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Dogs should only eat WHOLE cooked eggs … raw egg whites alone severely lowers digestion levels

Egg for dogs

Everyone 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 (particularly just the raw white alone), however you can neutralize the negative affects by thoroughly cooking the eggs. The effects of neutralizing these vital enzymes is that chronic diarrhea and malnutrition can occur.

The reference text recommends only allowing two cooked eggs per week for medium and large dogs. We look at specifically why.

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).

In fact Eggs top the dog digestibility tables, even ahead of meat – but of course they should not be the main food, as meat provides other nutrients not found in egg.

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. But these issues can be overcome by feeding WHOLE EGGS and COOKED ones.

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 minimized by the egg’s own biotin supply from the YOLK. That is the egg white biotin inhibition caused by avidin is neutralized by the biotin in the egg yolk, biotin from other food sources can then also be used in the dog’s body.

Cooking an egg denatures avidin which stops it binding to biotin, however you can still get problems from trypsin being inhibited if your dog if it is fed too many raw whole eggs in a short period.

Why dogs need Trypsin

Trypsin is an enzyme found in the small intestine of dogs 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 diarrhea in dogs and mal-absorption of many nutrients.

Dried uncooked egg white (ie egg white powder) alone, will have the same negative effect.

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

Reference 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 faecal 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 digestibility’s 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

“Eggs should always be cooked thoroughly before feeding. This is necessary to denature both avidin and the trypsin inhibitors present in the egg whites. Feeding raw eggs is not recommended due to the risk of bacterial contamination” Ref 1

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

Here is my take on this.

If you talk about eggs to raw feeders, they will completely disregard these safety concerns, saying that the warnings are from Dog food companies. And in fact at 15, I still feed my dog Archie chicken necks raw, every morning, for the benefit of the chemically appropriate forms of calcium and phosphorus in the correct 1:1 ratio.  He has not had major illnesses caused by these products because these are sold through reputable stores.

While you can feed raw eggs, I would always recommend feeding the WHOLE egg (including yolk) to ensure that  above digestibility issues don’t occur. I would also probably limit cooked eggs to 2 – 4 per week because while whole cooked eggs might be safe, their KJ value will be at the expense of meat, the main whole natural dog food your dog needs.

While cooked whole egg has a digestibility near 100%, raw egg white is only 58% and can cause diarrhea etc. For those who use egg white to make their dogs coats shiny, we would recommend a good natural dog conditioner, and more Omega 3 in their dogs diet – because this is the highest quality oil for brain, heart and coat, even reducing skin allergies, just not for looking good.

And yes, Kangaroo and Fish dog treats have quality Omega 3 in them.

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 our WEBSITE.

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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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