Meringues are a simple mix of egg whites and sugar that are vigorously mixed together in such a way that the mix is stiff enough to stand up.
Behind the simplicity of the recipe lies a hotbed of controversy.
Some people claim that meringues were first created in the Swiss village of Meiringen around the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Other people (including the people at the Oxford dictionary) believe that the French word meringue has no known origin.
But the products that we know today as meringues can be traced back to England at the start of the seventeenth century.
Can dogs have meringue?
Dogs can safely eat meringues which have been made with just egg whites and sugar.
The amount of sugar in any meringue recipe makes it an incredibly unhealthy food for your dog to eat but a basic meringue won’t poison them.
Lots of sugar in any product just means lots of calories.
And to give you an example, a 100g serving of meringues has over 300 calories in it.
Even a 100g serving of vanilla ice cream has fewer calories.
207 if you really want to know.
You need to be a little more cautious when making or buying sugar free and flavoured meringue nests because these might contain ingredients which are dangerous for your dog.
I will end this section with some good news.
The most famous meringue recipe (lemon meringue pie) is safe for dogs to eat.
It isn’t the healthiest snack that they can eat but none of the ingredients are toxic for dogs.
Next, I want to talk about egg whites because there can be a bit of confusion over how suitable they are for dogs.
Can dogs eat egg whites?
Cooked egg whites are perfectly safe for your dog to eat.
Giving your dog raw egg whites or egg yolks is far riskier because of the bacteria that might be present in any poultry product.
Salmonella is the scary one as far as eggs are concerned.
It is thought that between 1995 and 2002, eggs caused 53% of all cases of salmonella that were reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC.)
But once the egg white is cooked, it becomes safe to eat.
Having covered the ingredients that you will use if you wanted to make your own meringues, I will quickly look online to see if shop bought meringues might contain any ingredients which aren’t safe for your dog to eat.
Shop bought meringues
Wow! I never would have thought that a diverse range of meringue products was available.
And this is without searching for lemon meringue pies!
Vanilla meringues, chocolate meringues, cappuccino meringues and key lime meringues to mention just a few.
And all of these seem to be sugar free.
Can my dog eat sugar free meringues?
We normally associate a label such as sugar free to be a sign of a healthy product but you need to take care when you are feeding your dog these products.
Any sugar free product replaces ordinary sugar (or sucrose) with another sort of sweetener.
And the reason is that sweeteners have far fewer calories than sugar.
Most of these sweeteners aren’t poisonous to dogs but one of them is.
Xylitol is a widely used sweetener which is incredibly toxic to dogs- even in small amounts.
The good news is that looking at the sugar free meringues at Walmart, they are made using two sweeteners- isomalt and stevia.
Isomalt is a sugar which is extracted from beetroot. It is used in meringues because it doesn’t caramelise when heat is applied to it.
It is safe for your dogs to eat.
A group of dogs were once fed isomalt as part of a clinical trial.
They were all fine although the scientists did discover that if the dogs had too much isomalt they would probably have a touch of diarrhea.
The other sweetener which is used is stevia, or sugar leaf, comes from a plant.
And it is perfectly safe for dogs to eat.
Having discovered that dogs can eat sugar free meringues as long as they contain xylitol, I want to next look at whether all of these different flavours of meringues are safe for your dogs to eat.
Can my dogs eat chocolate meringues?
Chocolate or chocolate flavoured foods are a big “no, no” to dogs.
Chocolate, or more precisely cocoa, contains the chemical thiamine which is toxic to dogs.
Looking at one particular chocolate meringue, as well as the egg whites, isomalt and stevia, the meringue contains defatted alkalised cocoa powder.
We don’t know how much cocoa powder has been used in this recipe.
It is listed as the third ingredient, which could suggest that quite a lot has been used- but that is only a guess.
Cocoa powder has lots of theobromine in it- this site suggests that if a dog that weighs a mere 10 kg were to eat a few grams of cocoa powder, it might kill them.
It comes down to the size of your dog and how many meringues they have eaten.
But having looked at the list of ingredients, I wouldn’t let your dog go anywhere near them.
Can dogs eat cappuccino meringues?
Dogs shouldn’t drink, sip or lick coffee because caffeine is a stimulant and in the wrong amounts can be poisonous to dogs.
A few “laps” of coffee are probably harmless to most dogs.
The ingredients on the cappuccino meringues that I’m looking at contain real coffee.
But I think that the amount used will be small enough to not cause your dog any harm- just don’t let your dog eat too many!
Having covered some of the most popular flavours of shop bought meringues, next I want to look at how suitable lemon meringue pie is a delicious treat to feed your dog- or not!
Can dogs eat lemon meringue pie?
I won’t repeat myself over the ingredients that are used to make a meringue.
Instead I will just focus on the ingredients used to make the pastry and the lemon filling.
Looking at a very popular recipe for lemon meringue pie, most of the ingredients seem to be dog safe- in the sense that they won’t poison or kill your dog.
But let’s go through these ingredients one by one.
Flour isn’t healthy for your dog but neither will it kill them.
There isn’t really any nutrition in flour.
And in the amount that is in a pie crust, it won’t trouble your dog.
Egg yolks are mainly protein (16%) and fat (27%)- which are two essential elements in your dog’s diet.
They are also high in vitamin A, vitamin B2 and vitamin B12.
Cornstarch is used as a way to thicken the lemon filling.
It is a natural product which will not harm your dog.
Dogs need salt in their diet but they don’t need any extra salt.
However, the minimal amount of salt in this recipe won’t harm your dog at all.
Lemon juice is not only safe for your dog but your dog will also be able to taste the sourness from the lemons.
Most people know that butter contains lots of fat but I think that it would surprise many people to learn that it contains about 81% fat.
Although your dog might be ill if it ate a few sticks of butter on their own, they should be fine with it if they just have a bite or two of lemon meringue pie.
¹ Photo by Max Griss on Unsplash