Vitamin C for dogs sounds good in theory, but do dogs really need this supplement? For humans, vitamin C is a superstar of supplements. Go to any health store and you’ll see vitamin C on the label of pills, creams, drinks, and more.But do we need to give it to our dogs?
Is Vitamin C Good For Dogs?
The short answer is that the majority of dogs don’t need to take vitamin C, and in fact, too much vitamin C can be dangerous for our pups. That’s because dogs actually produce vitamin C in their bodies through the metabolism of glucose and therefore don't need it from an outside source the way we humans do. (In fact, humans are the rare animal that doesn't produce Vitamin C.) A dog with normal energy levels (not exhibiting lethargy) that is being fed a properly balanced diet will produce sufficient vitamin C internally.
Dangers of Vitamin C For Dogs
Because dogs don’t need to ingest vitamin C, giving your pup this supplement can actually have adverse effects. If dogs have an excess of vitamin C that their bodies can’t use, it turns into a metabolic waste called calcium oxalate. This increases a dog’s risk of calcium oxalate stones forming in the bladder or the kidney. Dogs with bladder or kidney stones often suffer from difficulty urinating, blood in the urine (similar to a UTI), and swelling in the bladder.
Calcium oxalate bladder stones must be treated with a catheter to flush the bladder — which we assume is about as pleasant for your dog as that sounds—or by surgery.
Benefits of Vitamin C for Dogs
On the other hand, there is some evidence that dogs with compromised immune systems, those recovering from illness, birth, or a surgical procedure, might benefit from a boost of vitamin C, but this should be done with the help of your vet.
If you think your dog might benefit from some vitamin C, it’s critical to discuss this with a professional first. And before you reach for the pill bottle, there are lots of canine-friendly superfoods, naturally rich in vitamin C, that you can feed your dog without hesitation, specifically blueberries, kale, and pumpkin. These foods pose no risk to your dog when they are enjoyed as part of a healthy, well-balanced meals, like the ones from Ollie!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.