signs of salmonellosis, he can still spread the disease through faeces or saliva, which can infect humans. The type of salmonella that affects dogs is more likely to affect humans as well, making it a zoonotic disease.” - Jamie Lovejoy, DVM, PetMD (2)
Again, the chances of this happening are not huge, but it's possible.
So what’s the takeaway from all of this? Can we feed our dogs raw eggs or not? Well, I’ll be the first to admit that I have often cracked a raw egg over my dog’s food, and she loves it. As far as I know, neither I nor my dog have gotten a salmonella infection in all these years. But is it 100% safe? No, it isn’t.
So it’s up to you to decide if you are willing to deal with potential rouge pathogens from eggs entering your home.
The good news is, cooked eggs are also great for dogs, and don’t come with any risks. So if you are looking for a safe alternative, just go ahead and cook the eggs!
The Alternatives to Raw Eggs
To mitigate the potential risks associated with feeding your dog raw eggs, it's advisable to cook them before offering them as a treat or supplement to your dog's regular diet.
Here's how you can prepare eggs for your dog:
Finally, there is actually another benefit of cooking the eggs you feed your dog, besides killing the harmful bacteria. Namely, cooking eggs actually makes the protein in them more bioavailable for your dog (3). So, in the end, feeding cooked eggs might even be the better option!
Incorporating Eggs In Your Dog’s Diet
Just like with any type of new food, introduce eggs slowly into your dog’s diet. Start with a small amount to see how they react. Monitor your dog for any signs of digestive upset or allergies, such as itching, hives, or diarrhoea. If your dog tolerates eggs well and enjoys them, you can gradually incorporate them into their meals as an occasional treat or supplement.
How much egg you can feed your dog on a regular basis will depend on the size of your dog and other factors. If unsure, you can always talk to your vet, but in our experience, one egg per day is a good measure.
Raw eggs, with their nutritional benefits, are a tempting addition to your dog's diet. They're packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, they carry a risk of bacterial infection, notably salmonella. While this risk is relatively low, it's not zero, and dogs can transmit it to humans. Cooked eggs offer a safer alternative without sacrificing nutrition, eliminating the bacterial risk and making the protein more accessible.
Ultimately, your choice between raw and cooked eggs depends on your risk tolerance. Both can be healthy options, though, and eggs are definitely a great addition to your canine companion’s diet!
Related: What Food Can't Dogs Eat?
- Semigran, A. April 25, 2016. “Best Proteins for Raw Food Diets for Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
- Lovejoy, J. June 9, 2023. “Salmonella in Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved September 5, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/salmonella-dogs
- Taylor, M. December 5, 2021. “Can Dogs Eat Eggs?”. FETCH by WebMD. Retrieved September 5, 2023. https://www.webmd.com/pets/dogs/can-dogs-eat-eggs