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Speak to some pup parents and they will tell you that bone broth is a miracle superfood that can transform your dog’s health. But what are the real benefits of bone broth for dogs?
We are going to take a look at what exactly bone broth is and what is in it that might be beneficial for your dog’s health.
We will also examine some of the commonly accepted benefits of dog broth, from fixing stomach upsets to tempting fussy dogs back to their bowls.
While it is great to make dog broth yourself, not everyone has the time, so we will also share with you our list of the best commercial bone broths for dogs on the market.
Finally, we will also take a look at how much bone broth your dog should be eating and the best way to incorporate it into their diet.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- What Is Bone Broth?
- Benefits Of Bone Broth For Dogs
- How To Make Bone Broth
- Best Commercial Bone Broths
- How To Feed Your Dog Bone Broth
- The Verdict
- Save To Pinterest
- Top Picks For Our Dogs
What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is basically a broth that is made from simmering animal bones for long periods of time, usually between 10 and 24 hours. It is quite common to add veggies, fruit, and spices to the mix to enhance the taste.
Bone broth has been an important part of the human diet for millennia, as thrifty folk boiled bones in order to make the most of the nutrients that they had at their disposal.
As well as being tasty and warming, bone broth contains many of the nutrients that are found in the collagen and cartilage of the bones.
These include chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, glycine, proline, and arginine. Bone broth is also rich in vitamins C, D, K, B-12, and B–6, iron, thiamine, potassium, calcium, silicon, sulfur, magnesium, potassium, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, copper, and more.
That is quite the nutrient wishlist!
Bone broth has likely been given to dogs for as long as they have been domesticated, and they love the smell and taste. These days, many bone broths are made specifically for dogs, to appeal to their taste buds and leaving out ingredients (such as onion and garlic) that are best avoided by pups.
Benefits Of Bone Broth For Dogs
Aside from being tasty, what are the benefits of adding bone broth to your dog’s diet?
1. Supports Healthy Joints
If you are buying supplements to support your dog with joint problems, which are very common in older age, especially among Labradors, then you are probably giving them glucosamine, which is naturally occurring in bone broth.
This natural form of glucosamine is better than anything you will find in a supplement, because it is resistant to digestion. This is actually a good thing, because it means that it is absorbed in its intact form.
For this reason, the glucosamine in bone broth acts like a hormone, stimulating the cells to lay down protective collagen around the joints, tendons, and ligament.
2. Detoxes The Liver
As hard as we try, it is impossible to stop your dog from exploring almost everything with their mouth. It is almost inevitable that they are going to ingest something toxic pretty regularly, when you consider all the toxins in cleaning products and so forth.
The liver is responsible for filtering out these toxins so that they don’t hurt your dog. But if the liver is constantly bombarded with them, it can be hard for it to keep up.
The glycine that occurs naturally in bone broth is detoxifying for the liver. It can help remove any toxins that may have built up in your dog’s liver and give them a fresh slate to keep protecting your dog from unwanted toxins.
3. Promotes A Healthy Gut
Bone broth can have big beneficial effects if your pup has a sensitive stomach.
The lining of the intestines actually contains millions of tiny holes that allow digested nutrients to pass through and enter the body.
But stomach problems can cause these holes to expand, and they can let things through that shouldn’t pass from the gut to the body. Naturally, your dog’s immune system will notice the problem and attack the leaked toxins, leaving your dog feeling decidedly unwell.
Bone broth contains gelatin, which naturally blocks up larger holes in the intestines, preventing this kind of “gut leakage.”
4. Promotes The Immune System
Many of the vitamins and minerals found in bone broth are essential for maintaining your dog’s immune system, especially vitamin C.
5. Encourages Heart Health
Bone broth is rich in arginine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps with circulation. A healthy dose of arginine in the diet can smooth the flow of blood through the vessels and arteries and help prevent clogged arteries.
Bone broth is also a good way to raise your dog’s platelet levels if they are low. It contains both glycine and proline, which help the body to produce new platelets.
6. Medicates Sick Dogs
If your dog is feeling too unwell to eat, you will be worried whether they are getting all the nutrients they need.
But, while they might not be able to manage solid foods, bone broth can act as an alternative. It is also rich in many of the minerals that your dog will have lost if they have suffered a period of vomiting or diarrhea.
The gelatin in bone broth can reduce their need for protein by about 50 percent, which means they won’t waste away while they aren’t eating directly.
7. Tempts Picky Dogs
It is not uncommon for dogs to become picky about their food for no apparent reason and suddenly turn their noses up at a dry food that they have been eating for months, while you still have a very large bag.
Topping your dog’s food with a bit of bone broth can make it seem much more appealing and tasty, and can tempt them back to their bowl when they have lost their appetite for some reason.
8. Promotes Skin And Coat Health
A bit of bone broth on a regular basis can also leave your dog’s skin and coat looking their shiny best, as the gelatin and collagen in the broth are both great for skin and hair health (just like they are for humans).
How To Make Bone Broth
Bone broth is incredibly simple to make, but you do need to bear in mind that it will need to be on the heat for up to 24 hours.
All you really need is one to two pounds of high-quality meat bones, some pure filtered water, and either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. These later ingredients are essential to ensure that the broth takes on a gelatin-like consistency.
Free-range and organic-fed animal bones are best, as any toxins on grass and in soil can filter into the animal’s bones. If you decide to make fish broth, always look for the bones of wild-caught fish in order to avoid excess mercury.
All you really need to do at this point is put the bones in the water and heat them to a boil, then reduce and simmer for a minimum of 10 hours, though 16-24 hours is better.
If you can’t be at home for the whole time to keep an eye on the pot, you can do it in the slow cooker, but you might need to leave it on the low heat setting for as long as 72 hours.
When the cooking period is done, remove the bones. Don’t be tempted to give these to your dog, as they have lost a lot of the nutrients anyway.
At this point, you can also add other ingredients to the recipe for flavor and some extra nutrients. Some of the best ingredients to add include carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, and berries. But you can really add anything as long as it is not toxic for your dog (so no onion or garlic).
Add these ingredients while the broth is still hot, and leave it to cool with the veggies included. In the end, you should have soft vegetable pieces that you can feed to your dog as is, or blend it all up if you prefer.
When the broth is cool, put it in the fridge for a few hours. During this time, a hard layer of fat will form on top. Scoop this off and throw it out.
Underneath you should have a jelly-like substance ready to feed to your dog. If it is more liquid than jelly, don’t worry, it is still healthy and tasty for your dog. Just add a bit more apple cider vinegar next time.
You can store the broth in the fridge for four to five days. If you want to store it for longer, pour it into ice-cube trays, which you can extract and thaw as individual servings as needed.
Best Commercial Bone Broths
While making your own bone broth is the best way to ensure that your dog gets something healthy and fresh with no additives, boiling bones for up to 24 hours isn’t for everyone.
But there are lots of commercial dog broths on the market that you can add to your dog’s bowl. Here are our top picks, all available on Chewy.
The Only Natural Pet company makes a range of bone broths that are considered “human grade” but are designed to add to your dog’s bowl.
They boil down chicken, beef, or pork bones with vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens for added nutrients and flavor.
Their most popular chicken recipe is made from free-range chicken bones, carrots, cranberries, apples, parsley, chia seeds, and turmeric. Nothing nasty or artificial is added to mess with your dog’s stomach.
Merrick makes beef, chicken, and turkey bone broths that are sure to satisfy your pup’s taste buds.
This is another product that is “human grade,” so you could put it on your own plate, but it is designed to appeal to your pup.
The beef recipe includes added butternut squash, blueberries, parsley, and cinnamon for flavor and to add some of the other vitamins and minerals that your dog needs.
Feed it to your dog as a topper with their favorite dry food.
The brand Solid Gold also makes some healthy, human-grade broths that come in a handy squeeze tube for adding to your dog’s food.
This broth is available in beef, turkey, or chicken flavors, with added turmeric to make it extra tempting for even the pickiest of dogs.
Carrot, sweet potato, apple, and sesame seed oil have also been added to the recipe for some of the other essential nutrients your dog needs to thrive.
The Honest kitchen offers a wide range of broths including beef, chicken, turkey, and salmon, which is great if you are looking for something a little different.
These human-grade recipes are made with carrots, butternut squash, tapioca, thyme, and sage for both added flavor and nutrients.
This recipe has more crude protein in it than most of the others on the list, which makes it a great choice for sick dogs that aren’t eating directly.
How To Feed Your Dog Bone Broth
There are many different ways you can feed your dog bone broth. You can pop it into their bowl as is, mix it into their wet food, or dribble it over their dry food. Some people even give their dogs frozen broth cubes as cooling treats in the summer.
So the real question is how much broth they should be eating, as too much of anything can upset your dog’s equilibrium.
As a general rule, they can have one ounce of bone broth per day per 20 pounds of body weight.
So a small pinscher that weighs about 10 pounds should receive half an ounce a day, or one ounce every two days. Meanwhile, an 80-pound Labrador can have up to four ounces of bone broth per day.
Even if they are eating bone broth, your dog still needs bones!
While bone broth contains many of the nutrients that your dog gets from gnawing away at a bone, it is not a replacement for the bone itself. Bones provide calcium and phosphorus, which are not present in large amounts in the broth. Bones are also a natural way for your dog to clean their teeth and satisfy their chewing instinct.
Is Bone Broth Good For Dogs?
Bone broth is very good for dogs, containing many nutrients that support joint health, good digestion, strong immunity, and a healthy heart. It is an excellent natural way to supplement your dog’s core diet.
How Much Bone Broth Should I Give My Dog?
Dog’s can have one ounce of bone broth per day per 20 pounds of body weight. A small 10-pound dog should receive half an ounce of broth per day, while a large 80-pound dog can have up to four ounces per day.
Can I Give My Dog Store-Bought Bone Broth?
You can give your dog store-bought bone broth, which is usually sold frozen. Just make sure to use it within five days of defrosting. While you can give your dog bone broth made for humans, it is better to choose broth made especially for dogs.
This is because broths for humans sometimes contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as onion and garlic. If you do choose to give your dog broth made for humans, check the ingredients list carefully for these toxic substances.
What Kind Of Bone Broth Is Best For Dogs?
All bone broths contain the essential collagen and nutrients that are great for your dog, including fish broth, so feel free to mix it up. Beef and chicken broths are the most common and the most popular. When buying or making fish broth, be sure to use wild-caught fish bones to avoid excess mercury.
Is There A Difference Between Chicken Stock And Chicken Broth?
Chicken stock is different from chicken broth, and it is not a good idea to feed stock to your dog. It usually contains flavorings such as onion and garlic, which are toxic to dogs. Stock also tends to be high in sodium, and dogs cannot tolerate as much sodium in their diets as humans can.
It is a great idea to include bone broth in your dog’s diet. Not only is it full of nutrients that support joint health, good digestion, strong immunity, and heart health, but it is also a delicious treat they will love, and adding a bit to dry kibble can make that standard meal infinitely more appetizing.
Make your own or buy it from a dog food supplier—either way, fed to your dog correctly, it can be a healthy addition to their meal plan.
But don’t forget, they will still need delicious bones to chew.
Do you have any experience making bone broth for dogs? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.
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