Nutrients and Benefits of Eggs for Dogs and Cats
Benefits of Feeding Eggs
Eggs are a great addition to your pets raw or kibble meals. As shown in both graphics, eggs contain many beneficial nutrients. Eggs not only add vitamins, minerals, and protein, they also help improve your pets coat and skin.
"Duck eggs are an Alkaline producing food, which is a great benefit to cancer patients as cancer cells do not thrive in an alkaline environment. Chicken eggs are an acid food leaving a dogs body more acidic" (Nutrition Data).
The "Salmonella Worry"
Kevin Keener, a food process engineer at Purdue University, said; "On average one out of every 20,000 chicken eggs contains a small amount of salmonella that is deposited into the sac by the hen." That means there is a 0.005% chance of an egg containing salmonella. It's important to note that dogs and cats digest food at a much different and faster rate than humans do.
Salmonella isn't much of a concern for the pets eating the raw egg as it is for the humans handling it. "Those few contaminated eggs that come out of a hen usually contain very low levels of bacteria. Totaling between two and five microorganisms. It take a level of at least 100 bacteria to make a (human) person sick" (Purdue). However, a human feeding a dog or cat a raw egg isn't ingesting or digesting it.
Biotin is a nutrient that helps convert food into fuel for a pets body and helps metabolize carbs, fats, and proteins. It's important for cellular growth and beneficial for healthy skin, coat, and nails. Egg whites contain Avidin, which is a biotin-binding protein, meaning it inhibits biotin to a certain extent. Egg yolks (the yellow part) contain biotin, so feeding the entire egg is important. Biotin deficiencies are rare and it would take a very large amount of egg whites to cause a deficiency. Other foods that contain biotin are spinach, salmon, liver, kidney, and raw goat milk.
Some raw feeders prefer eggs as an added source of Vitamin D. Hard-boiling the egg increases the amount of Vitamin D, so it's important to know how much Vitamin D is already in your pets diet. There are other raw foods that contain this vitamin such as meat and sardines.
*The above nutrient values are for raw eggs
Choosing The Egg and Serving Amount
I recommend adding raw eggs to your pets meals 5-6 times a week and hard-boiled eggs 3-4 times a week. If your pet has digestive upset, cut back the amount until they are used to the transition. A quail egg is a great size for small dogs and cats. Dogs with allergies will benefit from duck or quail eggs the most because chicken eggs can either be a neutral or warming food according to Food Energetics of Chinese Medicine. A warming food means that it will increase inflammation in the body. Chicken eggs contain a higher amount of omega-6 fatty acids, depending on where you source them from, which can cause inflammation to increase. Some dogs with allergies are fine with chicken eggs and others are not. Find the egg that works best for your pet.
Caged birds spend their whole lives inside and are fed corn, soy, grains, and antibiotics, which is an unnatural diet.
Cage-Free can walk around, but are usually overcrowded and never go outside.
Free-range are kept in free-run barns, but have access to the outdoors for part of the day.
Organic eggs come from birds fed an organic diet without antibiotics and pesticides. These are cage free and are given access to outdoors.
Pasture-raised live outside and are fed their natural diet of plants, seeds, worms, and bugs.
Pasture-raised and organic are best. Be sure to buy eggs that are not chemically treated. The main difference you will see between caged eggs and pasture-raised eggs are the color of the shell and most noticeably the egg yolk. The egg yolk will be an orange color. Whereas factory farmed, caged chickens, fed corn or soy will be a lighter yellow. Eggs that are caged and of lesser quality will not contain the same amount of nutrients (shown above) as pasture-raised eggs.
Food Composition Databases Show Foods -- Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh, 2016, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/112?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=raw%2Begg&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=.
Nutritiondata.self.com. (2018). Egg, quail, whole, fresh, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. [online] Available at: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/128/2.
Purdue.edu. (2018). Egg cooling would lessen salmonella illnesses, scientist says. [online] Available at: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100825KeenerEggs.html
Sciencedirect.com. (2018). Avidin - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/avidin
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