The Ultimate Bone Broth For Dogs Guide
Dogs and bones have gone together as long as humans have known dogs. So why has bone broth, the extremely popular superfood, become such an afterthought for many dog owners?
Ancient cultures across multiple continents regularly consumed bone broth for a reason. It’s the same reason it has taken a firm hold in the health conscious and fitness communities. But do the benefits humans have seen also translate to your dog?
Bone broth is now gaining popularity among dog owners as a nutrient packed treat. That trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
This guide will answer all your questions related to safely giving your dog bone broth including:
- Is bone broth good for dogs
- 7 Benefits of bone broth for dogs
- Best ways to give your dog bone broth
- Dog bone broth (vs human bone broth)
- How to make bone broth for dogs
- Why not to use bone broth
Is bone broth good for dogs?
Yes, bone broth is a great regular addition to your dog’s diet and has many health benefits.
Be mindful that not all bone broths are alike though. Keep your dog safe by being mindful of ingredients used whether you buy it in store or make it yourself.
Bone broth is simple. It’s made by simmering marrow bones from animals for an extended number of hours (usually between 12-24) with a little acid like vinegar. The acid helps break down and extract the minerals, amino acids, collagen and other nutritional benefits directly into the liquid itself.
Most broths are made from cattle, pork, chicken, or turkey bones. Keep in mind most of the nutritional benefit comes from these marrow bones.
7 benefits of bone broth for dogs
1. Supports good joint health
Gelatin produced from the simmering process supports healthy joints. The gelatin has high glycine and is perhaps the most valuable component of bone broth. It acts as a cushion between bones and helps them slide together without friction. That friction would otherwise cause pain for your dog and starts to build with age.
Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin which have become very popular dog joint supplements today. Together these two act as a natural anti-inflammatory, helping decrease pain, and promote joint repair. Bone broth has also shown to help dogs with arthritis symptoms.
2. Strengthen gut health
The gelatin produced from bone broth helps strengthen the lining of the gut and results in a healthier digestive tract, crucial for good health and preventing leaky gut.
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The lining of the digestive tract is full of tiny pores that keep harmful bacteria and toxins from passing into the bloodstream. If those pores widen, this can allow those harmful substances to enter. Glycine improves gut health by repairing that intestinal wall, shrinking those pores and sealing gut lining. This improves your dog’s defenses where bacteria or toxins might try to invade.
3. Boosts immune system
Amino acids are a key component of building protein blocks in a dog’s body. Ten of these amino acids are considered essential for dogs. Bones contain large quantities of amino acids are broke down by heat and acidity. Boiling them down into a broth is a great way to get these amino acids into your dog’s diet to build up their immune system without the extra calories.
If your dog is already sick, bone broth can help get them eating again both from their attraction to the taste and because their gut will feel better.
4. Helps detox the liver
Dog’s livers are regularly under attack from the toxic chemicals dogs come into contact with daily. These can include chemicals from household cleaners, chemicals from treating grass, chemicals from cars, toxic dewormers, flea & tick preventatives, or antibiotics to name a few.
Your dog’s liver only holds a certain amount of glycine so the added boost of amino acids from bone broth acts as a reinforcement for your dog’s liver and can help improve its function.
5. Added minerals and nutrients to diet
Bone broth can make an impressive addition to your dog’s diet as it contains important mineral nutrients such as amino acids, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and many more. These nutrients are beneficial to dogs at any life stage.
6. Hydration source
Dogs really love the taste of bone broth particularly because it’s rich in amino acids. To dogs, broth smells amazing and appears as a tasty treat. If you find your dog barely drinks water while being on a dry food diet, you might add a little bone broth to their bowl. The smell and flavor will get them drinking fluids they might otherwise pass on.
7. Temps picky eaters
Similar to hydration, many dog owners have found they can entice a picky eater or older dog back to their bowls by adding some bone broth. Broth can complement any type of diet from dry kibble to freshly prepared.
Dog bone broth vs human bone broth
You might wonder if your dog can have the same bone broth you buy at your local grocery or health food store. Bone broth is bone broth, but how it’s made and how it’s marketed determine if your dog can have bone broth from a store.
There are a growing number of companies who are making bone broth specifically for dogs and pets which can be a great option. You can also make dog-safe broth at home yourself. If you want the nutritional benefits of bone broth but want more nutritional boost, there are some dog supplements that use bone broth as a base.
As a general rule, stay away from commercial human broths for your dog.
The vast majority of them are actually not the nourishing & beneficial broth, but are just high sodium stock labeled as broth.
Here are three things to look out for if you insist on buying human bone broth for your dog:
- Salt is an essential mineral for dogs and necessary in small doses. But most commercial broths simply have too much sodium. Most dogs get enough sodium from their food alone.
· Onions & Garlic
- Onions and garlic are the two most common ingredients in human broths. Both contain thiosulfate, which is safe for humans but toxic to dogs. There is some evidence that very small doses of garlic may be safe and actually beneficial, but as each dog’s threshold is wildly different based on breed and size, it might not be worth the risk.
- As with any industry, large commercial operations can cut corners to save money and artificially increase artificial flavor for humans. Broths can have ingredients like MSG, yeast extract or artificial flavoring which are not safe for your dog.
Best ways to give your dog bone broth
- By itself in their water bowl
- As a meal topper for picky eaters
- As part of a creamy supplement for even more nutritional value
- Frozen treat in ice cube trays, especially for a healthy treat on a hot day
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How to make bone broth for dogs
Making homemade bone broth is straightforward, but it takes time. While stock is made in a few hours, the longer you let your broth simmer, the more nutritional value you’ll extract. Plan on cooking it for 12 to 24 hours.
- 3 - 4 pounds of raw marrow bones. These can be chicken, beef, pork, turkey, oxtail, or other bones you can find at your local shops. The marrow aspect is more important.
- ¼ cup of organic apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 gallons of water
- 2 stalks of celery
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- Get a stock pot big enough for 2 gallons of water.
- Place the bones, vinegar, celery and water in the pot.
- Simmer on low heat for 12 to 24 hours. Remember to be safe with leaving the pot unattended.
- Check in on it regularly and remove any of the floating debris.
- Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool. Remove the bones.
- Move the pot to the refrigerator to cool. This allows the fat to rise to the top. When that fat solidifies, remove it from the pot and discard it (Note: You don’t need to remove the fat, but this will keep calories as low as possible).
How to store bone broth:
To store, move it to an airtight container (think mason jar) and either keep in the refrigerator or the freezer. You can also feed your dog any cooked meat you made with your broth.
Note: Do not feed your dog the cooked bones!
Broth will keep in the refrigerator up to a week, while broth from the freezer will stay good for 4-6 months.
Optional ingredients for your dog’s broth
While all you need is the basic ingredients listed above, you can boost the health benefits even further by adding any of the ingredients listed below. This also allows you to personalize the broth to your dog’s needs.
Boosts immune system
Bladder support & antioxidants
Improve bad breath
Support skin & coat
Is bone broth overrated for dogs?
As with most things that relate to wellness, bone broth is not a cure-all for your dog’s health. Broth is definitely a healthy supplement to your dog’s food, but it’s best to keep expectations in check.
Here are a few things bone broth alone can’t do for your dog:
- Prevent joint issues - There is a difference between supporting healthy joints and preventing or easing an ailment like arthritis. The widespread statistic is that 80% of dogs will get arthritis in their life, and for joint pain, any bit helps. However broth can be a great base for a joint & mobility supplement to get the best of both worlds.
- Replace quality protein source - Bone broth isn’t a complete amino profile, so broth shouldn’t be a substitute for a complete protein source.
- Act as a cleanse - Broth absolutely helps support the detoxification of the liver. But it will not clear out toxins from the system on its own. Some dog owners use broth along with occasional fasting to help detox their dog’s system.
- Replace meals for picky eaters - It can be stressful owning a picky eater and trying to determine what is personal preference vs what is a medical issue. Bone broth is not a replacement for full meals.
Beyond the lack of calories, your dog would miss crucial vitamins and minerals. Dogs might miss a meal here and there, but if your dog refuses to eat for multiple days, call your vet to get them checked out.
Give it a try!
Bone broth makes a great addition to your dog's diet. There are many good store bought options for dogs, or you can make it at home with some added ingredients customized for your dog.
If you want to skip all the work, give WOOOF kibble coaters a try. They are liquid supplements made from a bone broth base giving you the benefits of bone broth in a targeted all natural supplement.