Got leftover Easter eggs and not sure what to do? The answer may be as simple as feeding them to your pooch. Eggs are a good source of protein and essential amino acids (i.e. the ones the body cannot make) for dogs. Either boiled or cooked, they can serve as delicious treats or whole food dietary supplements.
How Many Eggs a Day Can Fido Eat?
Every pup is different: size, breed, age and several other factors may come into play, so before feeding your dog eggs on the regular, check with your vet to make sure you don’t overdo it. Believe it or not, while eggs are generally considered safe for dogs, food allergies in dogs are on the rise — most likely due to high amounts of GMO soy and corn in the chicken’s feed (that’s right, all those toxins end up in the eggs!).
It is crucially important to know the source of your eggs — overall freshness as well as how they have been handled — Â because the risk of salmonella is highest in “battery eggs” from the supermarket. I wish that price or whatever is written on the carton were good enough indicators of safety, but sadly they are not. Terms like “cage free” don’t mean what consumers think. Sure, the birds aren’t in cages, but they aren’t exactly free roaming either. Instead, they are typically in cramped barns several cages high getting crapped on by their upstairs neighbors Â and living miserable lives. Let’s just say that the term “hen pecked” exists for a reason.
Same goes for “hormone-free”. Egg manufacturers are in business to make money and little else matters for most purveyors. So while they may not be injected with hormones, they are likely to be fed dizzying amounts of soy and corn to produce eggs daily (versus 4-6 times per week, for example), which as I mentioned above can lead to allergies not just for your dog, but for you as well (assuming you eat the same eggs).
With all this in mind, your best bet for good quality eggs that are safe for your dog (and you!) to eat are direct from a local farmer who raises the birds on grass for at least part of the day. Even if they use commercial feed, this is far superior to the eggs at the supermarket that are already a few weeks old by the time they get to the store.
Good indicators of an “impeccably fresh” egg (as Julia Child used to call them) are:
- Yolk color — should be deep orange. This comes from the carotenes in grass and is most noticeable during the spring when grass grows rapidly. If they look anemic pale yellow, they are likely not pastured as much as you might expect.
- They should “stand up” in the pan. If the whites are leaky like water and spread out, when you crack one, chances are the eggs are past their peak freshness.
These criteria are most important, if you want to feed raw eggs as part of a raw diet or to improve your dog’s coat, but provide peace of mind even if you plan on using them cooked too.
Note, however, that an excess of raw egg white can lead to biotin deficiency when fed in excess. Egg yolks are a particularly good source of biotin, a member of the B-complex family of vitamins that is responsible for promoting healthy skin and a silky coat. Unfortunately, the enzymes in raw egg whites bind to it preventing its absorption and leading to depletion of this important nutrient, leading to the exact opposite effect.
Eggs have myriad nutritional benefits as a food for dogs serving as an excellent source of protein (containing all essential amino acids necessary for proper metabolism) and fatty acids essential to a labeled diet. So whether as a normal food served every day or an occasional healthy treat, barring any bonafide food allergies, you can feel free to add them to your canine companion’s balanced diet.
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