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This blog post was originally published in 2014. It has been updated with new information to help pet parents who are interested in making bone broth for their dogs.
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about bone broth. In a couple of my raw feeding groups, someone has shared that they are feeding a bone broth. After I read that a fellow blogger using a bone broth to moisten his dog’s morning kibble, I decided to find a recipe.
What is Bone Broth?
Just as it sounds, broth made after slow cooking bones in water and creating a broth. Yes, there’s a little bit more to it, but not much.
Why Bone Broth?
A new blogging friend uses it to moisten up his dog’s kibble (he feeds kibble in the morning and raw in the evening). It’s a nutrient-rich addition to any dog’s diet and has several benefits:
- Bone broth promotes a healthy digestive system.
- It’s going to be great for Rodrigo and Sydney’s joints because it contains gelatin, which is a form of collagen, as well as glucosamine, chondroitin, and other nutrients that support joint health.
- It acts as a liver detox, so if you feed your dogs kibble (no judgment, we all do the best we can), this is an affordable way to give your dog something better. Plus in this chemically laden world, our dogs can use a liver detox here and there.
- And bone broth is great for sick dogs because it provides them nutrition when they’re not eating.
Bone broth isn’t a meal. It’s to be used as a supplement for our dogs.
Making a Bone Broth for Dogs
I use a large slow cooker or a large pressure cooker to make my bone broth. Pressure cookers are best (for me) because I can create several batches over a weekend; each batch takes 4 hours with an additional hour to cool.
- Raw apple cider vinegar to bring out the minerals in the bones. I add 1/4 cup to an 8-quart pressure cooker or slow cooker.
- Bones of your choice; I prefer turkey legs, emu legs, marrow bones, and duck feet.
- Water enough to cover the bones in the slow cooker or pressure cooker).
- 5-7 cloves of fresh garlic (minced garlic in the jar is processed and shouldn't be used).
- 2 heaping tablespoons of golden paste; you can also add turmeric powder 10 minutes before the bone broth is done.
- OPTIONAL: kale, parsley, oregano, dandelion greens, and other healthy greens for dogs
To learn more about garlic, the benefits it offers to dogs, and the serving amount, check out this article on PetGuide.com. Please note that the amount of garlic I add to the bone broth is for 4 dogs with a combined weight of 200+ pounds.
- Add bones, raw apple cider vinegar, garlic and water to your slow cooker or pressure cooker.
- Add greens if you choose; I rarely do.
- If using a slow cooker, set for 20-24 hours; if using a pressure cooker, set for 4-5 hours. I cook my bone broth (or in the garage) on our porch because the smell can be overwhelming.
- 10 minutes before the bone broth is finished, add turmeric paste or turmeric powder.
- When bone broth has cooled, fish out the bones; be sure to search for any small bones (I use my fingers).
- Transfer bone broth to freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer until needed.
Get Creative with Your Bone Broth
I don't just add turkey bones. I've added whatever bones have been available that have large enough bones that they can be fished out of the broth when it's finished.
- Dandelion greens
- “Italian” herbs (sage, rosemary*, thyme, oregano, basil, fennel seed)
- Mushrooms (shiitake, crimini, brown)
*If your dog is prone to epileptic seizures, do not add rosemary.
Whether you feed raw, home cooked, or kibble, bone broth should be part of the menu and not just for the benefits; your dog will love this yummy treat.
How Long Does Bone Broth Last in the Freezer?
In my experience, bone broth will stay good for 3-4 days in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer. Depending on the time of the year and how much bone broth I have on hand, I make bone broth at least once a month. I can usually mix up 6-8 jars in a day.
How Much Bone Broth I Give to My Dogs
There are several ways I serve bone broth to my dogs:
- poured over their food (chilled, room temperature, or warmed)
- as a frozen treat
- as a full meal
Bone Broth Over Raw Dog Food
I pour about 1/4 (or less) of bone broth over my dogs' raw meals. Instead of heating it up in the microwave, I set it on the counter an hour before meal time to allow it to reach room temperature.
Bone Broth as a Frozen Treat for Dogs
I invested in those cutesy ice cube trays with paw prints and bones; however, you can do this in regular ones too. The dogs don't care.
I pour the cool bone broth into ice cube trays and freeze. I've also used the small Rubbermaid containers and the dogs lick them clean on hot days. Because the container is plastic, don't allow your dog to chew on it – they'll be tempted because the bone broth is SO GOOD.
I don't have a set serving amount of frozen bone broth; instead, I give a frozen treat to my dogs on hot days. If they're licking the bone broth out of a Rubbermaid container, then they'll get one each weekend. If it's just an ice cube, then I can add one to their meal a few times a week. It just depends on what I have on hand.
Serving Bone Broth to Dogs as a Meal
When one of my dogs isn't feeling too hot, I'll give them bone broth as a meal. I mostly give it to my dogs when they have an upset tummy. It's super easy on the system and makes sure that the dogs are getting nutrients.
Many raw feeders believe in fasting their dogs. I'm too much of a sucker for those “I'm starving to death” puppy eyes they give to me. Serving dogs a meal of bone broth offers a gentler fast.
I typically give my dogs 1-1/2 to 2 cups of bone broth when I serve it as a meal. Rodrigo and Scout get closer to 2 cups; Sydney and Zoey get closer to 1-1/2 cups of bone broth.
More About Bone Broth
- Misconceptions and Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs
- Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe – Emu with Turkey Bone Broth
- Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe with Emu & Bone Broth