If you keep your dog indoors, you probably do constant battle with shed hair that sticks to clothing, furniture and carpeting. Your dog's diet contributes to his coat's health; the right foods will indeed diminish shedding a little. Eggs strengthen hair follicles to give your dog a healthy, shiny coat but will not significantly decrease shedding in dogs already receiving optimal nourishment.
While dogs with dense undercoats shed more than other breeds, every breed of dogs sheds to some extent. You may notice your dog shedding twice a year as winter and summer coats grow in. Sunlight and warm temperatures trigger dogs to shed as days grow longer, and chilly nights of autumn signal not only trees to drop their leaves but dogs to rid themselves of summer hair. Healthy hair follicles produce supple, long-lived shafts that shed during these times.
One egg provides more than 5 grams of protein, which contributes to a healthy coat. The white provides slightly more protein than the yolk, along with most of the egg's magnesium, potassium, riboflavin and niacin content. The nutrient-dense yolk carries 100 percent of the vitamins A, E, D and K, as well as the majority of trace minerals including zinc, copper, manganese and phosphorus, among others. Eggs are easily digested, delivering good nutrition in a tasty package.
Essential fatty acids or EFAs are essential to preventing health problems in dogs, often heralded by excessive shedding. Eggs provide an omega-6 EFA known as arachidonic acid, and an omega-3 EFA known as docosahexaeonic acid or DHA, both found in the yolk. These two EFAs are thought to be the most critical for optimum health, and to help deter unneccessary shedding. Pasture-raised chickens produce eggs with higher EFAs than cage-raised hens.
Although eggs can be a source of concern for salmonella poisoning in humans, a dog's short digestive tract usually passes bacteria through before toxic levels can make him sick. Raw egg whites contain avidin, which can interfere with biotin levels when fed in large amounts. Limit raw eggs to one per day, and supplement with biotin-rich foods such as wheat grass if biotin levels are of concern. You can also cook the egg or serve your dog only the yolk.
- Cesar's Way: Dog Nutrition A to Z
- Dogs Naturally Magazine: Feeding Your Dogs Raw Eggs -- Good or Bad?
- Pet MD: The Incredible Edible Egg: Nutritional or Deadly for Pets?
- The Dog Food Project: Essential Fatty Acids
- Doctors Foster and Smith: Shed Control -- 10 Tips
- Cholesterol and Health: Egg Yolk
- 1800 Pet Meds: Why Dogs Shed
- Cholesterol and Health: How Essential Are the Essential Fatty Acids?
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