Spring is back for another year and with it comes Easter with all its beautiful colours. At this time of the season we see evidence of Easter with chocolate bunnies in the stores, beautiful daffodils on the kitchen table and of course, brightly coloured Easter eggs. When thinking of eggs I fondly remember my time at RAPS when every Wednesday Barbara (a wonderful, long time volunteer) would arrive with fresh eggs from Rabbit River Farms as well as large batches of scrambled eggs. These eggs acted as supplements to our dogs’ and cats’ dinners and would rapidly vanish.
As a curious dog owner I have recently delved deeper into the importance of the egg. In truth, I wanted to know just what makes them so special. I discovered through reading Dr. Strombeck’s Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets that eggs have the highest biological value of all the available proteins to feed animals. Biological value refers to their amino acid composition and the efficiency of digestion, absorption and utilization. To compare, chicken and beef have a biological value of 78, while eggs are valued at 100. Eggs are an incredible source of vitamin A, E and B12, riboflavin, folate, biotin, iron and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. In short, they are small balls of highly available energy.
In addition the egg white and yolk, the shell of an egg is a great source of calcium carbonate. When dried and crushed one egg shell produces two grams of calcium which can act as a natural calcium supplement for home-made diets or raw diets without bone. Calcium carbonate has also been noted as an effective treatment for diarrhea.
When feeding eggs it is best to consider their source before buying. These days factory farming depletes hens of essential vitamins and minerals, causing osteoporosis and affecting the quality of their eggs. A study from Penn State University revealed that organically raised hens (hens raised on grass pastures and fed vegetarian food) produce eggs with 3 times more omega 3 fatty acid, two times more vitamin E (a potent antioxidant) and 40% more vitamin A. In fact, most of us have seen the difference ourselves by noting the colour quality of organic yolks and the strength of their shells. When searching for organic or free- run eggs it is best to find a local, organic farm such as Rabbit River Farms. To find organic eggs in your area visit organizations such as Pro-Cert organic or SPCA certified farms for farm listings.
Where I am currently living in Germany it is traditional to dye hardboiled eggs (fresh from the local farmers market) with festive colours and use them to decorate the kitchen table. These eggs are consumed when desired for an extra boost of energy, what a way to stay healthy! When cooking for your pet my advice is add organic raw or slightly cooked eggs three times a week to their regular meals. For a special Easter treat, prepare a delicious, colourful Spring Easter omelette! Your pet will not be disappointed. Happy Easter!
Sonya Reichel is a former RAPS employee that is currently living in Germany with her husband. She operates Canine Clarity as a nutritional resource for pet owners.