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Home > Dogs > How to Make Bone Broth for Dogs (Vet Approved Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Make Bone Broth for Dogs (Vet Approved Step-by-Step Guide)

A pot of bone broth being cooked

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re a dog parent, you’ve likely heard of bone broth and all its benefits, and you might have even purchased it for your dog. But making your own gives you control over the ingredients that you use, which is particularly important if your dog has any food sensitivities or allergies.

Bone broth also provides several essential nutrients, making it yourself can save you money, and it’s easy to make!

After you’ve looked over the recipe, keep reading for extra information about different ways to serve bone broth and why it is a healthy addition to your dog’s meals.

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Supplies You’ll Need

  • Bones: You’ll need bones, of course. It’s up to you what kind of bones you want to use. If your dog is a big fan of beef, opt for beef bones. You can also throw in a mixture of bones, such as chicken feet, pig’s feet, and beef marrow bones. It’s a good idea to include bones with joints.
  • Water and apple cider vinegar: To create the broth, you’ll need to cover the bones in water and add a small amount of vinegar with apple cider vinegar being the best option. The vinegar helps extract healthy minerals from the bones and collagen from the connective tissues.
  • Vegetables: Like with the bones, you can add any dog-safe vegetables that you want. Carrots and celery are great options.

Equipment

You’ll need to have the right cooking equipment before you start. One of the best ways to make bone broth is in a slow cooker because it has a long cooking time. But you can also use a stock pot or instant pot.

That said, this recipe is geared for a slow cooker, which you might want to consider purchasing if you don’t have one, especially if this won’t be the only bone broth that you make. Making a good bone broth might take 24 hours, so leaving a slow cooker turned on overnight is the safer option.

bone broth bouillon in stainless steel pot
Image Credit: Alp Aksoy, Shutterstock

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Our Vet Approved Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1–5 lb. bones (depending on the size of your pot or slow cooker)
  • Enough water to fill your pot or slow cooker
  • 1–2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • 3 carrots, chopped (optional)
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the bones in the slow cooker — How many bones you put in the slow cooker depends on its size. Generally speaking, you’ll want about 1 to 2 pounds of bones for every 1 gallon (or 16 cups) of water.
  2. Add water to the slow cooker — The water should cover the bones by about 1 inch.
  3. Add the apple cider vinegar — Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the water, depending on the size of your slow cooker.
  4. Cover with the lid — Set your slow cooker to low or your pot to simmer.
  5. Cook for up to 24 hours — You’ll know it’s done when the bones are soft and somewhat crumbly.
  6. Add the chopped vegetables — Let them gently cook with the heat of the broth and pot.
  7. Remove the bones, and throw them into your compost or garbage — The cooked bones must not be given to your dog, as they are likely to splinter and damage your dog’s GI tract.
  8. Turn the slow cooker or stove off.
  9. Strain — Only do this if you haven’t used vegetables and want to keep them intact with the broth. But double-check for any small pieces of bones if you’re not straining.
  10. Allow the broth to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate.

Once the broth has chilled, take it out, skim off the fat layer, and discard. You’ll know that you’ve done a great job if you’re left with a jelly-like substance.

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Storage

You can store the broth in the pot that you cooked it in or in a container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Wait until it is at room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.

You can also put it in a freezer-safe airtight container and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months, though consider freezing it in small batches. You can then place a serving in the fridge to thaw for about 2 days before using it.

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Giving Your Dog Bone Broth

dachshund dog eating from elevated bowl
Image Credit: marialevkina, Shutterstock

If your dog hasn’t had bone broth before, start them out with a small amount. It is rich in collagen, which can lead to loose stools until they get used to it.

Start with just 1 or 2 tablespoons on their food, and then work up to 2 tablespoons for every 10 pounds of your dog’s weight.

Once your dog is accustomed to it, you can try the following ways to serve bone broth to your dog.

  • You can freeze it in ice cube trays for hot summer days.
  • Try freezing it with dry kibble or boiled shredded chicken inside a Kong for a treat that will occupy your dog for a long time.
  • Give your dog refrigerated jelly broth by the spoonful.
  • Warm up the broth, and serve it over your dog’s regular food.
  • Give your dog a small bowl of bone broth.
  • If your dog isn’t a big water drinker, add a small dash to their water bowl.
  • If you make homemade dog treats, substitute water with the broth to increase the nutrition and flavor.

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Extra Tips

  • It’s important to simmer the bones and not boil them. The slow cooking of the bones is what draws out the nutrients and flavors, and boiling will just burn off the liquid.
  • Remember that bone broth is not a meal replacement; it is meant as an occasional treat and a meal topper.
  • You can find bones in the freezer section in your grocery store, or speak to your local butcher and ask for bones to make bone broth. You can also use your own leftover bones. Just make sure there aren’t any sauces or seasonings still attached to them that contain toxic ingredients.
  • You can roast the bones in the oven before putting them in the slow cooker. This enhances the flavor but otherwise isn’t necessary.
  • Don’t forget to safely throw the bones away when they are done and not give them to your dog. Chewing these cooked bones could lead to an obstruction or splinters that will puncture their mouths and gastrointestinal tract.
  • Double-check any bone broth that you purchase for toxic ingredients. Most broths made for human consumption can contain onions and garlic, which are very dangerous for dogs to eat.
  • Don’t add any seasonings, such as salt. Dogs don’t need the seasonings that we typically use for flavor.
Glass bowl of beef bone broth on white table
Image Credit: Alexander Prokopenko, Shutterstock

Why Bone Broth?

Bone broth has several health benefits for dogs, as it contains collagen, gelatin, minerals, and plenty of protein. It can provide dogs with extra hydration and enhance their appetite. It can also boost their immune system and decrease inflammation.

It’s known to improve gut health and is beneficial for dogs with leaky gut syndrome. It can even detox the liver, provide joint support, and be good for the skin and coat.

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Conclusion

Making bone broth isn’t that difficult, and you just can’t beat homemade! You have total control of the ingredients, so you know that it’s safe, and you can add things that not only will your dog enjoy but can also positively contribute to their health.

So, why not give it a try? Your dog will likely love it, and it won’t take up too much of your time or finances.

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Featured Image Credit: Brian Yarvin, Shutterstock

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