January 03, 2022 4 min read

In this article

    We may look different from the outside, but dog owners and their beloved pets have similar anatomy in many aspects. Collagen is a vital structural protein for both dogs and humans. It's found in the body's connective tissues and made up of amino acids bound in a triple helix, or a collagen helix.

    Researchers have classified 28 types of collagen. These different forms of collagen are found in specific body structures and some of the most prevalent include:

    Type I: found throughout the body.
    Type II: primarily in ligaments and cartilage.
    Type III: primarily in the gut and same locations as type I, but in smaller quantities.

    Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in mammals, and accounts for approximately 30% of total protein mass. Collagen is found in:

    • skin
    • cartilage
    • tendons
    • ligaments
    • bone
    • blood vessels
    • the gut
    • intervertebral discs
    • dentin in teeth
    • muscle tissue (endomysium)

    Collagen in Dog Health

    Dog collagen is the main structural protein determining the strength and elasticity of your pets connective tissue and is crucial for joint support, especially in older dogs. Maintaining adequate collagen levels impact a dog's hair, nails, teeth, bones, and skin health.

    Why Does Your Senior Dog Need a Collagen Supplement?

    Like humans, dogs naturally lose collagen as they grow older since collagen production decreases over time. Your dog's diet may need a collagen boost for the following health benefits.

    Joint Health

    As dogs age, it's common for them to experience joint pain, arthritis, tendonitis, and degenerative disc disease. Many veterinarians will give medications like anti-inflammatories for these conditions, but a joint supplement like collagen can help your dog's body strengthen connective tissues and ligaments in joints to improve mobility and relieve pain.

    Signs of osteoarthritis in pets may include:

    • Difficulty standing or sitting
    • Favoring a limb or limping
    • Hesitancy to run, climb, or jump
    • Decreased interest in play, walks, and activity
    • Weight gain

    Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a genetic disorder affecting a significant number of dogs. CHD is triggered by epigenetics, environmental factors, and diet. Dogs with this condition may be able to alleviate joint pain with supplements.

    Your veterinarian can guide you on other supplements or pain-relievers that can alleviate your dog's joint pain. Options may include glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, collagen, and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Collagen for Proper Digestion

    Digestive Health

    A dog's dietary needs change with age. However, it's always essential for your dog to have a healthy digestive system in order to break down and absorb nutrients. Because it's a vital part of your dog's intestinal lining, collagen can help improve digestion and prevent conditions like leaky gut.

    Healthy Coat and Skin

    Your dog's skin can lose elasticity over time. While your furry friend may care less about wrinkles or crow's feet around the eyes, skin health is vital for other reasons. Adequate collagen impacts hair growth and coat health. A full, healthy coat means better protection and less itching and hair loss. Another one of the benefits of collagen is maintaining strong nails so they don't get brittle and crack.

    Homemade Recipes With Collagen for Senior Dogs

    Fortunately, collagen-rich foods will be naturally appealing to your dog's tastebuds since collagen is found in animal skin, bones, and hides that dogs naturally love to chew on.

    Plant-based sources of collagen include leafy greens, beans, berries, and red and yellow vegetables. However, be careful not to feed your dog any foods that may be toxic for pets. Toxic foods include onion and garlic, which many people include in bone broth recipes.

    For a simple adjustment to your pet's diet, try incorporating collagen chews or dog food and dog treats containing collagen. Also, remember that your pet can consume human collagen supplements.

    Collagen Sources

    The best forms of collagen supplements to add to your dog's food include:

    • Gelatin powder: Look for beef gelatin sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle. Gelatin is ideal for cooking and will thicken in cold liquids or when making gummies or stews.
    • Collagen peptides: Collagen peptides from grass-fed beef contain type I collagen hydrolysate for joints and connective tissue. Hydrolyzed collagen has been broken down into peptides, which are more easily absorbed. Collagen powder can be easily incorporated into your dog's food or even added to their water bowl.
    • Marine collagen: Sourced from fish and with similar benefits to bone broth. Marine collagen is efficiently absorbed and can help repair connective tissues, increase muscle, and promote thick hair and strong nails.*

    Collagen is usually classified by its source. Bovine collagen is derived from cows and marine collagen is sourced from fish. These supplements give your dog high-quality protein that will benefit their joints, bones, muscles, and more.

    Amandean offers two great collagen options free of toxins, pollutants, and heavy metals. The bovine collagen peptides are sourced from South American cattle that are pasture-raised and grass-fed. Amandean’s marine collagen is naturally sourced from North Atlantic wild-caught cod. Both forms of collagen are 100% natural, fat-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Collagen protein powders can be added to recipes for your canine.

    Homemade Peanut Butter Collagen Dog Treats



    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Mix all ingredients thoroughly, dough will be stiff.
    3. Press dough into silicone dog treat mold or roll with a rolling pin and cut out with cookie cutters.
    4. Bake for 20-40 minutes, testing for doneness.

    A few recipes to try out that incorporate collagen and gelatin include:

    Final Word

    When giving your dog collagen, be sure to calculate the right amount for your dog's weight and breed. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best way to supplement your pet's diet with collagen.

    -Stephanie Hodges, MS in Nutrition and Exercise Science

    Article References:

    1. The Collagen Family. Accessed Dec 10, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003457/
    2. Senior Pet Care FAQ. American Veterinary Medical Association. https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/senior-pet-care-faq
    3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2019.00378/full
    4. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets

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