Bone broth has long been served as a restorative, flavorful soup for humans–but it’s also great for dogs! Whether you serve it as an accompaniment to your dog’s meal, as a meal topper or as a special treat, bone broth for dogs is inexpensive to make and easy to prepare–and your dog will love it!
Your dog will love it for its meaty flavor but you will love that bone broth is great source of protein and collagen for your dog. Made by simmering bones for many hours, bone broth is easy to make with bones you have on hand–beef, poultry, pork and more.
How Can I Serve Bone Broth to My Dog?
Bone both is very versatile:
- Serve it as a meal topper poured over your dog’s meal to encourage picky eaters, to add extra nutrition to your dog’s meal or to give your dog a special treat.
- Add a splash to your dog’s water to encourage more drinking.
- Let it gel into aspic and serve a dollop as a doggie side dish.
- Pour it into paper cups and create frozen dog treats.
- Pour it in a Kong with some of your dog’s favorite treats, and freeze it for a long-lasting activity.
- Use it as a substitute for water in homemade dog treat recipes for additional flavor and nutrition.
How Much Bone Broth Should I Give My Dog?
Like any changes to your dog’s diet, you’ll want to start slowly while adding bone broth to your dog’s diet.
The rule of thumb is an ounce of bone broth (two tablespoons) per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight–but work up to that.
Start out with just a couple of tablespoons on your dog’s food, even for larger dogs, and increase that amount once your dog is accustomed to it.
Can Dogs Drink Bone Broth?
Yes but be sure your dog also has access to fresh water along with the bone broth. And work up to allowing your dog to drink larger amounts; start out with just few tablespoons to make sure your dog doesn’t experience any tummy issues.
How Is Bone Broth Different than Broth?
Bone broth is filled with collagen and protein from the long-cooked bones while regular broth is lighter, cooked much less time and generally made using meat, not bone.
Bone broth can be used as a tasty treat for your dog, a supplement to his meal or even as a frozen treat. Lighter broth, such as homemade chicken broth, is often served to dogs who are experiencing diarrhea or a sensitive stomach.
How Is Bone Broth for Dogs Different?
You might have some great bone broth recipes you are already preparing for your two-legged family members. You can use them–but you’ll want to make some modifications.
Bone broths for dogs are made without onions, which are commonly used in most recipes for humans. Recipes for us also involve more vegetables, seasonings, blanching and roasting to create clear broths full of flavor. For your dog, you can just keep it simple!
Making Bone Broth–What You Need to Know
It only takes minutes to gather what you need to make bone broth–the time comes in the slow cooking required. The good news is that this recipe just about cooks itself!
What Kinds of Bones are Used for Bone Broth?
Well, the short answer is just about all of them!
You can use heavy bones like beef marrow bones, beef feet, oxtail and pigs’ feet–as well as lighter bones such as chicken wings, turkey necks, chicken feet or a turkey carcass.
Knuckle bones and joints are especially great to use in bone broth because they contain more gelatin.
Can I Used Cooked Bones?
Yes! Although you (repeat after me) never, ever feed your dog cooked bones due to a splintering risk, you can use cooked bones to make bone broth because you are going to discard the bones when the cooking is done.
When you enjoy a rack of ribs, ribeye steak, beef roast, T-bone or a bucket of drumsticks, save those bones in the freezer until you have enough to make bone broth. They’ll give the bone broth extra flavor and still have all the gelatinous goodness to add to the broth when cooked.
Can Dogs have Pork Bones?
If you are selecting bones for your dog to chew as a marrow bone, you do not want to give your dog pork bones. Pork bones are far more likely to splinter than heavier beef bones.
However, pork bones (cooked or raw) are great to include in your dog’s bone broth! Just like beef or chicken bones, they’ll add minerals, gelatin and flavor to the bone broth.
What Equipment Do I Need?
Our recipes below are made using a slow cooker. You can use the cooker you have–but if you are going to make this frequently, consider getting an extra large slow cooker.
If you would like to make this on the stovetop, you’ll need 8-quart stockpots.
Can I Reuse the Bones After Making Bone Broth?
Yes! While you will NEVER give the cooked bones to your dog, you can use the bones to create another round of bone broth. The French term for this is Remouillage or “re-wetting” and helps you wring all the protein out of those bones for no extra cost!
Depending on the size of the bone, you may be able to make as many as seven or eight rounds of bone broth from the same bones. Return the bones to the freezer between batches.
Each round of bone broth made from the same bones will become less gelatinous but will have lots of goodness to use in frozen dog treats or as a soupy meal topper for your dog’s dinner.
Do I Need to Blanch the Bones First?
Bone broth recipes made for people often call for blanching or a short boil of the bones to remove blood and substances that will cloud the soup. Your dog won’t mind that cooked blood one bit so we never blanch our bones first.
Do I Need to Roast the Bones First?
Again, human recipes for bone broth often call for roasting the bones first to impart extra flavor. Don’t worry–your dog will think this bone broth and aspic are plenty flavorful as they are!
Why Do These Recipes Use Vinegar?
The vinegar in bone broth helps to draw minerals from the bones and pull out the collagen from the connective tissues.
Although you can use white vinegar, apple cider vinegar is tastier to your dog and also has many health benefits. Many dog lovers add a teaspoon of ACV to their dog’s food two or three times a week to help with tear stains, skin irritations, rashes, and more.
Can I Add Vegetables to the Broth?
Yes, you can add your dog’s favorite veggies to the bone broth if you like. After cooking, you can leave the vegetables in the broth, scoop them out and add them to your dog’s meal or treats, or puree them and add them back to the bone broth. Just remember to not use onions or other ingredients your dog should never eat.
When I’m making a bone broth with small bones such as poultry bones, I don’t include any vegetables. This makes it much easier to remove the bones from the bone broth when you’re done and diminishes the risk of leaving a bone in the soup–just pour the broth through a strainer.
How Do I Store the Bone Broth?
Once you’ve separated the broth and the bones, you can refrigerate the broth. Chilling the broth will separate the layer of fat, which will rise to the top.
If your dog is on a low-fat diet, you’ll want to be sure to skim off that fat and discard.
If your dog doesn’t have any problems with the fat in the soup and you are going to reheat the broth, you can keep the fat layer as is and just reheat the broth to melt the fat back into the broth. You’ll then cool–but not chill–the broth before serving.
If you are serving the bone broth as aspic (see below), you’ll discard the fat layer.
Can I Just Buy This for My Dog?
You’ll find commercial bone broths available in the store and online–but be sure you are purchasing bone broth especially made for pets, not people. Most bone broth sold in the grocery store contains onions, salt and spices.
Bone Broth Recipe for Dogs
Making your own bone broth is inexpensive and easy–the main requirement is time. Plan on about 24 hours of cooking for this one! (And for very heavy beef bones, some cooks plan on over 48 hours of cooking time.)
And don’t forget: you can continue to use these bones to make multiple batches of stock which will begin as a jellied aspic when cooled and, as the bones cook down, will gradually become more liquid as you reach about seven or eight uses in preparing bone broth.
When I make bone broth, I add in celery and carrots–but these are optional.
Start with four or five pounds of bones–it’s your choice of the type of bones: cooked or raw, beef, pork or poultry. I like including at least one knuckle bone in the mix or a couple of pigs’ feet or beef feet but the combination is definitely up to you and what you’ve got on hand.
The recipe below is for a slow cooker but you can also make this using an eight-quart stockpot on the stove. It’s a little more difficult on the stove because you’ll need to cook the bones all day, refrigerate the pot at night and go back to cooking the next day–so I like using a slow cooker!
The exact amount of bones you’ll be cooking will depend on the size of your slow cooker and the type of bones you use but it doesn’t really matter. Just fill up the pot with bones, leaving enough room for about an inch of water over the top of the bones…then it’s time to start cooking.
Set the slow cooker to low.
After a few hours, come back and use tongs to grab the largest marrow bones and scrape out the marrow, dropping it in the bone broth. Your work is done for now.
I let mine cook all night so the bones get a good 24 hours of cooking time. When you’re done, unplug the slow cooker, take off the lid and let it begin cooling. Start removing the bones with tongs (or, if you used small bones), let it cool for a while then strain.
Once the bones are out, let the bone broth continue to cool.
You’ll start to see it gel:
Now you can continue to let the broth cool then keep some refrigerated for use in the next four or five days.
I also like to freeze some in ice trays then move them into zippered bags. These small cubes are great to defrost and add to recipes–or give your dog as a cool treat! You can even drop one in his water bowl to melt and encourage him to drink more water on hot days.
- 4-5 pounds bones (depending on size of your slow cooker)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 carrots, chopped in one-inch rounds (optional)
- 3 celery sticks, chopped (optional)
- Place all ingredients in slow cooker and top with water with one inch over meat.
- After a few hours, use tongs to carefully remove bones and, using a knife, push marrow into the soup. Return bones to pot.
- Cook on low for 24 hours.
- Cool broth and strain, using meat and vegetables to add to your dog’s meal.
- Add water back to bones to make another batch of broth or discard bones. (NEVER feed dogs cooked bones; the risk of splintering is much higher in cooked bones.)
- Skim off fat once cooled and discard, if your dog is on low-fat diet.
- Refrigerate broth or divide and freeze for later use.
How to Make Aspic for Dogs
Once your bone broth cools, it becomes aspic (unless you have been reusing the bones, then it will have difficulty jelling).
It may look like jello or jelly, but meat-derived aspic is a savory, not sweet, treat for your dog. It’s super easy–and inexpensive–to make aspic for your dog!
Since the Middle Ages, thickened meat broth has been coaxed into forming aspic from the natural gelatin found in beef, veal, pork, poultry, and even some fish.
Before modern refrigeration, it was an ingenious way to protect the dish from spoiling by sealing it off from the air. These savory jellies also made a nice presentation at meal time.
Enthusiasm for the use of aspic and gelatin in human recipes has waned but you can bet that anything that is meat-derived will appeal to canine taste buds!
Your pooches may not appreciate the elegance of an aspic dish but you’ll have fun making this traditional taste for them.
Aspic, a savory gelatin, is a time-tested way to prepare vegetable and meat ingredients.
Along with feeding aspic as a low-calorie treat, you can use the aspic in place of broth in recipes or an addition to another meal–just reheat and it will again be liquid.
Looking for more recipes? Download one of our free dog treat cookbooks!
Poultry aspic can be made using your choice of poultry–chicken or turkey or a combo. (If you have dove, duck, quail or Cornish game hen, feel free to use those, too!)
This recipe calls for all poultry but you can use the same recipe for a mix of beef, pork and poultry. Basically it’s just like making bone broth–but chilling it to a jelly state!
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), washed
- 2 large turkey wings, washed
- 2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 3 celery stalks, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- Remove giblets from chicken and reserve for another recipe.
- Place chicken and turkey in a large stockpot. Fill with just enough cold water to cover. Cook over medium heat and bring to boil.
- Skim off fat and foam. Add vegetables and again bring it to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for four hours.
- Remove from heat. Remove chicken and turkey, separating bones and skin. Use two forks to shred meat, reserving it in a container. Save bones for a future batch of broth by freezing.
- Strain broth to remove vegetables; reserve those for use in another recipe.
- Place shredded meat in the bottom of a large bowl. Top with boiled egg slices. Gently pour strained broth over mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
- To remove aspic from bowl, dip bowl in hot water and invert on a plate. Use slim spatula to separate from bowl, if needed. Refrigerate.
Cooks: Don’t miss our My Dog Says I’m a Great Cook™ cookbook with over 100 dog treat recipes from the publishers, readers and fans of DogTipper! This paperback book is available in our YUCKY PUPPY gift store!