What to feed a giant / large breed dog to minimise joint problems?

Jellied Pigs Feet / Trotters
Jellied Pigs Feet / Trotters

Like many large breed owners we worry about the health of the animal, especially about their bones as they are prone to problems in older age. We all want that warm fuzzy feeling from knowing deep down inside that we have looked after them well and they are happy and healthy, so we take care of things. Now one of the biggest things in any dogs’ life is food, if you don’t believe me cook a sausage sandwich and notice just how attentive, loyal and totally loving your hound is…

However when it comes to buying their food we tend to fall into one of two camps; kibble or tin. Some go buy a sack of dried food and some go buy a stack of tinned dog food. Depending on the size of your hound (as you know Bunk and Lilly aren’t the smallest of breeds) will tend to determine how far towards kibbles you lean, unless you have won the lottery recently. But kibbles are boring aren’t they; would you like to eat them every day?

So food procured now we start the next worry, what exactly is in their food and is it good for you. We know the food industry will mess around with human food to enhance colour, flavour or shelf life with all sorts of weird and wonderful laboratory products so what on earth would they do to dog food.

This has led us to think about a home cooked solution to ensure no worries. Ok, we are still going to give kibbles, even though we are of the opinion that they must be boring so what can we add to make it more tasty and maybe even have a health benefit, we have come up with an option.

Jellied pigs trotters are rich in collagen and gelatine, which will help to maintain healthy bones and joints for longer. They are fairly cheap to buy and for sure easy to prepare.

First thing is to pop down to your local family butchers and acquire some pig’s feet (trotters). Then off to your veggie shop to get some carrots, parsnip, leeks, celery… whichever veggie your dogs like, it will all work, so buy it.

Jellied Pigs Trotters Ingredients

I was cooking a giant batch… a whole weeks’ worth of food to feed Bunk, Lilly and maybe the cats as a treat… so I got:

  • 4 pig trotters
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 parsnip (simply because they do not like it as much as carrot)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • I would normally like to give them a large leek as well but my veggie man didn’t have any on the day

Jellied Pigs Trotters cooking stage 1Jellied Pigs Trotters cooking stage 2

Wash them well, peel, cut into chunks and pop them all into the largest pot you have and cover with water.

I split my ingredients in half and cooked it in 2 separate pots adding 4 litres of water to each pot. I cook it with the lid fully on as I do not want my liquid to reduce too much.

Jellied Pigs Trotters cooking stage 3

Boil them on a low heat for three to four hours or until you see the feet falling apart.

Jellied Pigs Trotters cointainers

When the food is cooking, prepare your containers – I use 900ml ice cream tubs. They really work well for us and make for a perfect daily portion to share between Lilly and Bunk.

Jellied Pigs Trotters Feet

Once the cooking time is up allow them to cool a little, and then remove everything from your pot, leaving just the liquid. Do not throw away the liquid as this is what makes the jelly!

NO BONES!
NO BONES!

You will need to peel the feet now. Put meat and skin on one side and remove ALL the bones. Be very careful not to skip some, check and them re-check again if there is no bones left. Don’t be tempted to give bones to the dog no matter how much he / she begs and pleads! Bones go to the bin.

Cut your veggies into smaller chunks and start building the food cubes. I put veggies first; meat later and then fill the entire box with liquid…. just like this…

Jellied Pigs Trotters building your cubes

When you are finish with your creation, put them aside until totally cold. Few hours later pop them all into the fridge, don’t worry if your tubs seem very liquid like… they will set, just give them time.

My ingredients as stated above made 8 tubs, each around 80% full.

Next day you have a fridge full of homemade awesome dog food! Take it out, allow it to warm for half an hour and then cut into desired chunks. Add to kibbles and I bet your dogs will love it, as ours do!

Jellied Pigs Trotters in a dog meal

I tried to cook the same way with some chicken feet as well. The principle is the same but… chicken feet are much smaller and removing all the bones (which are really tiny) is a horrendous task, so after spending over 2 hours getting all the bones from my chicken feet out I decided to stick with trotters 😉

Do you know of any other homemade recipes / remedies which will help to maintain healthy joints for dogs?

50 thoughts on “What to feed a giant / large breed dog to minimise joint problems?

  1. I dont have animals so I have no clue about it, but I guess the one who owns some pet may find it helpful x

  2. When I first opened this post without reading the first image looked like a bar of soap to me not jellied pig feet haha. DOH!
    I no longer have a dog but if I remember correctly we used tablets from the vet that we had to crush up into her food or with a treat.

  3. I don’t know what should I comment. I don’t have any pet but u should take a good care of your pets. Give them a nutritious food sotheywillkeep healthy
    gig love

  4. I’m impressed that you cook dishes for your dogs! I’ve never touched pig’s trotters at all! I’m afraid I don;t have a dog but if I did I’m sure I would give this a go!

  5. I shared your blog today and I have a friend who is asking if this might possibly work for humans who have joint problems. I told her I would ask you.

    1. Yes, it would.
      Actually if you Google jelly pork trotters you will be able to find a lot of recipes for it; main difference is that you would add some more “good” meat into it…
      or you can make just a clear jelly with no bits in it and eat a little bit every day.
      As long as you buy your trotters from the good source and wash them well I would have no objection of eating a meal like this 😉
      btw I love it with a small splash of a vinegar

  6. While feeding a large breed dog isn’t a problem (I have a Pug who is smaller than two of my four cats, lol), I LOVE that you have taken the time to research what is best for your dog, and have then gone the extra step to make home-cooked pet food! Way to go, Pet Mama! 🙂

  7. I have a Pyr/st. Bernard and a Colorado Mountain dog… this post could come in handy. Thanks! Have you heard of Colorado Mountain Dogs? they are 3/4 Pyr and 1/4 Anatolian Shepherd.

  8. This is such a great recipe! I’m sure they LOVE the meat from the pigs’ feet, and it never crossed my mind how nutritious they are! I actually just posted a recipe on my blog with super easy homemade treats for dogs with joint issues and arthritis! Take a look and tell me what you think! http://thriftybelow.com/arthritis-friendly-dog-treats/ 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to try it out!

      1. Hi Lyn,
        I tried freezing it but it doesn’t work very well… 🙁
        If your jelly is very thick it will work but if it will be a bit loose (before you freeze it), you will have kind of soup after defrost
        … my dogs still eat it… all of it… to the last bit 😉 it just doesn’t look so appetizing

  9. that looks a brilliant idea…I don’t like kibble, Stella has cold-pressed dried food which has lots of good natural stuff in for her…pleased I only have one of her though, like you say, it’s not cheap!

    1. We try to buy good quality natural kibbles for them.
      I would love for them not to eat kibbles at all but with 2 dogs that size… I would spend a fortune on raw or half of the day in kitchen cooking from scratch…
      I’ve never heard of a cold pressed dried food. Can you recommend a brand please? I would like to find out more.

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