Ideas for great joint health for your animal family member by Dr Elaine Cebuliak

People and dogs (and yes, even cats!) can find the rising out of bed and early morning movements somewhat rusty, especially as the weather becomes cooler.

Get your pets’ joints well-oiled with these ideas:

Bone Broth Recipe

2 kg of grass fed / organic bones – (beef and lamb knuckle bones or marrow bones, chicken necks or carcass, wild fish)

8 litres of filtered water

A whole bulb of garlic; cloves, separated, peeled and crushed.

3 TBS apple cider vinegar (organic, unfiltered)


Place all ingredients in a large crockpot and set the heat to high.

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to low.

Allow the stock to cook for a minimum of 6 hours and up to 24 hours (depends on size of bones, chicken less, beef more). The longer the bones brew the better! Remember to keep topping up the water you do not want it to go dry.

Turn off the crockpot and allow the stock to cool slightly.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer and throw away all the debris.

Place the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (for up to a few days) or pour into freezer-safe containers for later use.

When the broth is fully cooled, look for a gelatinous consistency. That means your broth is gelatine-rich! Sometimes a longer or very hot simmer may break down the gelatine and your broth won’t appear gelatinous. Don’t worry the broth is still very mineral rich.

I don’t skim off any of the fat, I heat my broth and drink it warm – this is when I may add some seaweed salt for taste. If you like, you can skim off any fat that has risen to the top and solidified – this is tallow – don’t throw it away use it in your savoury cooking in place of butter or coconut oil.

You can drink stock any time of day, before or after meals, or use it as the base for soups and stews! Perfect in any recipe that calls for broth.

Thank you to Cyndi O’Meara for this recipe.


Another idea for restoring connective tissue in our animal diets as well as our own, is hoof soup. A THANK YOU to the Chi Institute and Connie for this as follows:

I think connective tissue is sorely missing in animal diets, as well as our own.

In food therapy class we make hoof soup, which I can tell you from personal experience can work magic. I lost all the cartilage in my left thumb joint and medial index finger about 9 years ago after a nasty cat bite in the joint went bad.

It took 4 months for Shaolin Deng to get the infection out, then a surgeon went in and freed up all the adhered nerves and took out all the rotten cartilage. He said he took it all. I lost all the muscle mass of the thumb and the joint had just one big click when I tried to move it, really sickening bone on bone click.

A few days after the surgery we were teaching at NAVC and Xuisheng Xie took us out to dinner and ordered us tendon soup. After the first few sips, I almost stuffed my head into the bowl. I had 3 huge bowls full and literally had no pain that night for the first time since the cat first bit me. I got a recipe from Xie’s wife and ate it non-stop for months. I popped a few Adequans as well, and I can say that was helpful too but hurts like hell. I have a joint that glides nicely now, and the whole thing still excites me.

Here’s one recipe:

Get 2-3 kg of hooves and/or tendons.

Usually, you can find the flexor tendons plus the inner parts of hooves. Lamb and goats are superior because they are the best climbers, then cows, and last pigs (the most sedentary).

Put them in a big pot or a pressure cooker and cover with water, plus 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar and bring to a boil. Let it boil a few minutes and remove all the scum that rises to the top.

If you add the spices right away, you can’t get the scum out without removing spices as well.

Add garlic, some ginger, and a bunch of tamari sauce.  In class we add a cinnamon stick, a few star anise, 2 cloves, some Szechuan pepper, and some fennel seed. To cheat, just add some Chinese 5 spice but the real spices are better. Plus they help a bit in masking the barmy odour that may permeate the house-oops – did I mention the smell.

The spices and pungents help the stomach digest the heavy richness of this dish.

Cook for many hours until the tendons have fallen off the bones. Discard any bones, as they are sharp and dangerous, and feed the broth and tendons. It cools into gelatin.

It is hard on the spleen so is not a great food for a hot, wet summer. It is a qi and blood tonic and can break you into a sweat if you eat enough.

The spices also make it a yang tonic and they move stagnation.

It is easily frozen and can be dolloped out by the 1/2 tablespoon for little dogs and cats up to 1/3-1/2 cup daily for big guys, though less is fine, and start very low for animals with weak GI. Goat is the easiest on the stomach usually. 

Another option is to just add a piece of hoof/tendon to a pot of whatever else is cooking and leach the essence into the whole dish. Anyone who loves osso bucco or oxtail soup knows the effect of this.

Vitamin C at 45mg per kg twice daily for bad hips, or Rose Hip powder 1/2 tsp/10-20 kg, twice daily and alfalfa, or spirulina for trace minerals can be added.

Bone appetite!

Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Dr Elaine is a highly experienced holistic vet and pioneer of Animal Wellness in Brisbane. She also assists with many charitable projects in Australia and in Bali.

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