What are the pros and concerns of giving my dog Vitamin C supplements?
Dogs, unlike humans, manufacture Vitamin C in the bodies, so supplementation isn’t needed—for most. There are some exceptions, such as if your dog has an infection or inflammation; then, your veterinarian will prescribe it.
A dog synthesizes as much vitamin C as it typically needs through its liver, using trace minerals in takes in through its diet. Then there is over supplementation, the dog’s own ability to produce vitamin C is shut down, perhaps permanently. In addition, the liver and kidney of a dog do not handle well an additional concentration of ascorbic acid, one form of vitamin C. The dog’s system works to rid itself of the overabundance of ascorbic acid, causing stress to the organs, resulting in kidney stones and life-threatening kidney and liver damage. Vitamin C is also a natural laxative so it can cause diarrhea.
On the other hand, though, a deficiency results in increased susceptibility to infections, joint pain and slower healing.
Natural sources of vitamin C are potatoes, cauliflower, berries and citrus fruits. Giving a dog a few pieces of fresh fruit on occasion (no grapes, though, which can cause kidney damage) will not upset the balance of vitamin C in its system and will not cause its organs to shut down.
There is an an over-the-counter buffered vitamin, such as Ester-C calcium ascorbate, a version of vitamin C with a calcium component that is typically easy for a body to absorb, providing 114mg of calcium per 1,000mg of asborbic acid. Ester-C calcium ascorbate can be beneficial when a dog suffers an injury or has a respiratory problem. It can work as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. A study, published in 1990 in the “Norwegian Veterinary Journal 102,” reported that Dr. Geir Erik Berge, a veterinarian in Oslo, Norway, gave Ester-C to disabled dogs during a six-month period, with most of the dogs showing improvement.
Your veterinarian will administer the proper dosage according to your dog’s health challenge.