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The last time I fed a puppy was two years ago when Apollo joined our family. He was 7 months old and I added one egg to his bowl 3-4 times a week (just like the other dogs) and he loved it. But when I received a message asking me how many eggs we should feed a puppy each week, I was stumped. So I did a little research and this is what I learned.
Benefits of Eggs for Raw Fed Dogs
Eggs are one of the main proteins I feed to my dogs and I often forget that it is a protein because I refer to eggs as a “superfood” or “nature's multivitamin” because of how nutritious they are for our dogs (and their humans).
Eggs are delicious!
Eggs are a great source of Vitamin A, B vitamins, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Eggs also add phosphorus, choline, selenium, zinc, and essential fatty acids to the bowl. And what's even better is that our dogs enjoy these benefits if we feed eggs raw or cooked – cooking doesn't change the nutrient profile by much.
How to Feed Eggs to Raw Fed Dogs
I feed raw eggs to my dogs three to four days weekly, but this doesn't work for everyone. If you have a small breed dog, one whole egg may be too much for one meal. And if you have a giant breed dog, feeding organic, pasture-raised eggs multiple times a week can be expensive. So here are a few ideas:
If your dog can't tolerate raw eggs or if you don't want to feed raw eggs, cooking eggs is an option. You can scramble, poach, boil, or fry eggs for your dog. If you're looking for the healthiest way to cook eggs (the way that will retain most of the nutrients), then boil (hard or soft) or poach the eggs for your dog.
The cool thing about cooking the eggs is that you can split up the egg over a few meals for puppies and smaller dogs.
If you don't want to cook the eggs, but feeding raw eggs are too much for your puppy or dog, then try freezing your eggs first. When you freeze eggs, the yolk becomes more solid, kind of like it's been boiled. I usually mush the yolk down to make it easier for the dogs to eat. I learned about freezing eggs when someone in a raw feeding group scored dozens and dozens of eggs and frozen them, thawing as needed.
Like when you cook eggs, when you freeze them, you can split up an egg over a few meals.
How Many Eggs Can a Dog Eat Weekly?
I know that people want a specific answer to this but I don't know how many ways I can stress that each dog is different and we eventually learn what works for each of our dogs. So I'll share what I do for my dogs to give you a starting point.
I find it easier to create a schedule so that I know which mornings the dogs get eggs without giving it much thought:
- Monday: raw eggs
- Tuesday: raw goat's milk/kefir fast + raw eggs
- Wednesday: raw eggs
- Thursday: FASTING DAY
- Friday: raw eggs
I don't always do the milk fast day (there are weeks when it doesn't work) and I NEVER fast a puppy.
I choose to feed my dogs raw eggs three to four days weekly because this worked for us and after my dogs' nutrient tests came back with great results, However, three to four days is what I do – it's not the rule. There are raw feeders who feed raw eggs twice weekly and some who feed raw eggs daily. For me, sourcing (friends, Costco) and budget can impact how often I feed eggs – if I lost my source or the cost of eggs started growing, then I may need to rethink how often I feed eggs (or start raising my own chickens).
How Many Eggs Can a Puppy Eat Weekly?
When it comes to puppies (1/5 to 5 months old), I recommend feeding commercial raw unless you have a solid recipe or meal formulation software. It's so important that a rapidly growing puppy gets ALL of their nutrients so I don't play around with their diet, which, for me, includes raw eggs.
In my research, I learned that it's fine to feed small dogs one to two eggs weekly (you can cook the egg and split it over several meals). And I learned that it's okay to feed large dogs two to three eggs weekly. But what about puppies? I couldn't find anything specific to puppies, so this is my recommendation based on my experience:
- Start small because eggs can be rich for some dogs/puppies. If you have a young puppy that is fed a raw food diet, then I recommend starting with cooked eggs so that you can start small and work your way up to a full egg.
- Adjust the meal when you add an egg to account for the calories. I feed based on grams and not calories. By weighing all of my meals, I avoid over feeding.
If I were to bring a puppy home tomorrow, I'd start with one poached egg per week, split between two or three meals.
Can You Feed a Puppy Eggshells?
Yes, you can feed a puppy eggshells if you'd like. However, don't feed eggshells as the only (or main) calcium source; I don't trust eggshells to provide enough calcium for a growing puppy.
When Apollo joined our family, he was still growing (he put on 20 pounds in under four months) so I added eggshells to his meal on top of the bone that was already present. So he was getting additional calcium to support those rapidly growing bones.
One caveat about feeding eggshells…be sure to only feed the eggshells from pasture raised eggs purchased from friends and local farms. In the USA, the eggs in the grocery store are rinsed with chemical detergents, a requirement by the USDA. This is done
“The USDA requires producers to wash eggs with warm water at least 20°F warmer than the internal temperature of the eggs and at a minimum of 90°F. A detergent that won’t impart any foreign odors to the eggs must also be used. After washing, the eggs must be rinsed with a warm water spray containing a chemical sanitizer to remove any remaining bacteria. They are then dried to remove excess moisture.” Source: Forbes – Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa
Risk of Feeding Raw Eggs to Dogs?
Many people will warn you away from feeding raw eggs because of salmonella. Well, as raw feeders, we understand that dogs are better equipped to eat raw meat (acidic gut, shorter digestive system). And this applies to puppies as well.
I read that there are some health issues that preclude dogs from eating eggs, however, when I looked for a list of these health conditions, I couldn't find any information. The only thing I can think of is a sensitivity to eggs. If you're concerned about the safety of feeding eggs to your dog or that your dog may be allergic to eggs, contact your veterinarian to discuss.
I know when my dogs have a sensitivity to a food or protein because they get gas, loose stool, and diarrhea.
Conclusion About Puppies and Eggs
To wrap this up, YES, puppies can eat raw (or cooked) eggs. If your puppy is new to eating eggs, I suggest starting slow with cooked eggs. Boiled (hard or soft) and poached eggs are the healthiest AND you can split them up to feed over several meals for a puppy or small dog.