Sunday, 20 October 2013

Homemade Broth for Dogs, Cats - Bone, Chicken, Meat or Vegetable Broth

Homemade bone broth for dogs and cats

In this Article:
1.0 Health Benefits of Bone Broth for your Dog and Cat
      1.1 Daily Digestive Health
      1.2 Treatment of Arthritis and Cancer
      1.3 Restorative Digestive Health
      1.3 Recovery From Injury or Poor Appetite
      1.4 Renal (Kidney) Health 
      1.5 Oral Health
2.0 Recipe for Bone Broth (poultry, small pray or ruminant broth)
3.0 Recipe for Bone Broth Smoothie 

My Cat 'Tibby' with my pup Robbie
1.0 Health Benefits of Bone Broth for your Dog and Cat

My Pomeranian' Zoey', my GSD x Malamute 'Jordie',
my Sheltie x Pomeranian 'Stevie and my Chihuahua 'Carmen'
Increased moisture intake is of great benefit to your companion animal’s overall health.  Bone broth can help maintain your dog and cat's short and long-term health and well being.

Dry food (kibble, and other highly processed food products) is formulated in direct contradiction to a dog and cat’s species appropriate diet. If your dog or cat is currently on a dry food diet I encourage you to transition your dog and cat to a species appropriate diet (raw diet or gently cooked and fresh food diet).

1.1 Daily Digestive Health

During the digestive process dry food actually steals moisture from the digestive system and can cause clinical dehydration – particularly in dogs and cats that drink very little water or other fluids directly before or just after their meal. 

1.2 Prevention, Treatment of Arthritis, Cancer

Bone broth made from organic grass fed animal bones is a good source of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) a form of naturally occurring sulfur that is present in all vertebrates. Dogs with cancer (humans as well) are often found to be deficient in sulfur. Sulfur performs multiple actions that make it difficult for cancer and inflammation to spread.

  • MSM protects against oxidative stress by supporting the bodies ability to produce glutathione.
  • Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants produced naturally by the body
  • Glutathione cannot be produced without sulfur
  • MSM is used to help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis
Nutrient Absorption, Detoxification, Oxygenation
  • Sulfur improves cell-wall permeability which supports the movement of:
    • Nutrients into cells
    • The transfer of waste product and toxins out of cell
    • Sulfur helps to oxygenate the blood

Cancer Inhibitor
  • Strengthens collagen an amino acid that gives strength to many structures in the body (e.g. bone, connective tissue, skeletal muscles, etc.);
    • Collagen:
      • Helps to hamper the spread of cancer and may even turn malignant tumors into benign tumors
      • Helps to repair the damage from chemotherapy.
  • Helps to re-balance the body's pH level from acidic to alkaline - cancer and other diseases thrive in an acidic environment
  • Dogs, cats and people that are suffering from cancer have an acidified body pH level
1.3 For Restorative Digestive Health 
If your dog or cat has just experienced a bout of diarrhea and you have fasted him/her for a day  and you want to start re-introducing food to his/her diet - you can start by offering your dog or cat a bowl of  bone broth. Bone broth when made properly is rich in nutrients and easy on the digestive system.

Leaky-Gut Syndrome
If your dog or cat has leaky-gut syndrome bone broth can help with cell repair. Bone broth contains substances that are important for intestinal cell health - these substances include:
- Collagen
- Gelatin
- Glycine
- Proline

1.4 For Recovery From Injury or a Poor Appetite

If your dog or cat has just had surgery or a oral injury, is older and has a suppressed appetite   bone broth can be added to the daily diet to help deliver needed nutrients.

1.5 For Renal (Kidney) Health kidneys and ureters, bladder and urethra

Bone broth supports renal health. The kidney, bladder and liver rely in the presence of moisture to flush unwanted substances out of the body – excess minerals, toxins etc. When moisture is in short supply the organs cannot function efficiently, resulting in a wide range of inflammatory issues, for example:

1.6 Oral Health

Although dry food is promoted as being great for oral health – dry food can actually promote dental problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. In the absence of moisture particles of food remain on the dog’s or cat’s teeth. With insufficient moisture to flush the particles away – bacteria forms, then plaque. You inadvertently create dental issues for your companion animal. It is important to note that most commercial dental bones contain species inappropriate ingredients, toxins and carcinogens.

You can further increase the dental health benefit by adding Ceylon cinnamon as noted further below. 

By hydrating your companion animal’s food you support dental, digestive and eliminatory health. 
Pastured, Free Range v.s Factory Farm Sourced
Animals (e.g. chicken, cows, ducks, pigs, turkeys) raised in *concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) animals spend their short life, living in miserable conditions. CAFO **animals are fed a toxic, species inappropriate diet. Many of these toxins (e.g. lead and other heavy metals, drug residue) remain in the animal's flesh and bones after slaughter.  I recommend broth and bone broth not be made with factory farm sourced animal flesh and bones.

If you want to make health supporting bone broth use bones sourced from pastured, free-range or organic pasture, free range.  The second best choice is bones sourced from organic raised animals.
Learn more here, about intensively farmed animals, how animal protein, fat and bones sourced from these animals can adversely effect the health of your dog and cat. 
* also known as: factory farms, industrial farms 
** also known as: factory farm-raised,  intensively farmed

2.0 Bone Broth Recipe
    For Dogs and Cats
  • This recipe can be made with a stock pot and simmered on a stove burner or with a crock pot (slow cooker).
  • The recipe below uses chicken - you can also use other poultry/fowl, and/or marrow and soup bones from:
    • Beef
    • Bison
    • Goat
    • Lamb
    • Pork
    • Venison
    • etc.
  • If you are using a red meat bone rather than poultry extend the simmering time period from 24 hours to 36 hours.
  • To avoid heavy metal contamination, maximize the nutritional value and ensure healing qualities of the broth and use bones/meat from grass-fed, pastured animals.
Recipe Part One
  • Use a whole or half chicken complete with bones, placed in a pot of water
  • Add:
    • For every gallon of water in the pot add
        • The natural acids in the ACV and lemon help to break down the bones which releases the healthful minerals from the bones into the broth as it cooks
    • The following herbs (optional):
      • ½ tbs of dry or fresh finely chopped sage
      • ½ tbs of dry or fresh finely chopped basil
      • ½ tbs of dry or fresh finely chopped rosemary
    • You can toss in a few carrots and or parsnips and celery if you want to
  • Simmer on a low heat
  • When chicken starts to fall off of bones
    • Remove all of the meat and carrots/parsnips from the pot
    • Leave the herbs in the liquid
    • Leave the fat in the liquid – do not skim it off
    • Leave the skin in the liquid
  • Allow the meat and (veggies) to cool then
  • You can offer some of the meat (and veggies if you like) to your dog or cat or you can put it in containers and store in the refrigerator to add to his.her food later
Recipe Part Two
  • Once the meat and vegetables have all been removed
  • Add some additional water as some will have evaporated during simmering and some will have been removed with the meat
  • Add another tsp of ACV or fresh lemon juice
  • Then put the broth back into the stock pot or crock pot:
    • If you are making a poultry based broth  allow to simmer for 24 hours
    • If you are making a red meat based broth allow to simmer for 36 hours
  • After simmering for 24 hour (or 36 hours) strain the liquid (a mesh strainer works well) so that you remove all of the bits of bone that have not dissolved into the liquid
  • Discard the undissolved matter and pour the cooled broth into glass jars for storage in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or for storage in the freezer

Boost Oral Health and Digestive Benefits

Sprinkle a little (i.e. 1/4 tsp) Ceylon Cinnamon into the glass bottle before you pour the bone broth in. Ceylon Cinnamon helps dissolve food particles and aids with the digestion of food.  You can read more about the use of cinnamon as a dental care aid in this article.
Broth Serving Suggestions
Broth can be served 1x to 3x per day.
If you are fasting your dog, give broth during the fasting period.
X-Small Dogs and Cats - 1 tbs to 1/8 cup
Small Dogs and Cats – 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup
Medium size dogs – ¼ cup to 1/2 cup
Large dogs – 1/2 to 1 cup
X-Large dogs - 1 cup to 2 cups 
If you prefer to make short cooked broth you'll find a recipe here.
3.0 Recipe for Smoothie
Green Leafy Smoothie as a Topping on Food

  • To select the vegetables that you would like to use see the list of safe vegetables provided in this article
  • Chop the greens either by hand or in a food processor and mix a little into your dog's or cat's food, or;
  • You can toss the greens into a blender with some broth and make a smoothie - store in the refrigerator for up to three days and just add to your dog's food once a day
    • X-Small Dogs and Cats - 1 tbs
    • Small Dogs and Cats – 1/8 cup
    • Medium size dogs – ¼ cup
    • Large dogs – 1/3 to ½ cup

Fruit Smoothie as a Topping on Food

If you want to give your dog fresh or frozen fruit in a nutrient rich smoothie.
  • To select the fruit that you would like to use see the list of safe vegetables provided in this article
  • Toss the fruit into a blender with some kefir or yogurt or use homemade chicken broth to make a smoothie - store in the refrigerator for up to three days and just add to your dog's or cat's food once a day.
    • X-Small Dogs and Cats - 1 tbs
    • Small Dogs and Cats – 1/8 cup
    • Medium size dogs – ¼ cup
    • Large dogs – 1/3 to ½ cup

5.0 Holistic Support

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld



  1. This is great Karen thank you! My kid goes crazy over this stuff and it's very nutritious! I'm trying to slowly transition him to your raw food recipe so I'll use this as a topper!!

  2. Question... When pulling the chicken from the bone broth do you also remove the bone or leave the bone to simmer for 24 hours as well? Also, is the recommended "dose" the same as the 2.0 broth? Looking forward to getting my pups on track. Thanks!

  3. Leave bones in, dosage is the same.

  4. When it cools the broth has a hard white substance on the top do you use this?

    1. If you are using organic or pasture-raised ABX, growth hormone-free sourced meat - yes. If you are using large factory farm (CAFO) sourced meat - no.

  5. Just curious if 18/10 stainless steel is a good choice for a pot. Love your site and anxious to do what's right. Thank you.

  6. Do I skim the fat off the top of the chicken broth? I'm using organic chicken. Love your site. Want to make a healthy broth. Thank you.

    1. If you are using factory farm chicken skim the fat off. If you are using non-GMO fed free range chicken don't skim the fat off.

  7. Hi Karen, there's no mention of lead found in bone broth, I have human resources, but nothing about it in bone broth for dogs

    1. See the section in the bone broth article titled "Pastured, Free Range v.s. Factory Farm" and as well my article on factory farm rasied animals:


Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats