- Dogs can have chicken broth, with some exceptions — Ensure there are no harmful ingredients like onion or garlic before feeding broth to your dog.
- Chicken broth can be helpful for sick or old pups — It’s hydrating, easy on the stomach, and helps soften hard dog food.
- Make broth at home for best results — To keep your dog healthy, opt for an easy, homemade chicken broth with premium ingredients.
Chicken noodle soup seemingly cures most human ailments, but does a bowl of that warm, liquid gold do the same for dogs? It depends. While some chicken broths may be beneficial for dogs, many varieties — especially products or recipes made with garlic or onion — can be harmful.
Is chicken broth good for my dog?
Chicken broth can be a good addition to a dog’s diet, especially if your furry friend is a picky eater. That doesn’t mean you should give your dog whatever broth happens to be on sale this week. Many store-bought chicken broths are high in sodium and contain human-safe ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as onions and garlic. The best way to ensure your dog consumes a low-sodium chicken broth with safe ingredients is to whip up your own at home.
5 reasons to give your dog chicken broth
While you shouldn’t change your dog’s diet without consulting a vet, there are some reasons your dog’s veterinarian may recommend introducing a low-sodium, allium-free broth to your dog’s meals:
- Entices picky eaters. This broth can be a good way to encourage picky pups to eat by mixing the tasty broth with their food.
- Helps sick dogs eat. When dogs are sick, they may need to follow a bland diet until they are well again. Chicken broth can make bland food taste better and boost nutrients and hydration without upsetting the stomach.
- Gets senior dogs to eat. If you’re caring for a more mature dog, they may have trouble eating, especially dry food. Adding some chicken broth can soften the food and make it more palatable to aging dogs.
- Boosts hydration. The main ingredient in broth? Water! Chicken broth can help hydrate your dog.
- Full of amino acids and collagen. Chicken broth is rich in amino acids, particularly glycine. Glycine is important in cartilage production for improved joint health and may be beneficial to a dog’s kidneys and liver. Chicken broth also contains collagen, another helpful protein to aid in skin and joint health.
What to look for in store-bought chicken broth
While it’s best to make your dog’s broth at home, you may want to save time and buy broth at the store. If you go that route, make sure to keep the following in mind:
- No onion. This root veggie may taste great to you, but onions are toxic to dogs. They contain a compound that can lead to anemia and onion toxicosis in canines, which can be fatal.
- No garlic. Both onions and garlic are in the allium family. Like onions, garlic contains the same compound, thiosulfate, that is toxic to dogs. Garlic consumption may lead to Heinz body hemolytic anemia in dogs.
- Low sodium content. You probably know to keep your sodium consumption in check to avoid health complications later in life. But dogs can experience adverse health reactions to sodium very quickly. Symptoms of sodium toxicity can begin just three hours after consumption, so avoid broths high in sodium. These symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, excessive urination, lethargy, or weakness.
- No artificial dyes or flavors. When it comes to human foods, it can be tricky to know which artificial ingredients would be safe for pets to consume, so it’s best to avoid those ingredients when shopping for chicken broth for your dog.
- Premium ingredients. Premium ingredients for chicken broth should include healthy, nutrient-dense foods like real chicken and veggies such as carrots, which provide vitamins A, K, and B6 plus biotin and potassium, and celery, which is rich in vitamins A, B, and C and supports a healthy heart.
- Made in the USA. Opt for food that doesn’t have to travel far to make it to your dog’s bowl. One of betterpet’s favorite food toppers is a beef or chicken bone broth made in the U.S. with responsibly sourced ingredients.
Chicken broth vs. other broths
Chicken broth, beef broth, turkey broth, lamb broth — all of these options are good picks for your dog, depending on their dietary needs. Dogs allergic to poultry will need to skip chicken or turkey broth in favor of a broth made with beef or lamb. Check with your vet about any dietary concerns before making or buying broth for your dog.
Chicken broth and chicken stock are very similar, but broth is made mostly with the meat of the animal, while stock is made mostly from the bones. Stock may contain more protein and vitamins, but broth usually has fewer calories and fat.
How to make a dog-friendly chicken broth
Even when you read the label carefully, you can’t fully know what is in a store-bought broth, but you can control the quality of the recipe by making broth at home with premium, natural ingredients.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
Start by collecting ingredients for the stock pot.
- Meat. You’ll need to get about one pound of chicken meat from the grocery store. If budget allows, it’s best to use meat from premium, grass-fed chicken.
- Water. You can’t make broth without a pot full of water, and this ingredient is what makes chicken broth so hydrating.
- Vegetables. Vegetables are a safe addition that can bring more nutrients and added flavor to the broth. Remember to skip onions and garlic, but you can use dog-safe veggies like carrots, celery, peas, or cauliflower.
Step 2: Follow these instructions
Once you have your ingredients prepared, it’s time to start cooking.
- Put the chicken in — Start by putting the meat into a large stock pot.
- Add the water — Fill the pot with enough water that the chicken is covered, and the water goes about two to three inches higher than the top of the meat.
- Add the vegetables — You may want to chop the vegetables to fit in the pot, but otherwise, they can go right in with the chicken.
- Boil — Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and let it cook for about one hour.
- Strain — Once the stock is finished cooking, strain out the meat and vegetable bits.
- Refrigerate — Refrigerate the broth until the fat forms a solid mass on top, then skim off this fat before storing the broth.
Step 3: Store broth properly
There are a few options for storing your dog’s broth to keep it safe for consumption. You can place broth that you plan on using within four to five days in the fridge. You can divide the broth into sealable, food-safe glass jars to keep in the fridge. You can also preserve broth for six to nine months in the freezer. Simply pour the liquid into an ice cube tray or freezer-safe container.
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Frequently asked questions
Can I give my dog store-bought chicken broth?
You can give your dog some store-bought chicken broth products, but you’ll need to carefully check the label and avoid high sodium levels or toxic ingredients like onions and garlic. The better option is to make a homemade broth for your dog, so you have control over the ingredients.
What are the health benefits of chicken broth?
Chicken broth can be hydrating and full of essential nutrients and amino acids for improved joint health and healthy organs. It’s also a good food topper option for sick or elderly pups that have trouble eating their dog food.
Can I put vegetables in my dog’s chicken broth?
Pet parents can put some vegetables in chicken broth, but make sure to find veggies that are safe for dogs to eat. Popular options to flavor broth include celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, or peas.