Are Eggs Good for Dogs?
With unending articles about high cholesterol levels and poor health, we may overlook the fact that eggs are a nutrient rich, affordable contributor to a healthy diet. Egg contains one of the highest quality sources of protein available and also contains almost every essential vitamin and mineral. Egg has the distinct position, in the nutritional scheme of things, to have the highest protein quality and therefore is the standard by which other proteins are compared.
We can look at the nutritional value of eggs by using the Biological Value of protein in food.
Definition: Biological Value
The Biological Value of a protein is a value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilize a protein or the efficacy with which protein is used for growth. The biological value of food is the measurement of the amino acid completeness of the proteins contained in the food. Biological value applies to humans and to canines. The higher the Biological Value, the more nitrogen a body can absorb, use, and retain. Egg has a biological value between 93% and 100% and is considered an excellent source of protein for man and canine since they contain all of the essential amino acids. By comparison, milk has a biological value of around 88%, fish approximately 76% and beef around 77%. Eggs are one of the best proteins available from any source and eggs are loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals.
So are eggs good for my dog? Yes, eggs can be a major contributor in providing top nutrition for dogs.
Unfortunately, many dogs are over weight. I found a consensus of several veterinarians stating that dogs are usually overweight because of high carbohydrate diets and not enough exercise. Dry dog foods are typically over 50% carbohydrates, not an ideal diet.
By the way, since dogs are carnivores, they thrive on meat (including the fat) and high protein food. Dogs love eggs and eggs have just what dogs need, protein and fat. Veterinarians say that animal fat (not vegetable fat) is good for dogs and cholesterol is generally not a problem for dogs. Fat is used for energy so it is especially important in the diet of active dogs. Less active or overweight dogs should cut back on carbohydrates and limit fat intake. However, an overweight dog or less active dog can still have many of the benefits of eggs and high protein by feeding them egg whites and no yolks.
Back to eggs and cholesterol; since I have a somewhat high triglyceride level which is associated with the bad HDL cholesterol, my doctor said I need to eat less fat and loose some weight. I also try to balance the fat, protein and carbs. For breakfast, I love scrambled eggs with strawberry jam and toast.
The solution for me is the same as for over weight dogs, which is not to abstain from eggs, but to use the whites for protein and few or no yolks to limit the fat.
My breakfast now consists of three egg whites, one yolk and whole wheat toast, for a high protein, low fat breakfast. If I wanted a zero-fat breakfast, I would omit the yolk and just eat the whites. Egg whites taste like “Egg Beaters” from the grocery store, which taste very much like whole eggs and are made from all whites and no yolks. Our dog Molly doesn’t say much about how eggs taste to her, but I know she loves them, as indicated by a fast tail wag and prominent lip smacking when she sees an egg!
One last highlight for eggs; the shells are almost pure calcium. You can grind the egg shells in a coffee grinder or spice grinder to make a calcium supplement for home made dog food. One of my home dog food recipe books suggests feeding ½ teaspoon of ground eggshell per pound of home made dog food for a daily calcium supplement.