From side dish to sandwich ingredient – egg salad is a tasty and versatile food. Plus, it is pretty simple to prepare. But have you ever considered sharing the egg salad with your dog?
Can dogs eat egg salad? No, the simple and straightforward answer is that dogs cannot eat egg salad. The mayonnaise in egg salad is loaded with fats and is very likely to cause digestive upset, while some added ingredients like onions and avocados are toxic to dogs.
In this article, we will talk about why dogs cannot eat egg salad. We will cover the different egg salad ingredients, explain what happens if your dog eats egg salad, and give tips on what to do. Finally, we will provide a modified egg salad recipe that is safe for dogs.
IS EGG SALAD HARMFUL TO DOGS?
Yes, egg salad can be harmful to dogs based on how it is prepared and how much your dog eats. The levels of harmfulness vary on the mentioned factors. Namely, if a particularly large dog gets only a few licks, it will be perfectly fine.
However, if a smaller dog eats a more significant serving portion, the consequences can range from digestive upset in the best-case scenario to food intoxication in the worst-case scenario.
EGG SALAD INGREDIENTS 101
We already said that egg salad is dangerous to dogs. In case you are wondering why let’s take a closer look at the different egg salad ingredients.
Ingredient number 1: EGGS
The first and main ingredient in egg salad is the only one that is actually safe for dogs. In fact, eggs are more than safe – they are health-boosting and beneficial. Many dog food manufacturers add dried egg products to their formulas to make them more nutritious.
The egg white is an exceptional protein source, while the yolk is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and, more importantly – unsaturated fatty acids (the good type of fats). And contrary to popular belief, eating eggs does not cause high cholesterol levels.
Ingredient number 2: MAYONNAISE
While not directly toxic, mayonnaise is harmful to dogs because of its high-fat profile. Eating mayo (too much or too often) leads to weight gain and obesity, which increases the risks of diabetes, heart issues, and arthritis. Overeating mayo at once may also trigger a bout of acute pancreatitis.
Ingredient number 3: YELLOW MUSTARD
Mustard is definitely not dog-friendly. Sadly, this tasty condiment is made of mustard seeds which are unsafe because they contain glucosinolates. These chemical compounds cause inflammation of the digestive tract and symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, dehydration, and lethargy. Having a lick or two is not dangerous but eating more than that warrants a trip to the vet’s office.
Ingredient number 4: SALT & BLACK PEPPER
Small amounts of salt are essential for normal body processes and functions. However, ingesting more significant salt amounts can lead to dehydration or even salt poisoning. Black pepper is dangerous too. Namely, all spices have the potential to cause digestive ulcers.
Ingredient number 5: PAPRIKA
The scenario is similar to black pepper. Paprika is an intense spice, and if consumed in larger amounts, in addition to digestive upset, it can cause damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and lead to ulcers.
Ingredient number 6: MISCELLANEOUS
There are many egg salad recipes featuring added ingredients. Here are some of the more commonly additions:
- Carrots or celery – Carrots and celery are dog-friendly foods. In fact, many dog food brands added carrots in their formulas. They are rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. The celery is healthy too and makes an excellent snack for dogs on weight-loss regimens. However, there is one thing you need to consider – its stringy texture (which may pose a choking hazard in a dog with a zealous appetite).
- Tomatoes – dogs can eat small amounts of fully ripe tomatoes. The only caveat is that all green parts need to be carefully removed as they contain potentially toxic compounds.
- Onions or scallions – onions, scallions, and all other members of the Allium family are toxic to dogs. Even a small amount (including powdered versions) is dangerous as it destroys the red blood cells, thus causing anemia.
- Avocado – Avocado is highly toxic to dogs, and it is on the ASPCA’s list of the top toxic human foods for dogs. The culprit behind the avocado’s toxicity is a chemical compound called persin. Persin is present in all parts of the fruit, including flesh, pit, bark, and leaves.
- Olives – the olives are not directly toxic to dogs, but they are heavily salted, which poses a severe hazard to the dog’s overall health. The risk is even greater if the dog has a chronic kidney condition or high blood pressure.
- Bacon – the bacon is not directly toxic either, but it is too greasy, and in addition to causing gastrointestinal upset, it can also trigger a painful inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY DOG EATS EGG SALAD?
Suppose you gave your dog egg salad without knowing its dangers or caught your dog stealing some. In that case, you can expect anything from a mild digestive upset and diarrhea bouts to pancreatitis or even food intoxication.
Many factors determine the outcome, including:
- The egg salad’s ingredients
- How much your dog ate
- Your dog’s age and size
- Any pre-existing health issues.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY DOG EATS EGG SALAD?
When an egg salad dietary indiscretion occurs, it is best to give the vet a call and consult. The veterinarian may recommend waiting and observing your dog or rushing it to the clinic for quick treatment
based on the factors mentioned above.
In both cases, you must stay calm so you can act in accordance with the vet’s instructions. If the veterinarian suggests monitoring, you will probably be instructed to withhold food or feed a bland diet until the stomach deals with the egg salad.
If the egg salad contained a toxic ingredient like onions or avocado, your dog would probably be hospitalized for a couple of days until fully stabilized and recovered.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MY DOG FROM EATING EGG SALAD?
Luckily, in this case, prevention is easy and based on two steps. First, do not give your dog egg salad on purpose. Second, do not leave the egg salad bowl in the open (tables or countertops). Always store your food out of the dog’s reach.
IS THERE A DOG-FRIENDLY EGG SALAD RECIPE?
Since the main ingredient in egg salad (the eggs themselves) is actually healthy for dogs, making a dog-friendly egg salad is possible. However, you will need to get creative – throw out some ingredients and substitute others.
First of all, forget about the potentially harmful and toxic ingredients, meaning no bacon, pickles, mustard, onions, avocados, etc. Also, as with any other food cooked for dogs, ditch the spices, and when we say spices, we do not mean just paprika and black pepper but also salt and sugar.
Then, it would be best if you had an appropriate alternative for the mayonnaise. For example, instead of mayo, you can use Greek yogurt – it is way less fatty and contains tons of probiotics that will boost your dog’s gut health.
So, with the basics covered, let’s see how the dog-friendly egg salad recipe looks like.
- Greek yogurt
- Carrots (optional)
- Chicken ham (optional)
- Boil, peel, and finely chop the eggs
- Boil or steam the carrots and chop them
- Slice the chicken ham into tiny chunks
- Mix the ingredients in a large bowl
- Add the Greek yogurt and mix well.
Now that you know how to prepare a dog-friendly egg salad, you need to know how to feed it – just because it is made with safe ingredients does not mean it can substitute regular meals.
Namely, you can give your dog a tablespoon of egg salad as a treat, or better yet, add it as a topper on its usual kibble. Alternatively, you can mix the egg salad with plain boiled rice and give it as a one-time meal.
Last but not least, we need to cover the serving frequency – egg salad (even when dog-friendly) is not a complete and balanced meal. In practical terms, this means you should not be giving your dog egg salad more than once or twice per month.
SUMMING UP: CAN DOGS EAT EGG SALAD?
Although there are many recipe variations, the general rule of thumb is that dogs cannot eat egg salad. The traditional recipe is not directly toxic, but it is loaded with fats and poses a serious hazard.
On the other hand, some ingredients used in enriched egg salad recipes are toxic to dogs. Therefore, if you catch your dog stealing egg salad, it is best to give the vet and call and decide the next steps based on the situation.
The good news is you can make a dog-friendly egg salad and serve it to your dog as an occasional snack. However, it is imperative not to overfeed – egg salad is not part of the dog’s natural diet and should only be given infrequently.