5 reasons broth is so healthy for dogs

41 CommentsTuesday, 6 February 2018  |  Kate

This is a rich, healthy broth you can make using chicken, lamb, beef or pork bones. The result is an unctuous, nutritious, and incredibly cheap way of getting a lot of nutrition into your dog or cat in an easily digestible form. I use chicken in this example but you can also use beef, lamb, game and pork bones. Use this broth recipe as a way of:

Keeping joints supple and pain free

Meat carcasses are full of glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid and lots of collagen. Cooking bones for a long time means these nutrients are transferred into the broth for your dog to absorb and use in their own joints, cartilage and ligaments. A free, bioavailable joint supplement, if you will, without additives.

Detoxing your dog

Broth contains glycine, a simple amino acid that is great for detoxing the liver and kidneys. If you think how much pollution our dogs are exposed to: spot on treatments; antibiotics; steroids; long term medication; household cleaning products; car exhaust fumes; inferior food ingredients – the liver and kidneys have to mop up all these toxins. Glycine helps protect both organs by pitching in with the clean up.

Healing a leaky gut

Our guts are lined with miniscule holes, which allow the nutrients from the food you eat to pass from the gut into the body. A high carbohydrate diet and stress are just two of the ways these holes increase in size. Bigger holes means things that shouldn’t pass into the body now can. This causes an inflammatory response known as leaky gut. Symptoms of a leaky gut can be wind, diarrhoea, fatigue, aching joints and food allergies. The gelatine in the broth blocks or narrows these holes. The aforementioned glycine also soothes an inflamed gut. Just so you know.

Getting medicine and supplements into them

I guarantee this broth is irresistible to everyone. It’s deeply savoury and will entice picky eaters; those on long or short-term medication, or supplements. I freeze broth in ice cube trays or small freezer bags. It’s easy to defrost quickly then just pour it over food or serve on the side; warm or cold but never hot. If I'm cooking up meat or veg for the dog and cat I will add some of the frozen cubes to the pot.

Warming up and cooling down

My lot get broth in the winter when it’s cold, added to food. Equally, on a hot day when they’re lounging in the garden and I can’t get them to be sensible by lying in the shade I put some of the frozen broth cubes in a dish for them to lick which in turn cools them down. You can pour the broth into a Kong or other stuff-able treat toy. Or use a plastic food container to make a frozen broth block; add treats or a toy to it then leave them to work at releasing the prize from the broth’s clutches.

The recipe

I’m using chicken here but you can easily substitute chicken with pork, lamb, beef and game bones. You’ll never waste a roast bone again.


  • A whole medium chicken carcass
  • A chicken carcass or the bones left over from a tray of chicken pieces
  • Water to cover
  • The juice of one lemon, or 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, whatever you have to hand. (The citric acid encourages the bones, ligaments and tendons to ante up.)


If you’re using a whole chicken place it in a slow cooker, cover with water, and the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Simmer in the slow cooker for four hours, then remove the chicken and turn the slow cooker down to low. Put the lid back on and let the juices continue cooking.

When the chicken is cool enough, remove all the skin and meat. Reserve the meat for the dog or cat, especially if they’re not well because this will be very digestible meat by now. If you’re using chicken bones left over from a roast, this is your starting point. Make sure to discard any part of the carcass you’ve seasoned with salt and pepper first, especially the skin.

Return or add the carcass to the slow cooker and turn it down to low. Add the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, put the lid back on, and leave it to cook for at least 24 hours. I do mine at the weekend where I can keep an eye on it.

When it’s done, discard the large bones and strain the liquid to remove any tiny bones which may be lurking. You can also liquidise it, just to be sure, then allow to cool. Remove any fat from the surface and chuck it in the bin.

You should be left with a gloopy, gelatinous pot of gold, which smells more like chicken than any chicken you’ve ever come across in your entire life. This broth is delicious and full of highly available and digestible nutrition. Syphon some off for your own chicken soup base, keep some in the fridge for the next few days and freeze the rest.

Ann Altermann
Thursday, 28 May 2015  |  12:40

Thank you for this. I had no idea how good chicken broth really is. I plan to make this over the weekend.

Christine Eldridge
Thursday, 28 May 2015  |  13:03

Great Kate,thanks. Love the picture Chris

Thursday, 28 May 2015  |  13:38

When you speak of broth I would call that stock, broth in Scotland is a soup made out of Barley, peas, rice, it also has the stock and meat/chicken put through it,so all I do is boil a chicken add lemon no salt, strain it and freeze it.😉

Thursday, 28 May 2015  |  14:27

Thanks, Christine. I stand corrected. Still tastes great though.

Carol Cheshire
Friday, 29 May 2015  |  0:44

How can you make this if you haven't got a slow cooker?

Friday, 29 May 2015  |  6:32

I would use a heavy bottomed pan and do it on the hob on very low, or put it in the oven on the lowest heat. It's so cheap to make though and a slow cooker can be bought for a tenner on Ebay, or requested on Freecycle I'd try that too.

Sheila Allsop
Friday, 29 May 2015  |  19:41

Going to try this on the weekend as I have a west Highland terrier with an iffy tummy watch this space

Friday, 4 December 2015  |  12:08

Hi Sheila

How did it go?

Marianne Mennel
Tuesday, 16 June 2015  |  10:34

got a slow cooker from my sister for my birthday in May but haven't used it yet. This sounds like an ideal first attempt and I'm sure my 5 Shiddies will love the result!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015  |  20:40


Eileen Brownwright
Friday, 27 November 2015  |  16:04

Sounds lovely, I already cook from scratch for my two so will definitely be trying this, thanks.

Louise Collins
Wednesday, 30 December 2015  |  19:40

Kate - mine is bubbling away - day 2 now - as you suggested. I used two big chicken legs as that is what I had, I took the meat off last night - it just fell off - and he loved it. Will leave it on low till tomorrow. On another blog (which I have lost the link for) it gives a very similar recipe but recommends blending in the bones at the end of it! What do you recommend I do?

Monday, 4 January 2016  |  9:37

Louise, how did it turn out?

I only say to blend the end result after you've sieved it if you think there may be tiny bones let behind. Otherwise don't bother.


Doreen Shaddick
Friday, 8 January 2016  |  23:52

Just made this for Harvey,it's been on for about 10 hours and his running about the house sniffing the air,he had some of the chicken today for dinner and one in the fridge for tomorrow and one pot in the freezer, so not bad from one chicken . Let you know now the broth comes out tomorrow. Thank you Kate love Harvey and Mummy 🐶👵

Monday, 11 January 2016  |  8:49

Hello Doreen and Harvey

So glad you liked it and it's working out. I find Lidl and Morrisons good for British chicken at reasonable prices. Try them.


Ted...A Worried Pet Parent
Wednesday, 27 April 2016  |  7:09

Is a broth/water mix good for a permanent term for your dog? My 7 year old weimeriner isn't touching regular water much anymore. Is it ok to have him drink this instead? Thanks!!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016  |  8:33

Hi Ted

Well you won't have any salt in there so you could give it watered down I suppose and see how it goes. I'd find out why they're not drinking at the vets though too.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017  |  19:36

I recently purchased bone broth tea from bustersbrew.net and my dogs really love it. I have to take it away from them or they'll keep drinking it. I used to make the broth myself, but it was way too much work.

Sharon a Reid
Wednesday, 25 October 2017  |  19:43

Thanks for sharing. I have a beautiful little cooker named Molly. Have been giving her bone broth made from organic chicken,I add carrot and celery to my pot. Actually I used my pressure cooker this last time and cooked it for about 1hr 30min. Under pressure. Came out great!

Monday, 30 October 2017  |  9:38

Brilliant, Sharon.

Save some for yourself too.


Monday, 15 January 2018  |  13:43

Can you put veg in aswell?

Wednesday, 17 January 2018  |  10:48

Hi Jeni

Yes you can. Avoid onions, leeks and mushrooms as they can be poisonous to dogs but carrots, broccoli stalks, celery, they're all good. Avoid salt and pepper too.


Tuesday, 23 January 2018  |  14:11

I made bone broth for myself, but put it on my dogs food to entice him to eat. He has not been eating much since his dog mate passed away. He has very itchy skin and nothing seemed to work. After a week of bone broth his skin is not longer itchty. Miracle!!!!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018  |  11:31

Brilliant! It's really so easy to make and so good for all of us. There's a reason granny's chicken soup was the go to meal when we were sick as kids.

Emma Bell
Saturday, 10 February 2018  |  14:19

How much would you recommend to feed at a time and is it something you can feed every day? I have a jack Russell with cruciate diease in both knees and a patterdale with a sensitive tummy and allergies to mites, molds and grass. So hoping this can maybe be something that will help her itchy skin and his mobility. Been to the butchers this morning so afternoon cooking something tasty for them. Thanks

Tuesday, 13 February 2018  |  10:22

Hi Emma

As long as you skim the fat off the top I should think it's fine every day. Should really help with all over health and the joints too. You could also consider putting YuMove from My Itchy Dog on to your jack russell's food every day. It's the UK's best selling joint supplement and it really works.

Annie Doig
Tuesday, 6 March 2018  |  1:52

This article was just the thing I needed to get me off my aXX and make my 5lb poodle what I know he needs...bone broth!! He has a delicate stomach & I think I'm going to have to feed him chix, rice & oatmeal w/veggies, and a good quality vitamin. With canned food he has gastric reflux, regurgitates his food & has awful breath. He's very healthy & happy as long as I 'watch' his diet

Tammy Thompson
Sunday, 15 July 2018  |  17:18

I use bone broth me myself. Never thought of the benefits for my new little dog. Thank you! I have a bone in the crock pot right now.

Jannice Greenway
Monday, 12 November 2018  |  15:27

Why do you remove the fat? I was always told that extra fat was good in winter for outside dogs.

Monday, 12 November 2018  |  17:23

It depends on your dog. If you have an inside dog who doesn't move a lot in winter you need to watch their weight. Or if they don't need to put any on, likewise.

If you have an outside dog and you live in a cold climate then it's up to you. They may well need it.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019  |  15:48

I boil chicken carcass in pressure cooker. Bones become soft. Doggies love it, although I donít give them the bones.

Shirley Taylor
Wednesday, 30 January 2019  |  8:17

Finding the recipe a bit confusing - presumably if using whole chicken then put carcass back in juices to cook for another 24 hours or if using carcass from roast chicken cover with water with lemon juice etc and cook for 24 hours? Recipe reads as though roast chicken carcass should be added to the pot containing the juices from the whole chicken - which you wouldn't have if using just the roast chicken bones. sorry to be a bit thick but I want to get it right

Wednesday, 30 January 2019  |  9:21

Hi Shirley

I need to have a look at the article to see what needs changing.

Put the roast chicken, or a fresh chicken, carcass in a stock pot or pan covered with water. Add the apple cider vinegar or lemon then slow cook for 24 hours. Allow to cool, sieve it well, remove any tiny bones and serve.

Shirley Taylor
Wednesday, 30 January 2019  |  11:25

Thank you so much for that Kate, my ageing brain is much clearer now!

Are you the same Kate who wrote an article advocating adding fresh veg to a doggy dinner? If so, thank you again, my staffie x greyhound has cooked and chopped veg every day with his meat (very lean meat cooked in water in microwave and the juices used as "gravy") Kee loves it and is healthy enough to be a doggy blood donor, having already helped one poorly dog.

Friday, 9 August 2019  |  16:24

Can I buy this from a pet store. Thank you

Wednesday, 30 January 2019  |  11:27

Thanks, Shirley

Yes, that's me. If you're on Facebook I do a regular slot every Weds at 8.00pm (though you can watch any time after it's finished).

Tomorrow I'm doing yeast in the gut and how to make it better with real food.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019  |  14:58

Question about what carcass is defined as... so do I buy a whole chicken with the meat on it and that is defined as the carcass for the recipe or are you referring to a chicken that has had the meat removed as the carcass?? In other words do I put a whole chicken in the pot with meat attached and then take off all the meat and then put those bones back in the pot for the 24 hours. Sorry to sound stupid but I have a 4 lb Chihuahua with kidney disease and he is not eating well and I was hoping that some homemade stock without salts etc.. might entice him however I always have to focus on the protein and amount of phosphorous... but eating is a necessity at this point.

Friday, 3 May 2019  |  13:45

Hi Tina

It can be either. Start from the beginning of the recipe where it gives instruction on what to do if you're using a whole chicken with meat, if that's what you want to use. Alternatively go to the third paragraph of the method where it explains your starting point if you're using leftover bones.

Jeanine Eastham
Friday, 7 June 2019  |  16:12

Thank you so much. My Lab is on a chicken and rice diet after surgery. I have been keeping the broth from cooking chicken breasts, and reducing it a bit and then giving it to her to drink. (She's been off water, probably because of the stupid cone she has to wear to keep her away from her stitches, but nothing with keep her away from chicken broth)! However, will be stocking bone broth in the freezer from now on!

Tracy Seetoh
Tuesday, 18 June 2019  |  13:40

Can i boil fish bones n skin for my 3 french bull dogs cos skin itchy. Am afraid chicken carcass can aggreviate itch.

Thursday, 20 June 2019  |  9:53

Hi Tracy

Yes, you can add fish heads too if you like just make sure you strain it well for tiny bones.