To fully understand the health benefits of bone broth for dogs, it helps to learn the rich history of its medicinal use.
Over 2,500 years ago, the Chinese used bone broth to strengthen the kidneys and support digestive health.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine in ancient Greece, used bone broth for cleansing and digestion issues.
In the Jewish culture, matzo ball soup has earned the nickname “Jewish penicillin” for its anecdotal healing properties.
Present-day research is discovering the scientific reasons for these medicinal benefits. This 2000 study by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup inhibited upper-respiratory inflammation, thus reducing the negative effects of viruses like the common cold.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid made from simmering meaty bones and connective tissue in water and an acid like vinegar for a prolonged period of time.
This slow simmering process causes the bones and tissues to release healing compounds such as:
- Collagen, which strengthens bones
- Glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate for joint health
- Amino acids proline, arginine, and glutamine that have anti-inflammatory effects
- Amino acid glycine which promotes gut health by repairing the intestinal wall and sealing the gut lining
- Trace minerals (if vegetables are added to the simmering broth)
What are the Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs?
You may have heard it is good for people, but is bone broth good for dogs too?
This list details the multitude of ways bone broth contributes to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.
Bone broth provides healthy nutrients in an easily absorbed medium. It’s a great way to get nutrients into a sick dog, and a good daily supplement for a healthy dog.
The mineral content of bone broth is a little more complicated. Basically, regular bone broth is low in minerals. But an analysis of the nutritional content of different broths (bone and vegetable) performed by King’s College showed that vegetable broth has a much higher mineral content.
Jenny McGruther, a holistic nutritionist, Certified Nutritional Therapist (NTP) and author of The Nourished Kitchen, suggests saving your vegetable scraps and adding them to your bone broth for the long simmering process. She also has written Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen, a recipe book specifically for broths and stocks.
If your dog is on a commercial kibble, adding a bone & veggie broth mix is a great dietary supplement that supplies essential minerals that may be missing from its commercial food. These minerals enhance heart health, nerve and muscle function, and much more.
Bone Broth Aids in Digestive Health & Soothes the Intestines
An unhealthy gut has been tied to numerous illnesses in both dogs and people.
Leaky gut is one condition that can cause health issues. In a healthy dog, digested nutrients pass through millions of tiny holes in the intestines. When a dog is stressed, eats a poor diet, or gets ill, these holes can become bigger. This condition is called leaky gut.
When these holes are too big, they allow undigested food, toxins, and yeast to pass through them into the body. The body sees these unfamiliar particles and attacks them. This is how allergies develop.
Bone broth contains a number of amino acids that promote gut health by reducing inflammation, repairing tissue damage and closing the too-big holes of a leaky gut. This restores the gut lining and promotes the growth of good bacteria (probiotics).
It also contains glycosaminoglycans which comprise healthy protective mucous membranes in the intestines.
The non-scientific summary of all this? Bone broth is easy to digest, soothes your dog’s upset tummy, and will enhance their appetite as gut healing occurs.
Bone broth is an excellent source of these joint-supporting compounds.
- Glucosamine helps to protect joints
- Collagen/gelatin, a complex protein, helps form connective tissue such as ligaments, skin, tendons, and bone)
- Chondroitin and hyaluronic acid support joint strength, elasticity, and flexibility
These compounds have been shown to decrease pain and inflammation and stimulate healing in dogs with arthritis and joint injuries. Chondroitin and glucosamine work together to heal damaged joints, ligaments, and tendons.
We all know that the liver is the body’s detoxification organ, but did you know that without an amino acid called glycine its ability to detoxify is limited? Glycine plays a key role in phase II liver detoxification, the process in which toxins are made water soluble so they can be flushed from the body.
Bone broth is an excellent source of glycine for your dog.
Bone broth can be an important part of an allergy reduction plan. By healing leaky gut and helping establish a healthy probiotic gut population, you eliminate one of the main causes of allergy symptoms.
Bone broth supports your dog’s immune system in multiple ways.
When you want to boost a dog’s immune system, one of the building blocks you need to focus on is a healthy gut. As mentioned above, bone broth soothes and heals an unhealthy gut, and enhances gut health.
In addition, bone broth helps reduce inflammation in the body, and its nutrients help to strengthen the body’s immune system.
Finally, bone broth helps the body get rid of toxins that can otherwise cause allergies, illness, and tax your dog’s immune system.
There are times you need to get more fluids into your dog. They may have an upset tummy, heatstroke, or dehydration from diarrhea, and don’t want to drink water.
Bone broth is a soothing liquid with a smell that appeals to a dog that isn’t feeling good. When your dog drinks it, it not only helps the dog rehydrate, but is full of nutrients and compounds that will help your dog feel better.
In the case of dehydration due to diarrhea, be sure to incorporate a home remedy for dog diarrhea (in addition to bone broth rehydration) to help stop the diarrhea from occurring.
Bone Broth for Senior Dogs
Bone broth is a wonderful, health-enriching addition to your senior dog’s diet.
Certain health issues are common in older dogs; imagine what a positive impact the following health benefits would have on your senior dog:
- Reduced inflammation and stiffness in your dog’s joints
- Getting nutrients into dogs who are convalescing or having trouble eating
- Nutrient-packed dietary supplement to promote a healthy immune system and overall health
- Prevent dehydration, which is more common in senior dogs
Dosage of Bone Broth for Dogs
When starting your dog out on bone broth, always start with a small amount and work your way up slowly.
The general dosage consensus seems to be about one ounce of broth per 10 pounds of body weight.
How to Make Bone Broth for Dogs
When making bone broth for dogs,make sure you source your bones from pasture raised animals (non-herbicide-treated pastures) that eat non-GMO feed. This goes back to the basic “you are what you eat” principle.
Jennifer McGruther has a great article about how to make bone broth. She doesn’t specify an amount of apple cider vinegar, but from poking around the internet I would say around ¼ cup should suffice.
If you add organic vegetables to your bone broth to increase its mineral content, be sure to check that the vegetables are OK for dogs. Onions and chives, for example, aren’t safe for dogs so make sure you avoid them.
Can I Order Pre-Made Bone Broth for Dogs?
Yes, but make sure you order DOG bone broth, not human. Every human organic bone broth I looked at had onion as one of the ingredients. Onions are toxic to dogs so you do not want to feed a bone broth made with them.
The bone broth I like is Primalvore bone broth for dogs and cats. Their beef broth is from organic, grass-fed beef, and their chicken bone broth is from organic, pasture-raised chickens.
Add Bone Broth for Dogs to your Natural Dog Tool Kit!
Knowing about the benefits of bone broth for dogs can come in handy when your dog gets ill, has intestinal issues, or is suffering from joint pain or allergies.
Part of being a natural dog owner is being knowledgeable about different “tools” (food, supplements, or other) that are effective for specific issues. Bone broth is an important tool for re-establishing intestinal health, strengthening joints, or nursing a dog that is dehydrated or has an upset tummy or fever.
And now, you know about its benefits and will be able to use bone broth if your dog ever needs it! Chalk up one more thing you know that can help you raise your dog naturally.
Until next time-
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