How to Make Bone Broth for Dogs and Why You’d Want To

by | Apr 28, 2020 | Latest, Pets | 8 comments

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, so, at no cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through one and make a purchase. This in no way influences my opinions or recommendations. See full details here.

Why would you want to make bone broth for dogs? Because it’s full of invaluable nutrients and offers an extensive range of health benefits. Because broth is intensely meaty, dogs adore it, too, so it’s not a struggle to get them to eat it. This bone broth recipe is for dogs, cats, and humans, and it’s really easy to make. It just requires a few cheap, readily available ingredients, and a slow cooker. Bone broth is brilliant for all dogs, but particularly for the young, the elderly, and the unwell.

how to make bone broth for dogs - cheap, easy, and healthy

Here are a few of the potential health benefits of bone broth for dogs:

  • Bone broth supports bone and joint health thanks to the high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Acts as a general immune booster
  • Supports your dog’s digestive system and, because it’s easily digestible, helps to soothe tummy troubles
  • Packed full of minerals and nutrients that are made easily absorbable and usable because of the cooking method
  • Bone broth can help to relieve common food and environmental allergies
  • Boosts overall health and condition
  • Can help to relieve dry, itchy skin and can aid in conditioning the coat

Aside from those health benefits, bone broth has a number of other positives:

  • Is highly palatable, so is tempting even to the fussiest dog
  • Bone broth is ridiculously easy to make
  • It costs very little to make a large batch of bone broth
  • Humans can eat it, too, and enjoy many of the same benefits
  • It can be used as stock to flavor dishes
  • Bone broth can be used in other health-boosting recipes, such as golden paste

Here are a few things to remember about bone broth for dogs:

  • Bone broth is not a replacement for bone or bone meal in a raw diet
  • You absolutely do not need to throw away the meat, fat, and little bits of vegetables – your dog will love it all the more if you leave this in. Just make sure you get all the bone out
  • Bone broth is absolutely fine if it doesn’t gel. Don’t throw away the broth just because it hasn’t gelled
  • Using a variety of bones makes the best broth, rich in collagen, protein, marrow, gelatin, glucosamine, and chondroitin

Now here’s my easy bone broth for dogs recipe…

NOTE: Garlic is NOT bad for dogs!

Yes, this recipe does contain garlic, and NO, garlic is NOT bad for dogs – it’s actually very good in the right quantities. Jump straight to more info on garlic for dogs and appropriate serving sizes.

 

Bone Broth for Dogs, Cats, and Humans

Bone Broth for Dogs, Cats, and Humans


This bone broth recipe is easy to make and requires minimal preparation and little attention during cooking. I will warn you though – it smells! Once it starts to cook, it has an intensely “meaty” smell – it’s not bad, but it is intense.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
1 days
Total Time
1 days 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound beef marrow bones
  • 2 raw pigs feet
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, preferably organic, with the mother
  • Water, enough to cover the bones by up to two inches

Instructions

  1. There’s very little preparation involved for bone broth. Just chop all the vegetables and herbs and throw them in the slow cooker. Next add your bones. 
  2. Boil the kettle and, once boiled, pour the water into the slow cooker, preferably covering the bones by about two inches. Then add the apple cider vinegar.
  3. Simmer on the low setting in your slow cooker for at least 12 hours, preferably 24, and up to 72 hours. Just remember to top up the water and don’t let the pot get too dry.
  4. Once finished, remove all the bones from the broth – remember that all the connective tissue from the pig’s feet will have broken down, and so you’ll need to be extra diligent to remove all the small bones. 
  5. Once cooled, your bone broth can stay in the fridge for up to three days. You can portion it in ice cube trays and store in the freezer for up to a year. 

Notes

Here are a few things important things to remember about bone broth for dogs:

  • Bone broth is not a replacement for bone or bone meal in a raw diet
  • You absolutely do not need to throw away the meat, fat, and little bits of vegetables – your dog will love it all the more if you leave this in. Just make sure you get all the bone out
  • Bone broth is absolutely fine if it doesn’t gel. Don’t throw away the broth just because it hasn’t gelled
  • Using a variety of bones makes the best broth, rich in collagen, protein, marrow, gelatin, glucosamine, and chondroitin. If your dog has sensitivities to particular proteins, just switch them out for others your dog can tolerate.
    – One of my dogs, for example, can’t tolerate poultry, hence we don’t make turkey or chicken broth – instead we use the bones of animals he can eat without issue. But if possible, still try to use a variety of bones.

 Tips for Bone Broth for Dogs

1. Make Pupsicles

Bone broth is a great year-round dietary supplement for your dog. But as an extra summer treat, give bone broth pupsicles. Your pup will love a bone broth pupsicle, and it helps cool them a little.

2. General feeding

If your dog has been unwell, is recovering from surgery, or is elderly or weak, feeding a spoonful, or a defrosted ice cube of broth along with their evening meal every day or every other day for at least a week or for the duration of their illness is a smart option. For general support, I feed broth three times a week.

3. Getting Appropriate Bones

Ask your butcher to chop your marrow bones into smaller, manageable chunks. Unless you have an industrial-sized crockpot or you have a good bone saw, your butcher is your best option.

4. Mixing Up the Bones

Experiment. You don’t have to always use beef and pig’s feet. You can use lamb, goose, duck, turkey, venison, chicken, or whatever your preference. And you aren’t limited to joint bones and feet, either. You can also use necks, shoulder, bird carcasses, or anything else with lots of connective tissue or marrow.

5. Is Garlic Really Safe for Dogs?

YES, it is. In spite of all the fearmongering you see online, garlic is actually very good for dogs in small quantities. For garlic to be toxic, your dog has to consume a huge amount. According to Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Catsthe recommended daily serving sizes are:

  • 10 to 15 pounds — 1/2 clove
  • 20 to 40 pounds — 1 clove
  • 45 to 70 pounds — 2 cloves
  • 75 to 90 pounds — 2.5 cloves
  • 100+ pounds — 3 cloves

So you can see, even the recommended daily intake is pretty big. So to cause even mild gastrointestinal upsets, a lot of garlic would have to be consumed. Remember, garlic has a number of health benefits for dogs, and is a great form of natural parasite control. I’ve given garlic to my dogs every day for decades – it’s our go-to choice for flea and tick prevention and natural wormer. And my dogs are happy, healthy, and free of parasites. Don’t let a bad, outdated study that’s been discredited over and over again (and probably had more than a little something to do with profiteering of the big veterinary pharma companies) put you off this tried and true natural supplement. Many of the big pet brands even sell garlic supplements for dogs and cats, like these ones I use from Amazon

6. Use Bone Broth As Stock

By the time you’ve simmered it for 24 hours or more, your bone broth is intensely flavorsome, rich, and concentrated. So use it in place of stock or stock cubes to add depth of flavor as well as nutrition to your meals. Use it wherever you need to layer flavors or require a richly tasty base, like gravy, chili, soup, or anything else that takes your fancy.

FAQs

What is the best store-bought bone broth for dogs?

If it’s not practical for you to make your own bone broth, you want to see if your fussy dog will actually eat bone broth before you take the plunge and get a slow cooker, or you’re traveling and can’t take homecooked broth with you, there are plenty of store-bought options available. The key is knowing which ones are genuinely good quality, and which are useless. While I usually make my own broth, there are times when I need something ready-made, for example, if I’m traveling or I’m leaving the dogs with their grandma for the day or, you know, life. So I do keep a few packs of my favorite brands in the pantry, just in case. Brutus Bone Broth make an awesome product, as do PrimalVore. These come in little easy-pour, resealable cartons. However, if you’re camping so you can’t refrigerate it once you open it, or you want an even easier option, Nature’s Diet Bone Broth Protein Powder is my top choice for convenient, powdered bone broth.

How long do you cook bone broth for dogs?

A minimum of 12 hours, and preferably 24 – 48 hours. Just don’t let the slow cooker boil dry – keep it at least 1/3 full. You can cook bone broth for up to 72 hours, but no longer, as some studies suggest that after this time, if there are any heavy metals or other toxins present in the bones, they may start to leach out. I play it safe and cook my broth for 24-36 hours. In my opinion (not a scientific fact but my own observations over the course of many years of making broth), by this time, all the goodness has been drawn from the bones, all the connective tissue has broken down, and all the healthful components are already in the broth, so why waste time or electricity by cooking it any longer?

What kind of bones are best for bone broth for dogs?

You need a mix of bones, ideally. You should definitely include bones that contain a good supply of marrow as well as feet or necks that also contain a large quantity of connective tissues and tendons. The best bone broth is loaded with gelatin, glycine, glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. Add collagen-and-gelatin-rich bones such as chicken feet, knucklebones, tendons (if you can get them), and chicken, duck, or goose heads.

How do I feed my dog bone broth?

If you’re using the liquid broth, just pour it over their food or feed as a little treat all on its own. If you’ve frozen the broth in icecube trays, just take a broth cube, pop it in a dish, and pour over a little hot water to thaw it. Once it’s melted, feed it to your pup. If you’re using powdered bone broth, sprinkle it on top of their food or add a little water to the powder, mix it well, and offer it to your dog.

Is bone broth good for dogs with upset stomachs?

Yes, bone broth is a great choice for dogs with an upset stomach. It’s gentle on the digestive system, so it won’t aggravate an already upset tummy. It’s hydrating and nutritious, so giving your dog bone broth is a great way to help them replenish the water and nutrients they lose when they have diarrhea. And, because it’s so intensely meaty, it’s highly palatable, so can encourage a dog with low appetite to eat.

Can bone broth give my dog diarrhea?

Like anything new, potentially bone broth can give your dog diarrhea if you suddenly start feeding it large quantities. Just like when you introduce new foods, start your dog on just a small serving of broth per day and build it up gradually. Another reason bone broth would give your dog diarrhea is if the broth contains something your dog is sensitive to, so, if you’re not making the broth yourself, be sure to check the ingredients carefully for any known allergens.

Can you freeze bone broth for dogs?

Yes! It’s super-easy to freeze. I pour my cooled broth into silicon icecube trays. We use these paw print trays for dog broth so we don’t get them mixed up (because we also freeze blended offal in them for the dog’s food! I make a fairly large batch of broth at once, so I keep enough in the fridge to last 3 or 4 days, then freeze the rest. It’ll easily last up to a year in the freezer. If you’re planning on adding the broth to your meals as stock, the same advice applies – freeze it and just add the cube to the pot when you’re cooking.

How do you defrost bone broth for dogs?

Just pour a little hot water over the icecube and wait until it melts. 

Why do you add apple cider vinegar to bone broth?

You should add apple cider vinegar to broth because it helps to extract the maximum amount of collagen from the connective tissues. I use this organic apple cider vinegar from Bragg, and I buy it in bulk because it saves me a lot. It’s less than half the price per fluid ounce if you buy the bulk 1-gallon bottle. ACV is also renowned for its health benefits and, because you cook the stock at lower temperatures, at least some of the goodness from the ACV remains in the broth.

How long does bone broth last in the fridge?

Refrigerated, bone broth will last 3-4 days. Some people keep theirs for a week, but after day 4, in my opinion, it is past its best. My dogs are also not keen on it after day 4, which tells me it probably doesn’t taste good, either. I also tend to go by the general rule of, if I wouldn’t eat it, I won’t feed it to the dogs, either.

Can you give a dog too much bone broth?

Yes and no. Fed in moderate quantities daily, bone broth is a fantastic immune booster and general conditioner for dogs. And it’s useful for ill or recovering dogs, too. However, it is not a long-term meal replacement and should definitely not be used as such. And, as mentioned above, if you just suddenly start giving your dog a large quantity of broth, you will probably make him unwell.

How much bone broth should you give your dog?

That really depends on how big your dog is and why you want to feed broth. I can’t give you a definitive guide on how much to feed because I don’t know your dog. However, PrimalVore recommends feeding their commercial broth at a rate of 2 tablespoons per 10 pounds of body weight twice daily. So this gives you a reasonable rule of thumb to follow. However, note that I would not recommend starting on this amount. I would at least halve it to start with.

Can I give my dog bone broth every day?

Yes! Definitely! Once your dog has adjusted to the bone broth and you know it doesn’t cause digestive distress, you can feed bone broth to your dog twice daily.

Can I give my dog the bones from making bone broth?

NO! Never, ever give your dogs any form of cooked bone. I know some dubious sites online claim you can feed the bones from long-cooked broth because they crumble, but they can still cause an impaction because their cellular structure has changed. When you cook bones, you change their cellular structure. Whole bones can get stuck and can puncture the stomach or intestines leading, at best, to aggressive, major surgery if you’re lucky enough to catch the problem early and, more commonly, a painful death. If they’ve been cooked long enough, broth bones do develop a crumbly texture, but these can still cause a painful and dangerous intestinal impaction. So never, NEVER feed your dog cooked bones. If you want to give them a bony treat, opt for raw bones like chicken or duck wings, duck feet or duck necks.

Wrapping Up

Bone broth is brilliant for dogs, cats, and humans, and it’s really easy to make. It doesn’t cost much, either, but it’s exceptionally healthful. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of animal bones – mix it up with game, domestic livestock, and poultry. Why don’t you also try our delicious homemade dog treats? Your pet will love you for it!

how to make bone broth for dogs - cheap, easy, and healthy
Katy Willis

Written by Katy Willis

Katy is a life-long homesteader and home herbalist. She is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. She's been writing and editing professionally for over a decade, and she's been living green her entire life. She firmly believes that every small green change we make has a huge impact. Making greener choices is better for your bank balance, your health, and the planet.

You May Also Like…

8 Comments

  1. Shane Esposito

    Hi, would the cooked bones be beneficial if they were ground into powder?

    Reply
    • Katy Willis

      Hi Shane, great question! But no. For a few reasons:

      1. Cooking bones changes their structure at a cellular level. Therefore, even ground into super-fine powder, can stay in the gut and eventually cause a life-threatening impaction in the bowel. NEVER give your dog cooked bone in any form.

      2. You’ve already pulled the vast majority of good stuff from the bones by slowly cooking them for so long. There’s nothing beneficial to your dog left at this point. It’s all in the liquid!

      Just discard them when you fish them out of your broth. I hope your dog enjoys your broth! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Mieke

    I forgot, sorry. One more question. Why the Olive oil and would you rub it on the bones or just add to water? Thanks

    Reply
    • Katy Willis

      Hi! Yes, boiled water is perfectly fine. And olive oil helps stop anything sticking to the bottom of the pan and acts as a carrier oil, drawing and holding nutrients from the herbs, veg, and bones. It’s also great for your dog’s skin, coat, and joints! Just add it with the herbs and veggies. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Mieke

    Instead of using filtered water, is boiled tap water and then pouring that in the pot, as in your recipe, good to do? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Katy Willis
  4. J. R.

    Hey, there is garlic in this recipe. Garlic is very toxic to dogs. Was that just an oversight?

    Reply
    • Katy Willis

      As noted in the recipe, garlic is NOT toxic to dogs in these quantities. In fact, in the right quantities, garlic is incredibly beneficial to dogs – it prevents intestinal parasites, repels fleas, tics, and mites, and is beneficial for the digestive system and immune system. The misconception of garlic toxicity comes from a poorly conducted, biased “study” conducted over 30 years ago which has since been repeatedly discredited.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get Your FREE ebook!

Join our mailing list and we'll send you your FREE copy of 1 Week to a Greener You.

And you'll receive all our latest news, tips, and advice in our newsletter. 

*We hate spam, so we promise never to spam you. 

Thank you for signing up - your ebook is on its way!

shares