If you’ve been following the Bow Wow Lab blog, you’ll know how passionate I am about canine nutrition. Numerous studies back up what you probably already know from personal experience: What animals eat has an enormous impact on their short- and long-term health and well-being.
And providing your pup with healthy, nutrient-dense food doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can make affordable, healthy treats at home to supplement your dog’s diet that pack a big, nutritional punch. One of my favorite’s is bone broth. Although it takes a couple of days to cook, the broth-making process is completely hands-off. Your slow cooker does all the work!
The Benefits of Bone Broth
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense addition to your dog’s diet that is rich in collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, glutamine, chondroitin sulfate, magnesium and tons of other trace minerals. It aids in digestion, supports the immune system and supports the musculoskeletal system. This is especially important for large-breed dogs, senior dogs, and dogs that participate in agility training or competitions. That said, dogs of almost every age, size and breed can benefit from the addition of bone broth, given either as a treat or a food topper.
My bone broth recipe contains a powerhouse ingredient: turmeric. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice in the same family as ginger, and commonly found in Indian and Middle-Eastern cuisine. It’s rich in the plant polyphenol curcumin — a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation in the body. Black pepper, which contains the alkaloid piperine, has been proven to enhance the benefits of curcumin and aids in absorption by the body by up to 2,000 percent, so it’s a no-brainer that we are amping up the goodness by adding this amazing herb! The pepper-turmeric herbal combo in this broth packs a one-two-punch worthy of its name.
How to Make Bone Broth for Dogs at Home
To get started, you’ll need a slow cooker plus raw meat bones, turmeric, black pepper, white vinegar, and water (preferably filtered or spring water.)
For the bones, you can use any meat source, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken or other poultry. Using raw bones allows for higher nutrient extraction, but if you are unable to find raw bones you can use some previously cooked bones. Just know that the end result may not be as nutrient dense as it would be with raw bones.
Before cooking, you can offer a raw bone to your dog as a long-term chew. Once your dog is done with it, toss it in the freezer with any additional bones until you’re ready to cook your broth.
To make the broth, simply combine all the ingredients in your slow cooker and turn your cooker to high. Once the mixture begins to boil after about 2 to 3 hours, reduce the temperature to the low setting. Continue simmering on low for 36 hours.
This is when the magic happens.
I prefer to set up my slow cooker outside because it emits an aroma that I personally don’t find pleasant — but that’s my own opinion and you may love the smell!
After 36 hours of simmering, turn the slow cooker off and allow the broth to cool. At this point, the broth will be loose and liquidy. Later it will become more gelatinous and gooey. Once cool enough to handle, pour the broth into mason jars or other glass containers and store them in the refrigerator for up to 7 days (or freezer for a tasty frozen treat where it will last up to 6 months). Just be sure to mix it thoroughly before serving so the fat is re-incorporated.
I like to add the finished broth— which should now have a Jell-O like consistency — to my dog’s food bowl at meal times. You can also offer it as a tasty snack. I recommend feeding ½-1oz per 10 pounds of body weight per day. For a 50-pound dog, that’s about a ⅓ cup of ooey-gooey goodness going right to the musculoskeletal system and really benefiting their health.
Once the bone broth is done cooking, the bones should be discarded immediately in a place your dog can’t access. Once cooked, bones become brittle and there is an increased chance for splintering. If your dog were to chew on and splinter a cooked bone the potential for intestinal perforation is real. Do not mess around with cooked bones.
Recipe: Powerhouse Bone Broth for Dogs
This hands-off recipe calls for 36 hours of simmering in a slow cooker in order to make a nutrient-dense broth your dogs will love. And we’d LOVE to hear if you make it and if your dogs love it as much as ours do! Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 4 tsps turmeric
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbsps white vinegar
- Raw meat bones to fill ¾ of slow cooker
- Filtered water to cover
Combine herbs, vinegar and bones in a large slow cooker. Cover with filtered water by one inch. Turn the slow cooker on high until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2-3 hours), then reduce to low and simmer for 36 hours. Discord bones, and let mixture cool. Once the broth is cool, divide evenly between mason jars and store in the refrigerator (the broth will have the consistency of Jello-0). Scoop broth into your dog’s food bowl at mealtimes or as a snack (approximately ¼-1/2 cup for a 50-pound dog). Broth will keep in the refrigerator for 7 days or can be frozen for up to 6 months. (Note: This recipe can be halved for smaller dogs.)
Johnna Devereaux is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist and canine wellness expert. She is the Director of Nutrition and Wellness for Bow Wow Labs and sits on their Board of Advisors.
The points of view expressed above are those of our clinical nutritionist and supported by science, her education and experience. However, we recognize there may be different points of view or opinions on some aspect or even the premise of this article. Our goal at Bow Wow Labs is to provide the best, clearest, and most helpful information possible to help keep your dog happy, healthy and safe.
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