Many dogs struggle with occasional skin, stomach, or joint conditions, and collagen has been known to aid in helping improve many of these problems.
Dogs are our best friends, and we want them to live life to the fullest. As a pet parent, understanding their diet and nutrient needs is one of the most crucial factors to ensuring your furry friend lives their best life.
While collagen supplements may not completely remedy your pet's health conditions, it supports important structures and functions throughout the body, especially in aging pets.
Let’s review what collagen is and whether or not it's right for your pet.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most common protein found in the body. It’s made up of three amino acids: proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. These three amino acids combine to make protein fibrils in a triple-helix structure.
What Is the Function of Collagen?
The production of collagen is vital to the overall health of your dog. Collagen supports and strengthens muscles, skin, bones, and other connective tissues. It also aids in cellular communication and tissue repair and maintenance.
Connective tissues contribute to the protection, support, and structure of bones and organs. These important bodily structures help move nutrients and other materials between organs and tissues, which helps in repairing damage throughout the body.
Where Is Collagen Found?
There are 28 different kinds of collagen in the body. Type I is the most abundant and provides structure to tendons, bones, and ligaments.
Collagen can be found naturally in the meat, skin, and bones of bovine, fish, chicken, and other animals.
How Can Collagen Help Your Dog?
A sufficient amount of collagen in your dog’s body can help with gastrointestinal function, improve skin repair, prevent injury, and help certain osteoarthritis diseases.
Appetite and Digestive Issues
As collagen helps form connective tissue and provides a protective covering for organs, it can benefit the health of internal organs like the gastrointestinal tract.
The protein has been shown to help seal the protective lining of the digestive tract and aid in processing the breakdown proteins while soothing the gut’s lining. Adding a collagen supplement to your pet's diet can help relieve digestive issues and increase your dog's appetite.
Skin and Coat
Collagen supplements can foster healthy hair growth, shiny fur, skin elasticity, and strong nails.
When given as a supplement, collagen can improve skin and coat health by helping in the retention of moisture in the dermis. This can boost the skin’s ability to heal.
When there is a lack of collagen production, skin becomes dry, less elastic, and thinner.
If you have a dog struggling with Demodex, skin allergies, or other skin-related problems, supplementing their diet with collagen can help improve their symptoms alongside veterinarian-prescribed medications.
Joint and Bone Health
Our dogs love playing tug-of-war and fetch with their favorite toy. As loving pet parents, we want to help them enjoy the little things they love longer.
When your dog’s body lacks collagen or they develop an autoimmune disease, it can lead to a loosening of connective tissues. This increases the chances of injury, torn ligaments, rotating patellar subluxations, and dysplasia.
Collagen peptides can reduce inflammatory cytokine and proteases in canine cartilage cells, helping ease their pain and increase their mobility as they age. Evidence suggests that supplementation of specific collagen peptides can improve ailments associated with elbow dysplasia.
As our dogs grow older, they no longer produce the same amount of collagen as they did. This decrease in collagen production can leave them with joint pain and stiff tendons. Research has shown that collagen supplements can relieve pain and improve joint issues in dogs.
As a result, increasing collagen in their diet can help your aging pet become more mobile, especially when taken with other veterinarian-recommended supplements and medications.
Is Collagen Right for My Dog?
Always ask your veterinarian before adding any vitamins or supplements to your dog's diet. They can provide valuable insight into possible side effects and offer safe and healthy recommendations based on your furry friend’s unique needs.
As dogs age, their bodies produce less collagen. Finding safe dog chews for even the fastest chewers is a great way to keep your pet entertained while getting the supplement they need for a healthier life.
How to Supplement Collagen
Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animals and can be absorbed through the consumption of meats. However, meat is not the only source of supplemental collagen available. Various animal products and plant foods contain materials that can help a dog’s body naturally produce collagen.
Here are various options to help supplement your dog’s collagen intake:
- Treats like soft collagen chews, bully sticks, and meal toppers
- Oral supplements like collagen pills and powders
- Collagen-rich food options like bone broths, celery, bell peppers, eggs, white-flesh fish, beef, and chicken
- Vitamin C-rich foods like asparagus, pumpkin, blueberries, and kiwi
Collagen is an essential protein that plays a significant role in maintaining your dog's overall health and well-being. It supports vital structures and functions in your pet's body, especially as they age.
While collagen is not a magical elixir, it can help with appetite and digestive issues, improve skin and coat health, and relieve joint pain and stiffness.
As pet parents, we all want our dogs to live their best life. By supplementing their diet with collagen-rich foods, treats, or oral supplements, we can help them maintain mobility, ease their pain, and improve their overall quality of life.
Let's take action today to ensure our furry friends live their happiest and healthiest lives.