Our friends at Bell & Bone have put together this fantastic article about Collagen and why its great for your dog.
What is Collagen?
Collagen came from the Greek word “kólla”, which means “glue” and the suffix “gen,” which means “producing.”
Just like where its name is derived from, collagen acts like a glue that holds your body together. It forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure and is typically found in the connective tissues such as the bones, muscles, skin, blood vessels, tendons, and even the digestive system.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our bodies making up 30 % of the total proteins. The collagen fibres are made up of the amino acids proline, glycine, arginine, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids, in turn, are made up of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen.
What does Collagen do?
There are at least 28 types of collagens found in our bodies but 5 of them are considered as the most common and make up the greatest percentage of collagen in our bodies. Collagen can be found in the skin, blood vessel walls, connective tissues, bones, and connective tissues like the cartilage.
Collagen is known for predominantly promoting joint health, particularly in dogs. It is found in cartilage (the connective tissue that protects the ends of long bones at the joints). It's also a structural component of the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes, the rib cage, and more. It is also one of the major components of our organs and skin. Simply... maintaining strong collagen levels within the body is crucial to maintain a healthy life.
Is Collagen Good for Dogs?
Collagen in dogs is just as important as it is to humans. Collagen levels naturally decline as both humans and dogs age. As mentioned, lower collagen levels can lead to a range of diseases as it is such a large, critical part of the body. Common signs of lower than normal collagen levels in dogs may include hair loss, joint and muscle pain, shedding, drying of coat, and stomach problems. The right amount of collagen in their daily diet could really make a difference.
Making the list of the top dog diseases are arthritis/stiffness and pain, ear infection, diarrhoea, viral and bacterial infections, dental diseases, dry and itchy skin/skin infections, and obesity. And with all these diseases mentioned, collagen plays a significant role in either preventing or improving its condition.
How does Collagen Help Dogs?
1. Collagen prevents Injuries and Improve Mobility
This is very applicable to adult and aging dogs. About 70-90% of the dogs’ ligaments, muscles, and tendons are made up of collagen. And as the dog ages, its capacity to produce collagen diminishes which causes the joints to become less stable, the connective tissues to loosen and their bones to become brittle. This is where dogs start to become prone to injuries and pain that could even lead to more serious conditions such as hip dysplasia and arthritis.
2. Collagen improves Coat and Fur
The largest layer of the skin of a dog’s coat is called the dermis, and it primarily consists of collagen (about 70% of the protein in it).
Dermis helps in supporting the upper layer of the skin to fight against infections and in keeping the skin’s strength and elasticity.
Collagen helps in getting the dermis moisturized and in maintaining a soft and shiny coat. This can keep a dog’s young-looking and itch-free coat.
3. Collagen improves Digestion
Collagen’s molecular structure is made up of hydrophilic molecules which are molecules that are attracted to water.
Thus, collagen allows food to easily move through the gastrointestinal tract. Dogs’ digestive tract is also prone to inflammation and multiple occurrences could lead to a condition called leaky gut-a, wherein the toxins from the gastrointestinal tract leak into the bloodstream creating a toxic environment. Collagen could help in preventing such a case from happening since it is full of amino acids that keep the balance in their digestive tract. It aids in breaking down nutrients like proteins and in soothing and repairing tissues.
4. Collagen strengthens Teeth, Nails, and Bones
Nails, Teeth, and bones aren’t just made up entirely of calcium. Protein collagen acts as the bone’s framework while calcium serves as the filler. With the right amount of collagen, bones become as strong as steel and elastic. Collagen also contributes to the production of keratin which is the main element of hair and nails and also helps in promoting healthy gums and teeth.
5. Collagen improves Appetite and Weight
Our dogs’ appetites could really be difficult to handle at times. Could be that we’ve got a fussy eater one or they might be undergoing some sort of conditions.
Since collagen is a protein that is also found in meat, dogs could recognize the smell and would not find it hard to like it. Adding collagen to your dog’s regular meal could enhance its texture and your dog’s appetite.
And a diet rich in collagen can increase the dog’s ability to burn fats which could help in weight management.
Best Collagen Foods
About 30% of the total protein in a dog’s body is collagen. And just like humans, as the dog ages, its capability to produce collagen on its own decreases, making them more susceptible to injuries, painful conditions of the bones and joints, and poor skin and coat health.
In this case, foods that are rich in collagen such as collagen treats, or collagen supplements would be a great help.
Natural foods like dairy, lean meat, and even eggs are examples of the best source of collagen protein.
Mostly, dogs love having collagen added to their food so some owners would use collagen powder supplements that they could sprinkle into any kind of their dog’s food.
Because of the widely known benefits of collagen to dogs, a lot of treats and supplements have come out of the market. But when choosing what’s the right treats or supplements, it is important to choose the ones without nasty ingredients. It is also recommended to know how much collagen your dog’s body needs.
Bell & Bone Collagen Sticks
In line with their goal of being to provide natural and healthy food for our dogs, Bell & Bone have recently launched a new range, Bell & Bone Collagen Sticks.
Bell & Bone Collagen Sticks come in two flavours: Chicken and Blueberries, and Beef and Manuka Honey both available for puppies/small dogs and adult dogs.
We recommend giving 1 Collagen Stick daily to help maintain better collagen levels in your dog’s body.
Shop the range of pet treats here.