My trio of dogs – Bujeau, Kona, and Emma – can count on me to serve quality commercial foods with meals, but they particularly enjoy the times when their noses detect bone broth slowly simmering in a saucepan.
I get some beef knuckle bones from my local butcher, place the bones in the crock pot with some black pepper and plenty of water, and cook on low for 24 to 30 hours.
This is a simple, quick recipe that you can create that will make tons of healthy dividends for your dog. Or you can pick up commercially available bone broth.
Benefits of the bone broth
“Bone broth is a nutrient-rich, beneficial treatment that is high in collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, glutamine, chondroitin sulfate, magnesium, and other trace elements,” said Johnna Devereaux, certified clinical nutritionist and director of nutrition and wellness at Bow Wow Labs, Inc. in Novato, California.
What happens is that collagen and cartilage boil down, releasing nutrients that have anti-inflammatory effects and help joints stay strong.
Johnna also adds 4 teaspoons of turmeric to her broth for her pair of rescued American Staffordshire mixes named Diego and Lola, who are 10 and 6 years old, respectively.
“Turmeric is rich in the plant polyphenol curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body,” she explains. “I include turmeric along with black pepper (rich in alkaloid, piperine) because studies have shown that piperine improves curcumin’s benefits and can increase the body’s absorption by up to 2,000%.”
The bottom line is that bone broth is beneficial in the following ways:
- Helps with digestion
- Strengthens the immune system
- Supports the musculoskeletal system
- Provides a tasty source for dogs to stay hydrated
- Is easy to digest and gives dry food flavor
Many leading veterinarians also tout the benefits of serving bone broth for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds.
“Bone broth is magical for older dogs,” says Dr. Karen Becker, integrative wellness veterinarian and co-founder of the Companion Animal Nutrition and Wellness Institute. “Bone broth is fantastic for older dogs who need extra fluids and who may be fussy eaters or have sensitive bellies.”
Johnna agrees, adding, “Bone broth is especially good for aging dogs because the dog’s body produces less chondroitin with age. But it’s also a great supplement for dogs that have digestive problems due to their high levels of glutamine. Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid that helps keep the intestinal walls working. “
DIY bone broth
A couple of pet parents, Krista Karpowich and Dawn Celapino, regularly make bone broth for their dogs.
Krista, host of the Denver, Colorado Wag Out Loud podcast, selects Whole Foods beef bones and has the butcher cut the bones in half to expose the pulp. She simmered the bones in a crock pot for about 36 hours and then treats Winston, her 12-year-old Norwich Terrier, with two heaping tablespoons on his dinner every day.
“I get a nice gelatin from the broth when it’s done, and for Winston it’s definitely worth the wait,” she says. “He loves it. He’s an older dog, but his health is amazing. His coat is shiny and beautiful and his eyes are clear. Bone broth is full of amino acids, and gut health is key to good health.”
She stores the extra broth in mason jars in the freezer.
Dawn, a fitness instructor who runs Leash Your Fitness (an outdoor fitness class for human dogs) in San Diego, California, is picky about where she gets her bones to make broth for Hank, her 2-year-old Norwich Terrier.
“I only use grass-fed bones, especially beef knuckles, and cook them in my instant pot for about 24 hours,” she says. “I just add carrots and celery and water. We drink it too. “
Bone broth caution
Whether you’re making homemade bone broth or buying a pre-made broth in the store, keep the version for your dog free of salt or onion. Onions are toxic to dogs in any form, and excessive amounts of ingested salt can lead to dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. If your dog has pancreatitis or other chronic stomach problems, speak to your veterinarian before serving bone broth, adds Dr. Becker added.
Time for me to top the dishes of Bujeau, Kona and Emma with my newest bone broth!
Arden Moore, the Pet Health and Safety Coach ™, is an Animal Behavior Advisor, Certified Pet First Aid Instructor, Writer, and Host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. Learn more at ardenmoore.com.