Dehydrated eggs? Yes, indeed! I know, we’re a little crazy, but these are the thing we test for you, furfriends! This is the next unusual food trial in our special little dehydration experiment. With Easter coming up, we figured it was the perfect time to try a very unusual take on eggs.
Pups and Purines
For different reasons, many of our furfriends are on restriction diets, especially some of our Dal pals. Dalmatians differ from other dogs in how their bodies metabolise purines, which places them at a heightened risk of kidney and urinary crystals and stone formation. Yeouch! See our post on Dalmatians and purine issues for more information and linked resources.
We’re fortunate that none of our dogs have, thus far, had issues. Still, it’s better to lean on the side of safety, so we aim to moderate their purine intake. Our dogs get a variety of meats and fish in moderated quantities, but also lots of less traditional dog foods, including dairy, eggs, gelatin, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and more. Gelatin is one of our favourite treats and bridges all sorts of doggy dietary models, including being a low-purine protein. One more of the many reasons we love gummies!
Eggs and cottage cheese are also doggone delicious nutritious lower purine protein sources. They’re common ingredients in purine moderated diets, so we’re going to do a few special dehydrator experiments for our furfriends and see whether we can successfully dehydrate those to make them into bite sized treats, food toppers, or a just to be little more portable for taking with you on road trips, camping, etc.
Delicious and Nutritious
Eggs are a high protein food option (for people and pets), but as with any food or treat ingredient, they may not be suitable for some dogs. They’re one of natures few complete foods, and are compatible with a variety of different feeding plans and dietary models.
Raw vs. Cooked
There is debate around this, so you’ll need to make the decision about what works for you and your dogs. Eggs do have a small risk of salmonella. However, unless your dog has health issues or a compromised immune system, they’re generally far better equipped than us humans to handle the bacteria that may be associated with raw animal products. Our boys eat both raw and cooked eggs.
Whether to Include the Shells
Again, there is debate around this, so you’ll need to make the decision about what works for you and your dogs. With the shells included, the eggs are a more complete food. Just a like a dog might raid in the wild. Our boys get the shells with their raw eggs, but it’s often pooped out. Grinding can be easier on dogs’ mouths and more digestible. Depending on the food regulations in your area and what type of eggs you buy, shells may be treated. Eggs with shell also carry a higher salmonella risk. Choose with care if including the shell.
Cost and Storage
Eggs are generally quite affordable, but have a limited shelf life. They also not very portable (haha!). That makes these crunchy little nuggets of dehydrated egg an interesting option for preparing eggs for longer-term storage or portable use. These will never replace our use of raw eggs, but onwards with the dehydrator experiment and verdict report!
Grinding Eggshells for Dogs
I included the egg shells in my experimental dehydrated eggs. This is optional, of course. It’s not something I would normally make, but I’m all about trying new things.
Preparing the Shells
Although our dogs get raw eggs with the shell, I took a multi-step approach to prepping the eggshells for grinding and inclusion in our egg mixture for dehydrating. That way, those of you with different supplies or health concerns can see a more thorough prep and I could be more confident in safe storage. It also makes it safer for the humans who may be exposed to the powder during grinding and use.
After transferring the eggs to a dish for prep, I washed all of the shells. They were then immersed in boiling water for a sterilising wash. The washed eggshells were transferred to a baking tray to dry briefly, and then baked at approximately ~100C for approximately 10 minutes. This is both to provide an additional safety measure and to completely dry the eggshells prior to grinding.
Grinding the Shells
Once cooled, ensure that they’re completely dry. Then grind to the desired texture. In hindsight, I should have tried transferring the shells from the food processor to the coffee grinder to see if I could get a finer powder. Mine was still rather course. On to prepping the eggs!
Dehydrating Scrambled Eggs for Dog Treats and Food Toppers
Scrambling Prior to Dehydrating
After doing some reading on camping and prepping forums and websites, I decided to scramble and then dehydrate the eggs. This would allow the egg to be dried on the perforated racks as well as (hopefully) give me nuggets of dried egg. I scrambled in the microwave to allow me to do a large batch without any added oils. I included both dog-safe herbs and the eggshells in my scrambled egg mixture, but both are optional.
Safety First, Furfriends!
Depending on your personal food safety and handling preferences, precooking the eggs via scrambling may not be enough. You can use the FSIS recommendations for dehydrating poulty as a guide and use either precooking to a minimum of 75C before dehydrating at a moderate heat and/or treat your finished dehydrated eggs to a dose of high heat in the oven as a safety cook after they’re dehydrated.
Dehydrating the Scrambled Eggs
Place the prepared scrambled eggs in thin dollops on a dehydrator rack (or prepared tray). Dehydrate according to your specific dehydrator’s settings/instructions. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can substitute an oven-safe baking/cooking rack, drip tray, and a fan-forced oven. See the safety note above.
The dehydration time will depend on your machine, settings, how thick your eggs are spread, and the moisture content. As the egg mixture dries, it will change in colour and take on a hard firm texture.
Allow to cool thoroughly before storage. In theory, thoroughly dehydrated food should be shelf stable if kept completely dry. However, as with all of our homemade dehydrated treats, I prefer to err on the side of food safety caution and keep mine in the fridge (or freeze if making a large batch for extended storage). The dehydrated eggs take incredibly less space to store than fresh. Win!
The Egg Dehydration Experiment Verdict
It took some prep, but this was mainly time with the shells, not the actual eggs. It was easier to successfully dehydrate the scrambled eggs than I expected and the dried eggs were firmer than I’d anticipated. The dogs had zero complaints. Moderation is key. You’ll be amazes at how much things reduce during dehydration, so don’t be overly generous on the size or quantity. No matter how big those puppy dog eyes may be!
Consistency: Firm Nuggets and Crumbles
The dehydrated eggs were much firmer than the preceding dehydrated cottage cheese experiment. Larger portions were fine as hand treats. The smaller nuggets were easier used in small servings as toppers. With more care in placement on the dehydrator tray, I could probably get a a more consistent nugget rather than a mix of nuggets and small crumbles. With some adjustments (and possibly other ingredients), I would consider trying a piped mixture instead of the dollops.
Portability: Handle with Care
Although surprisingly firm, I still wouldn’t consider these portable pocket treats. Even if only for the food safety and handling factors. In a jar, however, they’d travel ok. As a topper, no worries at all. It could be a good option for short term portability if you’re travelling with a diet restricted pet. As noted above, even with thoroughly dehydrated treats, I still prefer freezing for safer storage long term.
Would I Do it Again?
Maybe. Raw eggs are still my preference by far and I’m not sold on the hard nuggets. But, if I needed to store a bulk quantity, I’d definitely consider scrambling and dehydrating. I’m not sure about the shells, though. Still, it’s nice to know that it works, potential issues, and the consistency limitations. You never know when it might come in handy.
🦴 Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of different DIY dog treats here on the blog. Woofs! Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas here from treats that we make ourselves for our pets, but different animals will have different preferences (likes or dislikes) and dietary needs. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies or intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.