By Andrew Fischer
Can Labradors Eat Eggshells?
Eggshells are a natural source of amino acids, calcium and other minerals.
Dogs need calcium to build strong bones, healthy teeth, muscles and to strengthen their fur. Calcium deficiency in dogs can cause muscle tremors, joint issues, weak bones, convulsions etc.
If you wish to add some calcium to your dog’s diet, eggshells may be a great choice.
How to prepare eggshells for your dog
One way to prepare eggshells for your pooch is to dry them in an oven, grind them into tiny pieces and add them to your his favourite food. You can grind them in a blender or coffee grinder that should be used only for this purpose.
Make sure you wash them properly before drying them in the oven. You should dry them for around 20 minutes on 200 degrees. Eggshells should be completely dry after that.
Grinding them properly is also essential because fast eating dogs can hurt their mouth, throat and digestive system. Pulverised eggshells are also much easier to absorb.
If you are using a coffee grinder make sure it’s completely clean from all coffee residues. You don’t want to serve coffee to your pooch!
The membrane that separates the eggshell from the egg white can be included as it contains valuable proteins which repairs dog’s cartilage.
Don’t give too much of them to your dog as they can lead to diarrhea.
How many eggshells should I feed my dog?
I usually give my Labrador 2 eggshells a week. Smaller breeds may only need one. Some of my friends give their dogs 4 eggshells a week.
Others told me to to add about one-half teaspoon of eggshell powder per pound of food you usually serve to your dog. That’s around 400 mg of absorbable calcium per one average meal. In one eggshell there is around 2,000 mg of calcium so you should add around 1/5th of eggshell per meal. (1)
Too much calcium
Your dog needs a balanced diet that contains sufficient amounts of calcium but not too much of it. Excessive calcium can lead to diarrhea, kidney stones and cause skeletal problems to young puppies. Older dogs are usually able to excrete most of the calcium excess. Bitches who have been fed too much eggshells could develop eclampsia, which is a condition where high blood pressure results in seizures during pregnancy.
Too much calcium can also cause Labs and other large breeds to grow too fast for their bones to develop properly.
You shouldn’t add calcium to commercial diets that are labelled as “balanced” because these already contain the right amounts of all essential nutrients. Adding calcium to such a diet could be dangerous for Labradors and other large-breed puppies. (2)
Other sources of calcium for your Lab
Other great sources of calcium include raw meaty bones, meat, broccoli, dark leafy greens.
Using eggshells to replace raw bones
Eggshells are rich in calcium but bones are high in both calcium and phosphorus. Your dog needs both elements to develop healthy teeth and bones. Calcium works with phosphorus to support your dog’s overall health, so make sure you supply adequate amounts of both phosphorus and calcium to your dog. They should usually be in a 1:1 ratio. Too much of one could stop your dog getting the benefits of the other.
You can replace bones with eggshells but you need to make sure that your dog gets all essential nutrients from elsewhere.