Poodle with some bone broth.

Bone Broth For Dogs -
Recipes & How To Make Guide

Bone broth is one of those miracle foods that is a huge boost to your dog’s health. Whether you feed your dog a raw food diet or not, bone broth is an excellent addition to any pup’s diet. What’s more, it’s a tasty occasional treat!

In this article, we break down everything you need to know about bone broth for dogs. What is it? Why is it beneficial? And how do you make bone broth step by step? Read on to learn more!


What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is the liquid derived from boiling bones in water. It’s essentially stock made from bone marrow bones. The history of bone broth spans millennia… really! It was a prehistoric staple that is predicted to have originated at the same time as soups. (1) Our earliest record of bone broth as a diet addition in human culture is from Ancient Chinese medicine 2500 years ago.

“In Chinese medicine, whose origins date back over 2,500 years, bone broth is used to support digestive health, as a blood builder, and strengthen the kidneys. Then, beginning in 12th century Egypt, physician Moses Maimonides was known to prescribe chicken soup as a medicinal remedy for colds and asthma.” - Alex Poythress, Bare Bones Broth. (2)

It seems that every culture has been bitten by the bone broth bug in some way at some point in history. It has had a resurgence in the past 20 years as the Paleo diet has gained popularity.

So where does that leave dogs?


Is Bone Broth Good For Dogs?

It’s fair to say that dogs have not been boiling bones in the wild. However, bones have always been a part of their diets from an evolutionary perspective. Bones provide phosphorus, calcium, glucosamine and other great essential minerals that support healthy joints and mobility. (3)

In many ways, bone broth is seen as a way of extracting the nutrients and collagen from bones but avoiding the dangerous splintering you can get from feeding your dog bones. Bones can also cause mouth injuries and choking hazards. (4)

Bone broth provides a safer and sometimes tastier alternative. You can serve the liquid from bones in two forms - broth or aspic which I’ll explain later.


What Ingredients Should You Include In Dog Bone Broth?

The perfect recipe begins with the best ingredients! Thankfully, bone broth for dogs is quite simple. Far simpler than bone broth for humans, in fact. The recipe I show you only has three ingredients but here are some potential inclusions

Bones!

Of course, the basis of your bone broth starts with the bones. It was easy for me to pick up a bag of off-cut bones from the butchers. They gave them to me for free as they would ordinarily be discarded. Your mileage may vary here in terms of pricing and availability. If you can, go to a local friendly butcher to ask for the bones your need. I used beef bones and he cut them into pieces for me. There was a mix of bones from rib to leg so there were fattier pieces than others. Having a couple of pieces with extra fat will create a richer broth.

You can also use chicken bones or pork bones for bone broth. Most people recommend beef bones but chicken bones work well too.

Carrots

Carrots are a great addition to bone broth. It adds a kick of flavour and the carotenoids are excellent for maintaining eyesight and brain health.

Celery

Celery is an excellent alternative to onions if you want to make the broth tastier. It improves digestive health and has key micronutrients and a low-calorie count. Packed with antioxidants, you can trust that celery is a valuable addition to your dog’s bone broth.

Vinegar

Vinegar is perfectly fine for your dog to have. When it comes to making bone broth, you only need a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar if at all. It’s known for boosting heart health and being high in micronutrients.



Which Ingredients Should You Avoid In Dog Bone Broth?

Dogs have many sensitivities to human foods. With bone broth, it’s particularly important to pay attention to these ingredients, as they are often included in bone broth recipes for humans. For dogs, they are a no-go. Let’s discuss:

Onions

Onions are toxic to dogs. It contains compounds that cause anaemia. If ingested in high quantities, onions are poisonous to dogs. Leave the onions out as the flavour is not worth the poisoning!

Garlic

Garlic is also just as poisonous as onion. It’s best to steer clear when making a nutritious broth for your pup.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are funny. They aren’t toxic and most common varieties are completely fine, however, some wild mushrooms can be toxic. Mushroom poisoning is also difficult to spot in dogs so prevention is usually the best policy. It’s not a particularly nutritious addition to the broth so best skip it altogether.

Salt

Doesn’t it feel so natural to sprinkle in a pinch of salt when stewing meat? I understand but resist the temptation dear reader! Dogs are sensitive to high sodium levels. They also don’t need salt for flavour. The meaty goodness of the marrow bones is more than enough.


Beef Bone Broth Recipe For Dogs

To keep things simple, I am going to outline a three-ingredient recipe that you can tweak to your liking.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg beef bones chopped into pieces (get a good mix of bones with some fattier than others)
  • Two large carrots (you can leave the skin on)
  • Water to cover the bones

RECIPE

  1. Roughly chop the carrots into large pieces.
  2. Put the bones and the carrots into a large stewing pot or slow cooker.
  3. Cover the bones and carrots with water. Just enough water to cover the bones completely but they don’t need to be swimming!
  4. Bring the bones and carrots to a simmer on low.
  5. Simmer for 9-24 hours. This is completely up to you. I did mine for 12 hours and it turned out great!
  6. Remove the bones and carrots from the broth. Discard the boiled bones.
  7. Pour the broth through a strainer and into a container to remove any chunks.
  8. Allow the broth to cool. It will separate into a layer of fat and a gelatinous layer of broth below. You can remove the fat if you choose.
  9. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 12 months.

TIPS

PRO TIP: Want to make it more gelatinous? Add in two tablespoons of vinegar. This helps break down the gelatin in the bones and draws it out for an extra thick, gelatinous broth at the end of your stewing.

PRO TIP: Want to make the broth clearer? Blanch the bones. Blanching bones means boiling them at high heat for 10 to 15 minutes to remove any impurities and fat straight away. You do this first par-boil of the bones and drain them fully before boiling again on low for several hours.


Chicken Bone Broth For Dogs: Full Recipe

If you prefer chicken broth for your dog, this is the recipe for you! Again, I kept things simple here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg Chicken feet
  • 2 large carrots
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Water to cover the bones

RECIPE

  1. Roughly chop the carrots into large pieces.
  2. Put the bones and the carrots into a large stewing pot or slow cooker.
  3. Cover the bones and carrots with water. Just enough water to cover the bones completely but they don’t need to be swimming!
  4. Bring the bones and carrots to a simmer on low.
  5. Simmer for 9-24 hours. This is completely up to you.
  6. Remove the bones and carrots from the broth. Discard the boiled bones.
  7. Pour the broth through a strainer and into a container to remove any chunks.
  8. Allow the broth to cool. It will separate into a layer of fat and a gelatinous layer of broth below. You can remove the fat if you choose. There will likely be far less fat than with the beef bones.
  9. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 12 months.

TIPS

PRO TIP: Never EVER feed your dog chicken bones. Chicken bones are far more brittle and prone to splintering than beef bones. Though all bones are dangerous for dogs after boiling, chicken bones are the absolute worst.

PRO TIP: Choose a good mix of different chicken bones to make your broth. I recommend adding in chicken feet and some fat to improve the flavour and texture of the final liquid. As with the beef broth, you can add some vinegar to make it more gelatinous. You may need to add more vinegar with chicken as the bones contain less gelatin than beef bones.


How To Serve Bone Broth To Your Dog

There are two ways to serve your bone broth to your dog:

  1. Liquify it
  2. Serve the jelly (also known as aspic)

Reheating your bone broth should always be done over the stove. This prevents too much nutrient loss in the reheating process. It shouldn’t take much heat or much time to liquify the broth. Then spoon 2-4 tablespoons over your dog’s food.

What is Aspic? 

When you cool fully your bone broth, you will end up with a layer of fat and a layer of gelatinous brown goo (yum). This goo is known as aspic. Though not the most aesthetically pleasing of treats, aspic is a tasty gooey treat for your dog in small doses. You can even make aspic with pieces of meat stuck inside the jelly. Gourmet aspic! It’s up to you how you serve your bone broth to your dog. Whether in the pure liquid form or cold aspic form, it’ll be well received by your pup - we guarantee it!


Final Thoughts: Should you feed your dog bone broth?

If you want to give your dog a tasty treat that is good for them, bone broth is a great option! Packed with powerful nutrients and enzymes for optimal health, a spoonful of the gelatinous thick mixture or a few tablespoons of the clear liquid on your dog’s food will give them a boost.

Just be sure to keep your bone broth simple, low in fat and low in sodium. Your dog will love you for it!

FAQ

Which is better? Chicken bone broth or beef bone broth?

Both have their merits! It’s a case of what is available to you. Beef bones are denser than chicken bones so they tend to contain more minerals and collagen. That said, it takes much longer to effectively make a good batch of beef bones because of that density. Chicken also has the benefit of being excellent for gut health.

If you can’t decide between them, why not do both? Add some chicken feet to your majority beef bone stew to get the best of both worlds. Just make sure to strain thoroughly and discard the bones after you’re done.

Is bone broth safe for puppies?

Yes, you can give your puppy bone broth. It may even be a benefit to them as it is packed with calcium for the growth of healthy bones and skin. That said, it’s important not to give them too much and to skim the fat off the top before giving them any. Too much bone broth can upset your puppy’s stomach.

Can you feed your dog the bones after you’ve boiled them?

NO! Please don’t feed your dog boiled bones. Boiled bones are soft and brittle so they are prone to splintering in the throat. This can cause mouth injuries as well as choking.

How can you store bone broth?

You can store bone broth in the fridge for up to a week. For larger batches, store your bone broth in the freezer for up to 12 months in airtight containers. When you reheat the bone broth to liquefy it, heat it on the stove as opposed to the microwave. The microwave kills the good nutrients.

References

  1. Moskin, J. January 6, 2015.  “Bones, Broth, Bliss”. NY Times Online. Retrieved July 6, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/07/dining/bone-broth-evolves-from-prehistoric-food-to-paleo-drink.html
  2. Poythress, A. “Bone Broth History | Goodness Through the Ages”. Bare Bones Broth. Retrieved July 6, 2022. https://blog.barebonesbroth.com/goodness-through-the-ages/
  3. Dunn, T,J. March 8, 2017. “Can Dogs Eat Bones? Raw & Cooked Bones for Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved July 6, 2022. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_raw_bones_or_cooked_bones
  4. Llera, R. Downing, R. “Why Bones Are Not Safe for Dogs”. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved July 6, 2022. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/why-bones-are-not-safe-for-dogs
Olivia De Santos

Olivia is a professional writer and animal lover. She loves spending time with her Podengo and Flat Coated Retriever, and writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners

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