Do Dogs Need Vitamin C? Vitamin C For Dogs Explained

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A healthy dog is a happy dog. This is a well-documented fact of canine living. A dog owner has a responsibility towards his furry friend. If you are going to be the leader of the pack, you need to know what is best for your pooch, and be open to providing him with what he needs. We all need vitamins to develop, and dog’s are no exception. Some extra vitamin C could be all it takes to have your pup better in no time.

So be on top of things, be a responsible dog owner, pay attention to them, feed them the right things, and if you feel something is up, don’t put it off. Investigate. It could be nothing, it could be something, but in any case it is better to act. If you are planning to treat your dog with vitamin C, whether as a preventive or reactive measure, you should consult with your doggy doctor. If you’re not sure what vitamin C has to do with your dogs health, keep reading!

What Is Vitamin C?

Birds eye view of sliced oranges on marble counter.

Oranges are a source of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a vitamin which comes in the form of food and dietary supplements. It can protect the body by absorbing certain elements with greater speed, by helping to regenerate skin tissue, and maintaining bones and blood vessels.

For dogs, as well as humans, it is a vitamin that is crucial for proper physical development. Without it, your dog’s body may begin to show signs of deficiency. Lacking in vitamin C is not something which you want to go through, whether you are a canine or a human. Many times, your dog is able to produce enough vitamin C on its own if the liver is functioning in a healthy way.

This combined with getting enough from their food source is often all it takes for a healthy pup. But there are times when there is simply not enough of it in your dog’s system.

Do Dogs Need Vitamin C?

Dog hiding under bed.

A sick dog.

The immediate dangers of a lack in vitamin C for dogs are twofold: first, there is the danger of your dog becoming weaker and more fatigued than usual, and consequently decreasing the strength of the immune system. This happens because the body is not getting enough of what it needs to function.

Secondly, there is a chance that the a dog will acquire a disease which stems from such a condition. The most famous illness which is caused by lack of C is probably scurvy. This disease affects the levels of energy, the appetite and the bone structure of your dog,. It can even affect the gums and cause bleeding and puffiness in the oral cavity.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C For Dogs

Not everything which is healthy is deemed necessary. Since your dog has the ability to create vitamin C in their body, you may think that there is no place for adding it to their diet. But there is. Some dogs – especially those who are stressed and/or sick – don’t follow the proper patterns, and don’t produce enough vitamin C on their own.

Vitamin C has many benefits: it can help you to fight viral diseases.  It can help prevent and treat a variety of diseases and infections, as well as cancer, according to some experts. Studies are still being conducted on it, but the results so far are encouraging. The health benefits of proper vitamin C absorption were only seriously uncovered in the 90’s, and science is still learning more about this vitamin in regards to canines and humans alike. That being said, a 2009 study revealed that there may be little benefit to a vitamin C supplementation in healthy dogs, so it’s best to check with your vet beforehand. 

The health benefits of vitamin C for dogs should not be overlooked, whether they are afflicted with an illness or not. Sometimes, when a dog is stressed, the amounts of vitamin C which are naturally produced decrease significantly. The health benefits are there and they are ones which are needed. Because of that, you’re recommended to ensure that your dog has enough vitamin C in her system.

How To Get Your Dogs The Vitamin C They Need

Pug lying in fall leaves.

Make sure your dog is healthy with enough Vitamin C.

Fruits and berries are one way to go in making sure that your dog gets the vitamin C it needs. They are undoubtedly the most natural way of getting this vitamin into their bodies. If your doggy is into such foods, you’ve got this. Before you shop for dietary supplements consider changing the dog’s diet accordingly. You can add fruit washed and plain. Get to know what your pup likes, and roll with it.

Another way to get your dogs the vitamin C they need is with the help of a smoothie. Most dogs love slurping cold substances, and a smoothie is no exception. If you don’t want to go down that road, then a supplement is also a popular option. You can find Vitamin C supplements for dogs sold all over the place, in various forms.

The salt form of vitamin C (also known as mineral ascorbates) is probably the most popular for dogs. For emergency situations and cases of dire need, there are vitamin C injections which can be administered by a licensed vet.

Dangers of Too Much Vitamin C For Dogs

Vitamin C is a staple of good health and proper development, but getting too much is no good either. You don’t want to overload your dog’s system with something, even if it is generally healthy for them. There is a danger of too much vitamin C in your dog’s body which may contribute to quicker deterioration of joints. This is deliciously ironic, since you can also use vitamin C to treat arthritis in dogs. It is all a question of balance.

Many times, dogs who have too much vitamin C in their blood will experience diarrhea and/or bloating. This won’t necessarily lead to the condition known as ‘bloat’, but it should definitely be monitored closely. In any case of physical warning signs, or if your dog is acting erratically, get in touch with your vet and follow their instructions.

You don’t always need to add a supplement, so make sure that there is indeed a documented deficiency before resorting to a vitamin C dietary supplements.

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Seeing as your dog is meant to produce vitamin C on its own, some pet nutritionists are vehemently against adding substances to their system. Vitamin C is no exception. Others are not so quick to condemn it from the beginning, granting that there are times when a dog may require an extra boost of the vitamin.

This changes from one breed to the next, and it depends on your pet’s previous diet, their lifestyle, and their genetic makeup. You can’t tell everything from looking at your dog and monitoring their day-to-day activities, but you should be able to spot if something is off. When in doubt, contact your vet, and they will be able to discern whether or not there is a deficiency.

The bottom line here is: make sure your dog is looked after. Remember that you have a responsibility towards your four-legged roommate. If this was nature, there would be no problem. But it isn’t nature, per se, but rather a home. A home that you share with your dog.  The sooner and the earlier you catch something the more chances you and your dog have of getting rid of it with as little trouble as possible.

Also, (and this is crucial) never underestimate the power of getting a second opinion. Not all vets are created equally, and it could very well be that one will understand something in a different way, or notice something which the previous vet had missed. It never hurts to get a second opinion, and I can say without a doubt that in such cases it is well worth it. That doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your vet. It means that you want what is best for your dog.