Cooking with Cobi and Ferdi: Chicken Bone Stock

Bone stock is healthy for your dog and very easy to make. It is pretty expensive in stores and nowhere as good as homemade, where it is essentially free! Now that fall is in full swing, it’s the perfect time to try your hand at making your own bone stock.

Cobi and Ferdi Love Chicken Bone Stock
Cobi and Ferdi love their chicken bone stock.

I had a ten-year-old pug who constantly got crystals and was on Hill’s Prescriptive food. She had a number of ailments, and I thought she had little time left. One day, I impulsively stopped feeding her that food and switched her to chicken and stock. To the amazement of her vet, Toastie lived six more years!

Making Chicken Bone Stock is Easy

This recipe is for dogs and humans. Although it won’t be as rich, you can even make chicken stock from leftover bones with any remaining meat (from a roast or rotisserie chicken). Just put it into a pot with plenty of water and some vegetables and follow the directions from step 3.

The key to great chicken stock is to cook the bones a long time. This will create fantastic flavor and provide the best nutrition for both you and your dogs. The bones release collagen and gelatin, which is beneficial to animals and people. As you can see in the photograph, you want to keep the cartilage on the bones when you put them back into the water, because that is the source of a ton of nutrition. When the stock is done, remove the cartilage (basically, add everything left that isn’t bone) and add to your dog’s food, because it will still contain healthful nutrients. You can substitute turkey parts—the back, wings, neck, and legs—for chicken; increase the cooking time if they are large.

I cook a couple chickens at a time and divide the chicken and the stock into containers and freeze them. If you have the freezer space, you might make more chickens at a time. If you don’t want to feed your dogs the chicken, you can use the chicken in many recipes for yourself. (When I use the stock for my human recipes, I dilute it with 50% water.) To save space in the freezer, I make the stock very concentrated.

Make Your Own Chicken Stock

2 chickens, with no antibiotics, preferably organic and free-range, cut into pieces (do not use liver or heart, but you can boil those separately for your dogs); if you don’t want to cut up, add ½ hour to cooking time
1 onion, quartered, skin on (OMIT for dogs)
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 parsnip, roughly chopped (optional)
1 turnip, roughly chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons raw and unfiltered apple cider like Braggs

1. Put chicken pieces into a large pot, add all remaining ingredients except for the vinegar, and add enough water to cover the chicken by a couple inches. When the water comes to a boil, lower heat to a medium simmer, and skim off any scum that forms on the top. Simmer for an hour.

Chicken In Pot

2. Remove chicken and vegetables (a large Chinese slotted spoon is perfect). When meat is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones.

Cooking Chicken

3. Put bones and cartilage back into the pot and add vinegar. Occasionally check water level, and add more if needed. Simmer 2-3 hours.

Cooked Chicken

4. Take off stove and remove bones. Don’t forget to strip anything left on the bones for your dogs!

Chicken and Vegetables

5. If stock is very reduced, you can add some ice to thin it and cool it faster. Whatever stock you don’t need can be frozen and stored in plastic or glass containers. Fat will rise to the top when chilled overnight and can be removed. Some fat is good for most dogs. You can expect the consistency will be gelatinous when cooled. The thicker it is, the more of the good stuff from the bones and cartilage are in the stock!

Chicken Stock

When feeding my dogs, I put the chicken and about 1-2 tablespoons of stock in their bowls and add a bit of hot water. The dogs will also love the veggies!