Living in the northeast United States, we experience cold, harsh winters. When raising dogs to live outside, it is important to be well prepared for the weather. I gradually begin increasing my dogs’ food intake in September to fatten them up for the impending winter. One of the benefits of living in the country is having access to leftover scraps from deer hunters. The unwanted venison meat, fat and bones are extremely valuable to someone raising dogs outside. It is very healthy and a great way to add extra calories to your dogs’ diet and help them gain weight for winter. Plus, it adds variety to their diet, and they really enjoy it. If you aren’t utilizing your local deer hunters for their scraps, I highly recommend it. You can usually get it inexpensively, and sometimes for free. You can also check with your local butcher. They may have some meats scraps they don’t use or throw away. You never know unless you ask. As the saying goes; “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

Another thing I do in the winter is cook my dogs a homemade bone broth. I don’t do this every day, but when the weather is extremely harsh or I have some extra time, I make a large batch and give it to them in the evening (since I feed my normal meal in the morning). It gives them something warm in their stomachs and is very nutritious. This super broth is packed full of minerals and nutrients and as you can imagine, the dogs really enjoy it. In addition to adding extra calories to pack on weight, bone broth also offers numerous health benefits. It helps keep the dogs hydrated, supports joint health, and strengthens bones, and also has healing properties which helps sick dogs recover from illness faster. It is also known to be helpful for improving digestion and overall gut health. And it’s especially helpful if you have leftover meat or produce you won’t be using. Everyone wins.



  • One whole chicken -OR- Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass
  • 1 cup pasta
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 quarts water
  • (Any other random meats/vegetables in your freezer that are safe for dogs)


  1. Put the chicken, celery, carrots, garlic in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the ingredients by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is falling off the bones. Do not skim the foam or fat that rises to the top. That’s flavor!
  2. When the chicken has fallen off the bones, carefully separate the bones from the meat and vegetables and put the bones in a separate pot. Fill the new pot containing just the bones with water. Add the apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low heat for 18 - 24 hours. This will soften the bones.
  3. While the bones are simmering, add the pasta, rice, potatoes, and anything else you’d like to add to the first pot of broth containing the chicken (no bones) and vegetables. Once cooked, that pot is ready to serve to your dogs. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to three months.
  4. After the second pot of water and bones have simmered for 18 - 24 hours, the bones should be very soft. Carefully remove the bones and place them into a food processor (or discard them if you prefer not to use them). Blend the bones into a paste. This paste is very nutritional and full of natural vitamins and minerals. This paste can be added to the broth from both pots. Stir well and serve to your dogs.

See below to watch the full Canine Athletes Bone Broth Video.

I hope this helps some of your dogs this winter. Remember, you do not need to follow my recipe exactly. Just use common sense and what's available. Don't overcomplicate it. As always, if you have any questions shoot me and email or reach out on social media.

Andrew Seguss
Andrew Seguss

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