If you haven’t ever considered preparing bone broth for your dog, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is. Bone broth is wonderfully easy to make, and offers many benefits for a dog. This recipe for Bone Broth for Dogs is great for humans too – make a batch and share it with your pooch.
It’s also a very cheap way to give your dog the nutrients that bones have, which would be difficult for them to get by only gnawing away at bones.Jump to Recipe
What is Bone Broth?
It is basically a very dense stock, made by slowly cooking animal bones for many hours, with the addition of an acid – most typically, vinegar. Herbs and vegetables can also be added.
As the bones are slowly cooked, many different nutrients are released, including glucosamine, collagen and several amino acids.
These many nutrients can assist in the management and treatment of many common issues, including arthritis and joint problems, digestive problems such as leaky gut syndrome, allergies and food intolerances, and immune deficiency.
The Top 5 Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs
- Protects joints – good for arthritis. Bone broth is rich in glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, all of which help to protect your dog’s joints. It’s full of collagen which helps to repair the connective tissue such as cartilage padding the ends of bones.
- Excellent source of minerals, including calcium.
- Helps to detoxify the liver. The liver needs the amino acid glycine to detoxify, something bone broth is also rich in. If you’re interested, Dogs Naturally explain in full how to give your pooch a doggy detox.
- Good for gut health and digestion. The gelatine in bone broth assists in mending the holes in the intestines, preventing leaky gut. The glycine assists with the regulation of bile salt synthesis thereby aiding digestion.
- Good for the immune system. Amino acids in bone broth help the body fight various conditions such as inflammations and allergies.
What It Doesn’t Have
Due to the long cooking process, some nutrients are of course lost, especially certain vitamins.
Bone Broth Recipe For a Slow Cooker
Since the broth needs to be cooked for many hours, using a slow cooker is obviously much safer and more convenient than a saucepan on the stove. You can still make it in a pan if you don’t have a slow cooker, but you’ll need to attend the pot more carefully and turn it off when you go to bed.
There are 3 essential ingredients in making bone broth for dogs: bones, acid and water. You can add certain herbs, vegetables and spices to this if you like, but they are optional.
Which Type of Bones Should I Use?
You can use pretty much any bones, either raw or cooked, though it is important that they have cartilage, so choose bones with joints in them. The more joints the bones have, the more gelatine-rich the broth will be. Chicken feet are great for this.
Which Acid Is Best?
The addition of acid in the recipe allows more nutrients to be drawn out of the bones. Typically apple cider vinegar is used as it is a very healthy vinegar which comes with its own health benefits, but you can use any other vinegar or lemon juice.
Vegetables, Herbs and Spices For Bone Broth for Dogs
These ingredients are optional, but can add flavour and a few more benefits to your broth. If you’re making the broth for yourself, you could add onion. However, DO NOT ADD ONION if you are cooking this for your dog. Onion is one of several food types that are harmful to dogs. For more information, see this article on food you should NEVER give your dog.
The veggies could include carrots, broccoli, sweet potato or leafy greens.
You could also consider adding turmeric and ginger which are effective antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
A good herb to add would be parsley as it aids digestion and is also an anti-inflammatory. Dogs Naturally Magazine also refers to the many other nutritional benefits of parsley
How to Make Bone Broth At Home
The biggest downside to making your own bone broth is the cooking time: if it isn’t cooked for a long time, the nutrients will not be drawn out of the bones. Ideally it would be cooked for at least 24 hours. If it has cooked enough, the broth will be thick and gloopy, like jelly.
Very often, a layer of fat rises to the top once it cools. Too much fat isn’t good for your dog so it’s best to skim this layer off.
Keep the broth in the fridge and give it to your dog over the next 4 or 5 days. You can also freeze it into individual portion sizes (using an ice cube tray for instance), which is great if a batch makes more than you can use within 5 days. Plus if you always have some in the freezer, it’s an excellent option for days when your pup’s a little off colour. It will help with appetite and healing.
Problems Making the Bone Broth?
My bone broth didn’t thicken! This is either because it wasn’t cooked long enough or it didn’t have enough acid. Worry not! You can still use it anyway. It’s still nutrient-rich, it’s just not as nutritious as it could have been. I have to admit that on occasion, after having left the bone broth in the slow cooker for 24 hours, it was STILL not gloopy and I have used it as is.
How Much Bone Broth Should I Give My Dog?
As with any new food, it’s best to start with small amounts to make sure it doesn’t upset your dog. If you’ve frozen the broth in ice cube trays, one cube per day should be fine to begin with. The broth is especially good for moistening kibble, so you’d have to defrost the ice cube first. However, my mad mutts love to play with ice cubes and in the summer I often give them this as a treat.
For larger dogs, a reasonable amount would be 2 tbsp with their dinner – my 2 dobermanns love it.
Don’t feed your dog bone broth all the time, you don’t want your pooch to overdo some of the nutrients present in the broth.
- 1 bag bones chicken / turkey / beef – with joints if possible
- 2 tbsp vinegar I use apple cider vinegar. If you don't have vinegar, use lemon juice.
- 200 gr chopped mixed veg Optional. If you add veggies, they could be carrots, broccoli, leafy greens or sweet potato. NOT ONION!
- 1 bunch herbs Optional. eg parsley
- Pop the bones into a slow cooker
- Add enough water to cover the bones by 4cm to 5cm. Don't add more than this or the broth will be weak.
- Add the vinegar or lemon juice.
- Add the veggies, if using.
- Cook on high for one hour
- Cook on simmer (low) for as long as possible: bone broth is ready once the water becomes gloopy. The time it takes to become gloopy depends on the types of bones used and the amount of vinegar or lemon. It will almost certainly need cooking for 24 hours.
- Once the liquid becomes gloopy, strain the broth. If there is still meat on the bones, you can add the meat to the broth, but throw away the bones. DO NOT feed them to your dog. They will be brittle and splinter easily
- Leave the broth to cool. Once cool, a layer of fat forms on the top. Discard the fat layer.
- The broth is ready to use. Store it in the fridge, using a bit daily, for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the broth into smaller portions – an ice cube tray is perfect for this.
Refs: Dogs Naturally Magazine, Simple Wag, DrAxe