I’ve read I don’t know how many dog diet theories, and they all argue many aspects of dog nutrition, but every nutritionist I’ve read agrees on one thing: you must provide a source of calcium in your dog’s diet. Here’s why: The body uses calcium to digest protein; if calcium isn’t provided in the diet, the body will extract it from the bones.
Rick Woodford in his book Feed Your Best Friend Better states that once you start feeding your dog 50% or more homemade food, it’s time to add calcium.
There are several options available to pet owners.
- Raw bones (never cooked—they can splinter and damage the digestive tract, big time)
- Bonemeal (very popular alternative; look for it in your pet supply store)
- Calcium carbonate or calcium citrate (also ask for at your pet supply store)
Molly and I have used both raw bones and bonemeal, but currently we’re on eggshells (pun not intended). So far, they’re our favorite—it’s free! (With the purchase of a carton of eggs.) Also, bonemeal is high in the mineral phosphorous, which is already present in muscle meat in plenty. Since calcium and phosphorous should be kept in balance, the use of bonemeal has the potential of tipping the scale.
Making delicious (?) homemade eggshells is easy. When I crack eggs, I save the shells and rinse them in running water. Once rinsed, they can safely sit on the counter until I have enough to make a batch.
When I have enough eggshells to make it worth my while, I line them in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 350° for about 8-10 minutes.
Then I pull out my cute little coffee grinder which I bought specifically for the purpose and grind and sift the eggshells until I have a fine powder.
Baking the eggshells is an important step. Raw ground eggshells are like tiny bits of broken glass that can really irritate your dog’s intestinal tract (as Molly and I learned the hard way—sorry, baby). Baking the eggshells produces a crumbly consistency that grinds down to a soft powder.
The proper serving is ½ teaspoon of eggshell powder to every pound of meat. Enjoy!