Cooked eggs are a beneficial and tasty complement to a healthy dog diet. They offer an impressively comprehensive nutrition profile, and many dogs love the taste. As an added bonus, the nutrients in eggs can contribute to a healthy, shiny coat, reflective of a dog who's healthy inside and out.
What Makes a Shiny Coat?
Dietary use of protein and proper fats can be a direct path to a shiny coat. Protein deficiency causes the body to dedicate protein to body muscle, depriving skin and fur and leading to a dull, dry coat. Eggs offer a high level of complete protein. Essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 are heroes to skin. Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties, relieving itching, dandruff and inflammatory skin diseases. Omega-6 replaces vital skin oils. Egg yolks contain both omega-3 and omega-6.
Egg Nutritional Info
One average-sized chicken egg contains about 70 calories and 6 grams of protein. Essential fatty acid content varies, however eggs from pastured, free-range hens can offer up to 10 times more omega-3s than more mass-produced eggs. Some eggs are also fortified with essential fatty acids. Along with the egg itself, egg shells offer nutrition in the form of protein, calcium and trace nutrients. Crush or grind egg shells before adding them to your dog's food.
Why Cook Eggs?
Cooking destroys harmful bacteria, such as salmonella. Further, raw egg contains avidin, a protein which can cause vomiting in some dogs. In excess, avidin can interfere with the function of biotin, a B vitamin essential for cell growth, fat metabolism and more. Since there's no precise level of "excess," it's best to play it safe and cook the eggs to minimize risk of illness while still shining up your dog's coat.
Preparation, Amounts and Precautions
Although eggs are nutritional powerhouses, usage should cater to the individual. For example, some dogs vomit if given whites, and can only tolerate yolks. Fortunately, yolks contain most of the shine-producing essential fatty acids. You can boil, scramble or fry eggs, then cool and serve them with your dog's other food or alone as a treat. Depending on size, dogs might benefit from up to a few eggs a week, as part of a more comprehensive diet. Speak with your veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog's diet.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.