Vitamin C for Pets

| Modified: Mar 22, 2018
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Vitamin C for Pets

While healthy dogs and cats produce vitamin c in their bodies, Vitamin C supplements are often helpful for our pets, just as they are for us. Vitamin C supplements can help pets overcome infections, reduce symptoms of arthritis and eliminate allergy.

Stress uses up vitamin C stores quickly. Pets experience all sorts of stresses, making them good candidates for vitamin C supplementation. The bodies of our pets experience stress when they are sick, recovering from vaccinations, dealing with allergies or healing from wounds. Environmental stresses include pesticides and changes in living situations. Poor quality food can also put undue stress on pets.

Vitamin C supports the immune system and also collagen production. This makes it a broad spectrum supplement for pets, helping with a wide range of health problems including the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Slow Healing Wounds
  • Ear Infections
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Feline Leukemia
  • Cancer
  • Tumors

How Much Vitamin C Should I Give My Dog?

  • Small dogs: 500mg - 1,000mg
  • Medium - Large dogs: 1,000mg - 2,000mg
  • Giant dogs: 2,000mg - 4,000mg

How Much Vitamin C Should I Give My Cat?

  • 3-7 pound cat – 200-400 mg
  • 7-11 pound cat 400-700mg
  • 11-16 pound cat 700-1000mg

These are starting points for dosing your pets. Ideally, you will divide the dose in half and give vitamin C twice a day. Vitamin C is water soluble and used up quickly in the body, making frequent dosing helpful.

You will know if your pet is getting too much vitamin C if he has loose stools. If diarrhea develops, cut back the amount you give. Start with the lowest suggested dose to avoid the risk of diarrhea.

During severe stress or acute illness, you pet may need much more than the suggested amount above. You can increase the dose during these times until your pet begins to experience diarrhea, then cut back a bit. It would not be unusual for a pet to need as much as four times the usual amount of vitamin C during an illness.

If you are giving your pet vitamin C on a daily basis, it is a good idea to re-evaluate the amount you give once or twice a year. You can increase a bit to see if your pet is needing more as he ages. Again, watch for loose stools and cut back if you reach that point.

What Kind of Vitamin C Should I Use for My Pet?

Some kinds of vitamin C are highly acidic (like the ascorbic acid form.) These types are more likely to cause digestive distress. Sodium ascorbate is more gentle to the system. Ester-C is another gentle form of C that many of our readers give their pets.

Have you used a Vitamin C supplement for your pet? Let us know how much you give, the size of your pet, and why you give your pet vitamin C. Keep reading to learn how our readers used vitamin C for their cats and dogs!


Posted by Betty (Wheeling, WV) on 07/23/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I started taking increased doses of Vitamin C a number of years ago at my doctor's recommendation for a tendency to bruise easily. One of the other unexpected benefits is that my sinuses cleared up. I used to wake up sneezing and would continue throughout the morning, sometimes through the entire day, year round. After experimenting with different dosages, I am now on a maintenance level of 2000 mg of Vitamin C daily and this keeps my allergies under control usually 50-51 weeks out of the year. Occasionally, I may have a flare-up and need something else. When that happens, I stir 1 teaspoon of ground Turmeric into an 8 oz. glass of water and drink it. Within 15 minutes, I am breathing freely once again and no more sneezing!

Replied by Cherie
Irvine, Ca

How much daily vitamin C for a 15 pound dog in teaspoon measurements?

Replied by Melissa
9 posts

Hi Cherie,

There are 625mg in 1/8 tsp. The dosage as stated above for small dogs is 500mg-1000mg for small dogs. I give my dogs about 1/8 per day. 11lbs and 17lbs. If your dog gets soft stools then try cutting it in half.

Replied by Melissa
9 posts

I forgot to mention, to make sure it is buffered Vitamin C or it will upset their stomach. It's hard to find in capsule form, which seems to be the only one that works for small dogs due to the size of the pill, but if you can, get Ester C. Otherwise, go to a Vitamin store and get a powder form.

Replied by Melissa
9 posts

I would like to correct my post above that stated 1/8 tsp is 625 mg. The Vitamin C powder I use has Magnesium and Calcium as well. I believe it varies with each individual product and it's density so I would read the label.

Ester-C for Cats and Dogs

Posted by Diamond (Ma.) on 04/17/2015
5 out of 5 stars

There is Ester C I use for my cats and dogs, I have a dog that is as close to a 100 yrs. in humans age, but she is still carrying her own, there was awhile she just could not get up & walk, but with all the suppliments, I give no more than one or two per day, I also found that fresh Kale is a very strong source of vits. I give my dogs the Kale, but I love the liquid from the Kale, it tastes so different/soothing and has it's own sweetness/I make this by the gallons and drink it. It makes my dogs urinate too often but it's good as a cleansing process.

Here is someone else's review on on using Ester-C..

Ester C has fixed SO many problems with my dogs. For one example my girls had real thin placentas. This was a problem with multiple dogs. 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. Some 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. There are TONS of health benefits to vitamin C. I look forward to more studies on dogs.

Posted by Barbara (Danville, Ca) on 09/29/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I started giving my 7 1/2 year old Weimaraner Ester-C and it is working amazingly well.

The before Ester-C symptoms were holding up her rear leg and refusing to put pressure on it, and sleeping all the time (perhaps depressed). She is normally a very, very active dog.

Three days after treatment she is running around, energetic and putting more weight on it. Two weeks after the treatment she is as energetic as she was when she was a puppy, putting weight on her leg and 80% symptom free. This is truly amazing progress!!

I started 1000mg of the Ester-C and up to 2000mg after the fourth day. THANK GOODNESS for natural cures and the internet!!

Posted by Majore (Noblesville, In, Usa) on 08/10/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Vitamin C is great for dogs. I have used it with my Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs for years. The one thing that is really important that I didn't see above is the you can NOT give dogs normal vitamin C which is ascorbic acid. It is very easy to burn there stomachs with ascorbic acid. Calcium Ascorbate or Sodium Ascorbate are what you need. Ester C is great too.

Hip Dysplasia

Posted by Sunny (Solvang, CA) on 05/24/2007
5 out of 5 stars

When my male cocker spaniel was about 6 months old, symptoms of hip dysplasia showed up dramatically. In a very short time he was almost crippled. After praying (God is good!),

I began giving him 2,000 mg. of buffered C daily. Within a few days, he was walking & running like a normal pup. When I discontinued the C, the symptoms reoccurred, so I kept him on it continually.

He is 12 years old now, is quite healthy, and still walks/runs without a problem. He has an unusually healthy diet, including apple cider vinegar & other supplements, and he and his twin sister are incredibly young for their age!

Replied by Jr
Coloma, Mi

Sunny, can you tell me a little bit more about the diet you feed?

Lethargy in Cats

Posted by Thax (Seattle, Wa) on 02/06/2012
5 out of 5 stars

My cat was lethargic, drinking extra water, and his coat lacked shine. I had great luck using powdered ascorbic acid (vitamin C) mixed with water for this condition. I put a half teaspoon into a small cup, added water, then used a plastic syringe (available at drugstores) to give to my cat orally.

The next morning after giving vitamin C, he was plumper, healthier, and happy. I will continue to give him 250 mg a day for now to take care of any problems he mght be experiencing with his kidneys. Apparently the max dose is 250 a day for cats.

I was getting worried about my kitty and am so happy to see him improving so rapidly! High dose vitamin C therapy prevents all kinds of human diseases as well!

Replied by Diamond

Thank you so much on your message of giving your cat Vit.C " I was actually searching for my dogs ailments, but then I noticed where you wrote your cat drinking a lot of water as I have two cats doing this. I need to look for the Vit. C. Thank you for sharing very important and helpful information.

Multiple Cures

Posted by Grace (Auckland, New Zealand) on 02/04/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I wonder if folk realise that dogs & cats don't make as much vitamin C as most other animals do?

I gave a home to a stray cat who possibly had a poor start in life. When he became very poorly, I gave him 1/4 tsp powdered sodium ascorbate dissolved in 2ml warm water, used an old syringe [no needle]to inject it into his mouth. I did this at least 2 hourly during waking hours. The effect was wonderful!

He has a tendency to get discharging eyes. I use 1tsp sodium ascorbate in 1/2 metric cup warm water & swab both eyes 3-4 times/day with great clear up. [I drink the left-over solution.]

A friend who breeds rottweilers has a prize dog that's asthmatic. The asthma cleared up with ascorbic acid several times/day. The dog came off all its meds.

Where to Buy

Posted by Raelene (Tennessee) on 06/21/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Camu camu powder is sold on amazon and is the highest form of natural non synthetic vitamin c than any other fruit on the planet. I give it to my dogs daily. Look up camu camu and its wonderful benefits. Just one teaspoon is 1,080 % of vitamin c.

Replied by Sonja

How much of the camu camu do you give your dog?

Replied by Donna
Coventry, Uk

I seen on here about Ester vitamin c

i looked on amazon and the only one I could see was Ester c plus which is for horses has anyone used this for dogs and cats and what dose did you use as does not say

many thanks

Posted by Marcia Kirschbaum (Costa Mesa. Ca) on 02/19/2015
5 out of 5 stars

The vitamin C I used is a whole food type by Healthforce Nutritionals. It's a complete form of VC, not an isolate like ascorbic acid is so the body can make use of it without having to rob the body of rutin, bioflavonoids and such, to remake a complete, useable molecule.

My 2 yr old, 80 lb Dogo Argentino gets 325 mg 3 times a day to combat arthritis and chronic ear infections.

As an afterthought ~ vitamin C works in conjunction with other nutrients for it's activation. If you aren't doing a raw diet, where they get their calcium and magnesium (along with so many other nutrients) from eating raw bones, you should supplement. If you are using ascorbic acid or some other isolate form of vitamin c you should also supplement bioflavonoids.

Lastly, Steroids medication deplete vitamin C, so you'll need higher dosage till you wean off the drugs and heat destroys VC so don't do that :o)

Posted by Carol (Miles, Queensland Australia) on 10/07/2012

I am desperately trying to find a good quality Vit C powder to give my animals. Value Plus in Aus used to supply it, but doesn't anymore. Can anyone help me please. Thanks, Carol

Replied by Diamond
Ma., US
5 out of 5 stars

Carol; I use the powdered Ester C for my cats and dogs. The only thing it says on it is Ester C natural flavor/24 hour immune support, also explains all the positive results etc. Good Luck