Nearly 20% of pet dogs spontaneously develop osteoarthritis, and this translates to at least 15 million dogs in the United States alone (1).
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in a dog’s body that has been indicated to have beneficial effects as an oral supplement for dogs. Collagen is recognized as a safe food ingredient by regulatory agencies and is well tolerated in arthritic dogs (2).
The benefits of oral collagen supplements for dogs with arthritis have been clearly demonstrated in multiple studies (3).
So what are the benefits of using collagen for dogs?
Collagen supplements have both an anti-inflammatory and natural collagen-protective effect. Supplementation of collagen in dogs reduced joint tissue degradation and decreased inflammatory cytokines, while enhancing synthesis of type II collagen, elastin, and aggrecan (3). Studies have also demonstrated decreased lameness and increased vitality scores in animals affected with arthritis and supplemented with collagen (3).
Collagen supplementation may reduce dog joint pain. Studies have shown that dogs fed a supplement that contained collagen showed an improvement in their ability to rise from lying down and a significant reduction in pain during manipulation of the affected joint (4).
More studies have shown that dogs receiving collagen showed significant reductions in overall pain within 30 days of supplementation and reductions in pain upon limb manipulation and exercise-associated lameness after 60 days of supplementation (6). Maximum reductions in pain were seen after 120 days of supplementation and following withdrawal of supplementation the dogs relapsed, indicating that collagen is a highly effective dog joint supplement (6).
- High quality collagen supplements may prevent degenerative joint disease in dogs. One study looked at preventing elbow dysplasia by feeding a supplement containing collagen to over 100 dogs being raised as guide dogs (5). In the group not fed the supplement, 33.3% of the dogs developed radiographic evidence of elbow dysplasia by the 20th month compared to 18.5% of the collagen supplemented group (5). This is one of the first and only studies to indicate that collagen supplements may be effective in preventing canine elbow dysplasia and other degenerative joint diseases in dogs.
Canine osteoarthritis and joint disease can have a negative effect on the quality of life for an animal from their comfort level and exercise tolerance to their urinary and fecal habits (1). Collagen supplementation could be used to prevent the development of osteoarthritis or help to alleviate the pain associated with it, with no nasty side effects.
Check out the most natural collagen chews for dogs here and watch your dog’s activity level and happiness expand!