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What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Eggshells?

Eggs can be cooked in a large variety of ways, which makes them one of our favorite foods, and, unsurprisingly, dogs love eggs too. But can dogs eat eggs?

The short answer is yes, dogs can eat eggs, and actually, eggs have many health benefits for dogs, including the shells. So if your dog ate eggshells, they should be passing them normally with the stools with no harm caused.

What should you do if your dog eats eggshells? 

You’re cooking breakfast and that quick little thief you have for a dog manages to snatch a few eggshells from the table. They will be gone before you can retrieve them, but luckily, eggshells are not toxic for dogs.

Dogs eat eggshells because they’re attracted by the egg’s flavor, not because they actually enjoy the shells. Eggshells aren’t the most digestible food out there, so your dog could vomit them up or have little diarrhea, but nothing more than that.

If you want to feel safe, even if your dog looks healthy and active as always, you can withhold food for the rest of the day, but provide plenty of water.

Afterward, re-introduce food with a light diet of chicken, rice, fish, or scrambled eggs. Make sure to give them small meals 4-5 times per day.

If your dog looks fine and they passed the stools normally, gradually re-introduce their normal diet over the next few days. It’s normal to see white specks in your dog’s stools when they pass the eggshells.

However, if your dog accidentally ate eggshells and feels sick afterward, you should head to the veterinarian to rule out risks of gastroenteritis or other GI tract conditions.

What should you do if your dog ate cooked eggs? 

Cooked eggs are safe for your dog to eat, certainly more than raw eggs which always carry some health risks, so your dog will be fine.

Your dog can eat cooked eggs with or without shells, in fact, dogs eat cooked eggshells with no problems.

However, the egg needs to be plain, not seasoned, and not cooked with other foods, unless you’re absolutely sure that those foods are safe for your dog to eat.

Some spices and seasonings we use on our food can be very harmful to dogs, and foods with too much oil and salt can make your dog sick or overweight in the long run.

What should you do if your dog ate raw eggs? 

Make sure your eggs are properly handled and stored if you want to feed them to your dog, in order to minimize the risk of bacterial infection and salmonella.

Dogs in the wild eat raw eggs whole without problems, so raw eggs aren’t bad for dogs, but as with all other raw foods, they should be given carefully and sporadically. A medium-size dog shouldn’t eat more than 2-3 raw eggs per week.

Raw eggs can be a little hard on your dog’s digestive system but are otherwise non-toxic and a good source of nutrients and proteins.

Some dogs may experience vitamin B7 deficiency because of raw eggs, which could cause skin problems that in severe cases can lead to bald spots in the fur because of excessive scratching.

However, that is unlikely because your dog would need to eat many raw eggs per day to experience such harmful consequences.

What happens if a dog ate eggshells? 

In most cases, your dog will only gain health benefits from eating eggshells. Eggshells are a good source of calcium, which should be present in your dog’s diet.

Dogs on home-made diets that don’t consume raw meaty bones may be lacking calcium, which is needed to balance out the phosphorus they get from the other foods.

There are several foods loaded in calcium content, but many of them (like yogurt or even vitamin supplements) are also loaded in phosphorus, which wouldn’t fix the problem.

As calcium is fundamental for your dog’s diet, you need to provide it separately if their diet doesn’t include enough of it. In this case, eggshells are perfect because they’re an easy source of calcium and don’t contain a big amount of phosphorus.

When your dog is on a commercial diet, they usually already get the necessary amount of calcium from their normal meals, and feeding them eggshells frequently could cause more harm than good, because they can’t digest all that calcium.

Hypercalcemia. 

Too much calcium in your dog’s diet risks to reduce the nutritional value of their food and provoke health issues in the long term.

An excess of calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia and may be very heavy on some organs, especially the kidneys. It’s not uncommon to hear of kidney failure in relation to foods and products that contain high levels of calcium, like tums.

Of course, a dog eating eggshells once in a while is not at risk of developing an excessive amount of calcium, but while an adult dog may just get rid of the excess of calcium through the stools, in other cases it may not be that easy, nor that harmless.

Puppies 

Puppies that eat too many eggshells or are on an unbalanced diet that contains way too much calcium may develop several health issues, including skeletal problems.

This means that a puppy may develop defective bone formations that depending on the area of the body might make him physically impaired or mentally challenged.

If a dog’s diet should be balanced and well-studied beforehand, a puppy’s diet is even more fundamental because they may carry issues born during their growth for the rest of their lives.

If you have a puppy and you’re not sure about the right diet for them, make sure to consult your veterinarian or an animal’s nutritionist.

Pregnant dogs 

Pregnancy is a delicate period in the life of female dogs and we should be paying particular attention to their diet at this time.

If a female dog eats eggshells very often during pregnancy, the levels of calcium in their blood may reach very high levels, only to drop drastically when they start nursing.

If the level of calcium drops too low too quickly, the dog develops a condition called eclampsia or hypocalcemia.

It is still not certain how this condition starts and in many cases, the cause is never found. However, the most common causes of eclampsia in dogs usually include:

  • Excessive loss of calcium due to the development of the fetal skeletons
  • Milk production
  • Not having the proper diet during pregnancy and nursing
  • Calcium excess during pregnancy
  • Hormonal problem related to the parathyroid gland

It is not always easy and immediate to recognize the signs of eclampsia in dogs, but usually, your dog will start feeling very lethargic, they will pant a lot more than average and they will be unable to move properly.

As this condition progresses, the dog will stop moving altogether and may begin convulsing, which could lead to permanent damage.

To prevent eclampsia from developing, make sure to avoid feeding foods rich in calcium to your pregnant dogs, like eggshells or cottage cheese.

Before adding calcium supplements to your dog’s diet, you should take your time to study and calculate exactly how much calcium your dog needs. If you can’t tell whether your dog is consuming enough calcium, consult your veterinarian.

Can dogs eat eggshells?

Eggshells are safe for dogs to eat because they’re rich in nutrients and calcium, which are fundamental parts of a balanced diet.

Eggshells can be fed to your dog both cooked or raw, however, you should take into consideration the (rare but existent) risks related to feeding raw eggs to your dog, namely salmonella and other bacterial infections.

You should also consider the age and health conditions of your dog before feeding them eggshells: in fact, puppies and pregnant dogs shouldn’t consume products rich in calcium, because it can be harmful to them and in some cases, may compromise their health for good.

However, if your adult dog or your puppy happened to eat eggshells one time, they will probably pass them through the stools or vomit them up, but they will be fine.

How to feed eggshells to your dog. 

Eggshells can be a good addition to your dog’s diet, but there are proper ways to feed them to your dog.

Since eggshells, and especially raw eggshells, can be hard to break down for your dog’s sensitive digestive system, it would be better to pulverize them before giving them to your dog.

The best way to feed your dog eggshells would be to either boil or roast the eggs, remove the shells and grind them down to a powder that you can then add as topping to your dog’s food.

This way, you’re effectively adding a homemade concentrated calcium supplement to your dog’s normal diet. “Supplement” here is the keyword because the eggshell powder is not food and shouldn’t replace a normal meal.

Make sure to use farm-fresh eggs and not store eggs, because the white eggs you find in stores are usually bleached, which could compromise or remove the nutritional properties of the shells.

If you don’t have time to prepare eggshells powder at every meal, you can store a larger quantity of it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to two months.

One eggshell equals one spoonful of powder, which is the recommended daily amount of eggshells for dogs. Nonetheless, make sure to consult your veterinarian before making any permanent change in your dog’s diet.

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