The stereotypical dog loves his bone. But most pet parents don’t provide real bones to their pups as they are concerned over choking issues. There is a way that you can provide Fido with the benefits of chewing on a bone without actually giving him a real one – give him bone broth.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is very simple to make, and it is highly nutritious for your dog. Plus, you never have to worry that Fido will choke or somehow damage his throat or stomach by swallowing a shard of the bone when serving him bone broth. Bones rank high on the list of foods that are dangerous for your dog to eat,
Bone broth can be poured over Fido’s regular food, and it is so tasty that he will lap up every drop. You do not need to use a specific type of bone to make the broth. There are commercially-made broth mixes that you can purchase, but you can make your broth at home that lasts for up to five days in the refrigerator.
Those who want to guarantee that the bone broth they provide their dogs is all natural may wish to make their own. We will discuss the merits of both commercially produced and homemade bone broth.
The many benefits of bone broth
First, before you make your broth, let’s discuss precisely why bone broth is good for your dog. Not only are you providing your dog with all the benefits of chewing on a real bone, but you are also saving him from the prospect of breaking off a shard that can become lodged somewhere in the digestive system and severely injure your dog. Next, bone broth is highly dense in nutrition. Bone broth contains any number of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are all beneficial to your dog. Here are some more reasons why bone broth is excellent for your dog’s health.
Bone broth helps maintain digestive health
Bone broth promotes a healthy digestive system. Bone broth contains gelatin – yes, just like the gelatin in jello. What is one food that doctors recommend when a patient can’t eat anything else or must be on a liquid diet? That’s right, gelatin! Gelatin helps to improve the strength of the lining of one’s stomach, but especially in dogs. Increasing the strength of the lining of one’s stomach leads to better absorption of probiotics, which are great for the digestive system and one’s overall health. Bone broth also soothes the stomach, and really, the entire digestive system.
The broth often helps the self-repair of the dog’s digestive system. Then, the growth of probiotics that usually result from consuming broth help boost your dog’s immunity.
Good for your dog’s liver
Some claim that bone broth is beneficial to the liver of dogs that consume it. They say it cleanses and detoxifies the liver. Are these claims true? Well, in some ways, yes. Consider what a dog’s liver has to do. Many dogs are unwittingly exposed to several chemicals that their pet parents often do not realize. These chemicals may be present in the cleaning products pet parents use, or they may be present in the real food provided to the dog. (NOTE: Many pet parents are only recently becoming familiar with the fact that most commercially made dog foods are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration or really any official entity. This means that some dog foods may contain chemicals and additives that can be dangerous to dogs.)
The liver serves to work to rid the body of these hazardous chemicals, but, like every finely tuned machine, eventually, the machine will begin to break down. Giving your dog broth regularly will aid the liver in ridding your dog’s body of not only the chemicals mentioned above but also any other toxins in the body. Bone broth has a significant amount of glycine, an amino acid that promotes liver function.
It should be noted, however, that because bone broth contains a great deal of protein, your vet should be consulted before giving bone broth to a dog that already has liver disease. If the liver is damaged and cannot break down the proteins in your dog’s digestive system, you could be doing more harm than good to Fido.
Vitamins and nutrients that improve joint health
Although you can give your dog bone broth at any age, older dogs seem to benefit significantly from the vitamins and nutrients that affect your dog’s joint health. Bone broth helps to provide your dog with glucosamine and chondroitin that helps to repair joints, especially the cartilage. When older dogs begin to experience the breakdown of tendons and cartilage in their joints, they can often feel significant discomfort and pain. Bone broth and the gelatin included in this food product are also conducive to the repair and health of the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage of your dog’s joints.
Gelatin, which has been previously mentioned as a nutrient that promotes digestive health, is also beneficial to the joints of your dog. Gelatin contains proline as well as glycine that aids in digestion. Proline works to repair the joint damage your dog has already experienced. Also, glycine will aid the liver in ridding the body of toxins that can detrimentally affect your dog’s body.
As previously stated, when we humans are sick, we often eat soup or broth to calm an upset stomach or to fight other illnesses. For dogs, bone broth is a great “soup” to calm down a sick digestive system. The gelatin will soothe your dog’s stomach lining, and the other nutrients present in bone broth will help to provide a dog that might not otherwise eat with vitamins and minerals.
How to make bone broth for dogs
So, how do you make bone broth? Can you boil the bones you’ve chosen and garner the benefits? Not exactly. First, you’ll need to utilize a slow cooker to cook the bones down. Second, you’ll need to add some vegetables to the recipe to ensure your broth is nutrient-rich. Finally, you will need to add a small amount of vinegar to soften the organic bones you’ve chosen to make the broth. Here’s how you make bone broth, step by step:
1. Choose the right bones
You will want to choose organic bones. You can purchase organically grown (antibiotic-free) chickens at your local supermarket, so that is a great place to start. Many experts do not recommend purchasing commercially made bone broth as it may contain additives, preservatives, and chemicals that can do more harm than good to your four-legged pal. You can debone the chicken, then place the bones in the slow cooker.
2. Add vinegar and vegetables
Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (for every one-gallon water, add one tablespoon; the size of your cooker will determine how much water to add). This is supposed to help weaken the bone and pull the nutrients out of it. Yet, some claim this is not an effective method of ensuring broth is nutrient-dense. To make sure that there are plenty of vitamins and minerals in your broth, add some vegetables to the mixture. Kale, kelp, parsley, oregano, broccoli, and turmeric are all great vegetables to add to your broth recipe.
3. Cover the bones in water and start cooking
Make sure that the bones are completely covered by water. Most recipes call for an additional two or three inches of water cover over the bones. Some cooks leave the meat on the bones as well. This is up to you as you prepare the bones for cooking. Put your slow cooker (crockpot) on HIGH for at least one hour. The bones will slowly cook and soften; you should never see the bones boiling in this container. After one hour, turn the crockpot down on low and allow it to cook slow and low for one twenty-four hour period.
4. Serve or store the bone broth
Strain the bones and meat out of the cooker. Allow the broth to cool completely and serve it or place it in a storage container. You may find that the broth develops a white fatty layer on top. Scrape this away, and you’ll find a jelly-like layer underneath. You can scoop and serve this as needed.
Jacob Olesen is the editor of Dog Ideas, a site dedicated to helping dog owners become the best dog parents.