In humans, a serious lack of vitamin C manifests itself in a disorder known as scurvy, which causes bleeding gums, a weakened condition, loss of teeth and sometimes death. However, a vitamin C deficiency in dogs isn’t always so obvious, yet vitamin C for dogs is every bit as essential to their survival and quality of life as it is in humans.
Why Would Dogs Need Vitamin C?
While dogs are able to produce vitamin C within their own body, the production of vitamin C is significantly hampered and the subsequent supply is quickly depleted. In fact, the best-known cause of vitamin C deficiency in dogs is both emotional and physical stress. An emotional stressor for dogs could be a new environment, new members of the family, whether they are four-legged or two-legged, or being left alone longer than normal. Physical stress includes an injury, an infection or getting older and dealing with age-related issues.
How Do Dogs Benefit from Vitamin C?
Stronger Immune System
Dogs that have had Vitamin C supplemented into their daily routine have shown to achieve a stronger immune system as this crucial vitamin has both antibiotic and antiviral properties.
More Resistant to Disease
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C works in conjunction with Vitamin E to enhance white blood cell activity and function, which allows the dog’s body to resist illness and disease more effectively than dogs who do not receive any supplements.
Along with being antiviral and antibiotic, Vitamin C is also anti-carcinogenic, which means it can fight off carcinogens that lead to cancer in dogs, and it can help protect against the damage caused by carcinogens. Many veterinary offices now include a Vitamin C supplement when treating a dog that has cancer or other serious illness.
A dog is prone to coming down with infections like bacterial infections, respiratory infections like kennel cough, urinary tract infections and abscesses. However, vitamin C boosts the interferon found in the blood as well as antibodies, which is then able to aid the dog’s body in destroying toxins, bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin C optimizes the development of healthy bones and muscles in puppies and young dogs. A healthy, stress-free adult dog most likely will not need a vitamin C supplement, but a puppy and young dog will benefit from supplementation.
Should I Give My Dog Vitamin C?
As stated above, a dog that is fully developed, healthy and stress-free most likely will not benefit from supplements. However, there are some breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia, glaucoma, patellar subluxation, arthritis and degenerative bone and joint conditions. If you have own a breed of dogs that is predisposed to such issues, they would benefit from supplementing as well as dogs that are experiencing emotional or physical stress. Puppies, young dogs and dogs of an advanced age will also enjoy the benefits of supplementing with vitamin C.
Vitamin C for dogs is just as important as vitamin C for humans, especially if your dog is unable to maintain the proper production and supply of this essential vitamin.