“He was like a dog with a bone.” This saying, and many others like it, demonstrates how closely dogs are associated with bones in the human imagination. For good reason: dogs love bones, and bones are full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional elements dogs require to survive and thrive.
Unfortunately, many bones are not safe for canine consumption. Dogs should never be given any kind of cooked bones, as they can splinter into small pieces, creating the risk of choking, bowel obstructions, and tears to the esophagus. And some bones, including beef and poultry bones, shouldn’t be given to dogs at all, as they pose similar hazards even when raw.
There is a convenient, simple way for your pet to obtain all of the health benefits of bones without risking injury or illness: bone broth. This simple, wholesome broth has recently regained popularity for both people and their pets, for a variety of reasons.
A tried-and-true treat
Across the world, people have been making bone broth in their kitchens for generations, both as a source of nutrition, and as a home remedy. Chicken-soup, that time-honored cure-all for colds, has a bone broth base, when prepared in a classic way.
“Bone Broth has many naturally occurring nutrients that are known to be beneficial for humans, and they're just as beneficial for our dogs,” says Kim Hehir, President of Brutus Broth, a company dedicated to the production of healthful bone broth for pets. “Our co-founder Sue had a rescue dog named Brutus. He was 135 lbs and despite health problems, he led a very active life and lived to be 13.5 years old. Over the course of his life, so many people would ask what the secret was, and the answer was always ‘love + Grandma's bone broth.’ We set out to take that same pet-safe recipe to market, and that’s how Brutus Broth began.”
Packs a nutritional punch
Simmered bones produce gelatin, which helps boost collagen levels. Higher collagen can help prevent leaky gut syndrome and support joint flexibility and mobility. Amino acids in bone broth help to lower inflammation, and nutrients in bone broth, including phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, D, and K, help to build strong bones, support skin health, and boost the immune system.
Naturally removes toxins
“Many people don’t know that dogs are exposed to many toxins in their everyday lives,” says Hehir. “Everything from running through grass that has been treated with pesticides or fertilizers, lying on fire-retardant carpets, or even taking flea, tick and heartworm medications puts them at risk for a buildup of dangerous toxins. The amino acids in bone broth support the liver in naturally flushing these toxins out of a dog’s system.”
Adds flair and flavor
The benefits of bone broth go beyond health. Bone broth adds moisture to dry food and makes it more appetizing, which can be helpful for picky eaters and dogs who have trouble chewing. It also supports hydration, which is especially important for highly active dogs and those who spend a lot of time outdoors in warm weather.
Simple and convenient
Serving bone broth is as simple as opening a carton and pouring it on whatever you already feed your dog. You can even travel with it – Brutus Broth offers single-serve pouches of bone-broth powder that can easily be stored when you’re on the go, and easily mixed with water when you’re ready to serve.
“The pet product landscape is full of so many products,” says Hehir. “It can be overwhelming for pet parents. When it comes to bone broth, some of the most important things to look for include all-natural ingredients, human-grade qualification, low sodium levels, and shelf stability. It is also important to make sure your broth is pet-safe. For example, many human broths contain ingredients like onions and/or garlic that can be harmful to dogs.”
Some pet health products don’t live up to their promise, or come and go as fads change. But it looks like Grandma’s wisdom prevails. Bone broth is a nutritional win, a palate-pleaser, and a safe way for dogs to enjoy one of their favorite treats.
Photo Credit: istock/chendongshan