Gelatin is the watery but jellylike substance that starts out as a broth and becomes gelatinous as it cools. It is found inside bones along with valuable minerals. The best gelatin comes from the simmered bones of boiled chicken. The thicker your gelatin is, the more concentrated the nutrients are and the more your dog will benefit from eating it as a regular part of her diet.
Benefits of Gelatin
Gelatin attracts digestive juices to itself, which makes it easier for dogs to digest grains and carbohydrates. Gluten-containing grains like barley, oats and wheat frequently cause allergic reactions in many dogs. Gelatin increases a dog’s ability to utilize the proteins found in these grains. It protects the lining of her stomach and soothes upset stomachs, along with helping other digestive ailments like irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Disorders such as degenerative joint disease, osteoporosis, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis respond favorably to diets containing gelatin because it reduces the inflammation.
How to Make Gelatin
Use a whole fryer chicken, cut-up fryer parts or any chicken pieces as long as they aren’t boneless. Place the chicken in the bottom of a stock pot and add enough cold water to barely cover the chicken. Cook on high heat until it boils, then reduce to medium-low. Put a cover on the stockpot and cook for two to three hours or until the chicken begins to fall off the bones. Add water as necessary during the cooking process to keep the meat covered. When the meat is done, strain the liquid and return the broth to the stockpot. Carefully pick the meat off the bones and set it aside to use in soups, salads or other meals for people or pets. Return bones and any cartilage to the stockpot and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of any type of vinegar. Vinegar causes the bones to release more nutritious minerals into the broth. Cook on low heat for six to 72 hours. As an option, use this recipe in a slow cooker.
Ladle gelatin into ice cube trays and freeze them. Cubes make a good serving size for puppies and small dogs. Thaw a cubes in advance or warm it in the microwave; test on the inside of your wrist to ensure the gelatin won’t burn your dog. Another storage method is to use plastic storage containers and keep them in the freezer. Take one out to thaw when the one you’re currently using is half empty. Frozen gelatin is good for two to three months, while fresh gelatin remains good in the refrigerator for five days.
The question of how to feed the gelatin largely depends on why you’ve chosen to feed it. Feed your dog small amounts frequently if she has digestive problems. To reap the most overall health benefits, give your dog 1/2 cup to 1 cup of gelatin 30 minutes before serving her regular food, or one hour after she eats. Do not pour gelatin on top of your dog’s regular food. You can, however, add it to homemade food or a raw diet. It makes a very good base for homemade dog food. Serve gelatin warm or cold.
Based in Las Vegas, Sandy Vigil has been a writer and educator since 1980. She taught high school and middle school English and drama for 11 years. Vigil holds a Master of Science in teaching from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in secondary English education from the University of Central Oklahoma.