Can I Give My Dog Vitamin-C? Does Supplementing Make Sense?

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Owners often get conflicting info about their dog’s vitamin C needs.

First off…

While it is obviously healthy, rarely do canines require extra.

Can Dogs Take Vitamin-C?The thing is your dog actually produces their own vitamin-C!

People typically require this vitamin much more so than their pets. However, there are cases where supplementation makes sense.

For example:

Your dog may have poor glandular function which, in turn, could mean their ascorbic acid needs aren’t being met.

Keep reading to learn more about vitamin-C as it applies to four-legged friends…

Some Dogs Can Benefit From Taking Vitamin C

The sodium ascorbate version makes sense when there is good reason to provide extra.

Oranges have plenty of vitamin-C as does kale, kiwi, grapefruit and many other fruits.

But for deficient dogs, we recommend Pet Organics Ester-C due to the antioxidant properties. It also won’t irritate the GI tract.

Vitamin C for Canines

Certain medical conditions respond to vitamin-C supplementation. This is especially true for older dogs.

A serious deficiency may warrant a vitamin C injection.

Normally though, powdered form is what’s used.

If your dog is under stress it could indicate low levels of vitamin C, but it’s difficult to definitively determine.

You should involve your vet if you’re really concerned.

A Powerful Supplement

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. It can help dogs with:

  • Cataracts
  • Joint inflammation (arthritis)
  • Glaucoma
  • Kennel cough
  • certain infections
  • Abscesses
  • Upper respiratory conditions

It can also play a role in recovery of injuries, provide an immune system boost and even fight canine cancer.

Again, some dogs certainly benefit from additional vitamin C when appropriate.

Related: Learn about other supplements, like iron and calcium, as they apply to dogs.

Potential Side Effects

Be careful about giving vitamin C to your pet dog.

It cannot be stressed enough:

Often times, they don’t need it. And it could harm their ability to produce their own (perhaps permanently).

Some dogs may become internally stressed, meaning their organs may be working extra hard.

It’s important not to inappropriately give this vitamin. Too much means they’d have to rid their body of it.

The result?

Diarrhea is just one sign of excessive vitamin-C. And serious complications involve kidney stones and organ failure — specifically the liver and kidneys.

S. Ascorbate & Ascorbic

Confusion also surrounds vitamin C, partly because there are several different forms. Dogs, the way their systems function, are better suited for sodium ascorbate.

Ascorbic acid is an inferior form of vitamin C for both man and canine alike.


The concentration and highly acidic nature of ascorbic acid can affect your dog’s kidneys and liver.

Non-acidic sodium ascorbate, in theory, is desirable for dogs. There’s also evidence to suggest it is more effective because it is better absorbed.

The Bottom Line

Supplementing with vitamin C is questionable for healthy dogs. They produce their own!

Too much could be harmful.

Be sure to discuss with your vet the possibility of giving your dog extra vitamin C.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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6 thoughts on “Can I Give My Dog Vitamin-C? Does Supplementing Make Sense?”

  1. I am trying to find a brand that has vitamin C in liquid or powder form or even tablet. Do you know any brands?

  2. What dosage of vitamin C should I give my 10 pound Chihuahua for pneumonia?

  3. My Rhodesian Ridgeback, at nine and half years old, got a thyroid condition after eating a six pack of Heartgard. The vet office said I did not need to make him vomit.

    Three months later he gained a huge amount of weight (now from 85 pounds to 103). He is a rural mountain dog.

    I have been giving high-grade US-made vitamin C 500 twice daily. It’s like Ester C. After reading this I am now worried.

  4. One of my 10 kilogram dogs has symptoms of kennel cough. We’ve been to a vet and have antibiotics, but what dose of a vitamin c supplement would you recommend if at all? Also, would it be a good preemptive idea for my other dogs? Perhaps a lower dose so as to not cause any issues?

  5. For 4 days my dog has had fever. I gave him Paracetamol in 300mg doses. My question is can provide vitamin C act as antidote to paracetamol?

    1. I wouldn’t give any dog paracetamol without consulting a vet on dosage. Paracetamol can be dangerous, and even fatal, for humans if too much is taken. I would imagine the same would apply to dogs. If your dog has a fever, they’re ill enough for you to seek professional advice.

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