Are Egg Shells Good For Dogs?

When it comes to our furry companions’ diets, dog owners often find themselves exploring various unconventional food options to ensure their pets receive optimal nutrition. One such debated topic is the inclusion of eggshells in a dog’s diet. Eggs, renowned for their nutritional richness, contain not only the protein-packed yolk and whites but also the often-discarded shell, which raises the question: Are egg shells good for dogs?

In this blog, we delve into the nutritional value of eggshells, weighing the potential benefits against the associated risks and concerns. By examining expert opinions, research findings, and practical considerations, we aim to provide dog owners with a comprehensive understanding of whether incorporating egg shells into their pet’s diet is healthy.

Nutritional Value of Egg Shells

Composition of Egg Shells

Egg shells, typically discarded as waste, contain beneficial nutrients that can contribute to a dog’s diet. Composed primarily of calcium carbonate, egg shells contain trace amounts of other minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Additionally, the shell is made up of protein, collagen, and other organic compounds, all of which play a role in supporting various bodily functions.

Nutrients Present in Egg Shells

Calcium: Egg shells are predominantly rich in calcium, a vital mineral for bone health, muscle function, nerve transmission, and blood clotting in dogs. Adequate calcium intake is crucial for puppies during their growth stages and for seniors to maintain bone density and strength.

Trace Minerals: Alongside calcium, egg shells contain trace minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. These minerals contribute to overall electrolyte balance, muscle contraction, and nerve function in dogs.

Protein and Collagen: Although smaller amounts than egg whites and yolks, egg shells also contain protein and collagen. These compounds may offer additional support for dogs’ joint health, skin, coat, and connective tissues.

Benefits of Egg Shells for Dogs

Support for Joint Health

Egg shells contain collagen, a protein essential for maintaining the integrity of joints and connective tissues in dogs. Collagen provides structural support and elasticity to cartilage, helping to cushion joints and reduce friction during movement. Additionally, the calcium content in egg shells plays a crucial role in bone health, indirectly contributing to joint support by maintaining strong and healthy bones. Therefore, regular consumption of egg shells may help alleviate symptoms of joint stiffness, inflammation, and arthritis in dogs, promoting better mobility and overall joint function, especially in senior or arthritic pets.

Dental Benefits

The abrasive texture of finely ground egg shells can act as a natural abrasive, aiding in the mechanical removal of plaque and tartar buildup on a dog’s teeth. By gently scraping away dental deposits and debris, egg shells contribute to better oral hygiene and reduce the risk of periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Furthermore, chewing eggshells stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize harmful bacteria in the mouth and promote fresher breath. Incorporating egg shells into a dog’s diet as a dental supplement can complement regular tooth brushing and dental care routines, leading to healthier teeth and gums over time.

Potential Aid in Digestion

Some proponents suggest that egg shells may aid digestion, particularly in dogs with sensitive stomachs or gastrointestinal issues. The calcium carbonate in eggshells acts as a natural antacid, helping to neutralize excess stomach acid and alleviate symptoms of acid reflux, indigestion, or gastritis in dogs. Additionally, calcium is crucial in regulating muscle contractions throughout the digestive tract, promoting smoother peristalsis and bowel movements. By supporting digestive health, egg shells may help to reduce symptoms of digestive upset, such as diarrhea, constipation, or bloating, and improve nutrient absorption in dogs

However, it’s essential to note that individual responses to eggshell supplementation may vary, and consulting with a veterinarian is advisable before introducing eggshells into a dog’s diet, especially if they have pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions or dietary sensitivities.

Risks and Concerns

Potential Choking Hazard

Despite their nutritional value, egg shells pose a potential choking hazard to dogs, especially if consumed in large or irregularly shaped pieces. Dogs may accidentally swallow eggshells without proper chewing, leading to throat or digestive tract blockages, resulting in choking or gastrointestinal complications. This risk is notably higher in dogs prone to gulping their food or those with underlying medical conditions that affect swallowing or digestion.

Risks of Salmonella Contamination

Raw egg shells risk contamination with Salmonella bacteria, a common pathogen known to cause foodborne illnesses in humans and animals. While dogs have a more robust digestive system than humans and can often tolerate small amounts of bacteria without becoming ill, consuming contaminated eggshells can still lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. Additionally, there’s a risk of dogs transmitting Salmonella to humans through saliva, feces, or direct contact, posing a potential health hazard, especially in households with immunocompromised individuals.

Impact on Calcium Balance in Dogs

While calcium is essential for dogs’ overall health, excessive supplementation can disrupt the delicate calcium-phosphorus balance in their bodies, leading to adverse health effects. Egg shells, a concentrated calcium source, can inadvertently contribute to an imbalance if not administered in appropriate quantities or if combined with other calcium-rich foods or supplements in a dog’s diet. Excessive calcium intake in dogs can predispose them to skeletal abnormalities and urinary issues like bladder stones or calcification and interfere with absorbing other essential minerals, such as zinc and iron. Furthermore, overly high calcium levels may inhibit the body’s ability to regulate parathyroid hormone, potentially affecting bone metabolism and renal function.

Considering these risks and concerns, dog owners must exercise caution when considering the inclusion of eggshells in their pet’s diet. Proper preparation methods, such as thorough washing, drying, and grinding into fine powder, can help mitigate the risk of contamination and minimize the choking hazard. Moreover, consulting with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage and frequency of eggshell supplementation based on your dog’s needs and health status is essential for ensuring their safety and well-being.

How to Incorporate Egg Shells into a Dog’s Diet?

Preparation Methods

  • Washing: Before incorporating egg shells into a dog’s diet, it’s crucial to wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt, bacteria, or contaminants that may be present on the surface.
  • Drying: After washing, allow the egg shells to dry completely to prevent mold or bacterial growth. This can be done by air-drying them or placing them in an oven at a low temperature for a short period.
  • Grinding: Once dry, grind the egg shells into a fine powder using a clean coffee grinder, food processor, or mortar and pestle. Finely ground egg shells are easier for dogs to digest and less likely to pose a choking hazard.
  • Storage: Store the ground eggshell powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its freshness and nutritional integrity.

Quantity Considerations

When determining the appropriate quantity of eggshells to add to a dog’s diet, it’s essential to consider the dog’s size, age, breed, and overall health status. As a general guideline, start with a small amount of eggshell powder, such as 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per day, and gradually increase the dosage as needed based on the dog’s response and veterinarian recommendations.

It’s crucial not to exceed the recommended dosage of egg shells, as excessive calcium intake can lead to imbalances in the dog’s calcium-phosphorus ratio and potentially cause health issues such as skeletal abnormalities or urinary problems.

Recommendations from Veterinarians

Before incorporating egg shells into a dog’s diet, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to assess the dog’s nutritional needs and ensure that they suit them. Veterinarians can provide personalized recommendations regarding the dosage, frequency, and method of incorporating egg shells based on the dog’s age, breed, size, dietary preferences, and underlying health conditions.

Additionally, veterinarians can offer guidance on monitoring the dog’s response to eggshell supplementation and adjusting the dosage or frequency to optimize their health and well-being.

If a dog has specific dietary restrictions or medical concerns, veterinarians may recommend alternative sources of calcium or supplementation methods to meet their nutritional requirements effectively while minimizing potential risks.

Alternatives to Eggshells

Other Sources of Calcium for Dogs

Dairy Products: Dairy foods such as yogurt, cheese, and milk (in moderation) are rich sources of calcium that can be incorporated into a dog’s diet. However, it’s essential to choose lactose-free options and monitor for lactose intolerance or digestive upset.

Leafy Green Vegetables: Vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, and collard greens are natural sources of calcium and other essential nutrients. These can be steamed or pureed and added to a dog’s meals as a supplemental source of calcium.

Fish with Edible Bones: Certain types of fish, such as canned sardines or salmon, contain edible bones rich in calcium. These can be fed whole or mashed into the dog’s food to provide additional calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Fortified Commercial Diets: Many commercial dog foods are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of dogs, including calcium requirements. Choosing high-quality, balanced diets labelled as complete and balanced can ensure that dogs receive adequate calcium without supplementation.

Supplement Options

Calcium Supplements: If additional calcium supplementation is necessary, various calcium supplements formulated for dogs are available. You should administer these supplements under veterinary guidance to prevent over-supplementation and ensure appropriate dosage.

Multivitamin Supplements: Some multivitamin supplements for dogs contain calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. These supplements can benefit dogs with specific dietary deficiencies or those requiring additional nutritional support.

Bone Meal: Bone meal is a natural source of calcium derived from finely ground animal bones. It can be added to homemade dog diets or commercial pet foods as a calcium supplement. However, it’s essential to choose high-quality bone meal products labelled for pet use and avoid those containing additives or preservatives.

Balanced Diet Considerations

While calcium is essential for dogs’ overall health, it’s crucial to ensure their diet is balanced and provides adequate nutrients, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Feeding a varied and nutritionally complete diet that includes high-quality protein sources, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables can help dogs receive all the nutrients they need for optimal health.


In conclusion, I recommend the following for dog owners considering incorporating egg shells into their pet’s diet:

  • Consult with a veterinarian before introducing eggshells to ensure they are appropriate for your dog’s needs and health status.
  • Follow proper preparation methods, including washing, drying, and grinding egg shells into fine powder to minimize contamination risks and choking hazards.
  • Monitor your dog’s response to eggshell supplementation and adjust the dosage or frequency as needed.
  • Consider alternatives to eggshells for calcium in your dog’s diet, such as dairy products, leafy greens, and commercial supplements.
  • Maintain a balanced diet that meets your dog’s nutritional requirements, incorporating various protein sources, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Stay informed about the latest research and veterinary recommendations regarding canine nutrition and make decisions based on the best available evidence.

By following these recommendations and prioritizing your dog’s health and well-being, you can make informed choices about feeding eggshells and ensure your furry companion receives the nutrition they need to thrive.

Categories: Diet Food