Bone Broth: Safe for Dogs?

hungry dog

Soup is the ultimate comfort food. Whether recovering from a medical procedure or nursing a virus, it’s like a liquid hug for the system. But many pet parents don’t realize it can be just as beneficial for their fur babies, too!

One type in particular has been gaining a lot of attention lately: bone broth. There are claims that it’s something of a superfood that promises to bolster the immune system, aid digestion and improve joint health.

It all starts by slow cooking the bones with apple cider vinegar in a crockpot or pressure cooker. After 8-24 hours, minerals from the marrow and tissues condense into a nutrient-rich broth.

Still, some are skeptical about this miracle cure-all. Is bone broth safe for dogs?

Reasons to be cautious

While there haven’t been any direct reports of bone broth being harmful to dogs, feed with caution. As Keep The Tail Wagging points out, there are two main concerns when feeding your dog bone broth.

For starters, it has high concentrations of glutamic acid. In humans, an over-abundance of this non-essential amino acid has been linked to some neurological concerns.

The other potential for trouble centers around lead toxicity levels. Depending on their degree of lifelong exposure, the animal’s bones could harbor lead particles that get transmitted into the broth.

Bone broth benefits for dogs

Bone broth all on its own won’t provide all the vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids needed to sustain your pet over the long-term. However, most vets agree that the potential health benefits of bone broth for dogs are numerous. Some experts claim it can detox the liver, but we’re more inclined to use it for the things like:

  • Moistening to dry kibble. Kibble is easily enhanced with bone broth. The additional moisture from bone broth can also help older pets chew and digest food better and has the potential to prevent urinary stones or UTIs.
  • Healing joint issues or skeletal injuries. Since bone broth has such high concentrations of gelatin, it’s great for helping generate restorative tissues like collagen. Further, bone broth is incredibly rich in various forms of collagen which contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic Acid, all of which serve to strengthen your pet’s joints.
  • Re-hydrating the system and increasing appetite. When your dog is throwing up, he or she may quickly become dehydrated. They may also experience a markedly decreased appetite when recovering from an illness. Bone broth alone or drizzled over food is a good way to encourage food back in the system. You can also add it to water to stimulate fluid intake.


Tips when making bone broth for your dog

As with all dietary additions, feed your dog bone broth in moderation. Additionally, the best quality broth starts with quality protein sources. Make sure whatever you use is top grade.

Avoid seasoning the broth. You’re making food for a dog, not a backdoor BBQ.

In short, using this broth to supplement your dog’s diet can provide some great health benefits at relatively low-risk. Yet, even with all its many uses, it’s important to use quality ingredients and not rely on bone broth alone to provide all Fido’s dietary needs. A high-quality dog food is still the best way to help keep your pet’s system functioning at peak health, no bones about it.

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