In the canine world, there are currently numerous supplements available. These include vitamins, natural herbs, prebiotic, probiotic, postbiotics, minerals, amino acids, and many other compounds.
Although supplements have enjoyed huge commercial growth in the last five years not all of them are good for your dog. Furthermore, some companies may sell supplements that don't actually contain the active substance in half amounts. This is nothing new and happens a lot with human supplements too.
This recent study showed that more than half of supplements sold on Amazon don't contain the nutrition values claimed on the label. One way of ensuring this does not happen to you or your dog is to only buy supplements that have been third party tested or from companies that adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice.
The Natural Way
Dogs like other animals can indeed get most of the minerals and vitamins they need from food. However, in some cases, it is advisable to supplement their diet with extra vitamins and minerals. These can either come in the form of food toppers, tablets, capsules or treats that you can buy over-the-counter from vets or pet shops.
Food toppers are in my opinion the best way to supplement a dogs diet. You can simply sprinkle them over the dogs food, whenever you feed them. A good supplement will contain pure elements without any bulkers or fillers. This is actually another advantage of using a food topper straight from a packet rather than from a capsule or a tablet.
By doing, so, you are avoiding things like cellulose, silicon dioxide or other bulkers needed to manufacture the tablet or capsule.
So in this article I want to particularly focus on vitamin C. Vitamin C is especially important for its antioxidant value. It is a water soluble vitamin that is flushed from the body very quickly so it’s important to give it as a food topper rather than on its own.
Naturally vitamin C can be obtained from vegetables such as parsley, broccoli, kale, cabbage, pineapple, strawberries spinach, which are all healthy for dogs to eat.
Vitamin C Sources
Here is a more detailed list of vitamin C sources:
|Vitamin C Content
|Notes for Dogs
|Apples (without seeds)
|High in fiber, remove seeds and core
|Antioxidant-rich, good in small amounts
|Also contains fiber, serve in moderation
|Good for dog's teeth, serve raw or cooked
|Serve in small quantities due to potentially harmful substances
|Rich in other nutrients, serve cooked
|Good for digestion, serve cooked without added sugar
|Serve in small quantities due to oxalates
|Serve cooked, in small quantities
|Only the flesh, in moderation
Vitamin C benefits for dogs
The full benefits of vitamin C are as follows:
- Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant and it also helps build up your immune system. The claim of an antioxidant means that it has a role in repairing cell damage, which may even contribute to improving overall longevity.
- Vitamin C helps build your collagen which is present in bones, joints skin and connective tissue.
- Vitamin C also helps build your capillary blood vessel network as well as helping with its repair and maintenance.
- Vitamin C also helps your adrenal gland function properly.
- In terms of the immune system, it helps produce lymphocytes and also fight invading organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.
- In terms of well-being, vitamin C can help lower cholesterol and also supports the production of anti-stress hormones.
- High doses vitamin C can also act as a natural pain relief. This may be especially useful in dogs with joint problems such as osteoarthritis or other degenerative conditions.
- Last, but not least one of its main roles is also to help prevent the development of allergy symptoms as it can act as a natural and the histamine
Although a lot of the vitamin C comes from diet and some dogs even produce vitamin C themselves nowadays this is usually not enough to help them cope with the daily stresses of modern life.
Dogs are recommended to have a vitamin C supplement to help support immune system and to also build up their performance, and reduce stress levels
In dogs vitamin C can either be supplemented on its own or combined with other supplements. For example, our collagen for dogs supplement comes back with vitamin C. The role of vitamin C here is to help the function of collagen. If you choose to give vitamin C to your dog by itself you must make sure that you are keeping within recommended limits.
This is because too much vitamin C can cause diarrhoea and other side effects. If you wish you can always start with a low and then gradually titrated up. however, it's always important to follow the label and the manufactures advice and not give too much vitamin C to your dog. For any further questions get in touch with your vet.
Way of maximising vitamin C uptake from the gut is also to give it with bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are found in the same food that contain vitamin C. This includes berries, citrus fruit, leaks, broccoli and apples. The bioflavonoid compounds are often what give fruit, their vibrant colours.
For example again if you choose to give other foods to your dogs, you must make sure that these are healthy for them. Foods that are also rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C include grapes wine and cocoa but these are toxic to your dog. See the table above for the best and safest foods.
In conclusion, understanding the role and importance of Vitamin C in a dog's diet is crucial for their overall health and well-being. While many dogs can synthesize Vitamin C on their own and obtain it from their diet, the additional stressors of modern life may require further supplementation.
The benefits of Vitamin C, ranging from its antioxidant properties to its role in supporting the immune system, collagen production, and overall health, are significant.
Remember to always opt for high-quality, third-party tested, GMP products, and adhering to recommended dosages is key to avoid potential side effects like diarrhoea or other complications. Including Vitamin C through natural sources, such as the safe and beneficial foods listed in this article, provides a balanced approach.
These sources not only offer Vitamin C but also come with additional health benefits and bioflavonoids that aid in its absorption.
Always remember, when it comes to supplementation, more is not always better. Starting with a lower dose and consulting with your veterinarian for personalised advice ensures that your dog receives the right amount of Vitamin C, tailored to their specific needs and health conditions.