If you haven’t noticed, collagen is all the rage. From collagen-infused protein powders to collagen supplements, people are finding ways to incorporate collagen into their personal health routines. But it’s not just a fad for two footers — collagen is good for dogs, too.

What is collagen and why is it good for my pup?

In a sense, collagen is the glue that holds your dog’s body together. Fun fact: the word “collagen” derives from the Greek word for glue, “kólla.” Of course, we don’t mean “glue” in the white, gooey, orange-capped-bottle sense. 

Rather, collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It makes up your pet’s skin and connective tissues including joints, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. And maintaining healthy cartilage is a big deal for dogs.

Understanding the cartilage-collagen connection

Cartilage forms the unique padding between bones that allows active doggy joints to withstand shock. Healthy cartilage is what lets your pup run-leap-fetch-the-frisbee on pain-free repeat today, tomorrow, and years from now. 

In addition to absorbing the impact from fun romps at the park, healthy cartilage also prevents bones from grinding into one another, and protects both bone surface and joint health — which makes injury less likely. That’s important as your dog ages and loses cartilage.

How can I protect my dog’s joints from cartilage loss?

As dogs age, collagen production naturally declines. When collagen is no longer replaced efficiently in your dog’s cartilage, doggy joints lose that special padding. Cartilage loss can lead to inflammation, joint pain or arthritis, and saddest of all, It-Hurts-Too-Much-To-Fetch-Itis. 

Good news! Research shows that the natural slowing of collagen production and cartilage breakdown can be safely managed by increasing collagen in your dog’s diet. 

Collagen is the building block for maintaining healthy cartilage. Helping your dog get more collagen into their bodies can protect all the fun in the sun you’ll have with your pup for years to come. In other words, if anything can prolong your dog buddy’s agility training days, it’s collagen.

And, as an added bonus, collagen for dogs can also:

  • Boost their ability to hydrate and retain moisture, which can build a healthy coat and improve your dog’s skin health. 
  • Soothe and repair digestive health issues, preventing poor digestion and nutrient absorption.

What’s the best source of collagen for dogs?

Great question! Plants are a terrific source of vitamins and minerals that can help stimulate a body to produce its own collagen. But (and it’s a big BUT) there is no known vegetarian source of type II collagen, the form that can stave off It-Hurts-Too-Much-To-Fetch-Itis.

For type II collagen benefits, look to animal-based proteins, which research shows are the go-to source for the essential amino acids that make up collagen.

It’s a good bet that your naturally-carnivorous companion will be thrilled to munch on a meat-forward diet that just happens to be rich in collagen for dogs (maybe with a little side of sweet potato and peanut butter, just for kicks)! 

How can I be sure my pup’s getting enough collagen? 

Another great question! The good news is that you don’t have to give your dog-child some kind of newfangled collagen supplement powder or pill pocket. 

The best way to ensure ideal collagen for dogs is by choosing a healthy, meat-forward diet. A dog food brand like A Pup Above is a great choice. Why? It’s pretty cool, actually. They cook meats in a gentle cooking process called sous-vide. This long, slow cooking makes meat deliciously tender and causes a natural gravy to form. 

Fun fact: This gravy is actually collagen! It happens when meat is cooked so long that amino acids can be extracted from the tendons in the meat. 

A Pup Above is the dog food that gives your dog that delicious, collagen-rich gravy with every meal, so your pup gets the maximum amount of dog collagen possible from the meat itself, just from your pet’s diet. And all without added collagen supplements!

This way, you can feel confident about knowing exactly where your dog’s collagen comes from, and their body can make the most out of that natural, delicious super glue.