Finally, a delicious and nutritious treat for both you and your dog. A nice warm bowl of chicken soup is one of the most soothing human foods, but how about something your dog can eat too!
This dog-friendly snack is an excellent way to promote health, speed healing, and reduce common illnesses. We took a deep dive into the benefits of bone broth for dogs so that you can offer your dog all of the benefits of this amazing superfood.
Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs
Bone broth isn’t medicine, it’s food, but we know that food fuels life, so nutritious treats like bone broth are an excellent way to improve your dog's diet. feeding bone broth to your dog can support your their overall health. Here are a few of the benefits of bone broth for dogs:
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. About one-third of the protein in your dog’s body is collagen. Feeding your dog collagen will have a positive effects on mobility, skin and coat, and digestion.
Collagen can improve mobility in dogs afflicted with arthritis lubricating and protecting connective tissues. It can also help to replenish your dog's natural collagen levels.
Collagen is what gives your dog's skin it's healthy elasticity. Dogs with healthy collagen levels tend to shed less, itch less, and have a softer, shinier coat.
Lastly, collagen can help to support your dog's digestion by soothing and repairing tissues in your dog's intestinal lining that prevent bacteria, toxins, and undigested nutrients from passing into the blood stream. Collagen is a common holistic approach to managing leaky gut syndrome.
Even without all the extra’s and add-ons, bone broth is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. In addition to the joint protective benefits of collagen, bone broth also supplies a healthy dose of silicon, calcium, and phosphorus. These three nutrients support your dog’s bones and joints by improving bone density and supporting growing puppies and ageing dogs.
Other key nutrients in bone broth are magnesium and sulphur. These are both macrominerals, meaning they are required in larger quantities than other minerals. They are used to support heart health and your dog’s immune system.
We talk a lot about the importance of moisture. In fact, it comes up almost every time we talk about nutrition. Moisture is the mechanism through which nutrients travel through your dog’s body, so it’s an absolutely vital part of your dog’s diet.
Fresh, clean drinking water is very important, but some dogs need a little encouragement to get enough moisture every day. Foods, like bone broth, offer extra moisture that can help to prevent dehydration and support overall health.
Bone broth can be fed alone but is also an excellent way to add more moisture to a dry kibble diet.
The most nutrient-dense, healthy food won’t do any good if your dog won’t eat it. The good news is that bone broth is a crowd pleaser. Plus, this delicious delicacy can be a great meal topper for picky eaters, toothless dogs, and dogs recovering from illness.
How to Make Bone Broth
There are plenty of ready-made, store-bought bone broths for you to test out. These are a great way to test the waters and experiment with adding bone broth to your dog’s diet. Here are a few of our top picks:
- Stella & Chewy’s Broth Toppers
- The Honest Kitchen Daily Booster Bone Broth
- Open Farm Bone Broths
- Nature’s Logic Dehydrated Bone Broth
These are a quick and easy way to offer the benefits of bone broth, but nothing replaces the nutrition of homemade bone broth for dogs.
Making your own bone broth allows you to customize your recipe to your dog’s unique preferences and needs. Check out this simple bone broth recipe, starting with a base of healthy, nutrient-dense raw bones:
What are the Best Bones to Use in Your Bone Broth?
The types of bones you use will affect the nutrients of your broth. Remember that you want lots of collagen, so choose bones that offer the most amount of connective tissues and marrow.
Here are the best bones to use in your next bone broth recipe:
- Beef or Bison Marrow Bones
- Beef or Bison Knuckle Bones
- Beef Kneecaps
- Chicken, Duck, or Turkey Feet and Necks
- Pork Trotters
Bones from your local pet store work well because they are cuts that are the most suitable for dogs. If you go to a butcher, ask for joints and marrow-rich bones. If you let them know you are making bone broth, your butcher should have a good idea of the types of bones you need.
Ways to Feed Bone Broth
Bone broth is incredibly tasting and nutritious, so most dogs won’t be too fussy about how you offer it to them. Most dogs will happily lap this delicious broth right out of the pot if you’d let them, but we’ll give you a few easy ways to add bone broth to your dog’s diet.
Recommended for picky eaters and dogs mainly eating dry food, using bone broth as a meal topper is an excellent way to add flavour and moisture to your dog’s meals. Just spoon a few tbsp. on top of Fido’s meals.
If you feed a dehydrated or freeze-dried food, you can use some watered down bone broth to rehydrate the foods. This is a great way to sneak extra nutrients into your dog’s daily diet.
Frozen Dog Treats
If you like to get creative and make your dog tasty frozen snacks, then bone broth is an excellent addition to any recipe. If you’ve never made them before, you can start by simply freezing bone broth into an ice cubes tray.
If your dog takes regular medication or supplements, he may not be thrilled to take his daily dose. Bone broth is so tasty that is can easily hide bad tasting medications. Once your broth is cooled and ready to serve, stir in any powdered or liquid medications. Your pooch won’t even know it’s in there.
10 Unique Bone Broth Add-Ins to Boost your Dog’s Health
Now that you have a foundational recipe, it’s time to make this recipe the most beneficial to your dog. Here are 10 ways to customize your bone broth recipe:
1. Immune System – Kelp + Turmeric
Boosting your dog’s immune system can have whole-body benefits.
Kelp is nature’s multi-vitamin, supplying trace amounts of all your dog’s essential vitamins, minerals, and most amino acids.
Turmeric, the trendiest spice, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Its anti-inflammatory effects can support digestion where the bulk of your dog’s immune response takes place, and antioxidants fight off disease-causing free radical cells.
Find out what else Turmeric can do in Turmeric for Dogs: Spice Up Your Dog’s Health.
2. Brain Food – Flaxseed + Sardines
The energy needed to fuel your dog’s brain comes from fats and oils: more specifically, from fatty acids, like omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Both flaxseed oil and sardines contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, including EPA, DHA, and LA, which are vital in supporting cognitive function, among other key systems in the body.
Want to learn more about the benefits of sardines? Check out Can Dogs Eat Sardines?
3. Calming – Chamomile + Valerian
For dogs that are naturally anxious or overly excitable, these natural herbs can be used to help calm them. Both botanicals are said to have mild sedative effects, helping to calm dogs both mentally and physically.
Always ensure appropriate dosage when using valerian and chamomile. The general rule is that they can have about ¼ tsp for every 30 lbs. of body weight. This means you may only need a few teaspoons of each for the entire batch.
4. Digestion – Pumpkin + Ginger
Whether you are treating acute digestive issues, a recurring problem, or just acting preventatively, supporting your dog’s digestion is a vital part of his overall health.
Pumpkin is an excellent source of fibre and helps to regulate the speed of digestion while acting as a bulking agent to improve stool quality. Check out 10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs to learn more.
Ginger is a well-known anti-nauseant, but you might not know that it also stimulates motility in the stomach. This can prevent serious digestive problems, like bloat.
5. Mobility – Green Lipped Mussel + Turmeric
As a natural source of glucosamine and chondriotin, green lipped mussel is an excellent way to support joint health by protecting the connective tissues and kick starting repair of already damaged tissue. This can reduce pain and improve mobility, especially in dogs that suffer from arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Additionally, stick to knuckle bones that have plenty of connective tissue attached, as the extra collagen will help to lubricate the joints, further preventing wear and tear.
Turmeric, in this case, is used for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation around the joints helps to prevent further damage and reduce pain. This will also help to speed up the healing process.
6. Skin and Coat – Sardines + Chia Seeds
Caring for your dog’s skin and coat reduces itchiness, shedding, hot spots, and even body odour. While many topical treatments can help, the best way to support skin and coat health is from the inside.
Omega fatty acids in sardines not only condition your dog’s skin and coat, but the anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce reactions from food and environmental allergies.
Chia seeds are loaded with nutrients. Of course, the omega fatty acids help support your dog’s skin, but when combined with antioxidants and plentiful nutrients, chia seeds are a powerhouse superfood.
Whole seeds can be difficult to digest, but soaking them in your bone broth while it cools makes the nutrients much easier for your dog to process.
7. Urinary Care – Parsley + Cranberry
Your dog’s urinary health is often not considered until a problem arises. Act preventatively to protect your pet from common urinary tract issues, like infections, crystals, and stones.
Parsley is a natural diuretic, meaning it makes your dog pee more. This helps to flush bacteria and toxins from the kidneys and bladder that could lead to infection or irritation otherwise.
Cranberry is a well-known home remedy for UTI’s. It works by preventing bacteria from adhering and collecting on the lining of your dog’s bladder. Its antioxidants also help to defend the urinary tract from free radical cells and carcinogens that are being flushed through the bladder.
8. Detox – Kale + Milk Thistle
This detox bone broth is a great recipe to rotate into your dog’s normal supplement routine. Detoxing can be done a few times per year to help clear out some of the toxins that build up in your dog’s liver over time. These toxins come from food and their environment and are filtered out by the liver during digestion, but not all toxins are properly excreted from your dog’s body.
A popular herbal liver detox is milk thistle. The flavonoid compound in milk thistle, called silymarin, helps to flush out toxins. Its antioxidant properties also help to defend your dog’s body from disease-causing free radical cells and carcinogens.
In addition to its high vitamin C and K content, kale contains sulphur and glucosinolates that help to expel toxins and encourage the production of detoxifying enzymes in the body.
Learn more about how to use milk thistle to boost your dog's health in Milk Thistle for Dogs.
9. Protein Boost – Quinoa + Sweet Potatoes
When we work out, it’s important to eat healthy, but to provide appropriate energy and build muscle, we need an extra protein boost. So does your dog. Make your dog’s bone broth into a high protein supplement by adding quinoa and sweet potatoes.
Quinoa is one of the few plant-based proteins that is considered a complete protein. This means it contains all 10 of the essential amino acids that your dog needs to build and maintain healthy muscle.
Building protein takes more than just protein; it also requires energy. Sweet potatoes offer some protein, but the complex carbs in sweet potatoes also provide energy to allow your dog to build muscle and maintain appropriate physical activity.
10. Bad Breath – Parsley + Peppermint
Dog breath is one of the most common complaints among pet owners. This bone broth recipe can help to freshen your pet’s nasty puppy breath and leave them with healthier teeth and gums.
Both parsley and peppermint help to eliminate bacteria in your dog’s mouth that can cause bad breath and lead to the build-up of plaque. Reducing oral bacteria can prevent inflammation in the gums and lead to better overall dental health.
This handy recipe won’t replace your dog’s regular dental routines, like toothbrushing, but it’s a great way to compliment it and make those sloppy dog kisses a little more tolerable.
Do you make your own bone broth? Share your favourite bone broth recipes with us in the comments below!