Do you have a pup at home who will happily eat anything? Your dog might love to eat human food that falls to the floor like a doggie garbage disposal, but many foods are bad for them. It makes you wonder if something as simple as eggshells are, too.
You may already know that dogs can eat eggs (and they have some fantastic health benefits!), but what about eggshells? Are they safe for dogs?
The short answer is yes, but there are some things to be aware of. We’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about dogs eating eggshells.
Can Dogs Eat Egg Shells?
If your dog was lucky enough to come across a bird’s nest outside, it would certainly gobble up the eggs, shells and all. Your dog’s powerful jaws and sharp teeth would make quick work of the fragile shell.
However, the shell wouldn’t break down in your dog’s digestive tract. You would see pieces of it later because your pup’s body wasn’t able to digest the hard shell completely.
So, yes, dogs can eat eggshells, but they have to be fed to your dog in a way that allows the shells to be digested.
How Should You Feed Your Dog Eggshells?
Although dogs aren’t really at risk for Salmonella poisoning like we are, it’s easier to prepare eggshells if they come from cooked eggs. The shells will be much more brittle, and this makes them easier to grind up into a powder.
Powdered is the best way to feed eggshells to your dog because the powder is easily added to food. This form also allows your dog’s digestive tract the opportunity to absorb the minerals from the eggshells.
There are two ways to cook eggshells. The first is to simply prepare some boiled eggs and save the peeled shells. You can use a food processor to grind the shells up, or you can put the shells in a plastic storage bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.
You can also bake the eggshells in your oven. Modern Dog Magazine gives the following instructions:
You can feed your dog ¾ teaspoon of the powdered eggshells per 1 cup of dog food.
What Are the Health Benefits of Eggshells?
Dogs can eat eggshells, but should they? Are there any health benefits to feeding your dog eggshells?
The answer is yes! Eggshells contain several types of important minerals that are good for dogs.
Just like us, dogs need calcium for strong bones and teeth. But that’s not the only role calcium plays in your dog’s body. It also helps with blood clotting, muscle contraction, milk production in lactating dogs, heart pumping, vision, and healthy metabolism.
In most cases, commercial dog foods meet dogs’ calcium needs. However, some health conditions cause dogs to have low calcium levels in their blood. Kidney failure, hypoparathyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism are three disorders that can result in calcium deficiency.
Supplementing calcium can be helpful to your dog if it has a deficiency of calcium, but always check with your vet first. Eggshells are a great source of calcium, and they make an inexpensive supplement for your dog.
Calcium and phosphorus are minerals that work together to form strong bones and teeth. Luckily, eggshells contain plenty of both.
Phosphorus, along with calcium, is essential for your dog’s blood coagulation, muscle growth, and nervous system function.
Eggshells have plenty of magnesium, which is another mineral that your dog needs for good health. Dogs need magnesium to properly absorb calcium. Along with calcium and phosphorus, magnesium plays an important role in muscle and bone development.
Are There Any Safety Concerns?
Eggshells are high in calcium, which is a necessary mineral for a dog’s health. However, you can have too much of a good thing.
When dogs have too much calcium in their blood, they are considered hypercalcemic. This condition causes a whole host of health problems like digestive issues, excessive thirst, bladder stones, hypertension, and lethargy.
Usually, dogs become hypercalcemic when they have other medical conditions that prevent their thyroid glands from properly controlling their calcium levels. Before supplementing your dog with eggshells, be sure to talk with your vet about any potential side effects for your dog. This is especially true if you know your dog has a thyroid condition.
If you feed your dog well-balanced commercial dog food, there’s usually no reason to supplement its diet with calcium. Doing so runs the risk of causing your dog to have too much calcium in its blood. However, if you feed your dog a raw food diet, then you will need to give your dog calcium. Eggshells are a great source for this.
Another concern is feeding your dog bleached eggshells from the grocery store. These shells have been treated with chemicals to sanitize them, so it’s best to feed your dog unbleached eggshells.
Dogs can eat eggshells without a problem, but if you want them to have full health benefits, you’ll need to prepare them properly. A dog’s digestive tract can’t break down shells, so they will need to be in powder form.
Eggshells are a great source for the three important minerals: calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These minerals are key to strong bones and teeth and your dog’s overall health.
If your dog has a thyroid condition or other health disorder that prevents its body from controlling calcium levels in its blood, then be sure to talk to your vet before adding eggshells to your dog’s diet. Too much calcium can be harmful to some dogs.