Bone broth has long been a staple of the human diet. And now, it's a more common staple among pets, too. Not only does it boast plenty of health benefits for cats and dogs, but it also makes for a great food topper for picky pets.
"Bone broth is a tasty source of hydration and many excellent vitamins, minerals and beneficial compounds that can be of great benefit to pets," says Dr. Stephanie Howe, DVM, a pet health representative at Chewy.
Here are a few reasons why bone broth is an excellent ingredient in your pet’s food.
Remember, pet parents looking to incorporate new foods in their dog’s diet should consult with their veterinarian beforehand.
But First, What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a clear, silky soup made from animal bones (including chicken, turkey, beef and more) and connective tissue. These bones typically simmer in water, alongside a medley of veggies and herbs, for a few hours. The longer the bones simmer, the more collagen is extracted—and collagen promotes skin, coat and joint health.
The Health Benefits of Bone Broth for Pets
Nothing beats putting your pet’s food bowl down and seeing that tail wag or hearing sweet purrs of appreciation. The great thing about broth is that it increases palatability and can excite even the most discerning of eaters.
It's also a "tasty source of hydration,” adds Dr. Stephanie Howe, DVM, a pet health representative at Chewy. It’s a great way for picky eaters or pets dealing with mild digestive upset to increase their water intake.
Other benefits of this superfood include:
- Improves skin and coat health with gelatin and protein collagen
- Promotes joint health through glucosamine, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin compounds
- Supports liver and lung health via glycine supplementation
- Improves gut health by soothing inflammation and irritation in the digestive system, thanks to its amino acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties
Homemade Bone Broth Recipe for Pets
Earlier, we discussed briefly what bone broth is. But what we didn't mention is how easy it is to make for your pet.
To make a homemade bone broth, you'll need just a few simple vet-approved, pet-safe ingredients, including:
- the animal bones, of course (we like to use chicken backs, wings, drumsticks or thighs)
- veggies, like carrots and celery stalks
- herbs, like fresh thyme
Let the ingredients simmer in an Instant Pot, stock pot or slow cooker; let it cool, and remove the solidified fat; then serve.
Never add salt, onion and garlic to the bone broth, as those are all toxic to pets. Garlic and onion, in particular, "can lead to anemia, lethargy, vomiting, red or brown urine and loss of appetite among other symptoms" when consumed by dogs and cats, Dr. Howe says.
Also, cooked bones can be very harmful if swallowed by a pet, "so it is vital to ensure that there are no bones left in the broth when serving it to your pet," Dr. Howe says.
See our vet-reviewed, vet-approved bone broth recipe for pets here.
How Much Bone Broth Can I Serve My Pet?
A serving size of bone broth is approximately 2 tbsp per 20 pounds of body weight.
You can serve it as a food topper, a warm drink or a frozen treat (pour the broth into ice cube trays and serve one cube a day).
"It is important to note that bone broth does not provide many calories, so it should be served as part of a well-balanced or veterinarian recommended diet," Dr. Howe says, adding that bone broth is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding.
"If your pet is ill, follow your veterinarian’s recommendation for administration."
Use Your Homemade Bone Broth In These Pet-Friendly Recipes: