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BBQ bone broth and bonus dog treats

 
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Location: Milmay, NJ (latitude 39.453160, longitude -74.867990)
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In my quest to recycle every scrap of food and save money for the household, I stumbed across a great use for bones left over from making pressure cooker bone broth - dog treats!

I usually run the bones and meat through the instant pot two or three times at 90 minutes cycles, which pulls pretty much all the goodness out into the broth.  I would mash up the residue for the animals (pressure cooking breaks any bones down enough so they don't splinter, so they're safe to give them at the point).  What caught my attention was when I did a batch of broth using just rib bones; not only did i come out with a beautiful rosy broth seasoned with the spices from the ribs (perfect for Chinese cooking), but the bones were crumbly if snapped but not mushy.  Looking at the marrow poking out the ends, I thought, "I bet if I dry these out in the oven for a bit they'd be perfect for dog treats."

Sure enough, my pup loved them. We eat enough ribs to keep the dog in snacks forever, and our chickens can now have all the other pressure cooked dregs. Winner!
 
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I work in a veterinary clinic. I would suggest that you use the broth to make treats and leave the bones for the garden (around plants)   we see dogs come in having eaten cooked bones the owner thought was safe.  Those bones sometimes crumble up but get impacted in the gut. Depending on where in the gut they stop up it can mean very painful trying to pass them with innamas to exploratory surgery to remove it. Can be very costly and painful for the dogs. Just isn't worth the chance.
 
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I’ve thought about doing that, but never wanted to risk it getting impacted in my dogs’ intestines. Instead, I give them the chicken skins left over after I render a batch of shmaltz. They LOVE this much more than they like any store-bought treat and it’s effectively free for us.
They also get the last bits of stock that don’t fit in my jars. They go crazy for it.
I do know of a couple who cooks down their salmon bones, heads, and fins to a mush for their dogs. It seems to do well for them, and I’d think it would be safer than pork or similar because the salmon bones are so soft to begin with. But I really want to hear from a vet before I try that myself.
 
gardener
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Since we have an expert involved, (thank you Saralee Couchoud!), let's figure out how to make safe marrow bone treats for dogs.
Our "fast food" here is the occasional Costco chicken. Like Jennifer, I cleaver chop the remains of that bird and pressure cook the bones, carrots and water for 3 hours (180 min) the dog (no onions, skin, or spices!). I carefully pick out anything that could be dangerous then run the sorted dregs through a food mill. I put that 3/4 inch smear on a jelly roll pan then pop it in the freezer. I break up the frozen rectangle into treat sized chunks, bag them, stash them in the freezer. A real hit with the dog.
Does the food mill (smashing or grinding) and careful sorting approach solve the problems that vets see? Do carrots help? Any other additive such as dog safe fiber that could make the marrow treat healthier?
 
Saralee Couchoud
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Pumpkin, green beans, and peas are what our vets recommend
 
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Location: Zone 9a, foothills California, 2500 ft elevation
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I used to buy soup marrow bones for people for our German Shepherd to chew on. Once all the marrow was removed, he'd chew on the bones a bit but we always were left with the hollowed out bone. After getting a pile of these, I decided to make stuffing for the bones out of cooked meats, including organ meats.

To make: Wash the bones with hot water. Put some parchment paper on a baking sheet. Stuff the bones with whatever you've cooked and either feed right away or put them in the freezer (you can cover it with a paper bag if you are concerned about contamination). You can add veggies such as finely grated raw carrots or celery or herbs such as parsley and cilantro.

 
steward
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Saralee Couchoud wrote:Pumpkin, green beans, and peas are what our vets recommend



My vet recommends pumpkin, green beans, and carrots.

Carrots are good for dogs and if raw carrots are good for their teeth and tarter.

I feel any vegetable is good unless the dog has a problem with them and as long as they are not on the "not recommended list".
 
pollinator
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Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
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I ran a boarding kennel and professionally trained dogs for 12 years.  I have seen every accident, attack or incident a dog could have or get into. I had well educated owner clients  that gave their dogs excellent food and care and owner clients who just really never bothered to educate themselves on their dog’s nutrition and care.  

You can feed your dogs bones for years.  But it’s going to be that 1 incident that costs you thousands of dollars at the vet or if you can’t afford the emergency at the vet..then the worst will happen.  

Dog owners have the opportunity to be educated simply by having a conversation with their trusted veterinarian.  I would recommend that no one take the advice of anyone on a forum.  Not me, not anyone.  Ask your veterinarian about giving your dog bones.

 
Saralee Couchoud
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I agree about talking to your vet. But part of educating yourself is talking to others. Sometimes that's how we figure out what to ask the professionals. And remember, there is a reason they call it "practicing "medicine. As far as being an expert, I certainly am not. But I do see a lot and the hardest part, I see a lot of heart breaks.

I don't want to be an expert. An ex is a has been and a spert is a drip under pressure
 
Jennifer Jennings
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Location: Milmay, NJ (latitude 39.453160, longitude -74.867990)
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We're fortunate in that we don't "spoil" the pup with a lot of non fiber, intestinally unhealthy treats - and when we do, they are in smaller chunks, specifically to avoid the concrete-like impaction issues that you mentioned. Thanks for bringing that up!
 
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