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Dogs should only eat cooked eggs because raw eggs for dogs has lower protein absorption

Egg for dogsEveryone has an opinion on feeding your dogs eggs, but why not let science decide?

It has been found that biotin & trypsin are inhibited when you feed raw eggs for dogs, however you can neutralise the negative affects by thoroughly cooking the eggs. The effects of these vital enzymes is that chronic diarrhea and malnutrition can occur.

Still the reference text recommends only two cooked eggs per week for medium and large dogs.

The good news is that cooked eggs are highly digestible by dogs. They provide essential amino acids, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, several B's. 4% of the egg yolk is linoleic acid  (LA  is an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid).

The white of the egg contains several inhibitory substances. The two main ones are avidin (inhibits biotin), and another chemical that interferes with the pancreatic protease, trypsin.

Why dogs need Biotin

If you were to feed ONLY the raw egg white to your dog, avidin will bind with biotin in the intestine (making it unavailable for its regular function) and in excessive amounts, biotin deficiency can cause scaly skin, high blood cholesterol and defects in nerve transmission. Biotin is a B vitamin and is also known as vitamin H.

The good news is that the egg yolk contains plenty of biotin, so if you feed complete raw eggs for dogs the biotin destroying capacity is minimised by the eggs own biotin supply. That is the egg white biotin inhibition caused by avidin is neutralised by the biotin in the egg yolk, however biotin from other food sources can then be used in the dog's body. Cooking an egg denatures avidin which stops it binding to biotin, however you will still get problems from trypsin being inhibited if your dog is fed raw eggs.

Why dogs need Trypsin

Trypsin is an enzyme found in the small intestine that is necessary for digestion. Trypsin also removes dead skin cells (tissue) and allows healthy tissue to grow. It has been shown that by feeding a dog as little as two to three raw egg whites in one meal can inhibit trypsin to the point of causing chronic diarrhoea in dogs and mal-absorption of many nutrients. Dried uncooked egg white alone will have the same negative effect.

Just like avidin, heat treatment denatures the trypsin inhibitor of egg whites.

Four eggs for dogsReference 3, shows a feeding trial by Gail L. Czarnecki-Maulden in 1990.  He was trying to determine "Effect of heat treatment on diet utilization with regard to raw and heat treated eggs. More specifically a process of spray-dried egg white (SDEW). Given the above information, the results should not be surprising.

Four different processing methods were examined: 1) untreated SDEW; 2) extruded SDEW (final product temperature = 105°C), 3) extruded SDEW (final product temperature = 120°C), 4) autoclaved SDEW.

"Processed SDEW was added to the semi-purified basal diet at 20% of each treatment as the sole source of protein. Diets were fed to ten-week old Pointer dogs for 14 days which included a 7-day adaptation and 7-day fecal collection period. Dogs fed the untreated SDEW lost weight, while those fed any of the heat-treated SDEWs gained weight. Autoclaved SDEW was more digestible (P<0.05) than untreated or extruded SDEW, although all diets had digestibilities greater than 83%.  It can be concluded that the weight loss resulting from consumption of untreated SDEW can be prevented by each form of heat treatment evaluated."


If eggs are to be feed to companion animals "the eggs should always be cooked thoroughly before feeding. This is necessary to denature both avidin and trypsin inhibitors present in the egg whites." Ref 1

The Ref 1 source suggest limiting a medium to large dog to one or two cooked eggs per week.

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to

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1              Canine and Feline Nutrition  - Case, Daristotle, Hayek, Raasch 3rd edition

2              Alternative Proteins in Companion Animal Nutrition, Dale A. Hill,  2004

3             Development of a successful spray-dried egg white-based experimental diet for dogs: Effect of heat treatment on diet utilization Ph.D. Gail L. Czarnecki-Maulden 1990

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