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Soothing & Nourishing Bone Broth
Your pet may experience a decreased appetite when they aren't feeling well. Bone broth is often an appetite-stimulant for pets who are otherwise hesitant to eat. The aroma of it being cooked over the course of 12+ hours is often enough to entice them to lap up a bowl of home-cooked nourishment. It is also a nice warming meal to soothe a sore throat. Here's my favourite and super-easy bone broth recipe:
- Start with a full chicken, or a combination of any bones including beef marrow bones, poultry feet, wings, and backs. The key is to use bones that contain joint & connective tissue as this is what will give you the most nutrient-rich base. When you boil a bone, the marrow breaks down into gelatin. That gelatin contains collagen full of amino acids.
- Add in a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for each litre of water.
- Add Vegetables - I like to use aromatic root vegetables such as carrots (to aid digestion), celery (to support the large intestine) and rutabaga (contain a diverse range of nutrients).
- Optional - 1 clove of fresh, minced garlic*
- Optional - 3 Shiitake mushrooms, dried or fresh - these mushrooms are a powerful immune booster.
- Optional - add in a few small pieces of beef liver. Especially if I am not using a full chicken, I like to add in a bit of liver to both enhance the flavor and also to boost the nutrient value. Liver (and other organ meats) contain essential vitamins & minerals that muscle meat doesn't contain such as zinc, iron, and Vitamin A.
- Combine the water, vinegar & vegetables (& garlic, liver & mushrooms if using) in a crock pot (slow cooker) or stockpot and cover. I like to use a crock pot and cook on high for 1-2 hours, then cook on low for a minimum of 10-12 hours. If using a stock pot, you may want to simmer for longer (up to 24 hours).
- During the last 30-60 minutes of simmering, add any herbs. My go-to herbs for a sick pup include: a large sprig of parsley and a small piece of fresh ginger* in addition to the garlic and Shiitake mushrooms.
- When finished cooking, remove from heat and strain to remove any bones that have not broken down. I like to pour the strained broth into a wide-mouthed mason jar. If your pet likes vegetables, you can offer some, or you can discard them - the nutrients have been infused into the broth.
- Allow to cool before refrigerating. Once fully cooled, the fat will separate and form a hard layer on top - skim this off and discard before feeding. You will notice that what is left is a thick, gelatinous liquid which is exactly what you want! Store in fridge for up to 1 week and freeze remaining portions. I like to warm this up a little before serving to my dogs.
*Note that garlic is safe in small, appropriate doses. Both ginger and garlic have "warming" actions and may not be suitable for your pet. Consult a certified animal nutritionist, herbalist or Holisitc/Integrative vet for direction. You can simply leave these out, if you are unsure. The broth in and of itself is a nourishing addition. For dogs under 20lbs, I like to err on the side of caution and recommend leaving out the garlic altogether.