Bone Broth: 5 Ways It Improves Your Pets' Health
Written by Sarah Griffiths, DCH and Inna Shekhtman
January 4, 2018
Updated: Sept 16, 2020
HAPPY FALL! We hope you've all been fairing ok over the past year. It's been quite the journey. It's been a year of indoor activites and the fall season means even more time inside with the weather and daylight changes.
When the weather starts to cool down, I start making bone broth at home for my dog. I tried out some recipes and enjoyed them with my pup. Did you know that simply adding bone broth to your pet’s diet has a variety of major health benefits? Broth has always been considered a healing food, but I think the impact that it can have for the health of our pets is underestimated.
The Benefits of Bone Broth
Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contain healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. Whether your pet is eating kibble or raw, bone stocks provide minerals and essential amino acids while hydrating and alkalizing the body. And making your own broth at home is easy and a small daily dose is enough to do wonders for your pet!
Digestive Tract Recovery
The digestive system or “gut” plays a paramount role in overall health. The collagen in bone broth can be very soothing and healing for the gut and reduces intestinal inflammation. There are a several reasons for the gut to become inflamed, including bacteria, viruses, allergies or an improper diet. Chronic inflammation of the gut can lead to a number of serious health conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome and can result in a variety of problems including allergy-like symptoms, food intolerance, digestive upset and more.
Bone broth provides vital nutrients that can help to reduce inflammation and support healing of the gut lining. One of the most recognized nutrients for gut repair is glutamine which is found in high concentration in a well-crafted home cooked bone broth. Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is required for building and maintaining a healthy gut and mucosal lining. Adding a small daily dose of bone broth to your pets food will make a huge difference for pets suffering from digestive concerns such as colitis, irritable bowel disease or leaky gut syndrome.
For pets eating kibble, you can soak the kibble in broth which adds valuable moisture to the food. This is particularly important for cats, who are naturally designed to get moisture from their food. They can become clinically dehydrated when fed a dry diet. Moisture is important for digestion and adding extra moisture to the dry food can improve the digestion process and may increase nutrient absorption from the food.
Improvement of Food Allergies and Skin Disease
Food allergies and itchy skin are two hallmark signs of disturbance in the gut (see above). Often times, animals suffering from itchy skin, hotspots and other allergy-like symptoms may actually be experiencing an underlying digestive disorder like leaky gut syndrome. It’s important in these cases to provide lots of digestive support. Bone broth is a low-cost, natural-source way to provide gut-healing nutrients to your pet that can help to drastically improve skin health. It’s also delicious for your pet!
If your pet is on a restricted protein diet, you can use bones that match the proteins your pet can eat to create your broth.
Bone broth contains natural sources of sulphate, chondroitin and glucosamine which are often sold as supplements for a much higher price, in a less natural form. Glucosamine and sulphate have been well studied for improvement of arthritis symptoms and joint inflammation and are suggested regularly by veterinarians for the prevention of joint degeneration. Bone broth also contains collagen which is a major component of the joint tissue.
Increased Immune Health
Bone broth keeps your pet well hydrated while providing nutrients to maintain a healthy microbiome inside the digestive system. The microbiome is an essential component of the immune system which helps us to fight harmful bacteria that may enter the body. By feeding a quality bone broth, you encourage the gut lining to become a favorable home for the healthy bacteria we want to find in our pet’s digestive tract. These bacteria are responsible for reducing yeast overgrowth, keeping harmful bacteria in check and even producing vitamins such as B complex and K.
Added moisture can also help reduce the risk of urinary crystals.
Pets that have undergone surgery or are recovering from serious illness will benefit greatly from a daily dose of bone broth.
The Best Broth Recipe
When I went in search of recipes for the best way to get the most nutritious broth, here’s are some tips I found for an amazing broth:
- Grass-fed bones contain more minerals
- Cook low and slow ‐ turn the heat up slowly and simmer on a very low setting for up to 24 hours to draw out as many nutrients out as possible
- Add apple cider vinegar ‐ with it’s low pH, apple cider vinegar acts as a solvent to remove as much calcium and other minerals as possible
- Add a small amount of healing herbs to your broth if you choose such as ashwaganda, astragalus, shitake/reishi mushrooms, turmeric, ginger and garlic which all have powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Add sea vegetables such as kelp to further increase the mineral content
- Freeze when ready ‐ freeze your broth and thaw it fresh to feed. Using ice cube trays and then popping the cubes into freezer bags is an easy way to keep your broth fresh and free of freezer burn. Remember to remove as much air from the bag as you can before storage.
- Serve warm ‐ because nothing is more comforting than warm bowl of broth after a cold rainy walk.
- 2 pounds of grass fed beef, buffalo, boar bones or other
- A splash of apple cider vinegar
- 4 liters of water
- Optional: add a small handful of medicinal herbs and/or mushrooms
- Optional: add a small handful of dried sea veggies
- Place the bones into a heavy bottom stock pot. Add the remaining ingredients, including apple cider vinegar. A splash of apple cider vinegar
- Pour in 4 liters of cold water. Gently raise the heat, and bring the water to just under a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for 6-24 hours.
- Skim off any foam that develops during the cooking process
- Remove the pot from the stove and strain it through a cheese cloth or fine strainer
- Cool the stock immediately in an ice bath; then store in a glass jar in the fridge
- Use within 3-4 days or freeze into ice cube trays
Enjoy the comfort of homemade soup with your pet this winter. Happy feeding!