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Vitamin C

orangeAn interesting fact is that dogs produce Vitamin C in their bodies and normally don’t need an additional supplement. A supplement will be recommended during times of extreme stress or for dogs suffering from severe illnesses. The vitamin has anti-inflammatory properties that have improved sports injuries (from agility training) and joint and muscle pain associated with old age. As physical or emotional stress is the best-known cause of vitamin depletion in dogs, holistic veterinarians often prescribe a supplement during times of gestation, weaning, and hard work (herding, hunting). It’s even been prescribed for dogs that have suffered an emotional setback such as a home move or loss of family member (definite times of emotional stress). Also as our doggy’s age, their body’s natural supply of Vitamin C lessens and providing our seniors with a supplement can revive and bolster their systems.

Dogs normally produce about 18 milligrams per pound of body weight each day and most veterinarians will advise against adding any supplementation to the dog’s natural ability in creating this vitamin. However, many holistic veterinarians suggest that dogs today are exposed to so many pollutants and chemicals (especially if fed commercial diets), they suggest a maintenance dose daily. Too much Vitamin C however can cause diarrhea so it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s stool if adding the vitamin to the diet. Richard Pitcairn, DVM (author of “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats”) suggests giving 100-500 milligrams (based on the dog’s size) daily to dogs that are exposed to high amounts of pollutants and chemicals. Vitamin C should be provided in ascorbate forms only – calcium or sodium. Ascorbic acid is harder on the dog’s stomach. Of course, a healthy dog fed a quality diet and exposed to low levels of stress has no need for supplementation.

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