Make your Pet a Healthy Broth
By Susan Thixton
Grandma had it right; don’t toss those chicken bones or beef bones. Cook them into a tasty, healthy broth for your pet! Ok…Grandma used the bone broth as soup stock for people food, but I’m making bone broth for my pets. This is one easy way to provide your pet with a healthy, tasty snack. Little did I know my Grandmothers cooking was so healthy. Recent research led me to some fantastic information regarding the health benefits of cooking broth. Of course, my first thoughts were how wonderful this broth could be for pets.
While some professional chefs consider a broth to be made from simmering meat and a stock to be made from simmering bones, I’m considering our preparation (cooking bones) a broth. When you toss some bones into a pan of water, preparing to make broth, what you get is far more than what you see. Your broth will eventually contain ingredients that are in the bone. The following are explanations of all the goodies provided to your pet from home cooked broth; all quotes from a fantastic detailed explanation of the benefits of broth titled “Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease” by Allison Siebecker. While detailed and at points highly scientific, I think you’ll see the health potential of cooking bone broth for your pet.
“Basically then, broth will contain the ingredients that are in bone. Covering and adhering to the ends of bones to form a joint, is cartilage. Therefore broth will also contain the ingredients that are in cartilage. Bone and cartilage are both classified as connective tissue. Connective tissue is one of the four basic tissue types that exist in animals. It functions to bind or hold together and to support and strengthen the body. Since the cells are few, it is the valuable nutrients from the matrixes of bone and cartilage, which create the substance called broth.”
“Cartilage has enjoyed fame as a supplement for osteoarthritis in the form of shark cartilage. It has been studied for joint disease, and gastrointestinal disease. Prudden found that cartilage dramatically improved degenerative joint disease, including rheumatoid arthritis. He also found that it improved inflammatory bowel disease.”
“Cartilage has a poor blood supply. It actually produces chemicals known as antiangiogenesis factors (AAFs) that inhibit the growth of blood vessels into it. This seemingly unfortunate quality can actually be used to advantage in the fight against cancer. Cancer cells grow very rapidly. They achieve rapid proliferation by stimulating the growth of new blood vessels to support themselves. AAFs are now being used as a treatment to inhibit the growth of blood vessels into cancer cells. (10) As a medicine, AAFs are given in the form of cartilage.”
“Cartilage (broth) can be considered for use in the following conditions: arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), cancer, decreased immune system states, and malnutrition.”
“One fourth of all the protein in the body is collagen. (15) It is the framework for the extra cellular matrix of bone, cartilage and skin. Another word for collagen is gelatin. Collagen is a scientific term for a particular protein in the body, while gelatin is a food term referring to extracted collagen.”
Another recent study found that “gelatin as feed supplement protected against ethanol-induced mucosal damages in rats.” This directly supports the traditional thought that broth is healing and coating to the gastrointestinal lining, and gives a scientific explanation for broth’s ability to calm and soothe. Gelatin has also been found to improve body weight as well as bone mineral density in states of protein under nutrition.”
“Also if gelatin is extracted from bone, then marrow, where blood cells are produced is also extracted. Chinese studies have shown gelatin to increase red blood cell and hemoglobin count, increase serum calcium level, increase the absorption and utilization of calcium, and prevent and treat myotonia atrophica (muscle wasting).”
“To summarize, gelatin (broth) can be considered for use in the following conditions: food allergies, meat maldigestion, hypochlorhydria, hyperacidity (gastroesophageal reflux, gastritis, ulcer) inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis), leaky gut syndrome, malnutrition, weight loss, muscle wasting, cancer, calcium deficiency and anemia.”
“Minerals have three major functions in the body. First, they provide a structural base for connective tissue like bone. Second, they create electrical potentials allowing for conduction of nerve signals and movement across cell membranes. Third, they act as catalysts for enzymes in physiologic processes, and as Paul Bergner says in The Healing Power of Minerals, “transform the food and air we breathe into energy, vibrant health, and consciousness.”
“Bone contains calcium and phosphorus, and to a lesser degree, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfate and fluoride. Bone is an excellent source of minerals.”
“Deficiencies of minerals can be acquired, similar to vitamin deficiencies. Generally there are two ways this can happen, lack of intake in the diet, or lack of absorption in the intestines. Broth can be an excellent remedy for both of these causes of mineral deficiency because it provides easily absorbed extracted minerals, plus promotes healing of the intestinal tract.”
Amazing huh! Simply put, cooking a bone broth removes “the active chemical ingredients into the water by means of heat, time, and acid, making the nutrients immediately available to absorb.”
Ready to cook? Here’s your recipe…
Ingredients: Bones from poultry, fish, beef, lamb. Raw bones with or without skin and/or meat. (As example, I purchased a 3 pound package of chicken necks and chicken backs. $0.50 per pound. I did not remove the skin or fat, just dumped the contents into the pot. Later, after cooking, I removed the larger pieces with tongs, smaller pieces were removed via straining. Fat was skimmed off the top once the broth cooled.)
Add your choice of bones into a large pot or crock pot. Cover (just cover) the bones with cold water; or 2 cups of water per 1 pound of bones. Add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar per 1 pound of bones. Let stand for one hour. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 6 to 48 hours for chicken bones (bones will become soft when touched by a fork); 12 to 72 hours for beef bones. Strain broth through a colander or sieve lined with cheesecloth (or paper towel). Discard bones (do NOT feed these bones to your pet). You can also cook bone broth in a crock-pot, low heat.
Broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for several months. Feed your pet the broth at non-meal times at least 30 minutes prior to a meal or 1 hour after (prior to a meal is better, aids in digestion of the meal). With IBD kitties it’s probably best to serve as a separate meal, but the extra moisture in a cat’s diet is a huge plus anyway you serve it. So it can be added to commercial canned food, home cooked or a raw diet if need be or desired.
My first bone broth test was with chicken bones (chicken necks and chicken backs). I am thrilled to report there was an eating frenzy with all of my gang. Three cats (one is extremely picky) did not raise their heads until the bowl was dry. Two dogs didn’t raise their heads until the bowl was dry. And I felt fantastic for cooking them up such a healthy treat. Broth has become a daily treat in my household, the gang is thrilled!
Also here is a video tutorial and explanation on why bone broth is good for pets:
Bone Broth: The “Soul Food” Perfect for Sick Pets Who Won’t or Can’t Eat