Eggs pack a nutritional punch and make a great inclusion in your Boxer’s diet.
Fresh eggs are regarded as being “the perfect protein”. They provide such a complete array of essential amino acids that they’re considered the gold standard against which all other protein sources are measured.
But the benefits don’t stop at protein. Eggs provide a wide range of essential fatty acids and other nutrients and a full complement of minerals.
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Eggs form a natural part of the canine diet. Just as foxes raid hen houses to this day, wild dogs have been looting bird nests throughout their evolution.
Raw feeding pioneer Dr Ian Billinghurst, who wrote the influential Give Your Dog A Bone, describes raw eggs as “absolutely brilliant nutrition for your dog”.
As well as being a source of high quality protein and other nutritional goodness, eggs are:
- readily available
As a raw, whole food, eggs contain a range of enzymes and what Dr Billinghurst calls “longevity factors”.
These are those magic ingredients present in raw food that confer more benefits than can ever be replicated by artificial foods that attempt to reassemble the same nutrient profile. More benefits than can even be necessarily identified by the science of the day.
Here’s what we do know about what’s in eggs..
Why Eggs Are Good For Your Boxer
Most of an egg’s nourishment (and calories) are concentrated in the yolk.
Eggs contain an almost endless list of nutrients including:
- linoleic acid
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B12
- vitamin A
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- Vitamin K
To describe what these nutrients do for your dog is to outline basically every major bodily function. From the blood’s ability to clot to thyroid function. From brain health to the nervous system. Cell membrane stability. Mitochondrial function. Regulation of blood glucose. Eggs support it all.
Got a Boxer with skin problems? Feed eggs. The sulfur-containing amino acids, biotin, vitamin A, essential fatty acids and zinc nourish a healthy skin and coat.
Eggs also make a great food for pregnant Boxers.
Should A Boxer Dog Eat Egg Shells?
It’s not necessary for your Boxer to consume egg shells if he’s eating a proper raw diet.
However, they can provide an additional source of calcium.
If you’re feeding egg shells for this purpose, they need to be properly prepared i.e. washed and finely ground.
Conventionally-farmed eggs can be rinsed in chemicals or sprayed to make them look better. Organic eggs are less likely to carry this contamination but even still, washing is highly recommended.
You can pulverise egg shells in a coffee grinder (make sure it has no traces of coffee) or go old-school and use a mortar and pestle.
How To Prepare Eggs For Your Boxer: Cooked Or Raw?
The way to feed an egg is just as dog’s have always eaten them: whole and raw.
You may wish to exclude the shell to avoid possible chemical contamination.
If you do discard the shell, be sure to scrape out the inside first, to get the membrane.
Egg membranes contain:
- chondroitin sulfate, and
- hyaluronic acid
These might sound familiar, because synthetic versions are sold as supplements for the relief of joint and soft tissue pain.
With an egg, your Boxer can have all those benefits in natural, whole food form.
What Is The Concern Over Egg Whites?
Raw egg whites get a bad rap because they contain a substance called avidin. Avidin binds with the vitamin biotin, making it unavailable to your dog.
This effect has led to concerns that feeding egg whites can lead to biotin deficiency.
Biotin is a B complex vitamin important for cellular growth, fatty acid metabolism and healthy skin and coat as well as normal function of the thyroid and adrenal glands, reproductive tract and nervous system.
Biotin deficiency in a dog can cause a wide variety of symptoms including:
- skin lesions that begin on the limbs and face and spread over the body
- scaly skin
- itchy skin
- scruffy appearance with dull coat
- brittle hair
- alopecia (hair loss in round patches)
Some people suggest cooking the whites to avoid this problem. However, cooking changes the structure of the proteins in the egg whites, so you want to avoid this.
If you do cook the whites, you certainly do not want to cook the yolks. Cooking the yolks is thought to oxidize the cholesterol, and oxidized cholesterol is unhealthy for dogs — as are oxidized fats. Cooking the yolks also dramatically reduces the lutein content.
Actually, egg yolks contain so much biotin that there is still more than enough, even after some is lost through binding with avidin. This is another reason to make sure you are feeding the whole egg, never just egg whites alone. In whole form, the egg compensates for any losses.
Dr Billinghurst says biotin deficiency related to egg whites is a non-issue. For egg whites to cause a problem, he says, a dog would have to consume large amounts over several weeks in conjunction with a diet that is already biotin-deficient, such as kibble.
The bottom line? Fed as part of a raw meaty bone-based diet, whole eggs run little risk of causing a biotin deficiency.
Liver, provided as part of the organ component of any raw diet, is also a good source of biotin.
Dogs To Watch Carefully With Eggs
According to Dr Billinghurst, there is one other possible issue with egg whites.
They contain an enzyme inhibitor that can make them hard to digest for:
- a very young puppy
- a sick dog
- an old dog
- a dog with pancreas problems
Otherwise, eggs whites should be fine. The benefits outweigh the few potential downsides in a minority of dogs.
Eggs For Young Pups
Do Eggs Pose A Salmonella Risk?
In short, no.
Your Boxer is well equipped to handle the bacteria that naturally occur in raw eggs, just as he’s able to handle the bacteria in raw meat.
Buy human-grade eggs from a trusted supplier, and store them properly in a cool place. This way, you will avoid contamination through improper food handling procedures and ensure the bacteria in the eggs stay at normal levels.
How Often To Feed Eggs To A Boxer
Feed eggs to your Boxer sparingly.
Steve Brown, the author of Unlocking The Canine Ancestral Diet, says dogs have always eaten eggs, shell and all, in small amounts.
He says eggs should form part of every dog’s diet, but should only make up about one per cent of the food.
This amounts to adding an egg to your Boxer’s food once or twice a week.
Dr Billinghurst agrees, advising owners to treat eggs as a natural “protein supplement”.
What Kind Of Eggs To Feed
Choose eggs from organic, free-range chickens if you can.
They are more nutritious than commercially produced eggs, with better fat balances and more Vitamin E.
You can also feed other kinds of eggs, like quail and duck.
One advantage of these eggs is they come from wild animals, which generally lead more natural lives than farmed chickens. However, they can also be affected by environmental pollution and exposure to pesticides. For this reason, depending on where your game bird eggs are sourced, organic free-range poultry eggs might be a safer option.
Eggs are a nutrient dense source of quality protein that have a rightful place in your Boxer’s diet.
As with any new food, start with one egg to make sure your dog has no ill effects.