Published: February 2021 | Updated: August 2023
Nearly 20% of pet dogs spontaneously develop osteoarthritis. This translates to at least 15 million dogs in the United States alone.
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. Let’s explore more in this article!
Benefits of Oral Collagen Supplements
The benefits of oral collagen supplements for dogs with arthritis have been clearly demonstrated in multiple studies.
So what are the benefits of using collagen for dogs?
Joint Health and Mobility
Dogs, especially larger breeds and those with active lifestyles, often face joint issues as they age. Conditions like osteoarthritis and general joint pain can significantly impact a dog's quality of life.
Collagen is an essential component of cartilage, the soft cushion between joints that ensures smooth movement without bone friction. With age or injury, this cartilage can wear down. Collagen supplements can support the repair and maintenance of cartilage, potentially easing joint pain and increasing mobility.
By fortifying the joints with essential collagen, these supplements may assist in prolonging an active lifestyle for older dogs.
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.
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.
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.
Skin and Coat Health
Collagen plays a vital role in maintaining the health and elasticity of the skin. For dogs, this means a shinier coat, fewer skin issues, and faster healing from minor wounds or abrasions. As with humans, dogs experience a decrease in natural collagen production as they age.
Supplementing with collagen can lead to improved skin hydration and elasticity, potentially reducing skin irritations and ensuring a healthy, shiny coat.
Bone Density and Structural Integrity
Bones, much like joints, benefit significantly from collagen. As dogs age, especially larger breeds, they are at a higher risk of bone-related issues. Collagen, being a foundational component of bones, provides them with structure and strength.
Supplements can help maintain bone density, possibly reducing the risk of fractures and other bone conditions.
General Health and Vitality
Beyond specific health markers, collagen supplements might also promote overall vitality in dogs. Anecdotal reports from dog owners suggest that collagen supplementation can lead to increased energy levels, improved appetite, and a general sense of well-being in their pets.
Natural Collagen-Protective Effect
Supplementation of collagen in dogs reduced joint tissue degradation and decreased inflammatory cytokines while enhancing the synthesis of type II collagen, elastin, and aggrecan.
Studies have also demonstrated decreased lameness and increased vitality scores in animals affected by arthritis supplemented with collagen.
Preventing Degenerative Joint Disease in Dogs
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.
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. 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 an animal's quality of life, from their comfort level and exercise tolerance to their urinary and fecal habits. Collagen supplementation could be used to prevent the development of osteoarthritis or help 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!