Vitamin C For Pets: Why It’s Important
Vitamins -- those organic compounds necessary to sustain life -- are generally found naturally in certain foods. Vitamin C is found in foods like oranges, broccoli, blueberries, red peppers, and dark leafy greens.
Just like their human pack leaders, pets need the right balance of vitamins to keep them healthy. Sometimes, diet alone doesn’t do the trick and you need to add a supplement.
More on that later ...
What’s most important to know is that pets require different amounts of vitamins than people. Today, we’re focusing on vitamin C and how it affects your pets.
Keep reading to learn:
- What is vitamin C?
- Different forms of vitamin C
- Why vitamin C is important for pet health
- How much vitamin C do pets need?
- When to add a vitamin C supplement to your pet’s diet
What is Vitamin C?
According to Wikipedia:
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate, is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement. It is used to prevent and treat scurvy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters.
OK, wait. Dogs and cats don’t get scurvy. And they can produce their own vitamin C--something we mere-mortal humans can’t do. So why do we need to give our pets a vitamin C supplement?
Stay with us, we’ll get to that. But first, let’s get back to exploring the definition of vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps build strong bones and joints, and promotes a strong immune system.
It is a powerful antioxidant. In its purest form (ascorbic acid), it serves as an acidifier of pH in the body.
In plain English:
Acidifiers are inorganic chemicals that, put into a human (or other mammalian) body, either produce or become acid. These chemicals increase the level of gastric acid in the stomach when ingested, thus decreasing the stomach pH.
Thanks again, Wiki!
Different Forms of Vitamin C
- Ascorbic Acid: The naturally occurring form of vitamin C.
- Ascorbyl Palmitate: An oil-soluble form of vitamin C that works well with other antioxidants.
- Calcium Ascorbate: Thought to be the most gentle on tender tummies, this form of vitamin C is easily absorbed anywhere in the intestinal tract of most mammals.
- Ester C Calcium Ascorbate: The non-acidic form of vitamin C that contains neutral pH and doesn’t cause tummy trouble. It is a manufactured combo of calcium, ascorbate, and metabolites.
- Sodium Ascorbate: Easily absorbed into the body, studies have also shown that this type of vitamin C remains in the system 2x as long as the acid form.
According to Whole Dog Journal, “The sodium ascorbate form of vitamin C appears to be the best choices in terms of cost, bioavailability, and effectiveness.”
Ok, now we can talk more about why you’d bother to give your pets any of the above forms of vitamin C when we already told you that they’re able to produce it on their own.
Why Vitamin C is Important for Pet Health
While they may not be at risk for developing scurvy, vitamin C does offer a ton of other benefits.
Vitamin C helps relieve allergy symptoms because it acts as an antihistamine, a compound that counteracts histamine and fights inflammation.
Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant for your pets. They need it to maintain a healthy, lustrous coat. Vitamin C usually combines with vitamin E to maintain their vibrant appearance.
Vitamin C is a natural immune system booster. When absorbed into the body, it increases the number of antibodies responsible for fighting toxins, bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin C boosts your pet’s level of interferon, a natural antibody that helps fight viral infections and cancerous growths.
Vitamin C helps the production of collagen in pets. Collagen is a vital tissue that promotes joint and bone health. Having enough collagen in the body can prevent your pet from developing hip dysplasia, spinal issues, or degenerative joint disease.
Last, but certainly not least, delivering the proper dose of vitamin C has been linked to the absorption rate of other nutrients in the diet (or supplement). That’s why, at PureForm, we always included a therapeutic amount of this power-house vitamin.
But how much vitamin C is enough (or too much)?
How Much Vitamin C Do Pets Need?
Too much vitamin C can give your pet diarrhea. Too little and they may not reap all the benefits of vitamin C.
Your pet’s age and size will typically determine how much vitamin C they need. That said, if you’re introducing a vitamin C supplement into their diet, you may want to chat with your vet about choosing the right dosage.
Vitamin C Dosage Guidelines
These are not hard and fast rules, but they will give you a rough idea about the right dosage of vitamin C for your pet:
For cats, puppies, or small dogs, a daily dose of 250mg is about right.
Medium-sized dogs will do well with about 500mg of vitamin C each day.
For large dogs, about 750mg of vitamin C daily should do it.
Senior dogs require the largest amount of Vitamin C because their immune systems are weakening. A daily dose of 500mg to 1000mg per 40 - 50lbs of body weight is a standard dose for aging dogs.
Cats are typically ok to take between 150mg and 500mg of vitamin C a day.
NOTE: Remember to check with your vet before adding any new supplements into your pet’s diet.
When to Add a Vitamin C Supplement to Your Pet’s Diet
Because dogs and cats are able to generate their own vitamin C, food manufacturers usually don’t bother to add it into the ingredients. Still, vets often recommend that pet parents supplement their pet's food with vitamin C.
That begs the question, "If dogs and cats synthesize their own vitamin C, why should it be added as a supplement to their diets?"
The answer is simple: When animals are stressed, sick, or otherwise worn down, vitamin C levels are used up faster as part of the repair process. This runs down the body’s reserves of vitamin C, and that’s when vets often recommend replenishing vitamin C reserves with a supplement.
Vitamin C supplementation is an incredible way to help your pet's organs function correctly, fight off common illnesses and diseases, and improve bone and joint health.
PureForm Pet Health manufactures pure supplements to help your pets live a longer, healthier life. In fact, our supplements contain only active required ingredients for vitality, such as glucosamine hydrochloride, MSM, amino-acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
With no added sugars, flavors, fillers, known allergens or preservatives, we only include the essentials.
Trust PureForm supplements to be the best bet for your pet.