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Bone broth - The action packed supplement

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

bone broth

Bone broth is made by slowly simmering bones with an acidity agent such as apple cider vinegar to extract the vital nutrients from the bones and connective tissues, reducing them down into a gelatin form. This nutrient packed gelatin can be fed daily without fear of excess or toxicity and provides the body with a myriad of essential nutrients with a variety of health benefits.

The nutrient composition of the broth relies on the ingredients used as it's the liquid containing all of the simmered bones and their connective tissues of which the nutrients have been extracted, the better the bones the better the broth.

Bone broth for a Healthy gut

A pet’s ability to absorb nutrients from their food relies on a healthy mucosal lining of the gut which acts as a semi-permeable barrier, allowing beneficial nutrients to pass through whilst retaining those harmful or pathogenic substances [iv]. The integrity of this vital barrier relies on the amino acid glutamine which, amongst other functions, is responsible for the growth and repair of the guts epithelial cells [v].

Inflammation or degradation of the gut lining may increase the level of oxygen within the gut resulting in harmful changes in the microbiome contributing to a breakdown or change in the way the gut functions and leading to gastro intestinal disease. Therefore, providing bone broth to heal the gastrointestinal barrier is an important step in not only restoring gut barrier function but also supporting a healthy Gut biome.

Glutamine, of which bone broth is a rich source, plays a key role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, increasing the friendly and decreasing the unfriendly bacteria to preserve and maintain a healthy gut function [iv].

Glutamine is considered a conditionally essential amino acid for dogs and cats as they are able to manufacture it within the body, provided of course that the relevant precursors are present. However, during times of stress their needs for this important amino acid increase and may exceed their production capability making dietary supplementation necessary[i]. Regardless of the form or severity of any gastro intestinal disease, restoring gut barrier function is key to resolving symptoms with Glutamine supplementation key in restoring this function [iv].

Once symptoms of GI disease have subsided it may be tempting to eliminate this nutrient packed food from the pets diet, however, pets have a daily requirement for glutamine to maintain a healthy gut barrier and for those with a history of Gastrointestinal issues maintaining a natural dietary supply of glutamine not only supports ongoing gut barrier health and function, but provides added protection against future damage [iv].

Bone broth for healthy joints

Bone broth is also a great source of glycosaminoglycans including the commonly known Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic acid which are regularly promoted as arthritis supplements. The great advantage with bone broth is that they are in a natural form which is resistant to digestion. Instead of breaking down in the intestines like other processed supplements they are absorbed intact and act like hormones, stimulating fibroblasts to lay down collagen in the connective tissues and joints, naturally supporting pets as they age and helping to ward off debilitating arthritis [vi].

Bone broth for amino acids

All bones provide the all important collagen which becomes gelatin when cooked and provides its own impressive contingent of amino acids including Glycine [ii] and Glutamine [iii] which can otherwise be lacking in the diet.

Glycine: a building block of protein which as well as healing the gut has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties [ii] with researchers currently assessing it’s effectiveness in the treatment of cancer, Liver function, cognitive functions and other assorted health conditions as it plays a pivotal role in blood supply.

Glutamine: is excellent for pets suffering from food allergies or digestive issues such as leaky gut syndrome as it heals the intestinal barrier, regulates both bile production and gastric acid secretion. It also plays a key role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, increasing the friendly and decreasing the unfriendly bacteria to preserve and maintain healthy gut function [iv].

For the fussy eaters

Fussy eaters can present their own challenges when it comes to providing any supplements or supporting them when ill health strikes. Bone broth with its exceptional palatability and powerhouse of important minerals and other nutrients can be a very useful addition to their diet in these cases. As a tasty liquid it's easy to drizzle over, or add less palatable items to, especially if the pet is already accustomed to bone broth as a regular treat. For pet's suffering from low appetite, convalescing or recovering from illness, Bone broth can be a great way to temporarily replace the missing meat protein caused by their lack of appetite whilst also providing immunity boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, liver detoxifying nutrients [vi].

Bone broth recipe, simply DIY

Step 1: Fill a pot to around ¾ full with Bones,

  • A slow cooker or crockpot is ideal but any large pot will do.

  • Young bones are better nutritionally than old bones although any bones can be used.

  • Jointed bones like necks, feet or wings provide lots of connective tissue whilst larger bones provide more marrow, I recommend a mixture for the best broth but use what works for you.

  • Bones absorb toxins over time therefore bones from older animals, generally marketed as dog bones, and should be avoided. Opt instead for young or ‘human quality’ to ensure the bones are free of toxins.

Step 2: Add water until its a few centimeters above the top of the bones

  • Ideally use filtered or purified water

  • Avoid using water which has been chemically treated

Step 3: Add apple cider vinegar

  • No need for an exact amount, roughly 1 tbsp per litre works well so a 5 litre pot ¾ full would need around 4 Tbsp.

  • Ideally choose an organic option, look for one with the ‘cloudy’ bit at the bottom of the bottle as that’s where all the ‘goodies’ are.

Step 4: Let it simmer

  • Bring the pot to a low boil for at least half an hour to ensure you’ve got things heated through

  • Lower the heat and let it simmer gently for around 24 hours

Step 5: Strain & cool

  • Remove the bones and any meat from the broth, a slotted spoon works well but you can use a strainer.

  • Discard the bones safely, never feed these bones to your pet as they are very brittle and indigestible with all of the nutrients removed.

  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until set

  • Occasionally a batch doesn’t set, don’t worry it’s still nutritional for your pet its just not concentrated enough to set, we all have odd batches that don’t set occasionally.

Step 6: Freeze & Store

  • Remove any fat layer which has formed on top of the jelly, depending on the bones used you may not have any fat to remove, or you may have lots, just remove the excess.

  • Divide the broth into serving size portions and freeze, there’s no limit to how much or how often you can feed broth, simply choose a serving size which suits your needs.

  • Ice cube trays, containers, jars & zip lock bags all work well as storage containers, simply choose what suits you and your pets

What about store bought broth?

There are a variety of options available, unfortunately nutritional analysis is not something you can get from the picture on the front of the pack so always read the ingredients and make your own judgment as to whether a commercial product meets your needs.

Always avoid any products with unsafe ingredients and remember, a good nutritional broth is a highly palatable gelatin filled product, therefore a good quality broth does not need any added flavours or thickening agents.



i Farre, R., Fiorani, M., Rahiman, S. A. & Matteoli, G., 2020. Intestinal Permeability,Inflammation and the Role of Nutrients. Nutrients , 12, 1185-1202.

ii Hialmarsdottir, F. (2016, February 21st). What is Bone Broth, and What Are The Benefits Retrieved October 22nd, 2020, from Healthline web site:

iii Johnson, J. (2020, January 12th). What are the benefits of bone broth? Retrieved October 22nd, 2020, from Medical news today web site:

iv Liu, Y., Wang, X., & Hu, C. A., 2017. Therapeutic Potential of Amino Acids in inflammatory Bowel Disease. Nutrients, 9, 920-37.

v Rao, R. & Samak, G, 2012. Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions. Journal of Epithelial Biology & Pharmacology , 5, suppl 1-m7, 47-54.

vi Scott, D. (2020, October 8th). Bone Broth For Dogs? Here's Why It's A Great Idea. Retrieved October 22nd, 2020, from Dogs naturally magazine web site:

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