Collagen seems to be everywhere: in skincare products, lotions, shampoos, supplements, health foods, and more.
But what is collagen, exactly? Does it provide the same benefits for dogs as it does for humans? Read on to learn more about this crucial protein and why it’s important for both you and your furry friend.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein found in the skin and connective tissues in the body including tendons, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments. Think of collagen as the glue holding the body together (for two-legged and four-legged creatures alike). In fact, about 30% of your dog’s body is made up of collagen.
By converting protein-rich foods, dogs are able to naturally produce collagen which supports their joints, skin, coat, teeth, bones, nails, and more. As they age, however, they lose the ability to produce as much collagen—often evidenced in older dogs by diminishing joint, skin, and coat health.
Fortunately, you can make up for that missing collagen with a dietary supplements. The earlier you start adding collagen to your dog’s diet, the better.
Benefits of Collagen for Dogs
Because collagen affects so much of your dog’s body, it makes sense that a collagen boost can do wonders for your pup’s overall health.
Some benefits of collagen for dogs include:
Mobility & Joint Health
Collagen makes up 70-90% of your dog’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments, so it’s only logical that a decrease in collagen means a decrease in mobility.
Not only can collagen supplements reduce existing joint discomfort, but it can also keep additional joint health issues at bay and keep your dog active and mobile for longer.
Skin & Coat Health
Like his muscles, tendons, and ligaments, the majority of your dog’s skin and coat are made up of collagen.
Collagen affects the health and elasticity of your dog’s skin and promotes a soft, shiny coat (for some dogs, this could mean less shedding). You may even notice stronger nails as a result of collagen supplements for dogs.
If your dog has frequent tummy troubles, collagen supplements can also be used as a digestive aid.
Collagen coats the lining of the digestive tract, which can help with issues such as leaky gut. Over time, your dog will be able to absorb more nutrients and digest his food more efficiently, which will boost his overall health from the inside out.
How to Give Your Dog Collagen
In addition to its health benefits, collagen can be tasty for dogs—especially when sourced by animal products. Chances are, your dog won’t complain about being fed collagen as a dietary supplement.
There are a few ways to incorporate collagen into your dog’s diet. Dietary sources of collagen include:
- Leafy greens
- Red and yellow veggies
If you feed your dog a raw diet, there’s a good chance he’s already eating a collagen-rich diet. While kibble is also a viable option, it may mean your dog could benefit from some supplemental sources of collagen.
Beef tendons or raw bones can make great collagen-filled chew toys.
Bone broth is another good source of collagen (plus it’s a good way to add flavor to food, especially if you’ve got a picky pooch).
- Collagen powder can be used as a food topper. (Note: if you use collagen powder for yourself, you should only share it with your dog if it doesn’t contain any added ingredients. Otherwise, stick to supplements specifically designed for dogs.)
While it’s difficult to overdose on collagen, it’s always a good idea to talk to your vet before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet. The amount of supplemental collagen your dog needs depends on a few factors, such as his weight and the amount of collagen he’s already getting in his regular diet. Dosage recommendations can range from 1 to 20 grams of collagen per serving.
If you can’t or don’t want to make your own bone broth or worry about ingredients and dosages, you can always purchase collagen supplements specifically formulated for dogs with dosing information already taken into consideration.