Make Your Own Chicken Bone Broth for Dogs and Cats: A Nutritious Addition to Your Pet's Diet
As a pet owner, you're always looking for the best ways to keep your furry friend healthy and happy. One way to do this is by adding bone broth to their diet. Not only is it packed with nutrients, it's a great way to make use of all parts of the chicken. Let's dive into the benefits of bone broth for pets, backed by scientific studies and grandmas everywhere, and I'll share a few chicken bone broth recipes you can try at home.
A Brief History of Bone Broth
In traditional Chinese medicine, bone broth has been used for over 2,500 years to support digestive health and tonify or help kidney function. This ancient tradition has been continued in chicken soups by grandmas everywhere and is now being rediscovered and embraced by pet owners worldwide for its myriad of health benefits.
Is homemade bone broth safe for dogs?
Bone broth is a nutrient-rich superfood in the eyes of many. There are no studies done with pets, but it's well-known that it increases the palatability and taste of their food. It's a win-win as not only is it healthy, but your pet will love the addition of it to their diet!
As long as it's not heavily salted and has minimal onions or garlic added, it's a great way to add hydration and benefits from the collagen and nutritive properties.
Why do you use chicken bone broth for dogs?
The benefits of bone broth for dogs and cats are many.
If you want to get more of the benefits of gelatin or collagen for your chicken bones broth, you can add 4-6 chicken feet to your recipe, or you could just make it with chicken feet (see recipe below). For me, I'm not crazy about dealing with chicken feet, so I skip them!
Bone Broth and Digestive Health Benefits
Bone broth is known for its gut-healing properties. It contains gelatin, which helps restore the gut lining and reduce inflammation. This can be particularly beneficial for pets with digestive issues. A study in rats showed that it benefitted rats with ulcerative colitis.
Is bone broth good for dogs with arthritis?
Bone broth has collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin, which are natural compounds found in cartilage that have been shown to support joint health. These compounds can help alleviate joint pain and increase mobility in older pets.
Skin and Coat Health
Bone broth is packed with collagen, a protein that promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat. Our skin is made up of a surprising 80% collagen. Regularly feeding your pet bone broth can help, especially with senior pets whose natural production of collagen decreases as they age.
Now that we've covered the benefits, let's get into how you can incorporate bone broth into your pet's diet.
Is bone broth good for dogs or cats daily?
As long as the broth is not heavily salted, it's fine to add to your pet's diet daily. It's easy to control how much salt is added if you make your own! When you salt the exterior of your chicken before roasting, a minimal amount will end up in the pot when you make bone broth. I never worry about this, even for my two senior cats. Now, I might worry about a rotisserie chicken that is heavily laden with salt and additives from some stores.
What is the difference between human and dog bone broth?
You should check the labels before you feed commercial bone broth for dogs and cats. I have used Butcher's brand bone broth as it does not have added salt, onions, or garlic.
Truthfully, the saying "The Poison is in the Dose" holds true when it comes to onions and garlic. The inclusion of garlic and onion is so low that for a medium or large dog and even most healthy cats, it should not pose a problem. The real problem is when it comes to garlic or onion powder which is much more concentrated. So although it's best to avoid, the risk of having a problem is a bit of a reach.
Making Chicken Bone Broth at Home
Recipe 1: Roast Chicken & Bone Broth for dogs and cats
After enjoying your oven-roasted chicken, don't throw away the carcass. Instead, use it to make nutritious bone broth for your pets.
My favorite way to roast a chicken in an air fryer. This method results in a rotisserie-style chicken with a crispy exterior and without the excess salt found in store-bought versions.
1 leftover chicken carcass OR 2-3 pounds of chicken bones
Optional: celery, carrots, beets
Optional: 12 chicken feet* OR 1 split pigs foot
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Cold water to cover
Recipe Instructions (stock pot)
- Place the bones and vegetables in a stock pot.
- Cover with enough water to cover the bones by 1 inch.
- Add apple cider vinegar and let nearly boil before lowering the heat to a simmer for 8 to 12 hours.
- Add more water as needed to keep the bones covered.
- Remove from heat and cool. 2 Remove the bones with a slotted spoon or strainer, and add any meat that falls off the bone to your pet's food.
- Refrigerate the broth. After refrigeration, remove any fat that rises to the top (this is not absolutely necessary as sometimes there is not a lot of fat). Use for up to 5 days and freeze the rest for several months.
I don't like to leave my stove on overnight, so I prefer to make my bone broth in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Make chicken bone broth fast for dogs with your pressure cooker!
I didn't get a pressure cooker until I was stuck at home with a broken oven during COVID-19. The factory that made the broken part of my oven was closed, so I got an Instant Pot and an air fryer. Now, I can't imagine life without either of them!
This is just one busy mom's way of making bone broth/chicken stock for my family. I have stock for my soups and recipes, and the pets have it to add flavor and beneficial nutrients to their food. And we get the most out of that chicken!
If you want to become a bone broth connoisseur, you can add cartilage-rich chicken feet to your recipe. This will increase the collagen and proteinaceous elements in the bone broth that make it thick and give it that "jiggle." But not to worry, there are plenty of nutrients in the broth if you don't! And not to mention, you didn't have to drive around looking for ghastly chicken feet, and you saved money on chicken stock that you would've had to buy!
Add the above ingredients to the pot and cover by 1 inch.
Cook on high pressure for 2 hours.
Strain the bones and vegetables.
Refrigerate the broth. After refrigeration, remove any fat that rises to the top (this is not absolutely necessary as sometimes there is not a lot of fat). Use for up to 5 days and freeze the rest for several months.
Chicken feet bone broth
Chicken feet are a great source of rich stock, dense with gelatin and nutrients. You can find them at farmers’ markets and at butcher shops. Ask them to reserve them for you if possible. Most chicken feet come already prepared to cook. If not, you must remove the thin yellow papery membrane that covers them. While you are bringing water to a boil, prepare an ice bath to place them in. Place the chicken feet a few at a time into the boiling water for no more than a minute. Immediately immerse them in the ice bath. Remove the yellow membrane and cut off the talons if you prefer.
3 pounds prepared chicken feet
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Gallon water or enough to cover the feet in the pot
- Place the cleaned chicken feet into a large stock pot and cover with the water.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
- Add water as necessary to keep the feet covered.
- Skim the fat off the top as you go. Simmer for at least 8 hours or more.
- Strain the broth with a fine mesh strainer, discard the feet.
Storing and Using Bone Broth
Bone broth can be stored in Mason jars in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you make a larger batch, consider freezing it in containers or ice cube trays for easy portioning.
What can I use for bone broth for my dog?
The addition of turmeric, ginger, mushrooms, and astragalus adds a nice umami flavor while boasting some terrific health benefits. These four immune-boosting ingredients can be added to any of the above recipes with ease.
You can add the following to any bone broth recipe:
10-12 slices of Astragalus root or 2-4 tablespoons dried Astragalus root 1 inch chopped ginger
1 inch chopped turmeric 1 cup dried shiitake or reishi mushrooms (or a combination)
- Follow the instructions of any previous bone broth recipe. The dried mushrooms can be added in the last 30 minutes. Strain the bones, vegetables, and herbs out of the broth before serving.
- Reserve broth for 1 week or freeze for 4 months.
What are the best bones to use for bone broth for dogs?
Chicken feet are rich in collagen and connective tissue. If you make beef bone broth for dogs and cats, you'll want to use plenty of bones that have cartilage and connective tissues on the end of the bones. Pigs feet are also a good source of connective tissue.
Why add apple cider vinegar to bone broth for dogs?
Adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to your recipe. This will help liberate the nutrients from the bones.
How much bone broth can dogs have per day?
I regularly make my pet's food with bone broth. As long as it's not heavily salted, it is fine to give them some every day to moisten their food or stimulate their appetite.
There is no dose for bone broth for dogs or cats. The only case I would be careful of would be a dog or cat with heart disease. You would need to be mindful of the added sodium from salt. This would also be a concern for a cat with renal failure.
Which bones to use for bone broth for dogs?
Use bones that contain plenty of joints (raw poultry feet and ducks are perfect).
Can dogs have turmeric in bone broth?
You can add 1 inch of slicked fresh ginger or turmeric to the above recipes.
Safe herbs and ingredients to add:
Is bone broth with ginger and turmeric good for dogs?
Adding bone broth to your pet's food is a simple way to boost their nutrient intake. For dogs, you can moisten dry food with bone broth. For cats, as long as there is no added salt, the addition of bone broth to their food can encourage them to consume more liquids. This is especially beneficial for cats prone to urinary tract issues.
In conclusion, bone broth is a nutritious and tasty addition to your pet's diet. Whether you choose to roast a chicken or use an Instant Pot, making bone broth at home is easy, cost-effective, and a great way to enhance your pet's health.
Mar-Solís LM, Soto-Domínguez A, Rodríguez-Tovar LE, Rodríguez-Rocha H, García-García A, Aguirre-Arzola VE, Zamora-Ávila DE, Garza-Arredondo AJ, Castillo-Velázquez U. Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis. Medicina (Kaunas). 2021 Oct 20;57(11):1138. doi: 10.3390/medicina57111138. PMID: 34833355; PMCID: PMC8618064.