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Is Bone Broth Safe for Dogs?

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Earlier today, Sharon shared the article The Dark Side of Bone Broth in my raw feeding group.  I read the article and was disappointed in the lack of links to sites that support the claims that bone broth can cause health issues (seizures and other neurological issues) in humans. So I turned to Google and did my homework.  I didn't take long for me to see that the author, Monica Corrado, was on to something.

Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs

Bone broth is a liquid made by cooking bones in a slow cooker (or pressure cooker) with water, apple cider vinegar, and garlic over a period.  The long cooking times allow the joint and ligament tissue to dissolve and the nutrients in the bone and marrow to be absorbed into the broth.

Bone broth is nutrient-rich, easy for dogs to digest, sparks the appetite, and our dogs love it.

  • I use bone broth as a food topper, pouring the liquid over my dogs' raw meals.
  • I freeze bone broth in ice cube trays and serve as a frozen treat.
  • I feed bone broth as a light meal on the weekend or when one of my dogs isn't feeling too hot.

I began feeding bone broth to my dogs because I read that it boosts healing and it's good for joint health.

DIY Bone Broth Recipe for Dogs by Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger for Keep the Tail Wagging

 

The Potential Risk of Bone Broth for Dogs

According to the articles I've read, there are two risks that are concerning people…

 

  • an over-abundance of a non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid; high concentrations of glutamate and glutamate sensitivity can lead to neurological health issues in humans.  Bone broth comes into the equation because of the long cooking times (up to 24 hours in the slow cooker), which increases the amount of glutamic acid in the broth.  So it makes sense that feeding too much bone broth can cause health problems in dogs. Source: ChrisKresser.com
  • lead toxicity; some animals are exposed to higher levels of lead, which impacts their bones and the bone broth we make.  Finding quality sources for proteins and bones will reduce potential lead exposure.  Source: ChrisKresser.com

I returned to Google and couldn't find an article that discussed any risks for dogs.  Nor have I heard of any health problems with dogs that were fed bone broth.

So, Is Bone Broth Safe for Dogs?

Given what I found – or what I didn't find – I believe bone broth is safe for dogs.  I also believe that moderation and variation when feeding our dogs is important.  My dogs get bone broth a several times a month, not daily.  I'll thaw a container and split it between the dogs over a few days to a week.  I do this once a month or so.

And if you're still concerned after I dropped this bomb on you, the following are options:

  • Instead of using a slow cooker, make bone broth in a pressure cooker.  Instead of cooking for up to 24 hours, the bone broth is ready in 2-4 hours.
  • Use human grade protein sources.  I buy my meat/bones through our local raw food co-op and I'm going to look into ordering turkey and duck frames for future bone broth batches.
  • Source your bones from local farms and butchers.  Call around and ask what happens to the bones after the meat has been processed – you may get a haul for free.

 

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