Vitamin C For Dogs
Vitamin C for dogs is a relatively new treatment for several different degenerative joint disorders. Vitamin C is not found in most dog foods and treats. Most companies do not add it to the foods, and when they do it is usually for preservative purposes rather than supplementation. Dogs with joint problems need more Vitamin C than what their bodies produce naturally. Before supplementing your dog’s diet with Vitamin C, it is helpful to understand what it is, how it can help your dog and what risks are involved in using the supplement.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a nutrient found in many fruits and vegetables. Humans need to supplement their Vitamin C, but dogs’ bodies make enough of it on their own to meet their typical needs. Because dogs can produce it without supplementation, most dog foods and treats do not contain a significant amount of Vitamin C.
If your dog needs Vitamin C supplements, you can give her Vitamin C supplements for dogs. These supplements are usually formulated as treats that are easy to give to your dog. Most of these treats are made with natural ingredients that are grain-free and contain no preservatives or artificial flavors.
If you feed your dog a home-cooked or raw diet, there are several foods rich in Vitamin C that most dogs enjoy. These foods are safe, so you can give them to your dog without worrying that you are endangering your dog’s health.
• Apples. If you give your dog apples, make sure to leave the skin on to retain fiber. Do not allow your dog to eat the core, since apple seeds contain cyanide. If you need some help convincing your dog to eat apples, try dipping them in a little organic peanut butter. The peanut butter adds healthy protein, vitamins and other nutrients.
• Sweet potatoes. Dogs enjoy sliced, dehydrated sweet potatoes. There are many sweet potato treats on the market that are already prepared for convenience. Sweet potatoes can also be baked and mashed into your dog’s food.
• Green beans. Green beans can be put in your dog’s food. Many dogs will also eat frozen green beans directly from the freezer. The vitamins and nutrients found in green beans are often leached out during the canning process, so using fresh or frozen beans is best.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin C for Dogs?
Vitamin C’s effects on the human immune system are widely known and documented. It has a similar effect in dogs. However, Vitamin C benefits dogs in several other ways.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it absorbs free radicals and prevents them from damaging tissues. Free radicals are unbonded oxygen atoms that are highly reactive and cause cumulative damage to organs and other tissues over time. Free radicals are implicated in a number of chronic conditions, including cancer and arthritis. Keeping free radicals out of your dog’s body may help prevent these conditions.
Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce and prevent inflammation and swelling. This is an important part of pain relief, since most pain from acute injuries and chronic muscle, bone and joint pain results from inflammation.
In addition to helping relieve pain, Vitamin C stimulates collagen growth. Collagen forms the connective tissue cushion between joints. This cushion is the tissue that is eroded in dogs who have arthritis and other degenerative joint disorders. The collagen must be healed and regrown in order for your dog to regain her mobility and to experience long-term pain relief.
By stimulating the growth of collagen, Vitamin C encourages joint tissue to heal and grow, restoring the cushion between joints. This is important for dogs who have arthritis, hip dysplasia and other conditions that damage the cartilage between the joints.
Should I Give My Dog Vitamin C?
If your dog is healthy, there may be no need to supplement her diet with Vitamin C. Most people consider supplementing Vitamin C in their dog’s diet to help alleviate symptoms from chronic conditions. Using Vitamin C as a preventative may be more helpful than waiting until symptoms occur to use supplements as a treatment.
Dogs who have developed or are predisposed to conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, patellar subluxation and other degenerative bone and joint conditions can benefit from Vitamin C. Many breeds of dog are likely to develop these conditions. Large breeds often develop hip dysplasia and arthritis, while small dogs commonly develop patellar subluxation.
Dogs with some inflammatory disorders such as glaucoma also show relief from symptoms when they take supplements. Glaucoma occurs in every dog breed, but some are more likely to develop it than others. These breeds include:
• Siberian Huskies
• bassett hounds
What Are the Risks of Giving My Dog Vitamin C?
Risk of Vitamin C toxicity are low, since any excess Vitamin C in the body is filtered through the kidneys and passed through urine. Some vets caution that kidney problems may occur from long-term overuse of the supplement. There are no studies that show that Vitamin C is harmful from long-term use, but it is worth considering this warning when supplementing your dog’s diet.
Vitamin C can cause a few side effects. The most common is diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea can cause dehydration and other bowel diseases if it is not properly managed. You should consult your vet about any problems that occur while you are giving her Vitamin C.
Talking to your vet about supplementing Vitamin C in your dog’s diet is important, especially if you are using it to treat a chronic condition or phase out prescription medication. Your vet can give you information about its interactions with any other medications your dog may take. She can also guide you through tapering off your dog’s use of prescription medicines, including pain medicines for chronic joint disorders.