Bone broth is increasingly considered a canine superfood, with plenty of pet parents singing its praises. Research is mixed as to its reported superpowers, but regardless, bone broth for dogs is a tasty addition to their diet. Read on for the full scoop (ladle?) on bone broth for your pet. If you want to cut to the chase, here’s a great bone broth recipe.
A Well-Known Remedy
According to veterinary nutrition expert Dr. Karen Becker, bone broth for dogs can be important during hospice care. It’s also known to help with GI upset, finicky eating, liver detox, and improve joint, skin and coat health. Bone broth also provides healthy hydration for pets on an exclusively dry food diet. Bone broth is also popular for humans; in Chinese medicine, it’s used to nourish the kidneys, support our vital essence (qi), and build blood.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is derived from the parts of an animal that can’t be eaten, such as the bones, skin, tendons, ligaments, marrow, and feet. All of these are simmered to create this broth.
You can use bone broth as a supplement for home-cooked meals, as a snack, or simply add to kibble.
Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs
When you boil down the bones, it causes collagen to be released, which, when simmered, forms gelatin. Collagen is an important protein and the main component of tissues such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and skin. In one study with mice, collagen was also shown to form a protective layer in the gut and reduce inflammation. This is one reason bone broth is a popular component of “leaky gut” diets (though research is mixed as to the effectiveness of those diets).
According to Dogs Naturally, the liver’s capacity to detoxify is limited by the availability of the amino acid glycine. And bone broth has a ton of glycine! Keep in mind that as with many health claims around bone broth, it’s difficult to find peer-reviewed research on this claim. Always consult your vet in relation to any of your dog’s diagnosed conditions, including those related to the liver.
Collagens are a large family of biomolecules, which include the glycosaminoglycans—great for joints! Drinking collagen doesn’t directly lead to building bone or joint tissue, however; the collagen in bone broth will be broken down into amino acids and used to build tissue where the body needs it.
Bone broth is also excellent for a sick or ailing cat or dog. It provides great hydration, for one. Dr. Cate, the author of Deep Nutrition, adds that bone broth also helps get the GI tract working again after an illness.
How to Make Bone Broth
Ingredient choices are nearly endless when it comes to making a good bone broth for dogs.
You don’t have to be a mad scientist to make bone broth in your kitchen. People have been making bone broth for hundreds of years, so you can’t mess this up! As noted above, Kiki’s Canine Kitchen offers this step-by-step video:
In addition to bone broth recipes you can make at home, some brands carry bone broth for dogs you can simply rehydrate. Honest Kitchen makes a beef broth with pumpkin, parsley, and turmeric. Primalvore carries a unique organic broth made with collagen peptides, designed specifically for canine nutrition.
Use caution with bone broth made for humans—like the kind you see on your grocery store shelves—as it’s usually packed with sodium, which isn’t healthy for our dogs.
Keep in mind that bone broth alone is not a complete and balanced diet for your dog. Be sure it’s being used as a supplement to their regularly scheduled diet. And never feed your dog cooked bones, as these can be a choking hazard.