Having a pet isn’t just fun; owning a pet can also benefit your health in major ways! But what about the health of your furry companion? Are you currently feeding your four-legged friend the best possible diet? Just like people, the “best diet” can vary from animal to animal, but many dogs can really benefit from the inclusion of collagen in their diets. Collagen for dogs, you ask? That’s right.
For starters, is collagen OK for dogs? In general, collagen for dogs can be a great way to maintain their overall health. Plus, as dogs age (and we all know they age much faster than humans) they encounter some of the same problems that their owners often do, including joint pain and arthritis. Collagen for dogs is used to treat other canine health problems, including osteoporosis, lupus, spondylitis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, polymyositis and tendonitis.
What Is Collagen? Can My Pet Take Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, especially type 1 collagen. In humans as well as dogs, you can find collagen in the muscles, bones, tendons, skin, blood vessels and digestive system.
This integral collagen substance is actually the “glue” that helps hold the body together so it’s essential to joint and tendon health. It also provides the skin with strength and suppleness, which is why so many humans use it for anti-aging purposes and pet owners use it to enhance their pets’ skin and coat. The largest portion of a dog’s or cat’s skin is actually composed of collagen. (1)
Top 5 Benefits of Collagen for Dogs and Other Pets
Both collagen for humans and collagen for pets is very popular right now and for good reason — collagen can really boost the health of your furry friend just like it helps you!
1. General Bone and Joint Health
Collagen is literally a building block of your pet’s bones, joints, cartilage, connective tissues and blood vessels. It is a great way to encourage the health of all of these vital structural components of your pet’s body. Plus, it’s a preventative strategy too, since, as dogs age, their mobility can often be hindered due to joint problems and joint pain.
A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Veterinary Science looked at the effects of a supplement containing hydrolyzed collagen on 105 labrador retrievers randomly split up into two groups to determine the number of dogs that developed elbow dysplasia (abnormal development of the elbow joint) compared to the untreated canine subjects. The researchers also measured the efficacy of the oral treatment containing collagen once elbow dysplasia (ED) was diagnosed.
Based on the study results, the researchers concluded: (2)
Administration of hyaluronic acid, enzymatically hydrolyzed collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and gamma oryzanol (Hyaloral) to animals diagnosed with ED significantly reduces clinical signs and symptoms. Moreover, we concluded that the results of this study indicate that giving this dietary supplement to Labradors starting at the age of three months may have a potential cumulative action that confers protection against the progression of radiographic osteoarthritic changes associated with ED.
2. Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis
Collagen for dogs may really help to improve common health struggles like osteoarthritis. A scientific paper published in 2017 points out that clinical trials conducted over the past decade have clearly shown the beneficial effect of orally administered collagen peptides for dogs with osteoarthritis. More specifically, research has shown a decrease in lameness and increased mobility in dogs after collagen peptide treatment. (3)
Many vets also recommend glucosamine chondroitin for dogs with arthritis and research. A scientific review published in 2017 confirms glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis. Glucosamine regulates the synthesis of collagen in cartilage and may provide mild anti-inflammatory effects while chondroitin sulfate inhibits destructive enzymes in joint fluid and cartilage. So in addition to collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin are two more ingredients to look for when choosing a good joint supplement for dogs. (4)
3. Promotes a Healthy Coat and Skin Health
Looking for another reason to try collagen for dogs? Many pet owners are looking for a way to improve their pets’ appearance, especially when it comes to their coats. Collagen is a way to encourage the quality of your dog’s hair and skin. How so? The layer of your dog’s skin called the dermis is mainly made of collagen, and the dermis provides a strong foundation for healthy skin and hair growth. Collagen may boost nail health as well. (5)
4. Helps Digestion
Similar to the way humans use collagen to improve digestive concerns like a leaky gut, dogs can also benefit from collagen’s ability to boost digestive health. Dogs and other animals can get leaky gut syndrome too, which puts them at risk for a cascade of other health problems, including autoimmune disease, allergies and behavior issues. As with humans, dogs can develop a leaky gut due to poor diet, antibiotics, toxic substances and stress. Collagen and collagen-rich substances like bone broth can help soothe and repair the gut lining, improving leaky gut and other problems triggered by that problematic state of your pet’s digestive system. (6)
5. Can Encourage Appetite
Most dogs really love collagen so if you’ve been having trouble getting your dog to have a healthy appetite, adding some collagen to his or her food may help to encourage desire and excitement for their next meal! It’s also typically very easy to get dogs to eat healthy collagen-laden treats so that’s another easy way to incorporate collagen for dogs into their daily routine.
Best Collagen Supplements for Pets + Dosage
When choosing a collagen supplement for your pet, look for a high-quality collagen that is hydrolyzed for easier digestion. It’s totally up to you if have a preference on what animal the collagen is sourced from, but options of collagen for dogs can include marine, chicken or bovine collagen.
If you’re wondering how much collagen to give a dog, it depends on your pet’s weight and health needs. Follow product directions carefully, or check with your vet if you are unsure. What joint supplement is best for dogs? If your dog (or other pet) is being treated for a health problem, such as joint pain, your vet will likely have a specific recommendation when it comes to which supplements to take and how to take on a daily basis.
If you’re looking for vitamin C for dogs or MSM for dogs, it’s helpful to know that you can find dog joint supplements that contain collagen, vitamin C, MSM and more all in one place. Other helpful ingredients to look for, especially when it comes to arthritis and joint health, include glucosamine and chondroitin.
The best collagen supplement for dogs as well as the best joint supplement for dogs are made from high-quality ingredients with no fillers or questionable ingredients included in the formula. It’s important to read reviews and purchase pet supplements from a reputable company.
When it comes to glucosamine supplements for dogs, doses can vary, but a typical glucosamine sulfate dose is 20 milligrams per pound of body weight or one 500 milligrams tablet per 25 pounds of body weight. Just like K9 collagen, glucosamine supplements for dogs can be mixed in with their food. (7)
Is collagen good for cats too? These days, there is a wide variety of collagen supplements for both dogs and cats. Cats usually experience similar benefits to dogs when their diets are supplemented with collagen.
Side Effects of Collagen for Pets and Common Questions
Side effects of canine collagen are typically rare, and research studies have also recorded a lack of adverse side effects when dogs were given collagen supplements. (8)
Common questions pet owners have in regard to incorporating collagen/gelatin into pet diets:
- Is bone broth safe for cats and dogs? Bone broth can be a great way to boost your pet’s health, but if you’re giving them homemade bone brothor store-bought, it’s crucial to ensure that it does not contain any ingredients that are toxic to them, including onions, garlic, chives or scallions. (9)
- Is low-sodium chicken broth OK for cats? Again, this can be OK if you make sure that it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients. Check with your vet if you are unsure.
- Can cats eat scrambled eggs? If you’re looking to give your cat scrambled eggs so it can benefit from the egg collagen, it’s safe to give your cat eggs as long as they are fully cooked and your cat does not have an egg allergy. (10)
- Are gummy bears bad for dogs? Conventional gummy bears should not be given to dogs, but there are healthy recipes for gummy bone broth treats that are suitable for dogs.
- Is gelatin good for dogs? Both gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen for dogs come from animal collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down into smaller units of protein, and gelatin is a type of protein derived from partial hydrolysis of collagen. Both high-quality gelatin and collagen supplements can be easily mixed into dog food. They can also be used to make treats for dogs.
- Can you give a dog jello? Is strawberry jelly OK for dogs? Some people want to share some of their jello or jelly with dogs because of their gelatin content, but this is not the healthiest way for dogs to get a boost of gelatin.
- Is jelly bad for dogs? Sugary jellies are not a healthy choice for humans or dogs.
Where to Find and How to Use Collagen for Pets + Collagen Recipes for Pets
There are a variety of collagen supplements online and at your local pet store, including powdered collagen, collagen capsules and liquid collagen for dogs.
If you’re wondering how much collagen should I give my dog, a healthy collagen dosage for dogs will depend upon their size and individual health needs. Read package directions closely, and always check with your pet’s health care provider if you’re feeling unsure.
If you’re looking to use collagen for pets, there are a lot of recipes that make it easy to incorporate this vital protein in their diets. One great way is to add collagen to homemade dog treats.
Some recipes you may want to test out for your furry friend:
- Homemade Broth Recipe for Cats & Dogs (this is a chicken bone broth)
- Pumpkin Bone Broth Dog Treats
- Lamb Bone Broth for Dogs
- Homemade Bone Broth Popsicles for Dogs
Talk to your veterinarian if you’re unsure which dog supplements, including collagen and/or joint supplements, to use for your canine (or other pet) and how to best use them. If your pet experiences any adverse reactions to collagen or other supplements, discontinue use and contact your vet right away.
Final Thoughts on Collagen for Dogs
- Collagen isn’t just used to boost human health; it’s also great to use collagen for dogs and collagen for pets in general!
- Benefits of collagen for dogs may include improved bone, joint, skin, hair, nail and digestive health.
- Cats and other pets can benefit from adding collagen to their diets too, which can be accomplished through the use of collagen supplements. You can also add collagen to homemade pet treats.
- Talk to your veterinarian if your dog has specific health needs that you’re trying to address with the use of collagen and other dog supplements and if you have specific questions on best products and dosing.
Original post by Annie Price, CHHC