Monday, 6 August 2018

Bone broth for a raw-fed dog

I received a yummy-looking recipe from DogsNaturally magazine recently and decided to make it - bone broth. I hastened down to the local raw-food/canine naturopath to buy some bones.

I shouldn't have been surprised when she said she doesn't bother making bone broth. As she says, it's unlikely that dogs in the wild would be boiling up a batch of broth.

But I wanted to try it.

Fortunately, I  was wise enough to cook it out of the house. I thought of doing it on the back patio, but the thought that Penny might sniff around the slow-cooker and perhaps scald herself was worrisome, so I did it in the glasshouse at the bottom of the garden. The reason for going outdoors was the mention of a bad smell.

Bad smell... Wow! Yes! Disgusting to me. But Penny thought it was interesting, as the slow cooker operated over the next two-and-a-half days. Yep, I decided to give it a nice long cook.

So, after cooking it up, I put it into the fridge and a layer of fat collected on the surface. I skimmed that off and put it into the compost. The result was a thick jelly that looked delicious, but smelled awful. I've put it into ice-cube trays in the freezer. There seems to be enough to feed a pack of dogs for the next century.

Penny thinks it's delicious.

Here's the recipe, but I acknowledge it comes from DogsNaturally and suggest you go over there and check it out properly. There are great photos of the broth preparation.

BONE BROTH FOR DOGS Step 1: Add Bones, Water And Vinegar
 First, I fill my crockpot with bones. Because I like to make sure there’s lots of healthy, joint protecting gelatin in my broth, I use bones with a lot of joints in them like chicken feet. I’ll also add some garlic for health and flavor (and if you think garlic is dangerous for dogs, just leave it out or read this article).If you don’t have a crockpot, you can use a regular old pot on your stove … but you have to leave it cooking overnight so I prefer the crockpot.Organic, grass fed bones will be the best … don’t skimp on the bones and feel free to use discarded bones from your own meals … they’re just fine for broth. Step 2: Add Water And Vinegar Next, I’ll fill the pot so the bones are completely covered, plus an extra two or three inches of water on top. The important part is to add raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the pot … this is the magic ingredient that makes sure your broth has all of that great and healthy gelatin in it … it also pulls the nutritious minerals out of the bones.I’ll add about three or four tablespoons of vinegar to a pot this size.Once I’ve added the bones, water and vinegar, I put my crockpot on high for an hour, then I turn it down to low and leave it cooking for 24 hours. You can leave it cooking for two or three days if you want, but I find it starts cooking down too much after a day and I can still get a good jelly-like consistency after a day. Step 3: Strain The Bones
 When the broth is finished, I need to strain the bones and meat out. These bones shouldn’t be fed to dogs, so I put them in the green bin. My dogs don’t need them anyway … I’ve already got the good parts in my broth.  Step 4: Get Creative Here’s the fun but optional part.When I turn the crockpot off, I’ll add some nutritious extras. For this batch of broth, I added some frozen kale and fresh leftover green beans. But I also like to add medicinal mushrooms, broccoli, kelp and herbs … and sometimes nothing at all. Check out this articlefor some ideas of nutritious veggies you can add.
Toss in any healthy herbs or vegetables your dog loves (and if he doesn’t love them, then bone broth is a great place to hide them).I’ll add these ingredients while the broth is hot, right after I’ve turned it off. Then the broth will cool with the veggies in it, making them just soft enough for my dogs to get their yummy goodness. Step 5: Let It Cool Once my broth is cooled, I’ll put it in the fridge. This is where the magic happens … and in just a few hours, you’ll know if you’ve made a good batch!Once your broth comes out of the fridge, it will have a hard layer of fat on top. You should chip this off and toss it in the green bin. Underneath the fat, your bone broth should now look like jelly … the jelly means you’ve got lots of gelatin in there, and that’s what helps with your dog’s joints and the leaky gut that can cause allergies and digestive upset. That gelatin plugs the holes in leaky gut that can cause allergy symptoms, so the more jelly-like, the better! If your broth doesn’t look like jelly, don’t worry … it just means you didn’t add enough vinegar. Next time just add a little more vinegar and your next batch will be just fine. But first use the broth you have because it will still be packed with healthy goodness! Step 6: Store Your Broth  Because I have a lot of dogs, I just leave my bone broth in the crockpot in their fridge (yes, my dogs have their own fridge, but I’m sure there’s room in your fridge for bone broth). A pot this large will last my five large Labradors about 4 or 5 days. I wouldn’t want to keep it in the fridge for more than a few days anyway so I just make a fresh batch once or twice a week.If you have just one or two dogs, you can take the broth and label it into mason jars and store it. If you’ve got small dogs, you can ladle your broth into an ice cube tray and just pull a cube out at a time.Having a supply of bone broth in your freezer is a super idea … bone broth is incredibly nutritious and healing for sick dogs (think chicken soup). So make sure you have some on hand for emergencies.  Step 7: Give It To Your Dog! The final (and best) step is to feed the bone broth to your dog!I pull bone broth out of the fridge and give my large dogs two or three heaping spoonfuls over their dinner. It’s food not medicine, so I don’t get too hung up on exactly how much I give my dogs.My dogs love hanging out in the kitchen when it’s cooking … and you can see above that Dottie can’t wait to sample it after smelling it all day!So there you have it … it’s incredibly easy to make bone broth and your dogs will love the taste and reap the health benefits.