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Reasons Your Dog Will Love Bone Broth

bone broth dogsWhen the leaves start to fall from the trees and the days become colder and shorter, a hot meal or beverage is the ultimate comfort food. While you might not share your cup of coffee or bowl of spicy chill with your dog, there is a meal that will put a warm glow into both of you.

Bone broth is a long forgotten superfood that’s inexpensive, nutrient packed and easy to make. Here are five reasons you should consider bone broth for your dog.

Bone Broth Is Good For Joints

In the book Deep Nutrition, Dr Cate Shanahan writes “The health of your joints depends upon the health of the collagen in your ligaments, tendons, and on the ends of your bones. Collagens are a large family of biomolecules, which include the glycosaminoglycans, very special molecules that help keep our joints healthy.”

Bone broth is loaded with glycosaminoglycans and you might even be familiar with one of them: glucosamine. Not only does bone broth contain super amazing amounts of glucosamine, it’s also packed with other joint protecting compounds like chondroitin and hyaluronic acid.

Moreover, the glycosaminoglycans from bone broth are resistant to digestion and are absorbed in their intact form. According to Dr Shanahan, they act like hormones, stimulating cells called fibroblasts, which lay down collagen in the joints, tendons, ligaments, and even the arteries.

Bone Broth Helps The Liver Detox

The liver is the master organ of detoxification. The dog’s liver is under assault daily as the poor dog lies on carpets and floors treated with chemicals, walks on grass that’s been treated and sprayed with poisons, consumes foods with toxic and synthetic ingredients, and suffers through toxic dewormers, flea and tick preventives, drugs, antibiotics, vaccines and more.

The liver was never meant to suffer this onslaught and its capacity to detoxify is limited by the availability of the amino acid glycine. Guess what has tons of glycine? Bone broth!

Bone Broth Promotes A Healthy Gut

The lining of the intestines is contains millions of tiny holes that allow the passage of digested nutrients to enter the body. Stress, poor diet and bacterial overgrowth can cause more holes to open or to become bigger…this is called leaky gut.

The problem with those big holes is that things can pass through that aren’t meant to, including undigested food matter, toxins and yeast. The body will notice those undigested food particles as foreign invaders and start to attack them. This is how allergies and food sensitivities develop.

Bone broth is loaded with a gooey substance that can plug up those leaky holes: gelatin!

Bone Broth Is Great Nutrition For Sick Dogs

Have you ever had a dog with terrible diarrhea and had trouble getting him back on solid food? Or a dog who is convalescing and doesn’t have a great appetite but you know he needs more nutrition?

Bone broth to the rescue!

Studies conducted in the 1800′s showed that when there is plenty of gelatin in the diet, the body’s need for protein from meat sources can be reduced by as much as fifty percent! Bone broth is also an excellent source of important minerals and can bolster the immune system (think chicken soup)!

Bone broth is also loaded with glycine, which aids digestion by helping to regulate the synthesis of bile salts and secretion of gastric acid.

How To Make Bone Broth

If you’re convinced of the benefits of bone broth for your dog, then grab a pot and let’s get cooking!

Margarat Nee from The Art Of Dog recommends the following for making bone broth:

Add An Acidic Acid

This helps draw the minerals out of the bones more thoroughly. Raw apple cider vinegar is most commonly used (It’s well regarded by herbalists for its ability to draw minerals out of plants). Lemon juice may also be used.

Cook For A Long Time

This is necessary to get the full nutrition out of the bones. There is no magic time, but try simmering it for 24 hours in a crockpot. You could do it on the stove as well, but be sure you don’t leave the simmering broth unattended.

You can use raw or cooked bones but be sure to include joint bones with cartilage. You can collect and save cooked bones from your own meals in the freezer but be sure to rinse any sauce off that may be irritating to your dog’s digestive system. Turkey wings and legs are a good raw choice.

Completely cover the bones with water; add the vinegar or lemon juice. Cover by about two inches of water, but not too much more, to keep the broth dense. For a regular sized crockpot, use about two to four tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Turn your crockpot to high just to get it started for the first hour, then switch to low and let it go for the day.

When your broth is finished, strain the bones (do not feed these to your dog!). If you used bones with meat attached you’ll need to strip them by hand. Once it’s chilled, skim the excess fat off the top of the broth if you wish (there may be less than you expect). The remainder is your broth. If it has a jelly-­like consistency when it’s cold you’ve done a good job of it!

You can freeze this broth in small containers (even ice cube trays) for easy dispensing. Or you can store it in your refrigerator for about four days.

Packing A Punch

You can add nutritious extras to your broth while it cooks. Try:




Dandelion root *

“Italian” herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, fennel seed)

Astragalus Root *

Burdock Root *

Shiitaki mushrooms *

*Strain these ingredients before using the broth

While bone broth isn’t nutritionally complete for exclusive long term feeding, you can use it as a base for a complete meal or as a supplement for your dogs regular diet.

Bone broth is a healthy way to moisten dry food, hydrate your dog when he’s sick, and you can even share it with your dog and reap the same benefits! Make bone broth a regular part of your cooking repertoire this winter.

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35 Responses to Reasons Your Dog Will Love Bone Broth

  1. Jean Rozinski January 9, 2014 at 10:44 AM #

    The problem with this receipe is that it doesn’t tell you how much of each ingredient to add?

    • Lise C. March 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM #

      I have been given bone broth now for over a month for all of my 3 dogs. The one had a leg surgery done. I have see the difference since I am doing this. I had never connected the dots until I read this article. She is getting up easier…and when we take her for a walk…she wants to run! Her fur also has improved tremendously. Yea…I am very happy to share this information. It worked for my dog!

  2. Judy buonfiglio December 6, 2013 at 8:56 PM #

    I have been cooking marrow bones for my 8mon old lab and he loves them.should I remove marrow before I give them to him? He is always supervised when eating.Thank You

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine December 7, 2013 at 8:10 AM #

      Marrow is very rich and may give him loose stools. Be careful with those long bones and large dogs – they can break teeth on them! Beef neck bones are a better option, they are softer and won’t crack teeth.

  3. Kerstan A. November 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM #


    Thoughtful, yet simple recipe!

    My only question is – does bone broth help ease or clear up loose stools? Just curious, as I’ve always heard how magnificent pumpkin is for this task, but I feel [ as with many others ] that pumpkin is completely unnecessary in a dogs diet due to the fact that they are carnivores [ no disagreement from me! ].

  4. Jackie November 15, 2013 at 11:48 PM #

    My dog was just diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis, and asked his neurologist about using Shiitaki or similar mushrooms to help with inflammation and was told ABSOLUTELY NOT! Any dog with an immune disorder should not be fed mushrooms. So may want to skip those if your dog has any autoimmune disorders…

  5. Heidi November 15, 2013 at 9:32 AM #

    So I’m guessing, after you remove the either chilled or frozen bone broth, how is it heated up to make a liquid, to pour over the kibble? Do you microwave it for a couple of seconds?

  6. Mary November 14, 2013 at 6:15 PM #

    I was enthused after reading the article on the benefits to bone broth so followed the basic instructions using the crock pot and apple cider vinegar. As the hours ticked on, it started to smell heavenly to the dogs and me. After 24 hours, I hand stripped the meat off the bones, and decided to ‘steal’ some of this broth for making soup for my husband and myself – wow! it makes a tasty , hearty soup base. And, the dogs love the broth over their food – never a doubt about it. This is a recipe I will continue to use for the dogs and the humans, thank you.

  7. Dr. Jordan November 12, 2013 at 9:46 AM #

    Some comments on this, always make sure the bones you use are tested for heavy metals which in the US using so much gasoline allows heavy metals to sequester in the bones of our food animals. I prefer to use organically grown lamb shanks for the bone broth. Also, a wonderful herbal company named AVENA BOTANICALS is NY has IMMUNE SOUPS that you can purchase the wildcrafted mushrooms and astragalus roots necessary for making powerful immune boosting soups. I use the entire weekend to slow cook the mushrooms and add vinegar to extract the minerals from the bones.
    Be careful about sourcing of shitake mushrooms as the primary place they have been grown is Japan and the area where Fukishima radiation disaster took place. The oaks that were used to cultivate the shitakes are now taking up the CESIUM from that continued nuclear disaster. I purchased a large container of shitake from Rose Mountain Herbs very reasonably but got the mushrooms as soon as I heard about the nuclear disaster so as not to end up with nuked mushrooms.
    As a side note, we have been including garlic in the TCVM Food therapy for the dogs for decades and have never seen an issue with this. There is however a weight to dosing ratio that needs to be adhered to.
    Dr. Jordan

  8. Gail November 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM #

    Be careful if using the big marrow bones from beef (and maybe other species as well). I sent one of my dogs to the vet (emergency) with pancreatitis from ingesting too much of the marrow.

    • Margarat Nee November 13, 2013 at 2:24 PM #

      You’ll see in the instructions that it’s recommended to skim the fat off (easily done after you’ve chilled it). This would eliminate the excess fat from marrow or other sources. If your dog is digestively sensitive for any reason it’s a good idea to start slow with new foods, even bone broth.

  9. Joleen November 11, 2013 at 12:03 AM #

    As a retired vet tech I am completely in agreement except for one item.

    Under NO circumstances should you feed dogs garlic or any of it’s by products. Granted you strain out the garlic itself but what is left can harm the dog.

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine November 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM #

      Joleen, garlic has been safely used for decades and the vets who write for Dogs Naturally advocate it. A dog would have to each about 8 whole cloves to suffer any ill effects.

      • Winnie November 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM #

        Small amounts of garlic are actually very good for your dog. Especially during flea season.

      • Vanessa November 15, 2013 at 10:24 AM #

        I use garlic to ward off fleas and ticks for my dogs

      • Sharon March 31, 2014 at 12:09 PM #

        I get so conflicted over feeding garlic due to the lack of consistency over how much to feed.

        DNM – When you say “8 whole cloves”, do you really mean “bulbs” or do you mean eight cloves in one meal or eight cloves in a day, a week?

        During Raw Roundup, it was suggested one clove each day, crushed about 15 minutes before feeding. That would be seven cloves per week.

        And then I’ve seen it suggested that the “dose” should be one clove per 30 pounds (adjust accordingly if less than 30 pounds), and not fed to puppies under the age of six months.

    • Saskia Nollen November 15, 2013 at 10:50 PM #

      My dogs eat garlic and are very healthy. My first dog, a Dobie x Shepherd, lived to be 16 1/2. My almost 13 year old Dachshund doesn’t seem to have a problem with it either. Just sayin’.

  10. Denise November 10, 2013 at 11:57 PM #

    So how much vinegar/lemon juice do you use??

    • Margarat Nee November 13, 2013 at 2:26 PM #

      You don’t have to use an exact amount, but in my more detailed handout I recommend 2-4 tablespoons for an average crockpot. You can read those here:

      • Denise November 14, 2013 at 10:59 PM #

        Thanks, Made a crock pot full, cooked it for 24 hrs. One dog loves it, but he loves anything, the other turns her nose up at it.. Oh well she is so picky, I thought this would be great on her dry food..guess not..

        • Margarat Nee November 15, 2013 at 12:45 AM #

          Sometimes pickiness is an indication that the dog may have digestive issues. When they regularly feel icky after eating they’ll become superstitious and suspicious about food, even new stuff. Consider options for improving her digestion, which for some dogs includes helping with what may seem like hidden stress (they literally internalize it). I hope she ends up enjoying it, but remember, unless you’re vegan you can use the broth too – sharing is great!

        • Kim February 16, 2014 at 11:02 AM #

          My dog won’t eat it either, I made it for her because she has bad arthritis. 1 of our cats loves it but the other one not so much. My dog goes crazy for raw green tripe but won’t eat bone broth, go figure!

  11. Jana Rade November 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM #

    So cool. Not long ago, inspired by “Dog Dish Diet” website I started making what I call home-made bone meal. What it is is either chicken wings, backs, necks, port feet or button bones, slow-cooked until the bones become tender. Then I take the whole content and run it through a grinder, together with some steamed vegetables, and make a paste which I use mostly as kong stuffing or to dress up meals.

  12. Jessica Bucholz November 10, 2013 at 1:41 PM #

    My husband currently is making bone broth for us, using bones from a local farm-grassfed cows. Can we give this to the dogs if he made it with veggies for flavor including onions if it is fully strained?

  13. JAN November 8, 2013 at 7:38 PM #

    What kind of bones or cuts of meats do you get these bones from??? Can you buy some at the butcher??? I’m not sure where to get bones??? Please advise…

    Ms. Jan

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine November 10, 2013 at 9:19 AM #

      Hi Jan
      Any bones will do. It’s best if they’re organic to avoid heavy metals found in feeds like arsenic. But you can use backs and carcasses, feet, tails … whatever has bones and preferably lots of small bones. Hope this helps.

      • Winnie November 12, 2013 at 6:57 PM #

        Thanks! I stopped on my way home to pick up some chicken bones to add to beef bones and grabbed some chicken feet as well but then wasn’t sure if they were a good idea. Glad to hear they will be a good addition.

  14. Margarat Nee November 8, 2013 at 3:03 PM #

    Hi Dale,
    That gelatin doesn’t plug up holes literally. The whole broth help the intestines get back to their normal state, so no need to worry about a nutrient-blocking gel-wall developing, it just helps the intestinal wall heal itself. This gelatin is what’s naturally found in the body. One of the best ways to get to know how bone broth works is to include it in your own diet too.
    Margarat Nee

  15. Karen November 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM #

    any guidelines on how much to feed and how often? what would be a daily maximum?

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine November 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM #

      A few tablespoons to a half cup, depending on the size of the dog. Try mixing it in with their food, especially if you feed kibble.

    • Lise C. March 20, 2014 at 1:24 PM #

      Key point of all this broth deal….is to make sure to remove as much fat as possible…You place it in the fridge and let it cool off…then spoon off the fat that goes to the top. Its pure gelatin and minerals that is left to feed your dog. Just warm it up ..and turns into a liquid..and I add it to their regular dry food. They love it! My border collie mobility has improved a lot.

  16. Dale November 8, 2013 at 11:53 AM #

    Since this gooey gelatin is great for plugging up big “leaky gut” intestinal wall holes, won’t this plug the smaller beneficial intestinal holes that’s needed to move nutrition
    throughout the body?

    • Jerry November 8, 2013 at 3:25 PM #

      I do make bone broth like this as a base for soup, but I use onions , I do strain it ,but is it bad for the dog because I use onion?

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine November 10, 2013 at 9:20 AM #

        It’s best if you forego the onions for your dog. They can be harmful and should definitely be avoided.

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