Surprising Benefits of Bone Broth for Dogs

Bone broth has been getting popularity amongst the dog owners lately, with some curious claims including huge nutrients density that can assist enhance your dog’s immune system and improve joint health.  As well there were tons of articles doing “myth busting” about the benefits of the broth going so far out of the line that even claiming that bone broth doesn’t have ANY nutrients. Which is quite ridiculous.

So, we’ve tried to cut through all that noize and establish some truths about bone broth and its potential benefits for dogs.

What makes a perfect bone broth for dogs?

Before answering this question, we have to figure out what does the opposite. Some of the traditional bone broth ingredients are not suitable for your pet, and you should avoid having it in the recipe. Those include excessive seasoning (especially salt and sodium, but weird sauces with tons of ingredients also might not be great for a pup), onions and garlic.

The quality of the meat and bones is also essential, of course. Some stock is cooked with meat and bone from animals that were feed with hormones or treated with antibiotics and metabolites of those should not exist in your pup’s diet. So make sure to double check about that with the manufacturer if you are buying the ingredients to cook that bone broth yourself.

Another thing to mention, for the highest nutritional value your broth has to be cooked longer.  Longer cooking time at a lower temperature produces the healthiest version of the bone broth.

Which bone broth is the best for dogs?

As recipes vary, so can bone broth. Depending on the ingredients used, the nutritional composition and, health benefits as well can change.

For instance, Vitamin C and Calcium found bone broth are all beneficial to skin and fur. Vitamin C helps canine’s body in generating collagen, which is a necessary protein for healthy coat, claws, and skin. Bone broth is typically low in calories and high in proteins, which are also can be a valuable addition to a healthy dog’s diet.

You can use beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit, or even fish bones. Look out for high quality, preferably organic and free-range if its possible.

Can dogs have chicken broth?

As calculated the researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service 100g of homemade chicken broth has 6 kcals, 0.64g of protein, 0.21g of fats, 2mg of Cholesterol, 4mg of Calcium, 0.07mg of Iron, 18mg of Potassium. And quite a bit of sodium – 371 mg. Of course, the sodium amount can be less if you’ll make the separate broth batch for your pet without any salt or peppers added.

So far so good, judging by nutritional value composition: dish high in protein and low in fats and calories, sounds like a good idea for an occasional kibble topping.

Chicken bone broth is very easy to cook but does take hours. If you don’t feel like spending the whole day in the kitchen, you can purchase cooked chicken bone broth explicitly designed for dogs. After a bit of research on Amazon, we’ve found this product by The Honest Kitchen.

Grain-free, made of few high-quality all natural ingredients. Has 36 kcals per serving (100ml) and 6% of proteins. You can pour a bit on top of your pup’s regular kibbles to make that flavors pop and boost the protein content in pet’s diet (even if he or she is trying to lose weight!).

Can dogs have turkey bones broth?

As found the researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service 100g of homemade turkey bone broth cooked with veggies and spices has 48 kcals, 0.85g of protein, 4.17g of fats. And quite a bit of sodium – 259 mg. The latter can be easily pushed down by making the separate batch of the broth for your pup and skipping the seasoning. But overall it’s a less fatty and lighter version of reach in protein dish. And it’s probably, our favorite option from all the bone broth variations we’ve studied.

You can cook it yourself or purchase one of the available options. We like the product from Solid Gold – this Turkey bone broth dog food topper.

It has 85 kcals per cup (240 ml), 3% of protein, 1% of fiber, 0.1% of fat. It’s rich in naturally occurring collagen as well as vitamins and minerals for your pup’s wellness and even the pickiest eaters tend to like it.  

How about beef broth for dogs?

As calculated the researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service 100g of beef bone broth with a range of veggies and spices has 8 kcals, 1.22g of protein, 0.41g of fats. 0mg of Calcium, 0.0mg of Iron, 0mg of Vitamin C. And quite a bit of sodium – 347 mg. Again you can decrease the amount of sodium by adjusting the recipe for your pup a little bit and avoiding those salt and pepper.

If you are curious about ready options we found one we liked on Amazon – it’s by Castor & Pollux.

It has only 24 kcals per 250ml of product, 1% of protein and 0.5% of fats. Made of grass-fed beef, which is amazing, all natural and, as reported by buyers, often a big hit amongst dogs.

Is bone broth good for dogs: potential benefits for canines

While some go ahead and bust the broth without any good reasons or facts, we were trying to inherit more science-backed approach. Took some time to dig out all the related researches but here’s what we’ve found:

Bone broth – good for bones…

Because low dietary calcium consumption may expedite bone loss, it often advised increasing dietary intake of Calcium. However, some pups may not tolerate traditional calcium sources such as dairy for instance. In those cases, bone broth can be a healthy alternative.

…but not so good for neutrophil chemotaxis

Chicken soup has long been viewed as a treatment for upper respiratory tract diseases. This study also suggests that chicken broth may contain several elements with useful therapeutic activity. A mild anti-inflammatory influence could be one mechanism by which the soup could relieve symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.

Clears nasal passages…

Chicken broth promotes clearing nasal passages. A small study of six men and nine women from 1978 discovered that drinking hot chicken soup enhanced the stream of mucus significantly better than drinking water – both cold or hot.

…and may reduce inflammation

Depending on the recipe you use the bone broth maybe an amazing source of glycine, collagen, and glucosamine that are known and proven to reduce various sorts of inflammations, joint pain, etc.

And even though no researches were exploring the precise influence of glucosamine in bone broth to dogs, it’s still most likely to affect pups health positively. You can read more about it in our guide exploring the benefits of glucosamine for dogs.

Might be good for digestion  

Bone broth potentially might also be helpful for your dog’s digestive system. Metabolic function in humans might suffer due to lack of glycine. The same suggestion can be extrapolated to our dogs. Bone broth is loaded with glycine. Consequently, it might help to support a healthy metabolism. We wrote about the benefits of gelatin for pups in this guide in case you want to learn more about it.

Low-fat low-cal source of protein

At the very least, as pointed by Caitlin VanDreason, a dietitian from Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance,  bone broth has at least one thing going for it—it’s a relatively good source of protein, containing 6 to 12 grams a cup.  

And protein is required to create new skin cells, build muscles, grow hair, and more. It also helps in producing some of the essential body chemicals, enzymes and hormones for maintaining the healthy bodily functions.

Potential dangers of bone broth for dogs

I LOVE dogs. But I also want to be healthy and live longer as a human being. So I am always on the hunt for some science-backed data about the things I eat. Including the broth. And recently, my life has completely changed after I’ve read “How not to Die”.  The author, Dr Michael Greger, was once inspired to become a doctor (and write this book) when he observed his grandma going from the wheelchair and “two weeks left to live” verdict to 30 years of a healthy life after she took an experimental treatment course the main focus of which was a specific diet.

So Greger was driven to dedicate his life to the research of the best foods we can eat to prevent and reverse the most common (and deadly) diseases.

Cause, unfortunately, there’s not much truth most of the doctors will say, as their wealth sometimes heavily depends on the sales of a particular drug or the number of billable hours. And healthy people don’t need drugs.

Anyways, Greger also launched this website called Nutrition Facts, where he put together a bunch of researches about various types of food. And of course, I ran a quick search on it in attempts of figuring out if the bone broth was any danger.

There was one old research  from 2013 putting some question marks on the bone broth. It was claiming the there’s a risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets. However, later in 2017, it was  disproved and stated that the dangers that are correlated with the ingestion of heavy metals in broths are insignificant because the levels were very very low.

So there’s no severe danger of feeding bone broth to your dog as long as it’s prepared in a dog-appropriate manner (good quality food, no seasoning, no potentially toxic ingredients) and served in moderation.

Best homemade bone broth recipe for dogs

Here’s the one we liked:

  • Load a crock pot with beef bones and jointed bones (e.g., chicken legs). And, if possible, make sure that those were free-range animals once alive.
  • Fill the pot with filtered water, covering the bones by 2-3 inches.
  • Add in a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Cover with the lid and leave it cooking on the lowest temperature for 20-24 hours.
  • When done,  separate from the bones and  Definitely don’t feed them to your pup as those can splinter and hurt the dog badly.
  • Put the pot in the fridge and allow it to chill for 2-3 hours.
  • After that, remove the top layer of fat With a large spoon. The remaining jelly-like broth can be divided into smaller portions and stored in the fridge for the following 3 days.

You can add a bit to your pet’s regular food as it is an excellent health supplement.  

Also, you can freeze it in an ice tray and serve cold broth cubes as an occasional treat.  Some would store it for up to a year, but we’d say keep it for up to three months to be on a side.


Credits: thanks for the photo to Canva.