Ultimate Guide to Bone Broth For Dogs
Not all bone broth is good for your fury friend. Why? Read on as this article outlines everything you need to know about it.
Does your dog have digestive issues, sore joints or an unhealthy looking coat or skin? Then it might help!
Properly made versions are low in dog allergens and can help to stimulate the appetite of picky eaters.
Why? The active minerals include include gelatin, hydrating electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, glucosamine, glutamine and glycine.
These are all great additions to any diet -- for humans or dogs.
If you are out here looking for a delicious and nutritious topper to your pup’s regular meals, broth fits the bill.
If you are looking for the best one, I'll save you some time. Bluebird Provisions makes the absolute highest quality bone broth for dogs.
Let’s get into it.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is an ancient superfood that has many health benefits for both you and your dog.
Think of it as a thick, gelatinous liquid that is high in collagen protein, hydrating electrolytes and amino acids that we don’t typically eat while on a western diet.
You can make it out of just about any types of animal bones, although beef and chicken are the most common.
You also may find lamb, duck, bison or fish varieties. There are endless opportunities.
It is simmered at a low heat for hours upon end. The low heat is needed to extract the nutrition from the bones.
You end up with a deliciously nourishing broth for sipping, cooking or to be used to brighten up your dog’s meals.
Why is Bone Broth Good for Dogs?
Bone broth is good for dogs because it is full of important vitamins and proteins. The amino acids and nutrients are important to helping your dog maintain adequate collagen levels in their body.
Much like humans, as dogs age, collagen production slows. When they stop producing it in their bodies become less resilient and they will age faster.
Benefits of bone broth for dogs
The benefits of bone broth for dogs are coat health, joint health, gut health, immune support and appetite stimulation. That is because it is full of gut healing nutrients and joint building minerals to keep your dog healthy and happy.
Here is a list of benefits:
1. Collagen To Keep Your Dog's Coat Full and Healthy
You may notice changes in your dog's skin and fur as they age. Collagen is a huge part of skin, hair and fur. It is needed to keep these parts healthy and happy.
The gelatin in slow cooked bone broth is good for your dog’s skin and fur. Human studies show that consuming it improves skin hydration and elasticity (1).
How does this work?
Eating these food sources help to repair damaged skin and hair fibers to build new collagen on chronically aged skin.
Your dog will develop new connective tissue around their fur and skin, making it look and feel more hydrated.
2. Protects Dog’s Joints from Wear and Tear
The amino acids in bone broth are shown to be protective against joint pain, wear and tear for your canine friend.
It is also full of vitamins like hyaluronic acid which helps to lubricate and cushion joints.
They do this by increasing hydration and proteoglycan content around joints and tendons. This helps to improve symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Finally, it is good for dogs because it has glucosamine and chondroitin. These are two natural compounds in joint cartilage. They’ve also been shown to help lessen symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Multiple studies have found that glucosamine and chondroitin can decrease joint pain and lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis (2).
All of the above work together to repair the connective tissue in your dog’s joints, leading to better movement and less pain and irritation.
3. Is Bone Broth Good For Dogs Digestion?
Digestion is the ultimate benefit of bone broth for your dog. The key to it is a gut health protocol. Your dog’s gut lining may get damaged from eating things not intended for dogs.
You know… the random things they find in the park that they shouldn’t be eating.
What about gut health?
My dog eats all types of things… many of which I only find out about when I go to pick up his poop the next day.
Anyways, these things cause inflammation in your dog’s gut lining. This inflammation gradually breaks down the gut lining and digestive tract, giving your dog bad digestive health. If you’ve ever had a dog with digestive issues, you know it’s not great.
Two amino acids in it help build their digestive system by decreasing inflammation and building new tissue in their gut.
These amino acids are glycine and proline. Glycine in particular is needed for your dog to produce new connective tissue in their digestive tract.
Better digestion means a happy pup!
Finally, glycine is used to manage many inflammatory intestinal issues such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease (3). It’s potent stuff that makes up around 1/3rd of gelatinous bone broth. This works much better than any probiotic powder.
4. Essential Nutrients To Boost Your Dog’s Immune Function
There's an impressive list of vitamins and minerals that are good for dogs. Many of these are difficult for your dog to get from other real sources.
In it you’ll find calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, glutamine, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid and gelatin.
These are all in easily digestible form, meaning no upset stomach for your pup.
These nutrients help support important bodily functions like nerve signalling and muscle contractions. Longevity experts routinely state how bone broth is good for you and your dog.
Finally, the proteins in it ensure a healthy digestive tract for your dog. This is an important first step to boosting your dog’s immune system.
Read my guide of the Top 6 bone broths for your dog this year.
5. Free from Common Dog Allergens (Dairy, Grains)
If your dog has a sensitive stomach then you’ll be happy to hear that bone broth is low in many common dog allergens.
There are no grains, animal byproducts, gluten or dairy in properly made versions. Some dogs are allergic to chicken, in that case beef bone broth is the best way to go.
6. Help Stimulates Your Dog's Appetite
My two dogs go absolutely crazy when I sprinkle a bit of beef powder on their food. One of them is a picky eater; Atlas just isn’t interested in eating a lot of food.
It is amazing for dogs who are picky eaters like Atlas. Try mixing it on your dog’s regular food, then mixing in some water and giving it a stir to incorporate the bone broth into the other food. Your furry friend will love it.
Always consult a veterinarian if your pet is experiencing a loss of appetite or trouble eating.
Dosage and Beef Bone Broth For Dogs
Try a very small amount of bone broth first to see how your dog reacts to the dosage. From here you can slowly increase the amount as they tolerate it.
Quarter cup (liquid) or 1 tsp powder with a meal a few times per week is a good starting place.
If you’re using liquid, it is best to stir in with your dogs regular kibble or food. For powder, simply add it to their regular food with ha bit of water to mix it up.
Liquid or powder can work for your pet as part of their regular diet if you follow the correct dosage
If your dog is showing no issues then you can increase the amount and frequency. If your dog has diarrhea or other bad signs of reaction then back off.
You can give your cat bone broth and get all of the same benefits listed above. Why should dogs get all the fun?
Precautions and Possible Side-Effects to Watch For
On the whole, bone broth is quite safe for dogs (and cats), but there are some side effects to look out for including diarrhea and allergic reactions.
You need to check the ingredient list of any product you give your dog as they may be sensitive to certain ingredients.
For example, some breeds are sensitive to onions and garlic, for this reason you should be careful.
Sine most of them usually have small amounts of onions that are simmered in the broth, you may want to check with your veterinarian. However, since the onions are simmered for up to 24 hours then strained out, your dog may be fine.
It is important to not solely rely on bone broth to feed your dog. It is not a complete protein source, so relying on it alone for protein will result is your dog not getting proper amino acids to maintain health.
Moderation is key with introducing it to your dog. If your dog has serious health issues, then it is best to consult your vet before giving it to them.
What to Look For in Bone Broth For Dogs
To limit the potential for risks and side-effects, you should look for bone broth made from trusted sources that is human grade.
The majority of store-bought liquid stocks and broths are not traditionally made.
Large food companies have entered the category, cutting corners and using many harmful ingredients, preservatives and additives which are not good for anyone.
Regular stock or broth from the grocery store is not safe for your pup either. Stock will have added flavours and ingredients (natural flavours, artificial meat flavour, yeast extract, MSG) which are not safe for your dog to eat.
Stocks and broths also have added salt. Dogs get enough salt from any bag of food, so you’ll want to avoid these.
The basic bone broth buying checklist is making sure that its made from organic ingredients, vegetables, water and bones from local farms (Canada or the USA). See our full checklist for buying bone broth.
You want a simple ingredient list that is free from fancy additives, herbs, spices or flavours. These may be harmful for your dog.
Look for bones free from hormones or antibiotics, certified organic is great if you can find it. You also want to source bones from pastured raised sources.
Bone Broth Recipe For Your Dog
Want to take matters into your own hands? Try this bone broth recipe for your canine friend.
It is made by simmering meaty bones, vegetables, herbs and spices for 12-48 hours. Sounds like a large range of time right? Well, it depends which type you are making.
For example, beef bones need to be simmered for longer than chicken bones because they are more dense. More dense bones means it takes longer to harvest and break down the connective tissue from the bones into gelatin.
To make thick, gelatinous bone broth for your dog, you’ll want to use approximately 1 kg of bones for every 2 kg of water in your recipes.
You’ll need a large stock pot, instant pot or slow cooker to make enough to be worth your while.
You should have around 1.5 kg of bones in a large pot before getting started. Here is the absolute best bone broth recipe.
Basic recipe for homemade bone broth
- Add some bones to your stock pot, slow cooker and instant pot.
- Add water to your pot so that your bones and water resemble a cup full of ice cubes then filled with water. Try about 12 cups.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boil is achieved, lower heat so broth is an aggressive rolling simmer.
- Skim foamy bits that bubble up. Learn how to skim like a pro. This ensures that it cooks properly and doesn't get cloudy.
- Simmer for 12-24 hours.
- 3 hours before it is finished, add your vegetables.
- Never stir it. It needs to simmer on its own.
- After your lengthy simmer is complete, remove solids (bones, vegetables), strain and store for use.
- Store in the fridge or freeze for later use.
Remove the Fat Layer Before Adding It
Once you’ve strained it, you’ll want to remove the fat layer before serving it to your dog. It has many benefits, however, the fat can be bad for them to eat.
Can I Give my Dog Beef Bones Instead?
There’s mixed feelings about whether you can give your dog a raw bone as a treat. On one hand, your dogs’ wolf ancestors ate many-a raw bone and meat. It is the main source of their diet.
The nutrients and marrow in bones can take a long time for your dog to get to. We also know that wolves are better equipped to handle these raw foods than your dog.
Since most dogs do not have the canine teeth and jaw strength necessary to get to the marrow and nutrients from raw bones, broth is a great idea.
This way, your pup gets the nutrition from bones without the risk of bacteria or fractured bones.
And your dog can get the nutrients instantly. For this reason, broth is better for your dog compared to bones. You get more value.
Never give your dog cooked bones as they will easily break apart and splinter. These splinters are very dangerous if consumed by your dog.
What kind of bones are best for bone broth for dogs?
The best bones for bone broth for your dog are beef bones. That is because beef is lower in common allergens that your dog might have compared to chicken, turkey or pork.
Many dogs are sensitive to chicken and chicken byproducts, so you are best to start with beef.
What is the best store-bought bone broth for dogs?
The best store-bought bone broth for dogs is Bluebird Provisions Powder. This product is a great alternative to making your own. It is a concentrated form that has 12 g of protein per 2 TBSP serving size. This is all the protein your pet needs. Find it on their website.
Plus the it is sourced from non-GMO, grass fed beef with no hormones or antibiotics and without any additives or nasty ingredients.
How much bone broth can I give my dog?
You can give your dog around 3 tbsp of liquid bone broth or 1 tsp of powder per day on your dogs regular food. It is best to start with lower doses because dogs have delicate digestive systems. From here, see how they look and feel and poo for a few days. You can gradually incorporate more as you see fit.
Summing it all up
Bone broth is good for your dog. It is a great complement to your pets diet. But remember it is a small portion of their overall diet.
Use as a topper to your existing pet food. Simply pour liquid versions over their meal and stir.
It can help to stimulate their appetite, strengthen their fur and joints. It will also help their digestion and immune system.
There are many vitamins and minerals in it that are great for your dog. These include collagen, gelatin, glycine, glucosamine, glutamine, along with many electrolytes.
There is no substitute for homemade, but there are store-bought options that are great for your pet.
Bluebird Provisions makes the highest quality and delicious tasting broth your dog will ever try. You can thank me later once our furry friend tries it.
Have you tried giving your dog bone broth? Leave a comment and let me know how it goes!
Before are some frequently asked questions.
How do you serve bone broth to your dog?
You serve bone broth to your dog by pouring some on top of their kibble or meals. Then stir it in like gravy. Your pet will devour it up and thank you later. Start with a little bit at a time and see how they feel and react to it before adding more.
Is there a dog food broth?
There is no dog food broth on the market. You are best to find a quality human grade broth and use it as a kibble topper for your dog. This way you can get the benefits and know you are getting good nutrition into their diet.
Is bone broth ok for dogs?
Bone broth is ok for dogs because it is all protein with little fat or carbs. Dogs are carnivores and need meat-based diets like broth in order to thrive. Look for one that has no added preservatives or nasty filler ingredients.
Is chicken broth good for dogs?
Chicken broth is good for dogs because it gives them protein and nutrients for them to thrive. Chicken broth also helps with dogs digestion and improves the taste of their regular kibble. Simply mix chicken broth in with your dogs kibble and watch them eat it up.
Can dogs eat beef broth?
Dogs can eat and thrive off of beef broth. That is because it is full of amino acids to help their digestive health. But make sure it is not the only food or protein source you feed them. They need other animal based protein and calories to maintain day to day health.
Can dogs have store bought beef broth?
Dogs should not have store bought beef broth because it is full of salt, preservatives, yeast and natural flavors. These are common allergens for your pet. If you find a natural version that does not have these ingredients, then it is probably ok, but read the labels and be very careful.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the CFIA or FDA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your veterinarian before trying anything mentioned in this article.