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You’ve likely heard plenty of things about the supposed health benefits of raw eggs for humans. That they can build muscle fast, that they can help underweight individuals gain weight quickly, the list goes on. It may make you wonder if raw eggs are a good choice for your dog. Can dogs eat raw eggs? Are they somehow safer for dogs than humans?
Read on to learn the nutritional differences between raw and cooked eggs, and if raw eggs are right for your dog.
Are Raw Eggs Better for My Dog?
While raw eggs are known for having mostly the same nutritional value as a cooked egg, they do tend to contain fewer calories and fat than cooked eggs.
That discrepancy often has something to do with the way the egg in question is cooked and is less an example of raw eggs being healthier. In all other ways, however, a raw egg is nutritionally identical to a cooked egg.
In fact, a study in Leuven, Belgium, found that protein absorption from raw eggs was only 50%, while cooked eggs absorbed at 90%. That’s a 40% difference, and that’s not the only absorption issue with raw eggs.
There are also concerns that the protein avidin, contained in raw egg whites, can block biotin absorption. Also known as B7, biotin is a B complex vitamin that supports healthy digestion, metabolism, and skin and cell growth, so a deficiency in this nutrient could cause issues in your furry best friend.
While these studies are centered on humans, it’s not a large leap to assume that similar issues can arise in dogs, and that’s not even considering bacterial concerns.
So while the raw egg myths persist, they’re likely not going to serve your dog better than any cooked alternatives.
Are Raw Eggs Safe for my Dog?
When thinking about raw eggs and dogs, the first and foremost concern is salmonella. This bacteria can be anywhere in an egg that hasn’t been pasteurized, which is a good portion of those sold in grocery stores. (Those that have been treated are marked as pasteurized on the packaging.)
If a dog eats an egg contaminated by Salmonella bacteria, they run the risk of contracting Salmonellosis, an infection caused by the bacterium.
The symptoms of Salmonellosis in dogs are:
- Fever (Learn how to check your dog’s temperature.)
- Refusal to eat (Anorexia)
While these aren’t the only symptoms Salmonellosis may cause, it’s a good idea to take a trip to the vet to have your dog tested.
Dogs most at risk are older dogs and puppies, though even healthy dogs can become infected. Salmonella is also zoonotic, which means your dog can pass the infection on to you.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs?
Looking at the information above, while dogs can eat raw eggs, they likely shouldn’t. The risk of salmonella infection combined with the fact that raw eggs aren’t more nutritious than cooked make raw eggs more trouble than they’re really worth.
If you want your dog to have eggs as part of their diet, it’s recommended to feed them cooked, without oil or seasoning.
While your dog likely won’t suffer from slurping up an egg you dropped in the kitchen, or eggs they’ve stolen from a nest outside, raw eggs shouldn’t become a staple of your dog’s diet.
Alternatives to Raw Eggs for Dogs
While raw eggs aren’t a good nutritional option for dogs, cooked eggs remain protein powerhouses packed with loads of essential fatty and amino acids.
There are many ways to introduce cooked eggs into your dog’s diet, including:
- Adding scrambled eggs as a meal topper
- Feeding your dog bits of plain boiled egg
- Using bits of fully cooked egg as cost-effective training treats
- Making your dog special egg puff treats
There are also commercial treats that contain eggs, such as these crunchy egg and cheese dog treats.
For More Information
We offer a collection of articles on foods that are healthy or dangerous for dogs to eat, covering everything from grains, fruits, and vegetables.