What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. The body needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal. In addition, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.
Do I need to supplement with Vitamin C?
For Humans, Vitamin C is essential for survival but strangely enough we are among the few animals that do not produce. Cats and Dogs, however, can produce Vitamin C in their body so people have never thought to need to supplement with it. But that’s not always the case. Researchers have found that when your pet is in high stress, going through gestation, lactation, growth, vaccinations, injuries, tail-docking or ear cropping, or illness. Emotional stress, whether caused by relocation, weaning, demanding training or also working a lot (very high energy, getting lots of exercise) can cause their bodies to deplete the amount of Vitamin C they produce.
What are the Benefits?
Just like with us, there is a huge variety of benefits to feeding Vitamin C to your furry companion. Here are a few main benefits:
- Resistance to disease
- Better recovery from injury
- Better recovery from illness
- Increases the blood levels that help the bodies antiviral and anticancer compound
- Increases the blood levels of antibodies.
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps with the recovery of joints and muscles
- Helps support bones, teeth, ligaments and joints
- Prevent urinary tract infections and kidney disease
- Helps with skin problems
How can I get Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is found in a variety of everyday fruits and vegetables your pet may already be consuming as well as numerous supplements and vitamins. If you are giving your pet an all-in-one supplement then there may already be Vitamin C in the supplement you are using. Most pet food stores will sell tablets or powder forms of Vitamin C as well though. Some fruits and veggies that contain Vitamin C are: Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit), red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes, tomatoes and leafy greens to name a few. Buddies uses seasonal leafy greens, Yams, Alfalfa, Bok Choy, Celery, Zucchini (and squash when it is in season), as well green beans from time to time. Be sure to check with your vet before feeding any fruits or veggies to your furry friend. Some fruits and veggies are dangerous to your dog when fed in large doses or fed at all. Tomatoes, Oranges and Grapefruit are best not given to your companion but are okay in very tiny doses.
How much do I feed?
The best rule of thumb is 18milligrams of Vitamin C for every pound of body weight per day (ex: 25lb dog = 450milligrams/day) as that is how much their body will usually produce in a day. Be warned that feeding Vitamin C too much at one time can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea. It is best to split it up and feed it with 2 or 3 meals throughout the day. If your pet is consistently getting upset stomachs and diarrhea, you may be feeding too much Vitamin C in which case it is okay to cut down the amount of Vitamin C you are feeding.