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What happens if a dog eats eggshells?

Perhaps you want to know if it’s safe to feed your dog eggshells as part of their diet. Perhaps you turned your head for a moment only to find your eggs have disappeared. You probably know eggs are a great source of protein and vitamins for your pooch, but can they eat eggshells? 

Can dogs eat eggshells?

Put simply, yes, dogs can eat eggshells. However, there are some things to know before you feed them to your dog. 

Dogs in the Wild

A great starting point for determining what is safe for your dog to eat is considering what they would eat in the wild. Dogs in the wild eat a wide variety of foods, including small animals, occasional plants, and eggs. 

Wild dogs will happily steal eggs from a nest, and munch them down raw. This isn’t recommended for your domestic pooch, because of the risk of salmonella. However, eggs can be a nutritious part of your dog’s diet. 

Eggshell Nutrition

Eggs, including the shells, are an excellent source of balanced nutrition for your dog. They should not be the main staple of their diet, but an egg a day may keep the vet away. 

Eggshells are a high source of calcium, which makes up about half the weight of the eggshell. It’s also a great source for many other vitamins and minerals that are essential for your dog’s health and well being. 

Calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium make up the bulk of the mineral content of eggshells. Other minerals are present as well, and are only needed in small amounts. These include: 

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Iodine

Other nutrients in the eggshell include vitamin A, vitamin E, and amino acids. 

Health Benefits of Eggshells

Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. If your dog’s body doesn’t have enough calcium, it will steal calcium from the bones. Over time, the bones and teeth become weak without calcium. This process is also taxing for the dogs body, and can result in an imbalanced mineral content. 

However, there are other benefits of eggshell that may surprise you. Studies have shown that eggshell is effective in arthritis treatment for dogs and humans. 

No one wants to see their furry friend under the weather. Eggshells are one way to boost your dog’s immune system, and keep them healthy. They contain vitamin E and magnesium, both of which play a role in immune function. They also have antiinflammatory properties, which may be helpful for wound healing. 

Egg Membrane

The egg membrane also plays a role. The membrane is the slimy inner coating on the shell when you break an egg. It supports healthy joint and cartilage in the body. When the membrane is combined with the eggshell, as nature intended, it packs a powerful 1 2 punch against arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Amino Acids

When you think of amino acids, meat probably comes to mind. You may be surprised to learn they are also present in eggshells. In fact, dogs need 10 amino acids to survive and thrive. They are for building muscle, and also contribute to a healthy skin and coat. 

Eggshells contain 8 out of 10 essential amino acids. Arginine is found in the highest amounts, followed by Leucine and Lysine. Arginine is a vasodilator. It’s essential for heart health, and it can even lower your pooch’s blood pressure. 

Humans make their own Leucine, but dogs must get it from their diet. It slows the degradation of muscle, which can keep your dog lean and strong. Lysine deficiency can lead to a host of issues, including anemia and problems with connective tissues. Lysine has also been shown to lower blood sugar, which makes it particularly promising for pets with diabetes. 

Bone Substitute

If you are feeding your pooch a homemade or raw diet, eggshells can be an excellent addition to their diet. A raw diet should consist of 20% bones or bone meal. If you want to reduce the amount of bones your dog consumes, you can use eggshells to provide the needed calcium. 

You’ll need to give them 3/4 to one teaspoon for every cup of food. 

What happens if a dog eats eggshells?

You sit your eggs on the kitchen counter while you are making dinner. Your pooch comes along and grabs an egg, darting away before you can register what happened. Will they be OK? What if they steal eggshells from the trash? Is it safe to intentionally feed them eggshells? 

You now know that eggshells can provide benefits to your dog. However, there are some things to watch for, particularly if your pooch isn’t accustomed to eating eggshells. If they only consume a small amount of egg shell, they should be fine. However, it can cause some problems in larger quantities. 

Minor Stomach Upset

If your dog has any adverse effects from consuming eggshells, minor stomach upset is the most common issue. Any food, particularly if its new to your dog, can cause some stomach irritation. 

Vomitting and diarrhea can occur. These should pass quickly, usually within a few hours. If they are still experiencing symptoms after 12 hours, you’ll need to consult your vet. They may have ingested bacteria. 

Interesting Poop

Looking at your dog’s poop is probably not your favorite pastime. However, you may notice some changes in your dog’s poop after eating eggshells. White flakes or specks in the poop are common. This is simply undigested bits of eggs, and nothing to worry about. You may also see an oily discharge. This is part of the egg that wasn’t completely digested. 

Too Much Calcium

In the correct amounts, eggs and eggshell can be good for your dog. However, too much can cause calcium levels that are too high.

This is unlikely to occur if your dog overeats egg shells once. However, a diet that is regularly too high in calcium can pose health risks. Too much calcium in the body is known as hypercalcimia. 

The most common symptoms of hypercalcimia include weakness, listlessness, increased drinking and urination, and loss of appetite. It can also lead to reduced bone growth. Kidney disease, kidney stones, and bladder stones are also risks of too much calcium. 

Too much calcium also reduces the amount of phosphorous in the body. The calcium prevents the absorption of phosphorous. The wonderful thing about eggs is that they provide calcium and phosphorous in an ideal ratio. However, excessive calcium may lower the body’s phosphorous level. 

Can a dog digest eggshells?

Dogs can digest eggshells, but they must be prepared properly. 

Whole Eggshells

Dogs cannot digest whole eggshells. Their jaws and teeth are able to crush the shells into small pieces. However, these pieces cannot be digested by the digestive tract. Instead of absorbing the nutrition from the egg shell, it will simply come out in your dog’s poop. They will receive little to no benefit. 

Raw Eggshells

There’s little evidence that the eggshells themselves contain salmonella, but it is possible. Most experts believe that rinsing any egg from the shell can remove the risk of salmonella, which is low for dogs to begin with. 

There’s no research on whether raw eggshells offer more nutrition than cooked ones. We do know that egg protein is easier to digest when cooked, but we don’t know the effect cooking has on the shell. Raw shells are softer, so if you want to feed your dog whole or crushed eggshells, this may be the better way to serve them. 

Eggshell Powder

If you want to give your dog the benefits of eggshells, it’s best to grind them up into a powder. You can then add it to your pooch’s regular food for a nutritious boost. The powder allows your dog to remove the minerals from the shell, so they can be absorbed by the body. 

How to Make Eggshell Powder

The first step in making eggshell powder is getting enough eggshells. It’s recommended to have about a dozen shells.

You can easily use more shells if you have them available. You can create the powder with fewer shells. However, there is time and effort involved, and a smaller amount of eggshells results in a smaller amount of powder. It’s equally effective, but it’s harder to justify the effort for a small amount of powder. 

If you are collecting eggshells as you use your eggs for your cooking needs, rinse them and store them in the fridge. You can safely keep them until you have enough to make the powder. 

To make eggshells, it’s recommended that you sterilize them first. This can prevent harmful bacteria from growing. Eggshell powder can be kept for up to 2 months, which is more than enough time for bacteria to grow in your powder. 

First, boil the eggshells in a saucepan for at least 15 minutes. This will sterilize the shells, ensuring that no bacteria can contaminate the powder. 

Then, place the shells on a cookie sheet. Bake the shells at 225 for 20 minutes. This will dry them out, removing any moisture from the shells. 

Now it’s time to turn them into powder. It’s best to use a coffee or spice grinder. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can use a blender. The powder will not be as fine, but it’s still effective. If you want to go low tech, a mortar and pestle will work. It’s a bit more labor intensive, but worth the effort. 

How much eggshell is too much for a dog?

For an adult dog, one eggshell a day should meet their needs for calcium. For puppies or small dogs, one eggshell a week is usually enough. If you are using powdered eggshell, one teaspoon is equal to one eggshell. One shell contains 200 mg of calcium.