How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs

Raw marrow bones sawed open sitting on sheet pan

Dogs and bones are naturally associated with each other. When you visit your local pet store you will see images of dogs and bones printed on blankets. Designer dog bone shaped dishes line the shelves. Bone shaped dog treats and bone shaped toys are popular as well.

One question you hear often among dog owners is, can I safely give my dog a natural bone? More specifically, they want to know can dogs have marrow bones. People want to know if the marrow inside the bone is what attracts their dog or is it the actual bone?

In this article, How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs, we will weigh the benefits of marrow and marrow bones, learn two methods of how to cook marrow bones for dogs, and what to do with the bone after cooking out the marrow. 

As a dog owner, you can make the best decision based on your dog and your own comfort level.  First, we will begin with learning about bone marrow and how our dogs can benefit.

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How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs:  General Benefits of Marrow

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Dog owners and dogs are drawn to marrow bones and for great reasons!

Marrow Defined: The marrow found in animal bones is a thick fat-rich tissue located inside the cavity of long bones.  In simple terms, the red marrow is made up of red blood cells and platelets.  Yellow marrow is made up of mostly fat.  The texture of both is soft and gelatinous.

The most consumed bone marrow comes from cows, goat, sheep, lambs and wild animals like moose and caribou.  It is concentrated in long thick bones from the hips, spine, and thigh bones.

Dogs like the rich and slightly sweet flavor of the marrow. Marrow is a good source of calories and fat. One caribou thigh bone contains a tablespoon of marrow which is roughly 120 calories and 12 grams of fat.

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Health Benefits of Bone Marrow: Now to learn the incredibly rich benefits of bone marrow.  Marrow contains the following:

  • Glycine
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Protein
  • Vitamin B12
  • Collagen
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs: Closer Look at the Benefits

It is easy to get excited about bone marrow when we know exactly how the above-mentioned benefits affect the health and longevity of dogs.

  • Glycine is an important amino acid that assists dogs with maintaining lean muscle mass, especially as they age.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin are both needed to protect the joints of dogs, especially in bigger breed dogs and all dogs as they age.
  • Vitamin B12 has the critical role of nourishing the dog’s cell system.  More specifically, B12 is important to the nervous system and the formation of red blood cells.
  • Collagen has many benefits for canines. It nourishes and protects the digestive system.  Just like humans, dogs loose collagen as they age. Collagen is vitally important for healthy joints and bones.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) fights inflammation in dogs.  CLA also contributes to weight management and is known for its neurological benefits.

Once you learn how to cook marrow bones for dogs, your dog can benefit from the rich source of bone marrow.

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How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs: Slow Boil Method

When it comes to how to cook marrow bones for dogs, you might read about a bit of controversy. Some people like the benefits of boiling the bones and others like the quick roasting method.

There also is a group of owners that like the benefits of giving their dog raw bones.  Each dog owner can weigh the facts and make the best decision for their dog.

How To Cook Marrow Bones For Dogs Woman boiling marrow bones on stove
Photo: Pexels

5 Steps on How to Boil Marrow Bones

Visit your local butcher shop and ask for the long bone of a cow or sheep.  Request that they cut it vertically so that has the appearance of a half circle.

Some local butcher shops sell “beef soup bones” that are wonderful for boiling out the marrow.

You can also order frozen beef marrow bones online from Amazon if you are unable to get them from a butcher.

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  1. Place bone(s) in a slow cooker or stock pot on the stove top.  Cover the bones with purified water.
  2. Measure out 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and add it to the water.
  3. Cook on high heat for 60 minutes.  Turn down heat to low and cook for another eight to ten hours.  Keep the cover on while cooking.
  4. Remove meat and marrow from the bones.
  5. Remove the fat layers (they will be spongy and yellow).  Discard fat.
Bone broth in jars, stock pot, hollow marrow bone
Photo: Michelle Lehr from Intentionally Healthy Canine

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Serving your Dog Bone Broth

Save the remaining water, as it is now considered nutrient dense bone broth. Serve your dog bone broth based on their size and weight.

Under 20 lbs.: 1 oz of bone broth daily.

20–40 lb. dogs: 2 oz. of bone broth daily.

50-80 lb. dogs: 4 oz. of bone broth daily.

80+ lb. dogs:  6-8 oz. of bone broth daily.

Remember that your dog’s digestive system will need to adjust to this new nutrient dense substance.  Begin by adding a small amount to your dog’s food dish.  Homemade bone broth is especially helpful for dogs that are picky eaters or to soften a senior dog’s food.

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How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs: Quick Roast Method

When you prefer not to use the bones for broth or you do not have the time for a slow boil, try roasting your bones.  Use the same style vertical cuts of bone that you would have used for boiling.

4 Steps on How to Roast Marrow Bones

  1. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Preheat your oven to 400°.
  2. Coat the bones with extra virgin olive oil and place on baking sheet.
  3. Roast for approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the marrow from the bones and discard the fat.
How To Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs raw marrow bones being put on a barbeque grill
Photo: Pexels

How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs: How Much Marrow?

Now that you mastered how to cook marrow bones for dogs, you are eager to give these valuable nutrients to your dog.

It’s key to introduce marrow slowly to your dog.  Give your dog a little bit at a time.  Dogs have sensitive digestive systems and need an adjustment period when a new food is introduced.

Now that you know how to cook marrow bones for dogs, consider adding marrow into their diet one to two times a week. You will know if your dog has too much marrow, as it usually makes them vomit.

What if my dog vomits after having a marrow? Your dog had too much too soon.  Marrow is very rich, therefore begin with smaller portions next time.  Wait a few days to allow inflammation to reduce in the digestive system and offer the marrow to them again.

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How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs: The Empty Bone

After learning how to cook marrow bones for dogs, you are wondering what to do with the leftover bones.

One option is to give the bone to your dog. If you chose to give your dog the pleasure of chewing on a natural bone, proceed with caution.

Even the experts don’t agree on whether you should give a dog a cooked bone. In fact, one article from the American Kennel Club says that you shouldn’t give your dog cooked bones.

And another article from the American Kennel Club states that you can give a dog a cooked bone until they can handle raw bones.

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Guidelines and Cautions When Giving a Dog a Bone

  • Examine the bone to make sure it’s not fragile, chipped or brittle.  If it could flake or break easy, it’s best to toss the bone.
  • Always supervise your dog while they are chewing on their marrow bone.
  • Never give your dog a frozen bone.
  • Chose bones that are smaller than your dog’s jaw, to avoid having the bone get stuck on their lower jaw. You do not want it too small that they might try to swallow it either.
  • Do not give a dog a cooked bone from a chicken, turkey, or pig. They splinter very easily.

Dogs love to chew bones.  However, there is an element of risk giving your dog a cooked bone.

If you have an aggressive chewer, a marrow bone might be a good option for your dog.  You can stuff the bone with pumpkin puree or mashed banana for added pleasure.

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Another risk of dog’s chewing hard objects (like cooked marrow bones) is chipping or breaking teeth.  The most common tooth issue with large dogs is a slab break in their large molars. 

What if my dog swallows a bone fragment? Bone fragments in a dog’s stomach are considered “foreign objects”.  Your dog will most likely vomit it right away or vomit after 12 hours of trying to digest it. 

If the bone fragments scrap the dog’s esophagus when they are trying to swallow, and you see blood in the vomit, call your veterinarian right away.

Again, you can weigh the risks and decide what is best for you and your dog. The dog’s personality and how hard they chew will be factor when making your decision.

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How To Cook Marrow Bones for dogs open marrow bone on a plate with parsley sprinkled on it
Photo: Pexels

How to Cook Marrow Bones for Dogs: Nutrient Dense Goodness

Marrow is a natural substance found in the large bones of cows, sheep, and wild game like moose.  It’s good for humans and their canine companions.

The health benefits of bone marrow are numerous, including protecting joints, nourishing their nervous system, protecting their digestive system, and lowering overall inflammation.

Your local meat market can provide you with quality marrow bones cut to your specifications. 

The two methods of cooking them include the long boil or quick roast. The benefits of boiling the marrow bones is now you have the nutrients in the form of bone broth.

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As mentioned before, dogs love bones! If you chose to give your dog a bone, know there is an element of risk and cautionary guidelines are recommended.

Enjoy cooking and serving your dog this nutrient dense food!

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