Nutrition plays a pivotal role in not only skin and coat health but it also influences the health of all the body systems in your dog. Cellular heath, tissues, organs, immunity, digestion and even behaviour - as a result of pain or general unhealthiness - can be affected if the body isn't functioning optimally.
Collagen is the building block of the skeletal system that's critical to it's integrity over a lifetime. It's the main structural protein found in skin and connective tissues that builds the framework for bone mass and strength, as well as cartilage, muscles, joints, connective tissues and blood vessels.
In fact, of the total protein in a dog's body, 30% is collagen. But as dogs age, their capacity to produce collagen comes to a halt which makes them more susceptible to injuries, pain, poor skin and coat health. Because collagen forms the rods that give structure and strength to every bone in your dog's body, this diminished collagen production can become even more problematic in cases of arthritis, bone loss, hip dysplasia and joint diseases like intervertebral disk disease and degenerative joint disease. It also determines the strength and elasticity of their hair, nails and teeth and is the primary building material of the very delicate tissues that support eye heath.
It is a natural process of aging that causes depletion of healthy collagen but that doesn't have to mean that production can't be stimulated again. There are supplements that can replace lost collagen and help to stimulate the connective tissues, enhance bone strength and vitality, rejuvenate overall health and improve quality of life. Studies have shown that the earlier you add a collagen supplement to your dog's diet, the more likely you will be able to prevent future bone, joint, skin and coat problems
Here are 6 reasons Collagen should be added to your dog's diet:
1. Injury Prevention & Joint Stabilization
The integrity of the joints depends on the presence of collagen because collagen makes up 70-90% of muscles, tendons and ligaments. As connective tissues loosen and bones become more brittle in aging dogs, they become more susceptible to injuries such as patellar subluxations, torn ligaments and hip or elbow dysplasia. Supplementing your dog's diet with a collagen product will improve joint lubrication, flexibility and strength, preventing these injuries.
2. Reduced Inflammation
Just like humans, inflammation affects dogs' health in many ways and chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of conditions in dogs such as allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, type II diabetes, pancreatitis, liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
Collagen contains several anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as Glycine, Proline and Arginine which can provide the nutrition required to prevent the development of inflammatory illnesses and diseases. Chronic inflammation is difficult to detect because it often has no early warning signs. This is why adding anti-inflammatory supplementation to your dog's diet is beneficial and necessary for disease prevention, overall health and wellbeing.
3. Maintains a Healthy Shiny Coat, Moisturized Skin and Strong Nails
Appearance may not be a concern for your dog, but collagen is important when it comes to the skin, coat and nails of your dog. It's not all about pouty lips, long lashes or getting rid of crow's feet, 70% of the protein in your dog's skin is collagen. It's responsible for maintaining a healthy, moisturized dermis as well as helps to replace dead skin cells; promoting a soft, shiny coat; and strong, powerful nails that do not split or crumble as they grow.
4. Improves Age-Related Joint Pain
As your dog ages, they stop producing collagen in their body and become depleted of this necessary structural protein. Age-related joint and soft tissue pain is something that most dogs will experience to some extent as they enter into their senior years and some even earlier.
The loss of collagen in the joints that occurs during the natural aging process plays a major role in arthritis, degenerative disc disease and tendonitis, which are three of the most common causes of pain in senior dogs. When they lose collagen, their tendons and ligaments start moving with less ease which leads to stiffness, swollen joints and more joint problems.
Collagen is a gel-like, smooth structure that covers and holds the bones together and allows movement without, or with reduced pain. Think of collagen as a lubricator for your joints like greasing a creaky door hinge, the lubrication helps the joints move more easily, reduces the pain associated with aging and even reduces the risk of deterioration of the joints.
5. Aids in Digestion
Collagen breaks down proteins to aid in digestion. And it soothes and heals the protective mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract by forming connecting tissues and infusing the whole digestive systems with healing amino acids. This is crucial for your dog's overall health and wellness because it will provide a healthy environment for beneficial bacteria to grow, which is the best natural defence against illness and disease.
Collagen contains Glycine, an amino acid that has been shown to have soothing properties to help promote an overall healthier, less agitated digestive system in your dog.
6. Boosts Immune System & Faster Wound Healing
Close to 80% of immune system cells are found in the gut, therefore an improvement in gut health results in a healthier immune system. Collagen supplementation may help prevent the inflammatory responses triggered by leaky gut syndrome and Proline, an amino acid found in collagen has been shown to boost the immune systems and promote faster wound healing.
I have spent the past 15+ years learning the science of how all things learn and mastering my art as an animal trainer, behaviour consultant and transformative coach. With my specialty in canine reactivity, fear, aggression and canine communication, I have many insights to share into understanding, preventing, predicting and changing canine behaviour.