These days, collagen seems to be all the rage. Both in the human and pet health world everyone is talking about collagen, which can make it difficult to determine if it’s simply the newest buzz word or a beneficial addition to your pet’s diet.
What is Collagen?
The most abundant protein in dogs, collagen acts as a binding agent and is responsible for holding together the contents of the body. Affecting many areas of your canine’s health and wellness, the potential of collagen supplementation slowing down signs of aging in our pets is enough to make it worth considering. Although collagen is not the immediate fix to all health issues your dog may be experiencing, it has shown notable benefits to canine skin and coat, digestion, and joint health.
Collagen is found throughout the body, providing structure and strength needed for your dog to complete everyday activities. When broken down by the body, collagen peptides are fundamental in creating and repairing cells. As dogs age, the natural production of collagen within the body slows. Additionally, production can be negatively affected by your pet’s exposure to toxins, uv rays, and smoke. Given this critical protein is found in the muscles, skin, bones, and connective tissues it’s understandable why supplementation of collagen as your dog’s natural production slows can result in positive improvements in their overall health.
Collagen’s Contributions to Wellness
Currently, the big push with collagen for humans is with regards to skin, hair, and nails. Just as with people, collagen promotes elasticity in the skin and has shown to reduce irritation, itchiness, and shedding in pets. Spring is a common time for dog-owners to experience a lot of skin discomfort in their dogs, often resulting in excessive itching which collagen supplementation may help alleviate.
As mentioned before, collagen is found in the connective tissue within your dog, which is present throughout the body including their gut. Dogs who struggle with digestive issues may find some support with the protein’s ability to soothe tissues in the digestive tract, aiding in proper absorption of nutrients. Over time, a lot of things can affect your dog’s gut lining. Amino acids lysine and glycine, both abundant in collagen, have been shown to help repair and maintain the integrity of a functional gut. As pet parents, we do our best to feed our dogs nutritious meals that will help them thrive, and collagen’s involvement in the lining throughout the gut greatly contributes to a dog’s ability to properly digest their food.
Unfortunately, we all know one of the most obvious signs of aging in our pets is their decreased mobility. Collagen is a powerhouse when it comes to mobility, influencing bone strength, muscle, and joint health. As your pup develops, this protein has a hand in strong bone development. Sadly, when they hit their golden years bone mass starts to decrease, which is where collagen supplementation can provide support. Found in a majority of muscles, tendons, and ligaments an inadequate amount of collagen can impact movement. Its involvement in the body’s ability to maintain a healthy inflammatory response can also support muscle regeneration, increase mobility, and reduce general aches and pains. Additionally, dogs prone to joint issues or those who suffer from arthritis may find relief from collagen supplementation, as it is shown to provide lubrication for joint connective tissue and support strong cartilage throughout the body.
How and When to Supplement
Collagen is a protein that truly affects the whole animal, and can have very profound impacts on slowing the aging process in our dogs! If you’re noticing signs of aging, now might be the time to start introducing collagen supplements into your dog’s diet. You can also take a preventative approach, and start supporting your dog’s skin, joints, connective tissues, and digestive system before physical signs of discomfort arrive.
There are countless ways to feed collagen to your dog. The simplest method would be grass-fed collagen powder incorporated into their meal each day. Some companies also produce collagen treats, which is another easy way to provide support. This critical protein can also be found in standard grocery store items, such as eggs, leafy greens, berries, and red and yellow vegetables. However, your pup might enjoy collagen supplementation most through the countless collagen treats and chews on the market today.
However you decide to fend off aches, pains, or premature aging and provide support by integrating collagen into your dog’s diet will aid in their ability to thrive.
Author: Payton Pritzl