Recipe: Making Bone Broth for Dogs

Healthy slurping: The benefits of bone broth for dogs
By The Bark Editors, May 2019, Updated October 2020
bone broth for dogs

Bone broth is all the rage these days. As veterinarian Judy Morgan writes, “It is a strong rejuvenating potion high in minerals, amino acids, glucosamine and many more valuable nutrients. It can be served alone or mixed with meals.” She also notes that it can be used to cook grains and vegetables, or rehydrate freeze-dried food.

What is bone broth exactly? Bone broth is a mineral-rich stock made by boiling bones along with dog-friendly herbs and spices for over a day. This makes it a nutrient dense, extremely easy, tasty super-food for dogs.

What is the difference between bone broth and stock? Bone broth is cooked for a much longer time than stock (over a day as per the recipe below), either on the stove, in a slow cooker or an instant pot, to extract as much of the healthful collagen and minerals from the bones and connective tissues. In bone broth, the bones should crumble at the end of the cooking process. Stock on the other hand cooks only for around 2 to 4 hours on the stove. If you want to speed up your bone broth cooking, you can cook bone broth in 4 1/2 hours or so with an instant pot.

In Dr. Morgan’s book, Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs, she makes a compelling case for looking beyond the claims of the commercial pet food industry when it comes to providing optimum nutrition for our dogs.  A practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which relies on the healing powers of whole foods, Dr. Morgan provides a thorough guide on how to apply its principles for the benefit of our dog’s constitutions.

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This bone broth recipe is a great addition to your dog’s current diet. Not only does bone broth encourage a healthy gut–improving your dog’s digestion, but it strengthens joints and reinforces your dog’s immune system. Bone broth is full of important nutrients and minerals (like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, collagen, and gelatin) that dogs need.

Bone Broth for Dogs

This super simple bone marrow broth recipe for dogs makes it easy to add important nutrients and minerals to your dog’s diet. Boost your dog’s immune system, relieve joint pain, improve liver health and support healthy digestion with bone broth.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds (or more) raw bones with marrow (chicken, turkey, rabbit, beef, pork or oxtail)
  • 3 inches ginger root, sliced
  • 2 ounces parsley, chopped
  • 4 ounces Shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup organic raw apple cider vinegar (it helps pull the minerals and marrow from the bones)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (*omit if your pet has a history of hemolytic anemia)
  • 6 quarts water

Process

1. Place all prepared ingredients in a large soup pot or slow cooker.

2. Cook on low heat for 12 to 24 hours (12 on the stove at simmer or 24 in the slow cooker on low).

3. Allow to cool. Remove and discard bones (never feed cooked bones).

4. Place broth in the refrigerator and allow the fat to rise to the top. Skim fat and discard.

Notes: Raw bones are recommended. You can add in extra bones that have already cooked, for example roasted; some of the nutrients have already been lost, but you can reuse them to extract every last bit.

How to Serve and Store Bone Broth

Once the bone broth is ready, any added vegetables and meat strained from the broth can be added to meals as toppers. Important: never feed cooked bones to dogs.

Bone broth can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator up to one week and frozen up to 12 months. I recommend freezing in ice cube trays. Freezing in trays is a great way to have single servings readily available. Just warm the frozen stock up before feeding.

How much bone broth should you feed your dog? As with any new foods, introduce the bone broth slowly to assess your dog’s reaction and work your way up adding more as needed. Dr. Morgan says for her own small dogs (15-30 pounds) that she adds a couple tablespoons to each meal to warm up her dog’s food from the fridge. If your own dog enjoys it and shows no adverse reaction, then you can increase depending on the size of your dog, up to six ounces per day (for large breed dogs).

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 97: Spring 2019