Eggshell Membrane for Dogs: Some Cracking Good Benefits

by | Feb 19, 2021 | Remedies, Supplements

Many pet parents feed eggs on a regular basis. They’re packed with vital nutrition – protein, essential amino and fatty acids, vitamins, folate, iron, selenium, and riboflavin, which can all provide an array of health benefits for dogs.

But if you’re just cracking a raw egg on top of your dog’s dinner, you might be missing some of the best parts of the egg! We’re talking about eggshell membrane for dogs!

We sat down with Billy Hoekman, VP at Answers Pet Food, to talk about the benefits of eggshell membranes, and why these can be such an important part of any pet’s diet!

Take it away Billy!

What is Eggshell Membrane?

Eggshell membrane is the small, thin layer inside of the egg. The point of the eggshell membrane, to the chicken itself, or turkey or duck, or whatever kind of bird you’re talking about, is to deliver all of those nutrients from the shell, and all of those sort of skeletal nutrients to the bird itself. 

Why is Eggshell Membrane for Dogs Beneficial?

Eggshell membrane for dogs is beneficial because it basically contains everything that any mammal consuming it, so a dog or a cat, would need to maintain or rebuild joints. So it’s actually about 70% protein, and that protein is collagen. 

You need that collagen for many things in your body, but especially to maintain elasticity, to help joints, but it also contains things like:

  • Elastin – A protein that supports skin, cardiovascular, cartilage, and spinal health. Elastin is what gives tissue its elastic tension and ability to bounce back after stretching.
  • Amino Acids – Specifically desmosine and isodesmosine, the two amino acids responsible for elastin’s elastic properties.
  • Glycosaminoglycans – Including glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. These are vital polysaccharides that support the connective tissue, interstitial fluids, and skeletal structure of the joints, and help with mobility, range of motion and flexibility.

All of these are relevant to joints and maintaining joint health generally. 

How Should You Feed Eggshell Membrane?

Well, this is an interesting one because, where all the research comes from is the supplement version of this, so that’s where you would remove the membrane and sort of dry it and put in into a supplement of some kind. We know this is effective through this research. 

But for my money, I like moisture in foods, and I like food – food food. 

So the key to feeding it, it’s just sort of like, a good example is, I tell people, if you want soil probiotics – eat the soil. That’s just how I view things.

In this case, right when you crack the egg, if you want to use this as a supplemental thing, right when you crack the egg is the best time to peel that out. 

It might take a few times for you to learn how to do this, but you just kind of hook your thumb underneath the membrane, which is the little layer inside the shell, and then you gently pull out as much as you can. You’ll find that if you just do it a few times you’ll be able to do that.

Now, if you’re feeding the whole egg, and you’re feeding the shell, that’s an even better way to do it. The whole egg would be a whole food with the shell, so you can just crush that up with the shell. 

I have a number, based on duck eggs, just because that’s where we’ve done the research. It’s 320mg on average, per duck eggshell, so that will give you an idea comparative to a supplement.

How Often Should You Feed Them?

It really depends on the dog. As much or as little as you want. 

If you’re feeding a whole egg, you know, every few days, or some people feed a whole egg every day, then you could be incorporating that. 

And it depends on the dog. Some dogs will do better if you just air dry those out a little bit, and actually break it up a little more, because it’s not the most ‘made-to-be-digested’ food on the planet. Or just straight up.

If you wanted to just use this as a joint supplement, and you’re not feeding eggs, you could very easily just save yours and break them up and feed them every day!

Thanks Billy for waking us through the benefits of eggshell membrane for dogs and how we can incorporate them into our animals’ diet. Much appreciated!

Billy Hoekman

Billy Hoekman is the Nutrition Science Director for Answers Pet Food. He is involved in formulation, research, product development, working with farms, and science education. He in charge of Answers Executive Veterinary Program and specializes in developing diets that pertain to specific disease conditions. He attends yearly AAFCO meetings and participates frequently in expert panels, and routinely speaks around the country in venues ranging from universities to public libraries. He also serves on the board of directors for the Royal Animal Health University and has numerous published articles. He is a proud member of the Weston A. Price Foundation and lives in Philadelphia with his wife Emily and their dog Lua. Learn more about Billy at AnswersPetFood.com.

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