While making breakfast, I dropped an egg on the floor.
When I turned around to grab stuff to clean up the mess, Calvin darted in and grabbed a piece of eggshell from the floor.
Before I had a chance to get him to drop it, he had already eaten it.
I was sure the shell wasn’t toxic but I was mildly concerned that it might cause digestive issues or intestinal blockages or damage, like some other foods to avoid.
I called my vet and checked things out online, and what I learned was quite interesting.
I hadn’t realized that some people fed eggshells to their dogs or that eggshell supplements existed.
But apparently, eggshells are an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus, both nutrients essential to our dog’s health.
Can Dogs Eat Eggshells?
Yes, eggshells are safe for dogs to eat, but they need to be appropriately prepared.
They are not toxic, but neither are they without risk.
In many situations, they are very beneficial to add to your dog’s diet. A surprising number of human foods are like that!
Before feeding eggshells to your dog, it is best to take time to prepare them to ensure they are safe as well as to ensure proper absorption.
Raw eggs have the potential to cause salmonella poisoning.
Salmonella is a bacteria found in certain fresh foods. It is undetectable by the naked eye and does not carry a smell, so there is no way to know if the egg is contaminated with it.
So, if you feed your dog eggshells, it is best to wash the shell thoroughly to remove any raw egg from the interior of the shell.
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Also, if you feed your dog eggshells daily, it is easiest to wash and dry several shells, then store them in an airtight container.
Can Puppies Have Eggshells?
Though eggshells are not toxic, they are not the best choice for puppies.
If you are feeding your puppy a nutritionally balanced commercial diet, it is not necessary to add additional calcium to their food.
Adding calcium can be particularly harmful to large or giant breed puppies.
Excess calcium can cause issues such as:
- Less dense bones
- Skeletal malformations
- Weakened joints
- Developmental orthopedic disease
So unless your vet has recommended adding a calcium supplement to your puppy’s diet, it is a good idea to wait until your puppy is fully grown before adding supplements containing calcium.
Should Dogs Have Whole or Crushed Eggshells?
Crushed eggshells are best for a couple of reasons.
First, whole eggshells could cause minor cuts in the mouth and esophagus.
Second, crushed eggshells make it easier for your dog to absorb the nutrients from the shells.
If you are at all concerned with salmonella poisoning, you can boil the eggs first, removing any danger of food poisoning.
However, it is essential to dry the shells first before crushing them to reduce the chances of mold.
Does it Matter What Type of Egg I Buy?
If you are planning on feeding eggshells to your dog, you will want to purchase non-bleached eggs. And, if available, organic free-range eggs, since they offer higher nutrition.
Bleached eggs are not necessarily dangerous, but some of the nutrients are lost during the bleaching process.
So, to make sure you are giving your dog the highest quality eggshells, it is best to choose eggs that are less processed.
However, remember if you use fresh farm eggs, they need to be correctly washed before giving them to your dog.
Backyard fresh chicken eggs are wonderfully nutritious but need to have the debris removed appropriately.
If washed with water, the bacteria can leach into the shell. So be sure to use proper cleaning techniques when using fresh eggs.
Are Eggshells Good for Dogs?
Eggshells are suitable for dogs that need the added calcium and phosphorous in their diet.
Most commercial dog foods offer adequate sources of both nutrients, so adding more to your dog’s food is often not necessary.
However, dogs on homemade or special diets may need to supplement these nutrients, and eggshells are an inexpensive and natural remedy.
Eggshells contain the perfect calcium and phosphorous ratio. If your dog has too much of one or the other, it can cause unwanted health issues.
Possible Dangers of Eggshells
Beyond the danger of sharp edges and salmonella, too much calcium in a dog’s diet can cause health issues, specifically hypercalcemia.
Additionally, dogs with pre-existing health issues can also have adverse effects from added calcium in their diet.
Some conditions made worse by high calcium diets include kidney disease, dogs with chronic UTIs, and dogs who suffer from kidney stones.
If your pup has or is predisposed to any of these health conditions, you should not add eggshells to their food.
How to Serve Eggshells to Your Dog
After cleaning the eggshells, you will want thoroughly dry the shell to keep the shells from clumping when during or after you grind them.
Once the eggshells are thoroughly dried, you can grind them in a food processor, mortar and pestle, or coffee grinder, then store them in a container for up to a week.
Then, during mealtime, sprinkle the eggshell powder directly onto your pup’s food.
How Much Can You Feed Your Dog
Most dogs only need 1 tsp of the eggshell powder once per day.
Often, one large egg ground down equals 1 tsp of eggshell.
However, it is always smart to consult your vet to determine the proper amount of eggshell needed to supplement your dog’s diet.
Do Dogs Need Eggshells Added to Their Diet?
However, if your dog is eating a raw or homemade diet, they may require additional calcium to aid in promoting healthy bones and teeth.
Also, if your dog has had orthopedic surgery, your vet may recommend adding calcium to their diet to aid in promoting healing.
You can buy non-eggshell calcium supplements, though.
It is critical to point out that adding calcium to your dog’s diet through eggshells or other supplements is not recommended until you have consulted your veterinarian.
We all want to provide the best care for our pups, but sometimes our best intentions can backfire, which is why I always encourage you to check with your vet first.
The good news is the occasional eggshell will not harm your dog if they happen to nab one off the floor.