You’ve heard about the benefits of bone broth for humans, but what about your furry friend?
Bone broth can offer many benefits to your dog, including for their joint health, digestion, and for their skin and coat. While broth doesn’t have all the vitamins necessary for a balanced diet, it can be used as a delicious topper for your dog.
But why is bone broth so good and which one do we choose? This article discusses all things bone broth with expert input from Irene Gunawan, Director of R&D and Product Development at Open Farm.
What is bone broth for dogs?
Bone broth is a stock liquid made from slowly cooking animal bones at low heat for an extended period of time.
Bone broth differs from stock by undergoing a lengthier boiling process, whether on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or an instant pot. This extended cooking time aims to maximize the extraction of collagen and minerals from the bones and connective tissues.
Can I feed my dog the bone broth I eat?
For pet parents who use bone broth in their own diet, it might be tempting to share what you already have in your cupboard with your dog. But dogs generally shouldn’t eat human bone broth that is shop-bought.
“It’s always best to use pet-specific products for your dog,” said Irene. “Some human bone broths are made with spices or ingredients that are not suitable for dogs to consume, like onions or garlic.”
It is possible to make your dog bone homemade broth but it can be a lengthy, stinky process. However, if you do fancy it, take time to research recipes to ensure the ingredients are safe for your furry friend.
Benefits of bone broth
As well as being highly palatable, bone broth is filled with benefits for your dog and has the potential to be a superfood for them.
“There are many benefits to feeding your dog bone broth,” said Irene. “It includes a high percentage of collagen which strengthens skin integrity and makes the coat shiny and soft. It also promotes healthy joints, the digestive, and gastrointestinal systems, and the overall immune system.
“It’s also a delicious way to add moisture and taste to your pet’s diet — perfect for the fussy eaters.”
Bone broth can be a nutritional benefit for every dog, but especially for those feeling under the weather. Feeding an unwell dog bone broth can help to repair their stomach lining, keep them hydrated, and boost their appetite.
Bone broth can be a quality source of nutrients and essential minerals. Many pet food retailers add additional ingredients for an added nutritional boost.
“Open Farm Bone broth, for example, adds ingredients such as turmeric which is a powerful antioxidant, and pumpkin which boasts fiber and beta-carotene – supporting digestive and urinary health,” said Irene.
Potential risks of bone broth for dogs
If you choose to feed your dog a commercial-made bone broth from the pet store, it’s important that you store it correctly to avoid contamination.
Storage and feeding suggestions will vary from brand to brand, so always check the packaging for specific instructions and safe handling tips.
“Many bone broths will be similar to Open Farm’s recipes which are shelf stable until they are opened. Similar to human soup broths, you can store them in the cabinet until you are ready to serve your hungry pup,” said Irene.
You will be able to store most bone broths in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week once opened, or in the freezer for up to a year.
“Another tip is to pour bone broth into an ice cube tray and freeze it for convenient serving. If you go for this option, make sure you defrost it at an appropriate temperature before adding it to your dog’s food,” said Irene.
Generally, bone broth is quite safe for all types of dogs, but there are some side effects to look out for including diarrhea and allergic reactions. You need to check the ingredient list of any product you give your dog as they may be sensitive to certain ingredients.
How to incorporate bone broth into a dog’s diet
Bone broth is best served as a delicious, nutritious topper, and should never be used as a substitute for a complete and balanced diet.
When introducing bone broth to your dog’s diet, like any new food, it’s best to gradually work it in. In the first instance, feed your dog a small amount and observe them for potential allergies or reactions.
“Bone broths are usually super tasty and contain many delicious flavors so a little goes a long way,” said Irene. Check out the feeding guidelines on the packaging for more information on how much your four-legged family member is advised to enjoy.
“Bone broth is not a replacement for your dog’s main meal but instead, it can be a great way to add more moisture and nutrition to your dog’s diet.
“Pour some over their current foods to boost the moisture content, mix it in with their dog food, or freeze it to use in enrichment toys.”
Bone broth is low in carbohydrates and high in protein, so it is best used as a topper to avoid an unbalanced diet or obesity.
Once implemented, bone broth is safe to complement your dog’s diet every day!