You have probably heard about collagen, most likely relating to products that promote youthful skin and beauty in humans. Science has shown that collagen has numerous health benefits for dogs too. These benefits go far beyond appearance and may affect the quality and length of Fido’s life.
Some health-conscious companies are beginning to introduce collagen chew products for dogs as a healthy alternative to rawhide chews. Collagen treats offer benefits to dogs in the form of joint, skin, and coat health.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most bountiful protein in all living beings. It is essential to the proper functioning of the digestive tract, bones, skin, blood vessels, and tendons. Collagen also plays a vital role as structural protein and connective tissue.
Collagen is what gives skin its strength and flexibility. It is also one of the primary building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Time to Hide the Rawhide
Veterinarians and other people have expressed concern about the digestibility of rawhide for many years. Many people don’t realize that rawhide is non-porous, making it hard to digest because the body cannot break it down.
Common risks to your dog associated with rawhide:
Contamination. Rawhide chew products contain toxic chemicals. And, as with any food product manufactured, there is some risk of Salmonella or E. coli contamination.
Digestive irritation. Some dogs are allergic or sensitive to rawhide or some of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process. This can cause diarrhea or vomiting.
Choking or blockages. If a dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, it can cause a blockage in the throat, airway, stomach, or gastrointestinal tract.
Rawhide chews are made from leather that is discarded in the leather industry. Because rawhide was not intended for consumption, it offers no nutritional value. However, to make them more appealing, many rawhide chews have added beef, liver, or chicken flavoring. Additionally, most rawhide soaks in harsh chemicals and preservatives. The end product is a highly processed chew that’s extremely difficult to digest.
Unlike traditional rawhide, a by-product of the leather industry, collagen products are free from gluten, grains, and artificial additives and preservatives.
How Collagen Benefits Your Dog
Your dog’s body breaks collagen down into collagen peptides. Peptides are smaller versions of a protein in that they are both made up of amino acids. However, peptides have fewer amino acids than proteins.
Once broken down, the body uses collagen peptides to create and repair cells. Adding collagen to your pup’s diet helps maintain health by:
- Increasing Bone Mass - Collagen helps build bone mass, which helps to improve and maintain bone strength. Bone mass is critical (as are collagen peptides) because bone strength is necessary for stable and sturdy joints.
- Stabilizing Joints and Preventing Injuries - Collagen makes up between 70% and 90% of a dog’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments, so the joints rely on it for strength and stability. Over time, just as with humans, dogs’ muscles and connective tissue loosens, predisposing them to injuries. That is why it is essential to maintain joint health, not just as your pup gets into her golden years but also throughout her lifetime.
- Improving Age-Related Joint Pain - Collagen loss that naturally occurs during aging plays a role in arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and tendonitis. These are the three most common causes of pain in senior dogs. Studies have shown that collagen peptides act as anti-inflammatories, reducing pain and stiffness.
- Aiding in digestion by stimulating the stomach to produce more digestive enzymes breaks down proteins and soothes the stomach lining. Collagen is also a natural source of glutamine: the amino acid responsible for intestinal health.
- Promoting Skin Health, Hair Growth, Strong Nails, and a Healthy Coat - Collagen is what makes up 70% of the protein in a dog’s skin. It is responsible for:
- Keeping the skin healthy and moisturized
- Reducing itchiness
- Maintaining a soft and shiny coat
- Ensuring nails grow strong and do not split
Face It - Collagen isn’t Just For Pretty Skin
In addition to offering many health benefits, collagen chews are longer lasting than the traditional dog chews on the market. That’s because corium collagen is made only from the most substantial part of the body.
Dogs need to chew. It is crucial for healthy teeth and gums, a strong jaw, as well as mental stimulation. As a pet parent, you make choices every day as to what your dog consumes. Your dog (and your furniture) will thank you for choosing long-lasting collagen chews. Chews-Wisely™.