Egg yolks are packed with nutrients and vitamins, making them an ideal ingredient to include in your pooch's food. Many pet food manufacturers already include egg yolks in their canine formulations because they contain lots of healthy protein in an easily digestible form. You can even add some hard-boiled egg yolks to your pup's food yourself, in moderation of course.
Incredible Egg Yolks
Egg yolks score a perfect 100 for biological value. Biological value indicates how easily the body can absorb the protein and its amino acids to support his bodily functions. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and your pooch needs his diet to supply him with the 10 amino acids his body can't produce on its own. Egg yolks contain all of these essential amino acids in the proportions your pup needs. This makes them an excellent and even more highly digestible source of protein than meat or meat byproducts, according to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Egg yolks contain a variety of vitamins for your pooch, including vitamin A, biotin, vitamin B12, iron, folate, selenium, riboflavin and healthy fatty acids, according to "Dogs Naturally" magazine. Unlike egg whites, egg yolks don't contain avidin, an enzyme that can inhibit the absorption of biotin, a B-vitamin necessary for the metabolism of fats, according to the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. A biotin deficiency may result in skin and coat issues, according to Waltham. While cooking egg whites can neutralize the avidin in them, avidin is not an issue with egg yolks. Plus, egg yolks are rich in biotin to help keep your dog's skin moisturized and his coat shiny. They also contain the majority of the healthy ingredients in an egg, unlike the egg whites.
To Cook or not to Cook
Controversy exists regarding the safety of feeding raw egg yolks to dogs because of the possibility of contamination with salmonella and other bacteria. While proponents of feeding raw foods, including raw egg yolks, claim the uncooked food contains more nutrients than cooked foods, the difference overall is minimal, according to petMD. It's best to play it safe and give Fido his egg yolks cooked, preferably boiled to avoid adding unhealthy butter or cooking sprays to the yolks when you fry them.
Reading the Ingredients
If you're looking for a dog food that contains egg yolks as one of the main ingredients, read the list of ingredients on the packaging. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires pet food manufacturers to list the ingredients in order of inclusion by weight. Choose foods that list egg yolks or dried egg yolks, specifically, as one of the primary ingredients listed on the label.
Feeding Egg Yolks
When feeding your pooch egg yolks, doing so in moderation is extremely important. Unless directed otherwise by your vet, keep your pup's egg yolk consumption to no more than one per day, petMD recommends. Egg yolks are high in cholesterol and calories, which can quickly pack on the pounds to your pooch. Dogs with kidney disease may benefit from eating a dog food containing egg yolks because they are lower in phosphorus than other proteins and easier to digest because of their high biological value, according to "Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements."
- Dogs Naturally Magazine: Feeding Your Dog Raw Eggs -- Good or Bad?
- petMD: The Incredible, Edible Egg: Nutritional or Deadly for Pets?
- Dog Food Advisor: Judging the Biological Value of a Dog Food Protein
- Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine: Nutrition for the Adult Dog
- Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements; Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Nutrient Data for 01124, Egg, White, Raw, Fresh
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Nutrient Data for 01125, Egg, Yolk, Raw, Fresh
- University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: Can I Feed Eggs From My Chickens to My Dog?
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.