by Katerina Paleckova (reprinted with author's permission)
It is the time of year again - the season of cold, wet, subzero conditions (unless you are in Australia, of course) that have a major impact on our animal´s and our immune systems and general health.
Winter has its demands on our bodies and the immune system must deal with a lot.
The wet, cold, icy, snowy conditions, together with the changing of temperatures as we take our dogs out from warm apartments and houses for a walk outside and back again, and this can make, for example, arthritic animals show worse symptoms than during the warmer months.
As the immune system is weakened, we often see our dogs catch kennel cough at this time of the year.
I would like to share a recipe with you all, that is a great, simple and economic aid to your dog´s menu, which they will thoroughly enjoy.
The bone marrow broth is wonderful and important food source for your dog, beneficial in many cases of compromised health. Let´s look at a few of them. Immune System and Organ Support Bone marrow broth is rich in proteins, GAGs (glycosaminoglycans), minerals and other micro-nutrients, many of which are antioxidants, important for your carnivore´s health. Bone marrow itself can build immunity, assist with blood clotting, and provide oxygen to cells. It can help rebuild the body and speed up wound healing.
Bone marrow broth supports kidney and digestive tract function.
Energizing and Warming Food In my personal experience and practice, I´ve been successfully using bone marrow broth for dogs that are very weak from illness or due to old age, those recovering from hard, physical performance, lactating females after giving birth, dogs with kennel cough, dogs that are too weak to eat on their own and need a nutritious boost and energy, dogs that live outdoors during winter time for warming and immune system support and those animals suffering with arthritis.
I also use and recommend bone marrow broth when transitioning your dog from processed commercial pet food or cooked food to raw, species appropriate diet, and as a great supplementation of important nutrients if you feed your dogs mainly with processed foods.
Mobility Support When it comes to supporting our dogs’ mobility, whether they are old, arthritic, suffer from cold and aching joints, sustained injury of their mobility apparatus, or are a large breed, bone marrow broth is what I call a "liquid gold".
It contains very important proteins and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) such as chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and collagen, all very crucial for keeping your dog´s mobility in good shape and without pain.
As you see, there are many proven benefits of this simple food.
If your dog doesn´t suffer from any health issues, they can appreciate it for its warming qualities at this time of the year and they will definitely endorse the taste! Make a Complete Meal For an added benefit, or to create a complete meal, you can add other healthy sources of nutrients such as:
raw or cooked meat (if you are using meaty bones for the broth, you probably already have enough meat in the pot)
you can add raw minced meat just before turning the heat off, which will make a perfect meal for transitioning your dog to a species appropriate diet.
ground brown seaweed Kelp
chopped or coarsely grated vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, dark leafy vegetables (not for animals suffering from kidney or urinary stones), pumpkins, etc. (add 10 minutes before the end of cooking process)
oat flakes (not if your animal suffers from yeast infections or is on an oncology diet/protocol)herbs - fresh or dried, ground or chopped
flax seed (add during the last 10-15 minutes)
for added mobility support for dogs suffering from arthritis or joint pain, add turmeric and ground black pepper about 5 minutes before the end of cooking process
As you see, there are many ways you can prepare the broth and many ingredients to add, just let your imagination play out. Here is my recipe for the basic version:
1. Put several pieces of marrow bones in a large cooking pot. You can choose just one kind, or blend them. I most often use beef bones and from time to time add chicken thighs and wings, occasionally pork bones.
It is important that the bones are cut at least on one end, so that the marrow inside them can soften while cooking and loosen out of the bones.
2. Add water. The amount will depend on the amount and size of bones and the pot. Let water cover the bones completely and add extra couple inches/centimeters. Because you will be cooking the broth for an extended period, you must count on the water amount reducing itself. That will also cause the result be nice and thick. At least that is how I like my recipe to turn out.
3. Bring to boil under a lid, then turn the heat down to as low as the stovetop allows, while still boiling gently.
4. Keep checking from time to time and let boil on very low heat for at least couple of hours. The length of cooking will depend on how long it takes for all the meat, fat and marrow to detach from the bones.
5. Once everything is loosened up, you can help the marrow get out of the bone (I often use a chop stick or a small grilling pin), then let simmer as long as needed until the collagen turns into jelly and everything kind of blends together.
6. Last step is to remove all the bones and make sure you did not leave any small pieces behind. Those could potentially harm your dog when ingested.
You can put the broth in canning jars and refrigerate them - this way it will last for up to a week.
You can also put it in small trays or ice cube trays and freeze it for later use.