Dogs love bones as they are filled with all the nutrition they need. Bones contain calcium, magnesium, vitamin D as well as proteins, phosphorus and potassium. It is not a good idea to give cooked bones to Fido as they tend to splinter and shatter, hurting his esophagus. However, you can use leftover bones and cartilage to make a delicious broth. Bone broth for dogs has many health benefits and is a wonderful superfood for pets. Let us study some bone broth recipes as well as ways in which your dog can benefit from bone broth.
What is bone broth? What are its benefits for pets?
Your dog instinctively knows that bones contain tons of nourishment. However, savvy pet owners know the dangers of feeding cooked bones to pets. That does not mean that you let all the carcasses of chicken, lamb, fish or cow go to waste. You can use these bones and cartilage to make a delicious broth containing magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus as well as joint-friendly nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin. Please check out my article on how chondroitin and glucosamine can benefit dogs with joint issues. Here are the benefits of bone broth for dogs:
Benefits of primal bone broth for dogs
Bone broth contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that heal pain and inflammation. This means a younger, more active pet.
Low in carbs
This superfood is literally the elixir of life for dogs (and humans too). Dogs do not need carbohydrates in large quantities. Unfortunately, most commercial dog foods are packed with carbs. Bone broth is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. A diet rich in bone broth will regulate blood sugar levels and insulin and prevent the spikes in the blood sugar. Your dog will be more energetic and his belly fat might also slowly disappear.
Rich in healthy fats
Bone broth is rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids. This superfood will give your dog a healthier, shinier coat.
Alkalizes the body
We feed our pets so much acidic food unknowingly; it is no wonder their cells are inflamed. More dogs are being diagnosed with serious illness each year than ever before. Bone broth can alkalize every cell of the body and flush out accumulated toxins. This can make the cells vibrant and young again.
Ends sugar cravings
A bone broth diet will provide complete nourishment to your pet. This will satisfy his hunger and he will not crave food. The result: an energetic, slimmer and healthier pet.
Ideal for dogs with kidney disease
Bone broth for dogs with kidney disease helps provide the right balance of protein and nutrients to provide strength to weak dogs. The liquid in this superfood is another bonus for kidneys that leak out too much water. High quality protein in bone broth is easily retained by the failing kidneys, providing real building blocks to the dog’s body.
What ingredients should you use for making bone broth for dogs?
Bone broth needs a slow cooker or a Crockpot to make it as it requires hours of simmering. Making the broth is simple once you have the right tools and ingredients. Here are the ingredients for making the best bone broth recipes for dogs:
The most important ingredient for bone broth is of course bones. You can use joint and marrow bones of chicken, pork, beef, fish and veal etc. Mix things up to get the best ingredients. The right mixture of bones will help your broth ‘gel’ up after it cools. Chicken feet, legs and neck as well as backbones are high in collagen and very good for your pet. You can use bones from lamb, goat, cow and pigs. Talk to your local butcher. Many times, these parts are discarded so butchers are willing to give them away for free. Some butchers tend to charge for these items.
Every bone broth needs an acidic ingredient that pulls out collagen from the bones. The best acidic ingredient for your bone broth recipes is apple cider vinegar. You can also use other cooking vinegars like distilled white, rice wine or balsamic vinegars, but apple cider vinegar imparts a rich taste and is really nourishing to dogs. Apple cider vinegar is anti-inflammatory and aids in breaking the bones and collagen down as they cook. This releases more nutrients into the broth and also encourages the gelling process.
Dog bone broth with vegetables enhances nutrition and most dogs love veggies. You can use leftover stalks and peels of vegetables like carrots, celery, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, peas etc. in the broth. Also go in for fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles as they are rich in probiotics. Garlic, asparagus and artichokes are some other gut healing vegetables that are great for your dogs bone broth. Vegetables add fiber to your pet’s diet and make the broth tastier and more nutritious.
Herbs and spices
These can give you a delicious flavored broth. Go ahead and experiment with herbs your dog loves. Bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and sage are some great herbs to add to your broth recipe.
You must allow your broth to settle for 8 hours before feeding it to your pet. This is necessary for it to gel. Remember, the more bones you add, the more your broth will gel. If, despite all your attempts, the broth fails to gel, you can add a bit of gelatin to it. I find that my broth gels easily when I let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Pro tip: If your broth does not gel, you might have used too few bones. Try adding more next time.
How to make bone broth for dogs, cats and humans
Making bone broth is very simple but people have different recipes and ideas and you should experiment with your own recipes as well. You may want to invest in a slow cooker to make the broth. Given below are basic steps for making a delicious bone broth. I have also included a great chicken broth recipe below. You can make a large batch and freeze the excess. Fresh bone broth is best for dogs but I’d still give my pets homemade frozen bone broth over store brought bone broth any day.
- Place the bones (carcass, neck, cartilage, feet and back bones), veggies, herbs and spices in the slow cooker. You can add your condiments like salt, pepper and vinegar as well. If you are using gelatin, add a teaspoon of it at this point.
- Now fill up the slow cooker to the top with filtered water. Leave about an inch of space from the top of the pot to prevent spillover.
- Avoid using regular tap water; the broth tastes best when you use filtered water.
- The longer you cook the broth, the more flavorful it will be. So about 24 hours should cut it. That is the best part about using a slow cooker – you do not have to keep a watch over it and the slow cooker does its job leaving you free to do yours.
- Another good thing about using the slow cooker is its temperature. You need not worry about adjusting temperature; simply keep it on its lowest setting and let the broth simmer.
- After 24 hours, switch off the heat. Let the broth cool a bit before straining. Mash the bones to extract the nutrients.
- Refrigerate the broth to allow it to gel.
How to use frozen bone broth
I make bone broth in large batches and freeze pre-measured portions in Ziploc bags. To use frozen bone broth for dogs, simply remove the bag and thaw for a few hours in the refrigerator. Pour the broth over some brown rice, millet or kibble at dinner time. You can also simply provide bone broth as a treat between meals or as a standalone meal as well. Speak to your vet before making any drastic dietary changes in your dog’s diet.
Recommended serving size:
- For small dogs: 3 tbsp of bone broth per day
- Medium to large dogs: up to 1 cup per day
- Very large dogs: 2-3 cups per day
Pro tip: Freeze the bone broth in ice trays. In summers, this makes a cool and delightful treat for senior dogs and dogs in rehabilitation.
Simple bone broth recipe for dogs
Store brought bone broth for dogs is convenient, but why buy when you can make it at home? It is easy to make, cheaper and nutritious and your pet will thank you for it. Here is a super simple bone broth recipe for dogs and cats that yields about 5 cups of bone broth:
- 1 lbs chicken bones (feet, neck, back bones give a gelled broth). Try to use organic, grass fed chicken.
- Leftover organic vegetables, like apples, carrots, lettuce, broccoli etc. (optional)
- 1 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with mother
- 6 cups water
Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and simmer on low for 24 hours. That’s right – 24 hours. Strain all solids, mashing them to extract all the marrow and calcium, and then refrigerate for 6-8 hours before serving. You can freeze the extra portions for up to 3 months. Alternatively, refrigerate and use within 4 days. In the above recipe, you can add a variety of bones from different animals too.