Supplementing dog’s or cat’s diet with vitamin C

Like humans, dogs and cats can also benefit from vitamin C

One of the most common vitamin supplements I recommend to many of my feline and canine guardians is vitamin C added to meals. Unlike humans, guinea pigs, and certain primates who don’t make their own vitamin C and need it supplemented to their diets, dogs and cats do manufacture their own vitamin C. However, because of immune stress and in many diseases, many canine and feline patients can benefit from some of the effects of supplemental vitamin C.

Several decades ago, a veterinary colleague named Wendell Belfield, DVM, studied and used vitamin C in quite high doses in treating many pets with chronic infections, as well as various inflammatory and joint disorders. He found that by first using high dose IV vitamin C therapy and then oral therapy, that he was able to treat many difficult cases. Most people are also aware of Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientist named Linus Pauling, who also recommended high doses of vitamin C for people. And while I don’t personally recommend doses that high for dogs or cats, I do find that supplemental vitamin C in form of sodium or calcium ascorbate powder added to meals or dissolved in water, can boost the immune system of pets, as well as act as a mild natural antihistamine.

Vitamin C is also beneficial in helping strengthen collagen synthesis in pets, which is the glue that makes up the connective tissue of the joints and ligaments of the body. In pets suffering from urinary tract infections or certain types of urinary tract crystals or stones, vitamin C can help acidify the urine and has a mild antibacterial property. It is important for animal guardians to check with their veterinarian on a proper dose for their pet, as well as to make sure their pet does not have a pre-existing condition such as calcium oxalate urinary crystals or stones, in which case one would not want to add supplemental vitamin C to the diet. However, in the majority of cases, pets can indeed benefit from the addition of this antioxidant nutrient in my opinion and experience.

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  1. If you’re considering Vita C as therapy/supplement, check out the recent book by Dr. Levy (“Curing the Incurable”) which talks about kidney disease (among many other topics, both humans and animals) and the risks/benefits of Vita C.

    There’s also another “delivery” system other than simply oral powder or IV, which is called Liposomal. This is used as a delivery for many meds as the liposome (essentially a fatty sphere) encapsulates the med/vitamin and gets it directly into the cell. Whether oral powder, IV, intramuscular injection, or liposomal, all depends on what you need it for. ALSO BEWARE using CALCIUM ASCORBATE. Read the book, and talk about the options with your vet (and get them to read it, too). No, I don’t shill for Dr. Levy. Just discovered it recently on my own.

  2. Pingback: What Causes Bladder Stones in Pets? « Animal Health « Animal Health

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