Back to Articles

Vit C Supplement Dosage for Dogs

How much to give when they're own isn't enough.

Supplementing with C

Reasons, suggestions, & dosages

Vit C Dosage
The average dog normally produces about 18 milligrams of vitamin C per pound of body weight per day. Therefore, for a dog that is free of clinically significant symptoms but is experiencing unusual stress, supplementation with about that much C per day appears be a conservative maintenance dosage. (About 500 milligrams for a 28-lb. dog daily.) To increase absorption, veterinarians recommend splitting the total daily dosage into several feedings during the day.
However, many holistic veterinarians routinely suggest maintenance doses that are three to four times that amount. They explain that modern, domestic dogs need more vitamin C than the theoretical “natural” dog, since their bodies must deal with so many challenges: stress, pollution, chemicals and pesticides, and poor diets, to name a few.
Too much vitamin C, especially if given in one dose, will cause diarrhea in dogs. What amount is too much varies from dog to dog, so, when administering the maximum amount of C for a therapeutic (not just maintenance) dose, many veterinarians will suggest that you increase the dose in 100-500 milligram-per-day increments until the dog develops diarrhea, then reduce his daily dose to the previous day’s dose. (This is often referred to as dosing to “bowel tolerance.”)
Individuals dogs may be more or less tolerant of vitamin C supplements, and their tolerance may change with environmental conditions. For instance, a dog that is experiencing great stress may tolerate 4,000 milligrams without diarrhea, but develop the condition as the stress is removed. The owner’s awareness of the quality of the dog’s stool is critical to appropriate dosing.
The type of illness being treated should also be considered when determining the dose. Some guidelines published by holistic veterinarians include:
Richard Pitcairn, DVM, “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.” Pitcairn suggests giving 100-500 milligrams (based on the dog’s size) of vitamin C daily to dogs that are exposed to unusually high amounts of pollutants.
Cheryl Schwartz, DVM, “Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and dogs.” Schwartz suggests giving vitamin C to dogs with a variety of illnesses, including upper respiratory conditions (small dogs, 125 to 500 mg. twice daily; medium dogs, 250-1,500 mg. twice daily; large dogs, 500-1,500 mg. twice daily), arthritis (to bowel tolerance), infected ears (small dogs, 250-500 mg. twice daily; large dogs, 500-1,000 mg. twice daily), and skin allergies (small dogs, 125 mg. twice daily; medium and large dogs, up to 750 mg. twice daily).
It’s important to remember that a healthy, happy dog with a quality diet and little stress probably has no need of supplementation with vitamin C. However, if stress, illness, or age causes a dog’s need for vitamin C to outstrip his ability to produce it, supplementing him with C is a sensible choice.

More you may enjoy

November 14, 2010

raw meaty bones (necks)
RAW BONES
Have you hear how great raw bones are for you dog? Well good! Weather it's for dental health, a component of...

September 14, 2018

K9 CPR Class
K9 CPR, don't miss a beat!
Here are my notes form this informative  class taught by Dr. Dan Butterfield of Mountain Home Mobile Vet.  The class was...

March 5, 2017

Over-Vaccinating?
Vaccinosis
Vaccinosis is actually a disease caused by the over vaccination of your dog. In most cases it is a chronic ongoing,...