Pawsitively healthy: Bone broth for dogs is a canine elixir

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Have you ever wondered if your furry friend could benefit from the same wholesome elixir that has humans singing its praises? A nourishing cup of bone broth for dogs might be the secret to your dog’s optimal health.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please see the disclaimer below for more information.

Benefits for canine health

From joint support to better gut health, bone broth may give your dog a range of possible benefits. This section unpacks how bone broth might be a game-changer for your four-legged family member.

Indeed, bone broth, the liquid made by simmering beef or chicken bones in water over a long period, isn’t a cure-all, but it does have a note-worthy nutritional profile. This savory liquid is high in collagen, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, vitamin A and more, according to the USDA.

  • Supports joints: Collagen found in bone broth may help maintain joint flexibility and reduce the risk of arthritis.
  • Improves gut health: As demonstrated in a 2014 animal study, the gelatin in broth is generally soothing and healing the gut lining. It may positively remedy a leaky gut, diminish food allergies and reduce digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation.
  • Aids in liver detoxification: Glycine is the essential amino acid that supports liver health. The abundance of glycine found in broth may positively affect detoxification.
  • Entices reluctant eaters: You may see bone broth stimulate a dog’s appetite after recovering from illness. It may also lure otherwise picky eaters to their bowl.
  • Contributes to hydration: Adding broth to the dog bowl is one way to increase liquid consumption and keep a dog hydrated.

A 2021 study conclusively states that diet plays an important role in your pet’s health, so choosing wholesome foods does matter. Please consult your veterinarian before introducing any new food into your dog’s diet, especially if they have specific dietary restrictions or health conditions.

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Preparing homemade bone broth for pups

Homemade bone broth is an excellent option because you can control the ingredients and know exactly what goes in each batch. However, you can also buy pre-made broth at select stores and online if you’re busy or don’t want to fuss over it.

Bone broth for dogs is usually prepared differently than bone broth for humans. Dog broth should be low-sodium, so skip the salt even if it’s a high-quality mineral-rich salt. Furthermore, onion and garlic are typically not given to dogs. Read the ingredient list for your recipe or on the package carefully before serving it to your pup.

“Anytime I make homemade bone broth, I make a small separate batch for the dog using just bones and without flavoring ingredients like onions or garlic. I add it to her regular food, and she gobbles it up even faster than usual. I think it’s one of many things we do that results in her shiny coat, high energy and overall good health.”

— Gina Matsoukas, What Can My Dog Eat?

Here is an easy step-by-step process for making homemade bone broth for dogs. This recipe is good for humans, too.

  1. Start with about 2 pounds of beef marrow bones, a few carrots, 2 celery stalks and 2 sprigs of rosemary.
  2. Add the ingredients to a large stock pot. Cover them with approximately 3 quarts of water and bring it to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and maintain that for 12 hours or overnight. Skim off any foam or impurities that may rise during cooking.
  3. Remove the pot from heat and let the liquid cool enough to handle.
  4. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and discard the cooked ingredients. Never feed dogs cooked bones.
  5. Serve immediately, store portions for the next 3 days in the refrigerator and freeze the leftovers.

You can also adapt this recipe to make slow cooker bone broth or finish it even faster in a pressure cooker. Both alternatives offer the convenience of hands-free countertop cooking.

Simplifying the recipe down to an ultra-simple bone broth with just bones and water can also work. It’s all a matter of preference, so find the best method for you. 

Serving bone broth to your dog

There are a few things to remember when serving a dog broth. First, make sure the broth is completely cool.

Then, decide to use broth as a meal topper by pouring it over their food or serving it on its own as a refreshing drink. Some dogs may also enjoy frozen broth as a treat on a hot day.

Begin slowly and gradually increase the serving size over time. Ask your vet for guidance and lean on their expertise when needed. Remember that bone broth is supplementary feed and not intended as a meal replacement. 

Storing bone broth for future use

Proper storage is key if you have a large batch of bone broth or want to save portions for later. Allow the broth to cool completely before transferring it into airtight containers or ice cube trays for freezing.

Label each container with the date and contents so that you can quickly identify them later on. Bone broth can last up to 3 months when stored correctly in the freezer.

When ready to use the frozen bone broth, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or defrost it using gentle heat on the stovetop. By following these simple tips, your dog can get all the benefits of bone broth and you can seamlessly add the prep into your routine.

“We make a bone broth for our dog once or twice a week, giving him the seconds. We keep the first boil of the chicken, lamb or beef bones for ourselves, then reboil a second time for Bingo. It’s still rich and gelatinous. At age three, we haven’t had any health issues yet. Everyone comments on how amazing his coat looks!”

— Dan Morris, Fire and Saw
A dog eating from a yellow bowl.
Photo credit: YayImages.

In conclusion

Bone broth for dogs can be a powerful addition to their diet, offering a range of benefits for their overall health. From promoting joint health and digestion to boosting their immune system, bone broth provides essential nutrients supporting your furry friend’s vitality. 

By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can easily prepare homemade bone broth for your pups and ensure they receive all the goodness it offers. Incorporating bone broth into your dog’s diet is an easy way to enhance their health naturally while providing them with a tasty treat they’ll love.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The contents of this article, made available via Food Drink Life, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The content presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary changes. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk.

Jessica Haggard is dedicated to helping people cook easy everyday recipes focusing on bioavailable and nutrient-dense foods. She helps people overcome food allergies and discover healthy recipes that make a difference in their health by succeeding with gluten-free, low-carb and keto cooking at Primal Edge Health.

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