Vitamin C for dogs has always been a controversy, but most people that claim that Vitamin C can be harmful to your dog simply do not understand all of the facts. It is a water soluble vitamin and just like the controversy with Vitamin B12, it is virtually impossible for it to be toxic to your dog.
Unlike the fat soluble vitamins that are stored in your dog’s liver and their fat storage cells, Vitamin C is only stored in very small amounts in their body. In fact, it needs to be replaced daily in your dog’s diet or through supplementation. And any excess of Vitamin C will be excreted by your dog in their urine, which makes it impossible to be toxic.
Vitamin C is also not cheleted or bonded to any protein in your dog and as a result it will go through their body or be destroyed within 3 to 4 hours; another reason the pundits that suggest that it can be toxic to your dog are wrong.
There are other critics that suggest that Vitamin C does not have to be supplemented simply because it is synthesized naturally in healthy dogs. If that was the case, than why does supplementing Vitamin C help your pet with Hip dyspepsia, urinary infections, lameness, ruptured disks, and viral infections, just to name a few.
There have been several prominent veterinarians that have done extensive research on Vitamin C for dogs such as Dr. Wendell Belfield, DVM, that suggest that several diseases and conditions in dogs are caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C.
Functions of Vitamin C:
There are several functions that Vitamin C performs in your dog, but its primary function is that of binding. Vitamin C is crucial for your dog to bind together connective tissues, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. However, it does not stop there as it also helps to bind your dog’s cartilages, blood vessels, skin, and their bones.
It is also a master in is role as a detoxifier and is extremely effective in helping your pets immune system fight off by bacteria and viruses that can cause several very serious diseases in your dog. It also stimulates the production of interferon which is essential in the production of red blood cells as well as adrenaline.
Interferons are a small group of proteins referred to as cytokines that are produced by your pet’s white blood cells, fibroblasts, and T-cells and are part of the immune system in your dog. They are basically the catalyst in the immune system that responds to viral infections. Their name, interferon, comes from their interference with the production of new virus particles.
They also affect the immune system in other ways. They enhance the activity levels of lymphocyte cells and at the same time they inhibit other immune cells from becoming stimulated; all part of a very sophisticated immune system in your dog. But it must have Vitamin C to stimulate it into actively.
This entire process helps protect your dog from both toxins and stress which can activate several types of attacks against their immune system.
Types of Vitamin C:
There are several types of Vitamin C but the three types major types normally discussed are ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, and sodium ascorbate. Just like the controversy about the benefits of Vitamin C, there are controversies about which form is the most effective in pets.
There are sides that believe that ascorbic acid is the best form because it hydrolyzes or mixes very easily with water and as a result is much easier absorbed into your pet’s intestinal wall. Because of this, it is also much easier to enter into a dog’s urine as it exits the body.
Dehydroascorbic acid is the oxidized form of ascorbic acid and it actively imports into the cells within your dog and generates the oxidative potential of these cells. It is believed that this form is easier to transmit by the body.
However, Dr. Wendell Belfield has for several years recommended using only the sodium ascorbate for both dogs and cats as it is much less acidic and has almost no taste. Without the strong taste, it is easier to give to your pet and with the lower form of acidic acid it will not upset the gastric system and cause diarrhea.
The only real side effects produced by Vitamin C will be temporary diarrhea and a stronger yellowish tint in the urine in isolated cases.
Benefits of Vitamin C:
There are numerous benefits in vitamin C for dogs, but the most discussed is with Hip dysplasia. High levels of Vitamin C have proved effective in several studies as this condition in dogs has been equated to a mild form of scurvy, which is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C.
This vitamin may never cure older dog’s symptoms, but it has in several cases cured a younger dog. Older dogs will benefit tremendously as it helps to provide major relief from the pain and also helps to increase the movement in the hips.
Bladder infections are also helped with the usage of this vitamin simply because it excreted by the kidneys totally unchanged, and as a result it acidifies the urine of your dog. This stronger acidity makes it very difficult for bacteria to survive. Most all bacteria that cause infections survive and multiply in low acidity.
This is the exact same reason that cystitis bladder infections in humans are helped so much by cranberry juice, which is very high in Vitamin C.
There are also several pundits to Vitamin C that suggest this it causes bladder stones in pets; but the reality is the exact opposite as it actually dissolves them. Maintaining a strong acidity in urine dissolves stones, it does not create them.
A deficiency of Vitamin C slows down the healing process as well as impeding the glandular, circulatory, and immune processes in your dog. It also can cause gum disease which in turn can cause a loss of teeth, bleeding in the gums, and bad breath.
This vitamin also helps with skin problems that are generated by several allergies as well as helping to retard the aging process in dogs.
Vitamin C for dogs can never be toxic, it is impossible. It has minor side affects and the list of benefits is so long that it could mean the difference between life and death in your dog. This is a supplement that every dog should get in small doses every day of their life.
I am an avid lover of pets and my wife and I have had several pets throughout our years. We are especially fond of dogs, and we have a 12 year old Dalmatian (our 3rd) and a “mutt” that we rescued when someone threw him away to die in a vacant field.