High-quality commercial dog foods have all the required nutrients and may not require dietary supplements unless your vet recommends them.
However, if your dog depends on homemade recipes, you need the help of an animal nutritionist in coming up with recipes that have all the nutrients that these pets require. Additionally, dietary supplements may be necessary.
For instance, if your puppy or dog does not get a bone meal for one or the other reason, there is a chance he may not be receiving enough calcium if he depends on only homemade foods. Phosphorus content is often high in meat than calcium.
Calcium is essential for healthy bone as well as promoting coagulation, proper nerve transmission, muscle contraction, just but to mention a few.
An easy way to supplement calcium besides the commercial calcium supplements is giving your pets ground eggshell powder.
If you are in doubt, note that even while in the wild, dogs and cats eat birds eggs with their shells as one of their food sources.
According to the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), one grounded eggshell as about 800 milligrams of calcium mainly in the form of calcium carbonate that is easy to absorb.
Additionally, it has small quantities of strontium, magnesium, selenium, strontium, manganese, zinc, copper, sulfur, silicon, molybdenum and many other nutrients, totaling to about 27 in number.
Keep the inner and outer membrane that surrounds the egg white as it has lots of nutrients. Furthermore, a human study shows it can help in reducing joint pain.
Similarly, research has shown that eggshell can help in preventing as well as treating osteoporosis
Finally, since they are low in phosphorus, eggshell can be used to balance or keep the correct calcium-phosphorus balance.
Preparing eggshells for dogs
The best source of eggs should be from an organic farm. Once you have used your eggs, wash the shells to remove any dirt, do not remove the inner membrane.
Secondly, boil them to kill any bacteria present. If you are already boiled your eggs, you do not need to boil them again.
Afterward, allow them to dry well before grinding them. Baking them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes or letting them stay overnight in an oven with low-temperature settings will ensure they thoroughly dry and are brittle.
Grind them fine into powder using a coffee grinder, food processor, mortar and pestle or blender and store them in a dry place. An airtight jar will be ideal to avoid them being moisty as this will reduce their shelf-life that is about a week.
Instead of having to grind them each day, you can collect fresh eggshells, place them in a bowl and refrigerate them until you have enough.
If you are not able to prepare your own eggshell powder for dogs at home, go for commercially available brands such as:
- Pet’s Friend Eggshellent Calcium
- Pure Cal 100% Organic Natural Eggshell Calcium for Small Mammals/Birds in
- Redd Remedies – RE-NU for Pets, Promotes Joint Health for Your Dog with Natural Eggshell Membrane if you are particularly interested in the membranes only.
Since a teaspoon of ground shells have about 2000 mg of calcium. Add about 800-1000 mg (about a half a teaspoon) per pound of homemade dog food such as in boneless meat.
For growing puppies, increase the amount to 1000-1200 mg because puppies need more since they are growing.
Do not forget to split the powder according to the number and sizes of serving you feed your pooch. The exact amount will depend on the amount of food your dog eats daily.
Egg and shell
Dogs can eat a boiled egg with the shell. If they are unable to break the shell, help them. The risk of choking is minimal. However, limit the amount to no more than an egg a day, warns PetMD unless your vet advises you otherwise.
Note that if the shells are not well ground or digested, white flecks of these shells may be present in your dog’s poop.
Warning – avoid raw eggshells
Raw eggshell and eggs carry bacteria especially Salmonella enteritidis hence you need to ensure they are well boiled.
Also, pasteurizing and refrigeration at temperatures below 4°C may help reduce the risk of these bacteria.
Are there risks of eggshell calcium for dogs? Yes, there is some possible risk that may arise.
Firstly, excessive intake of supplements high in calcium can result in hypercalcemia. However, normal diets are unlikely to cause this condition.
Actually, hypercalcemia is usually caused by hyperparathyroidism, tumors, bone degeneration disease, kidney failure, vitamin D and aluminum toxicity, underactive adrenal glands,
Common symptoms include increased urination and thirst, anorexia, vomiting, constipation, lethargy, depression, presence bladder stones, confusion, hypertension and coma where blood calcium level is too high.
Besides hypercalcemia, large fragments may injury your pup’s esophagus and throat. Also, some sharp pieces may be lodged in these areas.
Biotin deficiency risk
Avidin predominantly found in egg whites, with some amount found in eggshell and vitelline membrane binds with biotin or vitamin B7. Therefore, there is a possibility of biotin deficiency due to prolonged consumption of the egg membranes and shells.
Biotin ensures healthy skin, coat and vital in the formation of muscles as well as indigestion and growth.
Although boiling or frying degrades the avidin, about 30% will still be intact. However, occasional consumption of eggs or shells will not result in biotin deficiency.