Collagen is commonly used in cosmetology and as a dietary supplement for people with musculoskeletal disorders. But what is collagen, how does it work and why is it worth giving hydrolyzed collagen to dogs?
Collagen protein is the main component of vertebrate connective tissue. It is characterized by high tensile strength. It is an important element of joints, tendons and ligaments. It is also found in a significant amount in bones, responsible for their strength and elasticity.
Research on the effectiveness of the use of collagen in diseases of the musculoskeletal system has been going on for many years. In the 1970s, a group of mice was tested to determine whether collagen ingested with food would be detected in joint cartilage. For this purpose, the animals were fed with isotope-labeled collagen protein. After the end of the study, the isotope was detected in the articular cartilage, which confirmed the researchers’ assumptions (5). In clinical trials using a placebo-controlled group, it was found that hydrolyzed collagen administered orally reduces pain and improves mobility in patients with degenerative joint diseases (3). The inhibition of bone collagen breakdown in the group of patients taking collagen was also clearly visible. It was also noted that the more severe the patients’ pain, the more pronounced was the subsequent improvement (1, 2,4).
Doctor Nina Weide conducted research on a group of 30 dogs (10 healthy and 20 with osteoarthritis). The animals received hydrolyzed collagen protein with food for 4 months. Before and after the start of the study, a number of parameters were tested from the blood samples of the dogs involved in the study. One of the tested parameters was the level of the enzyme responsible for the degradation of collagen in the synovial fluid – a significant decrease in the level of this enzyme was observed in the body of animals receiving collagen. The dogs’ owners confirmed a visible reduction in the animals’ pain, much easier getting up, moving around, e.g. climbing stairs, and a general, clearly greater willingness to walk and run, compared to the state before the study (7).
In older dogs, collagen degeneration in joints and bones is common, which is associated with degenerative diseases. Supplementation of hydrolyzed collagen protein also prevents age-related collagen degeneration in the body and bone loss (1,2,8).
It is worth noting the benefits that collagen supplementation can bring to dogs in the period of growth or adults, burdened with high physical effort, especially sports or working animals.
In the case of young dogs, collagen supplementation can strengthen the developing joint cartilage and reduce the risk of degeneration resulting from rapid growth or high body weight. This is especially important for young dogs of large and giant breeds.
Dogs with high activity, sports or working, are often exposed to heavy loads on the joints and the entire musculoskeletal system. Regular administration of hydrolyzed collagen will strengthen the dog’s joints and protect its musculoskeletal system against various damages. Collagen ensures proper elasticity of joints, ligaments, tendons and bones, minimizing the risk of injury, thus ensuring health and efficient functioning of the musculoskeletal system.
The positive effect of collagen on the bones and joints of animals has been confirmed by research. It has been proven that hydrolyzed collagen administered with food to growing individuals, additionally burdened with significant physical effort, caused an increase in bone mass of these animals and minimized the occurrence of bone and joint injuries, despite regular heavy physical effort on the musculoskeletal system (2,6,8).
It is worth mentioning that hydrolyzed collagen also strengthens the skin, claws and coat of animals. That is why it is worth using preparations with collagen, also in periods of strong shedding, in problems with the skin, fur or excessive brittleness of the claws.
It should be remembered that during the supplementation of hydrolyzed collagen, vitamin C should also be administered in parallel (if the administered preparation does not contain this vitamin in its composition), as it is necessary for the proper processing of the ingested collagen and its production in the animal’s body.