My canine trio — Bujeau, Kona and Emma — can count on me to serve high-quality commercial food at mealtime, but they especially enjoy those times when their noses detect bone broth slowly cooking in a crockpot.
I fetch a couple beef knuckle bones from my local butcher, plop the bones in the Crock-Pot with a little black pepper and plenty of water and cook on low for 24 to 30 hours.
This is a simple, quick recipe you can make that delivers heaps of healthy dividends for your dog. Or, you can pick up commercially prepared bone broth.
Bone Broth Benefits
“Bone broth is a nutrient-dense, beneficial treat that is rich in collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, glutamine, chondroitin sulfate, magnesium and other trace minerals,” says Johnna Devereaux, a certified clinical nutritionist and director of nutrition and wellness at Bow Wow Labs, Inc. in Novato, California.
What happens is that collagen and cartilage are boiled down and release nutrients that offer anti-inflammatory effects and help joints stay strong.
Johnna also adds 4 teaspoons of turmeric into her broth for her pair of rescued American Staffordshire mixes named Diego and Lola, who are 10 and 6, respectively.
“Turmeric is rich in the plant polyphenol curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation in the body,” she explains. “I include turmeric, along with black pepper, (rich in the alkaloid, piperine) because studies have found that piperine enhances the benefits of curcumin and can increase the body’s absorption by up to 2,000%.”
Bottom line, bone broth is beneficial in these major ways:
- Aids in digestion
- Boosts the immune system
- Supports the musculoskeletal system
- Offers a tasty source for dogs to stay hydrated
- Is easy to digest and adds flavor to dry food
Many leading veterinarians also tout the benefits of serving bone broth to dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.
“Bone broth is magical for older dogs,” says Dr. Karen Becker, an 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 may be finicky eaters or have sensitive tummies.”
Johnna agrees, adding, “Bone broth is especially good for dogs who are aging because the canine body’s production of chondroitin decreases with age. But it is also a great addition for dogs who have digestive issues due to its high glutamine content. Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid that helps maintain the function of the intestinal walls.”
DIY Bone Broth
A pair of pet parents, Krista Karpowich and Dawn Celapino, regularly make bone broth for their dogs.
Krista, host of the Wag Out Loud podcast in Denver, Colorado, selects beef bones from Whole Foods and has the butcher cut the bones in half to expose the marrow. She lets the bones simmer in a Crock-Pot for about 36 hours and then treats Winston, her 12-year-old Norwich Terrier, to two heaping tablespoons on his dinner meal each day.
“I get a nice gelatin from the broth when it is finished, and for Winston it is definitely worth the wait,” she says. “He loves it. He is a senior 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 the key to good health.”
She stores the extra broth in the freezer in mason jars.
Dawn, a fitness trainer who operates Leash Your Fitness (an outdoor people-dog fitness class) in San Diego, California, is picky about where she gets her bones to make broth for Hank, her 2-year-old Norwich Terrier.
“I use only grass-fed bones, particularly beef knuckle bones, and cook them in my Instant Pot for about 24 hours,” she says. “I just add carrots and and celery and water. We drink it, too.”
Bone Broth Bewares
Whether you make homemade bone broth or buy a premade broth at the store, keep the version for your dog free of any salt or onions. Onions are toxic to dogs in any form, and excess amounts of ingested salt can cause dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures. Talk with your veterinarian before serving bone broth if your dog is dealing with pancreatitis or other chronic stomach issues, Dr. Becker adds.
Time for me to top the dishes of Bujeau, Kona and Emma with my latest bone broth batch!
Arden Moore, The Pet Health and Safety Coach™, is a pet behavior consultant, master certified pet first-aid instructor, author and host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. Learn more at ardenmoore.com.