Dogs are domesticated animals that were originally bred from wolves. Dogs are of different species and shapes and history has it that dogs were the first animals to be domesticated.
Since their domestication, man has grown fond of these animals to the point that they are being used as security and others are taken as pets and as such, what they take in as food should be of great importance to man.
Eggs are a common ingredient in dog snacks and homemade dog food, but only the yolk and the egg white are consumed with the eggshell being discarded.
But an eggshell which is the hard, outer covering of an egg contains nutrients that will be of enormous benefits to dogs if added to their diet.
Why Add Eggshells to Dogs’ Diet?
Eggshells are high in calcium (roughly 40%). Calcium is an essential nutrient that is responsible for building strong bones. Asides from building strong bones, calcium also aids circulation, hormone distribution, muscular movement and molecular communication.
Receiving the right amount of calcium can also prevent arthritis and osteoporosis both in animals and humans. Another important component of eggshell is Strontium.
Strontium is a chemical element found in water and food. When taken orally, it is absorbed in the body in small amounts mainly in areas where bone undergoes the natural process of breaking down and formation.
In addition to calcium and strontium, eggshells also contain small amounts of other minerals like magnesium, fluoride, selenium etc.
The eggshell membrane is also an important component. It is that waterproof-like substance between the eggshell and the egg white.
It is easily visible when a boiled egg is peeled. The eggshell membrane consists of protein in the form of collagen.
It contains small amounts of glucosamine and other nutrients and intake of the eggshell membrane may benefit the joints in both animals (dog) and humans according to research.
How to Serve Eggshells to Dogs
In as much as eggshells are of immense nutritional value to dogs, it is also wise that the eggshells be well handled and prepared to avoid posing any health risk to dogs.
The Centre for Disease Control warns that eggshells may be contaminated with salmonella (a bacterial organism responsible for fever, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps etc).
So, it is recommended that eggshells after being collected be boiled for about 3 minutes. This process kills the bacteria. After boiling, the eggshells should be left to air dry and then grinded into powder.
A pestle and mortar, a rolling pin or a blender could be used to grind the eggshells into a fine powder and a sieve to sift out larger particles. The ground eggshells can be mixed with a little water and given to dogs or it can be added to their (dog) food as a supplement.
Dried and ground eggshells can also be stored and kept for future use. It can be preserved for as long as three months (3 months).
Despite the many nutritional benefits of eggshells, it is important to consult a professional to give advice on the amount/dosage to be given to dogs and it is also wise that it is not taken on a regular basis as it may have its own side effects.