Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, and as pet owners, we always want to ensure that our beloved furry friends are getting the best possible nutrition. As a result, many of us are turning to natural and homemade diets for our pets. One commonly asked question that dog owners have is whether they should grind eggshells for their dogs. The answer might surprise you!
The Benefits of Feeding Dogs Eggshells
First, let’s discuss the benefits of feeding your dog eggs. Eggs are not only a great source of protein but also contain essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, and Selenium. They are also easily digestible, making them an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Additionally, eggs have been known to help with skin and coat health.
But what about the eggshells? Believe it or not, the shell of an egg provides many benefits to dogs as well. Eggshells are mostly made up of calcium carbonate, which is an excellent source of calcium for dogs. Calcium is an essential nutrient for dogs as it promotes healthy bone growth and is particularly important for puppies and senior dogs.
The Importance of Grounding Eggshells
Now that we know the benefits of eggshells, it’s important to note that dogs cannot digest them in their whole form. Therefore, it is necessary to grind the eggshells to a fine powder to make them digestible for dogs. Grinding eggshells can be done in a coffee grinder or blender until it reaches a texture similar to sand.
It’s also important to note that eggshells from organic, free-range eggs are preferred as they are of higher quality and contain fewer chemicals and toxins that can be harmful to your dog.
How Much Eggshells Should You Feed Your Dog?
The amount of eggshells that should be fed to your dog varies depending on their weight and age. As a general rule of thumb, a teaspoon of eggshell powder per 10 pounds of body weight can be added to your dog’s food once a day. For example, a 20-pound dog would receive two teaspoons of eggshell powder daily.
It’s essential to start slowly when introducing eggshells to your dog’s diet to avoid upsetting their stomach. Begin with a small amount, such as 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon per day, gradually increasing that amount over the following week until they have reached the recommended dose.
Alternatives to Eggshells
If grinding eggshells isn’t your thing or your dog simply doesn’t like the taste or texture, there are other options to consider. One alternative is to feed your dog kelp meal, which is a natural source of calcium and other nutrients. Bone meal is also an option, but it’s important to ensure that it’s from a reputable source and free from any additives or preservatives.
The Risks of Feeding Dogs Eggshells
While eggshells provide many benefits to dogs, there are some risks to be aware of. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, eggshells must be ground to a fine powder to make them digestible for dogs. If not ground well enough, eggshell fragments can cause gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, diarrhea, or even bleeding from the rectum.
Additionally, if your dog suffers from kidney disease, they should not be given eggshells as the additional calcium can put a strain on their already struggling kidneys.
In conclusion, grinding eggshells for dogs is a wonderful way to include an extra source of calcium in their diet, but it’s essential to be cautious and do it correctly. Always grind the eggshells finely to avoid any digestive issues, and be sure to introduce them slowly into your dog’s diet. As with any dietary changes, it’s always vital to consult with your veterinarian beforehand.
Here are some frequently asked questions about feeding eggshells to dogs:
- Can I feed my dog whole eggs?
- Yes, dogs can eat whole eggs, including the shells. However, it’s necessary to grind the shells to avoid digestive issues.
- What other benefits do eggshells provide to dogs?
- In addition to calcium, eggshells also contain magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Can I feed my dog too much eggshells?
- Yes, overfeeding your dog eggshells can lead to constipation, flatulence, and bloating.
- Can puppies have eggshells?
- Yes, puppies can have eggshells, and they are particularly beneficial for their growing bones and teeth.
- What if my dog doesn’t like the taste of eggshells?
- If your dog doesn’t like the taste of eggshells, there are other natural sources of calcium to consider, such as kelp meal or bone meal.
- Aberdein, D. (2020). The Importance of Calcium for Dogs. American Kennel Club.
- Kristina, G. (2018). Should You Feed Your Dog Eggshells? The Honest Kitchen.
- Stockman, J. (2016). Homemade Dog Food: Adding Calcium. Whole Dog Journal.