Why Dogs Don’t Need Vitamin C in Their Diet


Unlike humans who require vitamin C to sustain life, dogs possess the natural ability to make their own.Dogs and Fruit

Without vitamin C humans get a disease called scurvy — and die. 

Yet dogs do just fine without it.

However, there have been some reports claiming that vitamin C could help in the treatment of bladder infections.

Or even hip dysplasia.

Unfortunately, those claims have never been scientifically confirmed by research. So, don’t worry if you don’t find vitamin C — or any of the fruits or vegetables that naturally contain it — on your dog food’s ingredient list.

Your dog can take care of that missing nutrient all by herself.

  • aimee

    Hi ka thee,

    Actually a dog’s body is very different from out own in regards to Vit D and C.
    Dogs rely on a dietary source of Vit D as do cats as neither dogs nor cats synthesize Vit D to any appreciable degree. This is because of the very low levels of the Vit D precursor in the skin of dogs and cats.

    Vit C can be synthesized by cats and dogs but not by humans. It is made in the liver and its production is not under the influence of the sun.

  • ka thee

    IF THEY ARE OUTSIDE….or go outside often…Same with D. A dogs body, much like our own, synthesizes these vitamins WITH THE HELP OF THE SUN. Good Lord this is by far THEE worst aricle I have ever read in my 37 years of pet ownership and veterinarian study.

  • Dawn J Vanderpool

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  • Marina Polli

    My doberman at an year of age had some big problems for vitamine c deficency….treated with 1 mg daily her diseses were solved, bad articular and skin problems

  • bojangles

    Hi Steve,

    I don’t know what Lacy means by game dog, BUT a game dog not only refers to a fighting dog, it ALSO refers to a working dog

    Game Dog:

    “Pertaining to working terriers and other small hunting dogs, earthdog trials are used to determine the dog’s gameness in hunting dangerous pest species underground. The American Working Terrier Association currently offers a Certificate of Gameness (CG) title[2] as a basic instinct test (meaning that it is done without conditioning/training the dog, to see if the dog naturally exhibits gameness) for working terriers and dachshunds.:


  • Steve

    Lacy, if you are so educated, why are you unaware that “game dog” is synonymous with fighting dogs – in lay terms, rescue terms and legal terms. Or perhaps you are fully aware of that and are using that term to draw in a specific kind of buyer.

  • Salty2

    Me too! A Vet killed my heart dog 🙁 Yes, I sued, yes, I got the malpractice ins. $ but it was blood $! I will never get over what the vet did, and how my boy suffered. Now my biggest problem is forgiving the vet, so I can go on. btw it was 4yrs ago. Now I would only use a Holistic Vet.

  • Salty2

    Good point!

  • theBCnut

    He is not saying that there are never any benefits of giving vit C. He is saying that the dog’s own body normally makes its normal daily requirement. There are loads of things that can affect that and many reasons that in specific circumstances a dog may benefit from having some added. My dogs don’t get vit C added daily and they are healthy, no vet visits needed, so obviously there is something to what he wrote. So you don’t need to write the same comment again in 5 months. Instead, try telling what your experience was that caused you to start adding vit C and how it helped.

  • Salty2

    🙁 Shame…poor dogs…

  • Salty2

    . Thank you, didn’t know this! What kind should we use?

  • Salty2

    NOT TRUE!!

  • Primed Paws

    Its a myth that you can not give Vitamin C to your dogs. This is one of the essential supplements for dogs.


  • Salty2

    Who writes these articles?! Full of untruths!

  • Salty2

    If your dog had bladder or kidney problems, give them Vitamin C & cranberry daily, as per Vet!

  • Salty2

    NOT TRUE!!! My dogs gets C daily, they are very healthy! No Vet visits needed! http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/1_7/features/5309-1.html

  • Chris Kavanagh

    This simply isn’t true. Dogs under stress have been measured with little to no Vitamin C in their system. “Stress” can mean illness, a new home, or just about anything that would stress a person. . .The studies are clear by Wendall Belefield DVM.

  • Stephanie

    How do you know what she was breeding was not top-of-the-line? Let’s say you take a dog of high quality that passes all of the Health testing, is exemplary for its breed and then it has problems with placentas. The breeder takes a chance and tries something that is said to work and then it does.
    What is your idea of a puppy mill anyway? Some people accuse any breeder of being a puppy mill. A responsible breeder has to do research and try to do Best by their dogs

  • Stephanie

    You are so right! I have read about quite a few studies where various dogs were tested on the amount of vitamin C they produced on their own. The numbers fluctuated greatly showing that some dogs have the ability to produce more vitamin C than others. So it only makes sense that we should be giving vitamin C to our dogs.
    Life’s abundance provides vitamin C in their dog food.

    And yes I am a distributor

  • Charles r

    Vitamin c is required for development of collagen tissue so this would make sense to me as to why it seems to help with joint issues. Perhaps the canines in question had problems making their own vitamin c and the extra boost helped.

  • Antony Reed

    Julie, vitamin C supplementation has never been shown to cause kidney stones. There have certainly been conclusions drawn due to a rise in urinary oxalate, but the largest studies on this have shown the exact opposite effect, where those with the highest intake of vitamin C have the lowest instances of stones. Vitamin C actually inhibits the calcium and oxalate from forming stones.

  • Antony Reed

    Dogs and cats are poor synthesizers of vitamin C, which is why they often get many of the same diseases as we humans.

    This is probably due to the horribly processed foods we humans feed them, which may lead to general ill heath compared to other animals.

  • Andrew K Fletcher

    Me too, vet’s have been a very bad experience for ourselves and they have killed my dogs. Fortunately we have found a good vet now, one that knows what they are doing and care about the animals they treat.
    One vet conducted a spleen removal op on two dogs (not mine) that he had been told had inhaled water. One survived the other drowned under anaesthetic. I write a terse letter to him accusing him of doing unnecessary surgery and he admitted it because he knew I had him band to rights. Money grabbing bastards most of them.
    And as for all of these doggy people criticising someone who breeds dogs. Where did you get your dog from a pet shop?

  • Adele Borg

    I was told to put my Dachshund on Ester c by my home vet, my dog wouldn’t be alive now or walking if I had of listened to a surgeon from a well known Vet Uni in Werribee Vic that said he had no hope and old put him down that day, three and a bit years later my dog walks, Runs I gave him 6 months of TLC, he had lost control of his bodily functions, I give him 1 tablet a day without it his coat is less shinning and less of it, he seems to be slower, he’s now 14, I would recommend it, better than surgery or worse being put down

  • Julie Martinez Birmingham
  • LabsRawesome
  • Betsy Greer

    Hmm, really?

  • Bob Carper

    vitamin c neutralizes chlorine and chloramines in tap/filtered water instantly. I drop a vitamin c tablet into a gallon pitcher of filtered water and store it in the fridge. they get an extra dose of c and no chlorine in their water.

  • Blah

    French bulldogs are inbred tragedies of human domination, as is…

    Loving, wonderful personalities, sure, but disturbing mutants symbolic of the Frankenstein-ian impulses of those who treat animals as machines, nonetheless.

    They can’t even breed or give birth on their own…but you already knew that.

    Ironic that you care so much about natural treatments for your unnatural abominations.

  • Kari

    how much and what kind of vitamin c for a 3 pound dog?

  • Shawna

    I’m curious what your point is? I’m a bookkeeper by day. I know a great deal more about nutrition and ingredients than any of my vets do. One of my vets didn’t even know what ethoxyquin was? REALLY??

  • savant

    This guy is a dentist…not a vet…

  • Jill

    Wow, I saw no where in Lacys post where she said She bred her dogs over and over.Clearly jumping to conclusions. The thing is,Breeders learn quite abit over the years and can be every bit as knowledgable as many Vets or even more so in many areas. The Great Dane Lady.com..wonderful informative site! If you are a Breeder and your females are breeding females,it is healthier for them to be bred every other cycle then to let them go “open” or unbred.Left open they can get infections,cysts,etc and will have more difficulty whelping when you do rebreed. I have been breeding for over 30 yrs and learned much over the years. I have found that many Breeders,including myself, have had some issues with Vets over the years,with themselves and clients and this leads to a general mistrust. I too use Ester C and have had excellent results.I started using it yrs ago on a old arthritic male and saw a huge improvement on his mobility.Obviously theres something to it or it wouldnt now be being added int many hip/joint supplements. Chris,you clearly assume anyone Breeding is doing it for money and you couldnt be farther from the truth. It is expensive to feed/house/vet dogs. We have many expenses and typically dont even break even. Its rewarding and also exhausting at the same time.We are passionate about our Breed and spend every waking second immersed in dogs,clients,shows,research,vets,etc. For you to just make a uninformed broad statement is very irresponsible.Its your OPINION but that doesnt make it a fact.If you loves dogs so much then you should thank the Breeders because if we were to stop,in about 18 yrs the Purebred Dog would be extinct.

  • S.Y.K

    Firstly, it’s kind of funny that you sound much more offensive than other commenters here. Why do you react in such way? Do you actually agree with some people here commenting back at you?
    Among many, one thing that stood out to me is that you said “vets are necessary evil.”
    Wow, why are you even on this website ? This website by Dr. Mike is based on SCIENCE and not by anecdote or rumors. I find your being here quite ironic.

  • Chris Hansen

    Which is why any supplements should be given with food! Also, never overdose like you seem to do with your Ester-C.

  • Chris Hansen

    The problem with Ester-C is that it does not match the vitamin C that dogs produce normally. In fact, Ester-C actually traps toxins within cells. This means that while you may seem to experience benefits now, you may be doing more harm in the long term. Ester-C is not a naturally occurring substance and is actually manufactured from Vitamin C. Yes, Vitamin C will go through a dog unless they are deficient. However, that does help dogs prevent uti’s as the increase in acidity deters bacterial formation. Of course, only a low dosage as a high acidic system will cause diarrhea and other issues.

  • Chris Hansen

    You can also improve the health of your dogs by not over-breeding them and treating them like the pets they are supposed to be.

  • Chris Hansen

    You act like the Vets are the bad people while you breed and breed and breed your animals like they are some kind of stock. Lets be honest, you don’t like Vets because they are probably telling you over and over again that you shouldn’t be breeding your dogs so much!

  • Chris Hansen

    Lady, you are some real kind of hypocrite. You act like you love your dogs while posting how much you breed them over and over again. I can’t believe your vet even deals with such a person like you. You statement about “quit breeding all of your dogs” really takes the cake. Heaven forbid you actually treat them like pets instead of breeding machines. Disgusting.

  • Chris Hansen

    Forgive them. They’d rather breed their dogs for the money than just not breed them so that they are alright. You can tell from her post that she runs some kind of puppy mill. I mean she talks about her “other dogs placentas” that means she is breeding her dogs over and over, which alone isn’t healthy for them. I guess it is OK for her to totally exploit her dogs as long as she gives them some Ester C.

  • DavidAppell

    Opinions aren’t facts.

  • InkedMarie

    I didn’t judge the Ester C, I said I didn’t know anything about it. My comment was about breeding.

  • Karen Elliott

    I find it interesting that people who know nothing about a subject, in this case Ester C, or any other natural healing methods, are so quick to judge individuals who are well versed with the natural healing methods, and choose to use them.
    Your opinion is your business, and you’re the one that has to live with it.
    I choose NOT to judge you InkedMarie… I am only speaking my truth.

  • Joe Bito

    David u have your opinion and she has hers. I completely agree with Lacy

  • Joe Bito

    Dont really pay no mind to what ppl have to say here. They just go with whatever the dog advisor ssys.

  • Pattyvaughn

    As a breeder, it is your responsibility to know the particulars about your breed. Vets have a lot more on their plate than you can imagine and it would be silly to think that they would know the pecularities of every breed, especially when a lot of those things are within particular lines of a particular breed. Good for you for looking for holistic remedies, but you can’t paint all vets, holistic or not, with the same brush.

  • Pattyvaughn

    No, issues within a breed are also genetic.

  • Lacy Game Dog

    Whatever, my point was… I have seen MANY health benefits and health miracles from the use of Vitamin C (Ester C). Use the information or don’t.

  • Lacy Game Dog

    It is interesting to see you still have so much faith in your vet. After having a vet kill my first litter of Frenchies through ignorance of the breed and having multiple vets do their best to kill my puppies with over vaccinating, I do NOT! I don’t trust anything they say. Just as I wouldn’t put my girl through a back surgery or kill her as suggested by a vet. I always search for holistic remedies and have always found them. Vets are a necessary evil for C-sections and Thimerosal free rabies vaccines, but that is the extent of my use of them. A blue gene breed and Frenchies makes both my breeds unusual, so I learned fast that I better learn everything I possibly could or vets would be killing them. I have WAY too many horror stories of my dealings with vets to have much if any faith in them unless they are also a Holistic vet.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    ALL of them having it means it is obviously NOT a genetic issue. It can only be genetic when they are all from the same bloodline.

  • InkedMarie

    Could be but I still wouldn’t have bred her again.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Though all of them having thin placentas sounds like a genetic issue.

  • InkedMarie

    I’m not talking about a dog with a back problem but that won’t kill your dog. You said in your initial post that your dog had problems with a thin placenta; it sounded like a serious issue to me and I would not have bred her again.

    Since I don’t know you, what testing you o on your sire & dam, etc I have no idea what kind of a breeder you are so I can’t answer whether you should be breeding or not.

  • DavidAppell

    What do you mean, “until science catches up.” The science has been studied for decades — no effect has been found.

    You’re free to waste your money on whatever you want, but don’t blame science.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    So you are saying I should have just quit breeding all my dogs instead of looking for a cure? And I should have just killed my dog with the back problem instead of fixing it?

  • InkedMarie

    You had a choice on whether to breed her again.

  • Shawna

    Apparently in some cases ascorbic acid does help relieve pain. Here’s two examples.

    “Ascorbic acid therapy for the relief of bone pain in Paget’s disease.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/582875

    For the record — ascorbic acid was one ingredient used in the “antioxidant supplement” in this research.
    “Combined antioxidant therapy reduces pain and improves quality of life in chronic pancreatitis” http://link.springer.com/article/10.1016/j.gassur.2005.08.035

    I prefer to get (and feed my dogs) nutrients in whole food form so I don’t supplement with individual nutrients but there is research demonstrating vitamin C has some benefit specific to pain relief.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    No, I am not a scientist. I am a dog breeder. We have to rely on our own experience and research to improve the health of our dogs until science catches up or cares enough to do the research, which is unlikely if there isn’t any money to be had from it. Take vaccinations for example. We have known for YEARS that yearly vaccinations and over vaccinating is not needed and VERY harmful to our dogs health, yet only more recently has the veterinary world come around to recognizing that. Yet, I haven’t found vets anywhere but in California in the last year or two who are bothering to adhere to the updated protocols. I had to include it in my health guarantee or new owners would listen to their vets and vaccinate their puppies and call me with things like organ failure. After helping two people detox their over vaccinated puppy, believe me I included it in my contract. and ALL of my puppies have lived out their lives with no health problems to date.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    I had already seen the huge improvement with my other dogs placentas and had discovered this fix on reproduction sites for women who had the same problem. It wasn’t just a problem with one girl. It was all of them. It was something I HAD to find a cure for, I didn’t have a choice. I only do Holistic medicine with my dogs, so you get used to doing the research required. They are all doing fantastic!

  • Stephanie Schenk

    It would be great to see more research on it, but as always that takes time. Here is a great place to start if you are actually interested in treating your dog. Unless you are just one of those people that don’t like to believe or try anything. When you are desperate to help your dogs, believe me you will be willing to try anything when they need it and nothing else works. http://workingdogs.com/doc0039.htm

  • Madison

    The same bitch? Sounds like you are the bitch. Breeding your dogs over and over again for monetary gain. Putting their health lastly for personal benefit. I believe that vitamins can help our pets. It can help with colds in cats and that’s from personal experience. But to take chances on our pets lives is going a little further. Of course, those girls’ of yours are NOT your pets. Just your bitches…

  • InkedMarie

    Wow. I know nothing about Ester C but I cannot believe you took a chance with your dog and bred her again. I’m just glad your dog is apparently okay.

  • DavidAppell

    Vitamin C takes away pain?


    There is absolutely no science that says that Vitamin C takes pain away.

    You are projecting, and have no science behind your claims at all. You are misleading people and animals, and should be ashamed of yourself.

  • As I stated in my article, “Unfortunately, those claims have never been scientifically confirmed by research.”

    Instead of using Google and getting only anecdotal search results, why not use something more scientific like Google Scholar (scholar.google.com).

    So far, I’ve never been able to find any study published in a peer-reviewed journal confirming the many anecdotal reports about vitamin C and hip dysplasia found on the Internet.

    As a matter of fact, I only find reports stating the contrary. For example, be sure to read this 1995 study by Fries et al published by the Canadian Veterinary Journal which concludes:

    “High dose vitamin C supplementation in growing puppies does not prevent hip dysplasia, and this practice should be discontinued.”

    By the way, please keep in mind The Dog Food Advisor community encourages “courteous critiques, polite debate and calm disagreement”.

    Unfortunately, your recent remarks compel me to remind you to please adhere to Our Commenting Policy which states:

    “… we delete comments that exceed the boundaries of courteous behavior. This includes remarks that are rude, profane, mean-spirited, disrespectful, lack good manners or otherwise unrelated to the topic at hand.”

    Posting here is a privilege and rude remarks are never welcome. Please consider yourself duly warned.

  • DavidAppell

    Who says dogs have health problems from the lack of it? That’s simply a product of your imagination — there is no science to back that claim.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    It doesn’t CURE the disk. Why don’t YOU do some research. Ester C takes away the pain, it also promotes healthy tissue to SUPPORT the disk which also helps. Same with hip Dysplasia, it promotes healthy tissue which supports the joint better so a lame dog can walk. You must be a troll, just coming on here to post stupid responses to piss us off. Go learn to use google.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    OH WHATEVER~! If dogs didn’t NEED vitamin C then they wouldn’t have health problems from a lack of it. And all you have to do is google for the research on Ester C. Don’t blame me if YOU are too lazy to do so.

  • DavidAppell

    Come on — there is no way Vitamin C is going to cure a herniated disc.

    Think for a change!

  • DavidAppell

    Your comment is in no way scientific. Anecdotes are not science, and you should not act like they are. Shame.

  • nick

    give him serrapeptase and he will fly..google it

  • Absolutely. Only money-hungry vets still push those.

  • Why are you still vaccinating (aside from the legally required rabies one) after initial puppy shots? That’s the reason why so many dogs are getting sick.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dr Mike’s point is not that dogs can’t benefit from extra C, it’s that they don’t require added C in their food for life, because they make their own. So not having C added is not a reason to reject a particular dog food. That has nothing to do with whether or not there are particular situations or particular dogs that might benefit from additional C.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    I must state Ester C and not Vitamin C. Vitamin C is acidic and will upset their stomachs. It also goes in one end and right out the other with no benefit just like it does with people.

  • Stephanie Schenk

    I know for a FACT this is utter crap. Ester C has fixed SO many problems with my dogs. For one example my girls had real thin placentas that could have ruptured at any moment killing her pups and her. This was a problem with multiple dogs. I was told by the vet I could never breed her/them again or it could kill them. I put them on Ester C and totally fixed the problem. Next time placentas were nice and strong and thick and vet couldn’t believe it was the same bitch. For another example I had a dog jump come down totally lame. She hurt her back somehow playing or jumping off the couch or something, but she couldn’t even stand on her hind legs. I did maximum dose of Ester C for her system (everyone’s is different so you have to find for each case), and did cold laser therapy and she was up and running around in two days. ALL of my dogs get Ester C sprinkled on their food with EVERY meal it is a miracle supplement in my book and I insist that ALL my puppy owners give to their dogs for life. It promotes deep tissue healing, growth and health. If you have a dog with bone problems like the hips, put them on their max dose and it will take away the pain and they will be up and running around. It doesn’t fix the bones, but it does strengthen the tissue around them to support them. WONDERFUL, INCREDIBLE stuff. No idea why you would write this garbage with absolutely no research into it. Try googling it for gods sake. You will find doctors will give intravenously after surgery as it promotes faster and better healing. I give max dose after my girls C-sections for the same reason.

  • Patricia Esposito

    I think the yearly vaccines are bad for their immune systems!

  • BiondaBlue

    (Meaning I disagree with the article, not previous posts)

  • BiondaBlue

    I disagree. My 11 year old great dane was 80% lame in his hind legs from a herniated disc until I started giving large doses of Vitamin C. Now we go for walks at night.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Dogs do indeed manufacture their own vitamin c, but that’s not to say they can’t benefit from supplemental vitamin c. Extra vitamin c can give the immune system a boost and help keep the joints healthy. Dogs that eat a species-appropriate raw diet would naturally get “supplemental” vitamin c as most organ meats contains a hefty dose. You’re correct that high doses are excreted in the urine – vitamin c (along with the b vitamins) are “water soluble” and excesses are not stored in the body. “Fat soluble” vitamins (like e, d, a and k) and stored in the body and excess doses can be toxic.

  • I used to have a great book by Dr. Linus Pauling that stated that dogs do not make their own Vitamin C. My Afghans receive 500 mgs of Vitamin C daily with no ill effects; in fact they are terribly, terribly healthy!
    From what I understand, excess Vitamin C is excreted in the urine, like excess Vitamin B, and does not build up in the body to toxic levels. The last statement is from my veterinarian.

  • DD

    I take 5000 mg of c a day. Have for many yrs. Poof Feel Fine

  • The title has to be taken with caution. Though dogs do make their own vitamin C, in older dogs this process slows down and they can indeed become deficient. A sure sign would be open sores that do not heal. So, dogs over 10 certainly can use extra C, and for even older dogs, like 13 and up must get C supplements. Use a natural C that includes flavonoids and other components of C besides ascorbic acid.

  • Kovu

    Dr. Mike What are the top 4 Vitamins for Dogs?

  • Vitamin C is the essential vitamin and help keep you healthy during other situations that challenge your immune system.For buying the best healthcare supplements and products pleas visit the link and know more.

  • Terieberie

    My 3 remaining dogs (1 died from eating a Waggin Train jerky before I knew better) eat raw veggies and fruits daily. They would rather have red bell pepper or watermelon over meat. It’s all organic, and they’re very heathy. I would assume that in dogs as well as people, fresh is better than a supplement.

  • Peter. A.Frith

    My little westie poo has quite a few warts on his body I have read that some vitamin c supplement would be good for him is this true as I am a new dog owner ?

  • BryanV21

    You may not be an idiot, but apparently your reading comprehension skills aren’t all that. You say that dogs can “benefit and help the body fight back” against illness. Well, Dr. Mike simply said it’s not necessary to include it in a dog’s diet. He doesn’t talk about when a dog is sick, nor get into whether or not extra Vitamin C is beneficial at that point. Again, just that it’s not necessary to purchase a food with it.

    BTW, Dr. Mike doesn’t sell anything on this blog, so there’s no need to “buy” anything. The point is this… he’s not making money off of this site, so attacking him like that is ridiculous and only makes you look like a jerk.

  • melissa


    Well, that is not very nice. Neither would be me pointing out that dogs make “THEIR” own vitamin C, not “THERE” own, and the first “guys” should be ‘s-the blog belonging to the guy.

  • Notanidiot

    Sorry but I don’t buy this guys blog. Yes dogs produce there own Vitamin C as well as horses. I’m a horse trainer. But when the body is under attack and the immune system isn’t strong enough to fight it, extra Vitamin C CAN infact benefit and help the body fight back. With horses you have to be consistent with the dosing and wean them off slowly. If you give them a high dose of daily Vitamin C, you can’t just stop the dose or the body will think its having a Vitamin C deficiency. 

    Really guys… I’m not an idiot. There are people out there, agencies, even government agencies, FDA blah blah blah that DON’T WANT US TO KNOW ABOUT THESE NATURAL TREATMENTS! Its got everything to do about $$$$. 

  • Olin

    Sorry, but my dog absolutely loved oranges and tangerines.  She would actually pick the low hanging ones off the tree.  She lived to be 17.5.  My current dogs love mandarin oranges and I put lemon in their water.

    I don’t know if it is helpful to them or not which is why I found this site.  But they do like citrus.

  • Toxed2loss

    Interesting study. I noticed that his results were pretty much split between no change and improvement with one adverse reaction in the dogs used. However, it’s a 1987 study, and no other parameters are listed. I’ve read plenty of more current research and been the guinea pig on some tretments that shows C efficacy on massive doses. 🙂 I’m inclined to believe those more than this one study.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I don’t think calcium, magnesium and potassium were involved – but that’s a good point, I wonder if it would have made a difference in the results. Basically (what I got from it) is that they were trying to reproduce the observations of Dr. Belfield which showed high doses of vitamin C prevented orthopedic conditions. I know Dr. Belfield ascorbic acid only – he actually markets a liquid ascorbic acid supplement to give to newborns through droppers.

    This is the link to the study:


  • Toxed2loss

    Fascinating! Did the study address magnesium, as well? I still get C drips and it must have balanced calcium, magnesium and potassium. That’s key to preventing osteoporosis. Most people are magnesium deficient. :-}

  • Shawna

    Hereditary orthopedic conditions — opps, completely different from heart disease… 😉

    I agree, the connection between orthopedic issues and vitamin C is a bit questionable??

    The real reason I’m posting — I used to get HORRIBLE canker sores — 20 or 30 at one time.  They were triggered by soda pops..  The ONLY thing that would make them go away, once triggered, was a B12 shot. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Toxed,

    Oh I know C is amazing. I used to have chronic canker sores (I mean one or two in my mouth at all times) my Dr. told me there is no known cause and nothing can be done but to treat them will numbing gel after I already have them. My uncle (who is a pharmacist) told me to start taking vitamin c. I now get canker sores maybe 2 or three times a year (as opposed to 2 or 3 times a week). I know I wasn’t deficient in c prior to supplementing because I eat a lot of fruits and veggies but I guess it’s the high dose that helps. I’m a believer.

    I did however, look further into the vitamin c preventing hereditary orthopedic conditions in dogs. I know when I first came across this idea I was very interested in it, I don’t know why I didn’t further into it until now. I was actually very surprised by what I found. Supposedly Dr. Belfield’s findings were never able to be reproduced and the study most accepted within the veterinary comunity (Teare, et al.) showed high doses of vitamin c to aggravate skeletal disorders by overfeeding energy and calcium in growing large breed puppies. I guess this study actually made it into an NRC publication. This would explain why vitamin c treatment is so controversial among breeders. I’ve come across several breeders sites for large/giant breed dogs that required their pups to be supplemented with c until they were full grown and several strongly advising against supplementing with c. Very interesting stuff.

  • Toxed2loss

    Love you dear! I was just about to say, “well that’s way cool of her!! And my critters could use IV C! Wish my vet would consider it. Then I was going to nudge the other thing… LOL

  • Toxed2loss

    Without reading his articles, I can tell you in some, not all, cases it can. Let me give an example: I have genetic damage, both hereditary, and from my own exposures to toxic substances. If we look at how genetic damages occur, that might help,you to understand… A exposure to a toxic substance that has teratogenic effects is a lot like a drive by shooting. The chemical rampages thru the blood stream. The “bullets” strike random objects. Some impact muscle time,some damage cells, and some make it into the nucleons where it damages part of the stand. That’s geneic damage. In my case, it’s a methylation error. So when my RNA (DNA code reader) runs along the out side of the DNA and gets to the part at says add a methyl, it sends a chemical order for a methyl to be assembled next. Nothing else can move forward without That methyl… Now luckily, he body has back up systems. You have 4 alleles for that code. So there are ways around it, they aren’t also damaged. For those of us with damaged alleles, knowing what our alternate routes are makes all the difference. Before we figured out that I was THMTR, I took massive amount of C. It one (not as efficient) way around it. Now I take less C, but inject with methyl B12. C does way more in the body than they used to think, or is common knowledge. You’d truly be surprised at what it can do. 🙂

  • Shawna

    Its actually pretty amazing what nutrients can do.. 🙂  Let food be thy medicine 🙂

    We know that taurine deficiency in cats causes a form of heart disease.  Also in certain dog breeds.

    We know that a vitamin e deficiency can cause “beriberi” of the heart (heart paralysis —- aka congestive heart failure) in humans and dogs.

    Vitamin C has been shown to lower the risk of coronary heart disease.  “). In multivariate models adjusting for age, smoking, and a variety of other coronary risk factors, vitamin C supplement use was associated with a significantly lower risk of CHD (RR = 0.72; 95% CI 0.61 to 0.86).”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12875759

  • Shawna

    Hi girlfriend 🙂

    “IV works best, but my vet says they aren’t using it for pets/livestock yet. (just people)”

    Dr. Becker uses IV vitamin C — she briefly discusses it in this article but she and I had a conversation about it on the forum some time back — can’t link to it now though 🙁


  • Hound Dog Mom

    Oh I agree with you, I believe that vitamin c is important for many reasons and supplementation is beneficial. The part I’m iffy about though is Dr. Belfields claim that supplementation with vitamin c can eliminate a genetically transmitted disease (CHD) in every instance. I mean I know antioxidants are powerful, but I have a hard time believing that vitamin c could trump genes in every case. Maybe though, I haven’t read into it too much I just recalled reading some stuff by written by him a few times. But it seems like if it was that simple all breeders would just supplement with vitamin c..

  • Toxed2loss

    If its oral, that’s not the best way to get it in your pup. The Tri-peptide is a large molecule. It has to be broken down to cross the gut wall, and especially cell walls. You might want to give foods high in glutathione support components, like raw eggs (primarily the yolk) and broccoli… Even beets! They are rich in the components that make up glutathione and many other nutrients and micro nutrients that boost immune system function. 🙂

    If its transdermal, that might work a little but the chem they use to make your skin more permeable is nasty! Nebulized is better than that, but tends toworkmbet for those with lung damage. IV works bet, but my vet says they aren’t using it for pets yet. (just people)

  • Shawna

    Meow Mix has at least two ingredients that are known to be contaminated with the euthanasia drug pentobarbital.  Like your cats, they are finding now that pento is not as effective at euthanizing animals due to the long term exposure from poor quality foods.  The FDA has info on their website and there has been news reports..

    Not vaccinating your Meow Mix fed cats actually did more good then harm..  They KNOW that rabies, as an example, CAUSES kidney disease.  They also believe that at least one of the feline vaccines cause kidney disease.  http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/insight/2004/fall2004/cats.htm

    And you are absolutely right about things pets are exposed to in our homes (Sandy and Toxed are great sources of info on this).  The Environmental Group states that our pets “Average levels of many chemicals were substantially higher in pets than is typical for people, with 2.4 times higher levels of stain- and grease-proof coatings (perfluorochemicals) in dogs, 23 times more fire retardants (PBDEs) in cats, and more than 5 times the amounts of mercury, compared to average levels in people found in national studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EWG (Figure).”  http://www.ewg.org/reports/pets

    Our pets need all the whole food nutrition we can provide them.  🙂

  • I just got some L-glutathione.  I was hoping it would help my heartworm dogs.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Hound Dog Mom,
    It’s actually more substantial than a “theory.” It’s well documented fact that vitamin C recharges spent glutathione and is critical for the GSH cycle, manufacturing more and in the methylation cycle. Glutathione is necessary for hundreds of biologic functions including tissue repair and cell wall strength. It’s critical in protein synthesis for connective tissue. Supplementing with C aides the body, under chemical assault, to execute the functions in a more effective way. Without sufficient glutathione the tissue integrity is weakened. Just sayin’.

  • Toxed2loss

    Great post Sandy!!! I was going to post something along those lines and grab a few articles/reserch papers i’ve read to back them up, but I couldn’t remember where to look. (I have too many!!)

    But my point is, you’re absolutely spot on! There are far more dietary and environmental toxins now than even 5O years ago… Dogs bodies can no more manufacture enough C to replenish their immune systems from the ongoing assault than our bodies can keep fighting it off!! That’s why the rising rates of illness!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    An interesting theory about vitamin c is that hip dysplasia and other othopedic diseases are caused by lack of vitamin c. According to Dr. Belfield, the nutritional standards established by the NRC and AAFCO aren’t sufficient to allow for dogs to synthesize the optimal amount of collagen. Dr. Belfield has reported he observed no hip dysplasia in puppies at risk when they were supplemented with vitamin c from birth to 18 months of age and he even reports cats that test positive for leukemia and display no symptoms can become negative through supplementation with high doses of vitamin c. His theories are a little controversial in the veterinary community and I’m not sure if I buy them, but it’s interesting none the less. I supplement my dogs with a vitamin c powder that also contains citrus bioflavanoids daily, I figure being that vitamin c is water soluble it can’t hurt.

  • It’s not just processed foods in “these days” but over-vaccination, use of chemical/pesticed flea and tick meds and heartworm meds, not to mention chemicals in soaps/shampoos, air fresheners, cleaning chemicals…the list goes on…even residual pesticides on fresh foods…the unhealthy cattle that’s being fed chemicals and GMOs that are being made into food…

  • Hi CindyIngram,

    There’s no known need for vitamin C in a dog’s diet- not even for gum health. That’s because unlike humans, a dog is able to internally manufacture all the vitamin C the animal needs.

    As a matter of fact, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) doesn’t even set a minimum amount of vitamin C in its puppy or adult dog food nutrient profiles.

    Hope this helps.

  • Cindyingram

    I love your comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cindyingram

    I hear what you are saying.  I’ve noticed it with our family cats as well.  For God’s Sake our cats pre 1990 ate Meow Mix  – period – rarely got their updated vaccinations and lived to 23 – yup 23!!! Fine and dandy until their kidneys gave out.  In fact, TWO of them had to receive TWO shots to make their hearts stop beating when euthenized!!!  Meanwhile, my post 1990’s family on the “good stuff” has had early kidney failure, diabetes, allergies, gum disease, etc., etc., etc.  Look, ANY TIME people are involved where MONEY is to be made – WHO KNOWS what can happen.  I’ve seen it in the human pharmaceutical industry first hand.  That would be my first instinct.  Beyond that – maybe some correlation with something humans are innocently exposing them to at home. ???  Or maybe even something in the gene pool that has carried on because of human efforts to rescue them??? 

  • Cindyingram

    What about C for gum health?

  • hounddogmom12


    I actually gave the Wholistic Canine Complete supplement with joint support to my dogs for awhile. They did fine on it. When you gave the link the first time I didn’t notice it was the same supplement I have used (wasn’t reading closely enough). All the vitamins are in whole food form and derived from kelp, bee pollen, flax and ester c (plus some added probiotics) so I wouldn’t worry too much about overdosing. I really like this company actually, I’ve used some of their other supplements too. Another company to look into would be Carnivora. I am currently using their Earth Greens supplement (Carnivora.ca). It’s another company with whole foods supplements. Also, here’s some more information on hydrolized whitefish: http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/products/Proper-Nutrition-Seacure-for-Pets/114001.aspx

  • Shawna

    I actually did click on the link — just didn’t scroll down far enough (past ingredients)..  Been one of those kinda days :)… 

    If not hydrolyzed the white fish would be like any other protein…  However, the added enzymes and probiotics would make it easier to digest then other proteins – imo.

    I sure wish they’d give us the amount of aluminum (which I suppose could leach off the manufacturing equipment) and fluoride.  I’m sure it is trace amounts but still something that makes me take notice…

  • i8ok

    Thanks Shawna. I am still researching the details.

    I wonder if WHITEFISH PROTEIN (as appears on the new ingredient list) is also hydrologized.

    The list of nutrients is described as provided from whole food form. No synthetics. I was curious about the fluoride and aluminum, too. But I figured they had to list everything that appeared on a lab analysis.

    When you click on the link http://wholisticcaninecomplete.com, you can then select Wholistic Canine Complete™ for more details easier-to-read.

  • Shawna

    Hi i8ok ~~ “hydrolyzing” breaks down the protein but in doing so it creates free glutamic acid (the “g” in MSG) and free aspartic acid (one of the ingredients in aspartame).  For short term use it is beneficial for digestive tract health — I’ve used SeaCure before which is nothing but hydrolyzed white fish). 

    However used long term, or in MSG sensitive pups, I worry about the same issues as using MSG..  What I have not been able to determine is how much aspartic and glutamic acid is in “white” fish??

    Although I do think some pets will have an issue with flax, in most I think it is probably tolerated.  It’s touted as a source of fiber.  We do have an unanswered question as to whether the phytoestrogens have a negative impact on spayed pups??  Also, if “white” fish is not a source of omega 3 then flax is the only source and it is known that the omega 3 in flax ALA is not converted, by adult dogs, to DHA.  DHA is the omega 3 oil found in the brain, eyes and heart. 

    I’m having a hard time reading the list in the post but two words stuck out that make me pause — aluminum and fluoride..???

    They also list the vitamins but I am unclear as to whether they are saying these are the vitamins found in the “whole food” product (since they list all 21 amino acids) or if they are saying some of these are added (which would imply to me that some are synthetic)?

  • i8ok

    Thanks hounddogmom. I found more information on the company website which lists the ingredient label for the fish ingredient as whitefish protein, instead of hydrolized whitefish. Perhaps they have updated the label. 
    Also, there is detail about nutrients provided from this supplement and I’ve copied these here. It seems like few ingredients providing all of these nutrients. And claims to be in whole food form. Not synthetic. Is flaxseed good for dogs?http://wholisticcaninecomplete.com/ Wholistic Canine Complete provides (whole food form): Calcium                       Chlorine                      Potassium                   Magnesium                Nitrogen                       Sodium                        Phosphorus    Sulphur                         Aluminum                 Boron                           Cadmium                        Cobalt                            Chromium                    CopperFluoride                          Iron                             Iodine   Magnesium                   Manganese                 Molybdenum                 Lead                          Selenium  Sodium                Tin                             Zinc                            Vitamin A – carotenoidVitamin A – beta carotene Thiamin – B1Riboflavin – B2Niacin – B3Vitamin B6Vitamin B12Vit CVit DVit EBiotinVitamin Kpantothenic acidEster C All 21 Amino Acids including:       Alanine                       Lysine                         Arginine                       Methionine                    Aspartic Acid               Phenylalanine              Cystine                          Proline                           Glycine                         Serine                          Glutamic Acid              Threonine                    Histidine                        Tryptophan                   Isoleucine Taurine              Tyrosine                       Leucine                         Valine                           omega 3 fatty acids (linolenic acid)omega 6 fatty acids( linoleic acid) Choline Digestive enzymesProbiotics

  • hounddogmom12


    Hydrolyzed whitefish is a protein concentrate derived from whitefish. It is a a pre-digested source of bioactive peptides and biogenic amines. Hydrolyzed whitefish is also rich in trace minerals and omega-3 fatty acids . Hydrolyzed whitefish is typically used to help with bowl disorders.

    Stabilized flaxseed just means that it’s processed in a way to prevent it from losing nutrients and going rancid. Flaxseed is very heat/air sensitive.

  • i8ok

    I am curious if anyone has knowledge of, or an opinion about, this canine supplement which I found on http://www.wholepetmarket.com 

    Questions: What is HYDROLYZED whitefish? What is STABILIZED flaxseed?
    Wholistic Canine Complete
    All-in-one pet supplement containing a proprietary blend of certified organic, human-grade ingredients to support the health and longevity of your pets.Ingredients: Organic Ascophylum nodosum (kelp), Organic, stabilized flaxseed, Hydrolyzed whitefish, Calcium ascorbate (Vitamin C*), Organic garlic, Lecithin, Dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product,  Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, Dried Trichoderma reesei fermentation product, Dried Rhizopus oryzae fermentation extract product, Dried Ananas comosus fermentation product, Dried Carica papaya fermentation extract product, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum. *as Ester-C®

  • Scott

    Something is wrong these days.  All of my dogs from pre 1990 had much better health and a long life with little to no vet trips or vaccinations and using cheap dog food.  My last two dogs have had joint problems and ligament tears galore, even though I have done all recommended vaccinations and given them the $50 / 28 lb. dog food and kept them at a healthy weight, unlike the previous dogs.  My parents’ dogs had the same kind of results – Healthy in years past with no extra care (chemicals?).

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  • Toxed2loss

    All my dogs over the years have liked C loaded fruits like blueberries, cranberries, blackberries. They’ll eat the blackberries off the vines themselves. 🙂

  • Toxed2loss

    Thanks JD! I gave it a read. It certainly sends up,some red flags. And none of us want that. So I looked at the publish date of thebreserch Dr cusickwas referencing and it’s 1980. I decided to google and came up with this interesting paper. http://www.yourdoghealth.com/dog_ester-c.htm Dr. Cusickwas is the guy that has done a lot of nutritional research that says that different breeds need different diets. I’m not finding the other research that backs that up… Nor can I “proof” the procedures he used to see if/where they may have been flawed, or substantiated. So the question is be for the group… What else that’s more current can we find?

  • JD

    Best advice regarding Vitamin C and dog food is here   http://www.wdcusick.com/013.html

  • Shawna

    Interesting!!  I know Dr. Karen Becker (and other vets I’ve read) use intravenous vitamin C, along with other antioxidants, in cancer patients.  Even though dogs make their own C, the extra boost apparently helps 🙂


    My dogs love clementines 🙂

  • Thtooley

    The answer above, asserting that no studies with Vitamin C have been done on dogs and that any knowledge is anecdotal, is simply not true.  A quick review of veterinary and animal physiology journals (anyone can do this) shows that at least since the 1930s, researchers have periodically done clinical studies using Vitamin C, including one during the Cold War that showed that irradiated dogs given Vitamin C experienced a survival rate of about five times the control group (awful, yes, to expose dogs to radiation for the test, but my point is that this was 1949, and they gave Vitamin C to dogs) [see Field and Rekers, “Vitamin C and Flavonoids in Dogs,” 1949].  Plus many other tests over the years.  Some have shown positive results for one symptom or another, some have shown no result.  But that animal physiologists have done work in this area seems beyond dispute.   

  • erin

    The VET books I referred to is

    James Herriot’s Favorite Dog Stories
    James Herriot’s Cat Stories

  • erin

    Great story about Merg.

    All dogs are different. We had a dog that could eat anything and the next 2 could not.

    I have seen British people giving CHOCOLATE to their dogs on TV. Can British dogs tolerate chocolate and not American dogs? Not that I would ever give our dog chocolate.

    I also read a book that a VET. wrote about his encounters with different cats and dogs. He would give a vitamin shot to help them recover from whatever. What was that vitamin shot and why don’t our vets have it?

  • Cathy

    What a delightful, inspiring story about Mergatroyd. Thank you for sharing! If more dogs were as fortunate as Mergatroyd, this planet would be bursting with sweetness, goodness and wellbeing.

  • Richard

    In the real world of country living, every dog I have had has eaten veggies of his/her own accord. We always have a garden, and sometimes keeping the dog OUT of the garden is the biggest problem.

    For example, years ago we had a puppy come out of the woods and he seized a cucumber out of my wife’s hand. Mergatroyd, a black and tan hound/husky mix, stayed and lived with us for the next 13 years. He ate peas off the vine, but didn’t like the little round things in them (we told guests that he would shuck them into a colander, “Would you like more?). He dug carrots, ate tomatoes off the vine, gnawed on broc and BrSp stems, loved the cooked skins from winter squash and nearly anything else in the compost pile, especially lobster and shrimp shells, and would steal our vegetarian pizza in a heartbeat. (It got so bad that we had to tie him up when we had pizza.) He ate loaves of bread that our neighbor put out for the raccoons, occasionally ate woodchucks, squirrels, and the odd chipmunk if they happened too close to the property. He also ate cooked beans, both soy and navy, but only liked chili when it had pinto beans, not kidney, in it. Brown rice, chocolate chip cookies stolen from any child who happened to be walking with it in her hand. He also thought that other animal feces, especially horse apples was a great desert, something he often found on our nightly walk. One he didn’t like to eat was porcupine, however the incredibly foully stinking stuff was great for rolling in to hide his own smell. And BTW, the vet said that horse apples are good, actually better, for the dog, because they are predigested, and that works great in the short alimentary tract of a dog.

    All in all, Mergatroyd was a slightly discriminating omnivore, and the vet called him healthy all his life. He also warned us when Merg was a puppy that he was not the kind of dog you would want for a pet. This was sort of true, and for many years we spent long hours searching for him, but he was lovable anyway, and when he howled in his baritone version of a husky howl along with our neighbor’s huskies, people from a half mile away would call us to tell us to stop mistreating him. (Once in the city, as he moaned about being left in the car, a parking attendant searched up and down the street looking for the sound. When I came back to the car I told the attendant that that was my dog making that sound. She said, “Oh my God, I thought that was the new fire engine!” Whatever others said, it always tugged at our hearts, and was a sure way to get someone to let him come in, lay by the woodstove, and watch TV until bedtime when he went back to his house.

    In summation, all I can observe from his life and the other dogs we have had is that dogs are scavengers, and as such will eat anything that seems to them to have food value. And they know to eat grass to make themselves throw up when they get a piece of bone stuck in their stomachs. When one allows them to live their life the way they want, they seem to know well how to do it. So allow your dog to tell you what it wants, but one thing for sure, stop feeding it junk food and table scraps, these are not found in the wild. And allow your dog to take you for a walk each day. You’ll find it is their greatest gift to you along with their love and loyalty.

  • Jennifer

    Two things I can tell you are potatoes are fine as long as they are peeled completely and cooked. Broccoli can be fed as it is a great help in cancer treatment but it cannot be more than 10% of the dogs daily diet. Aftet that it becomes toxic. Even if a food is considered safe, don’t let them have the seeds or stems. These can be toxic and can cause blockages. Just remember even if the food is safe too much is bad. Just like humans. For example, spinach. A little bit once in a while should be fine but given everyday can cause issues. It’s high iron content and minerals will build up and become toxic.
    Here are some sites for more info:

  • Hi Jo… Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a website that presents a fruit and veggie wish list for dogs. Yet the one fruit I’d avoid would be grapes (and their derivatives… like raisins).

  • Jo

    Thank you for your website. Is there a website that list the fruits and vegtables that a dog can be fed. Like feeding the dog pieces of fruit or vegtables as treats instead of buying commercial dog treats.


  • Ela

    My rescue dalmatian, presently 10 years old has been eating all fruits including oranges all his life, 9 with me . Bulcio ha been on Kirkland lamb formula most of his life and now receives senior K food.
    He at his age is very active and playful, although he takes longer “beauty naps”. The only food he will not eat are mushrooms .

  • Hi Marjorie… I’ve never been asked that question before. I am guessing when I say it’s probably OK. But to be sure, you might want to check with a veterinarian.

  • Marjorie

    My dog enjoys a piece of orange whenever we have one. Can this be harmful to an small shitzu cross?