Bone broth is made by simmering bones in water at a low heat and for a long time. These can be any type of bones, including beef, chicken and turkey. The result is an oily liquid, full of the nutrients that are typically found within bone. These natural ‘goodies’ include amino acids, vitamins and minerals, all key parts of a healthy canine diet.
What is in Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a way to feed all the nutrients within bone, cartilage and the surrounding tissue, without your dog having to eat the bones themselves. Eating bones can result in issues with the gastrointestinal tract, and while bones are a common part of many dogs’ diets, they are not always safe. Especially in older or younger dogs, being able to give this natural nutrition in the safest possible way is a great alternative. Bone broth dog products also allow owners to give this natural nutrition without having to source and boil bones themselves.
“Bone broths/soups are important foods owing to their taste, nutrients and even curative effects.” – Hsu 2017
The main categories of nutrients in bone broth are:
Collagen and Connective Tissue Support
The proteins and structural molecules found in cartilage are abundant in bone broth. The protein found in bone broth is mainly collagen, which when simmered forms gelatin. Gelatin and collagen are very similar and are both very important molecules for canine diets.
Collagen makes up about 30% of protein in the body. Its role is as connective tissue, and this means it can be found in cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone and skin. It is easy to see why collagen is such a large constituent of bone broth! As collagen is such an important part of the make-up of joints and the tissues that support them, giving collagen can be very helpful for dogs, especially those undertaking lots of exercise or high intensity training.
As well as collagen bone broth also contains high quantities of ‘GAG’, or glycosaminoglycans. GAGs are a part of molecules called proteoglycans, which are the functional component of cartilage. By drawing in water, GAGs make sure cartilage is springy, and also maintain a smooth, low-friction surface. Other structural molecules include chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid and keratin, all of which are also vital to the building of cartilage, and also contribute to bone and skin development too.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Think of them like ‘Lego’ bricks; they can be built into proteins, broken back down, and reassembled into new ones. Some of these amino acids can be made by dogs in their body, and others can’t. We call the ones that dogs cannot make ‘essential amino acids’, because they have to be consumed as part of the diet.
Bone broth contains as many as 17 key amino acids. These can be as individual amino acids, or as part of more complex proteins such as the collagen mentioned above.
- Proline is an important constituent of collagen and aids the body in breaking down proteins for use. Proline helps heal joints in osteoarthritis, and also supports healthy skin.
- Glutamine is a key nutrient for the small intestinal cells, known as enterocytes. Up to seventy percent of their nutrition comes from glutamine, so making sure dogs have enough glutamine is an important part of protecting intestinal health. The immune system can also feed on glutamine, so having a ready supply of this amino acid supports a healthy immune system.
- Glycine is important for the formation of collagen, which is a key part of dog connective tissue and very important for healthy joints and muscles. As a part of the gut lining, glycine is also great for supporting healthy intestinal tissue. As well as being part of connective tissue Glycine also works with nerves as a neurotransmitter; a chemical messenger within the brainstem and spine. Due to this, glycine can help calm and soothe, welcome in over-excitable pups!
Bone broth contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and potassium, all readily available for absorption in the canine gut. These minerals are vital across the body; acting as antioxidants, allowing nervous and muscle control, developing healthy bone structure and in many hormonal and enzymatic body reactions.
Which Dogs Can Have Bone Broth?
Having a diet rich in key nutrients should be part of the lifestyle of all dogs. There is no reason a dog should not have bone broth as part of their diet, and even healthy, fit dogs can benefit from support in order to help keep them that way. Dogs who exercise frequently certainly require joint support, as wear and tear on connective tissues can cause damage. Very young or elderly dogs are also at higher risk of problems such as joint problems, gastrointestinal upset or immune suppression, and therefore will benefit from the range of natural ingredients in bone broth.
Bone broth is a fantastic way to make sure healthy, sick, or compromised dogs have the best nutrition available. The combination of active ingredients provides a range of benefits, from gastro-intestinal health, to joint support, nervous system health and bone health.
This range of benefits showcases the natural vitality that bone broth can give your dog, making it a great part of any dietary supplement.